DAY 5 – Realizing the impact of racial trauma on Black Americans

For today’s Racial Equity Challenge, one of the three options was watching the below video:

The blurb was:

Watch¬†an interview with Resmaa Menakem, on his book My Grandmother’s Hands, Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. This is the first self-discovery book to examine white body supremacy in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology.

Which meant of course I had to watch it. Because this is going on my public/professional blog, some context to that: I have probably-PTSD (on top of other brain problems, my brain is an adventure), and I help moderate an online mental health forum with a couple thousand users. One of the books that gets mentioned a lot is The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, so that’s my familiarity with trauma and body-centered psychology.

And, additionally, from talking to a fair number of people with PTSD, I’m familiar with one of the really under-discussed aspects of PTSD: digestive problems. Sometimes formally diagnosed as IBS, sometimes more intermittent and manifesting as “Well, the good news is it’s not organ failure” when someone shows up at Urgent Care/Emergency Room/Campus Health Center with what gets eventually diagnosed as stress-induced gastritis, food poisoning, or an eloquent shrug and a discharge (sometimes with saltines and apple sauce (the health center people were really nice)).

At this point of the pandemic and working with FEMA data and trying to do work towards my dissertation and other grad school stuff, I’m now –

Well, I know enough of what’s going on that I shouldn’t need to go to the ER again, and this video was definitely an intriguing prospect. In an example of the kind of blindness that white privilege affords even the well-meaning, I’d never thought of the impacts of institutional trauma on bodies. One of the other challenges for today was this article on how racism can cause PTSD.

Menakem discusses Black bodies, white bodies, and “blue” bodies – the impacts of institutional racism on police officers – and how everyone needs to find a way to work through their trauma.

I don’t have many other thoughts on today’s challenge, other than a vague sense of injustice that froyo is a stereotypically white people thing. It’s got probiotics in. Those are important, when you’re dealing with trauma’s effects on the body, and so froyo would do more good for the people experiencing more trauma from racism.