Why Black Girls Can’t Be Sad
By: Amara Jackson
There are many things that are considered taboo and “frightening” in the black community. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the necessary fear of ghosts or of a “non believer”, it’s the fear of mental illness. Mental illness in the black community is a topic that is now getting some recognition, however the problem remains that mental illness is considered taboo. First, in order to break the toxic cycle of dismissing mental illness, one must first actually define what exactly to be mentally ill means. According to google, “mental illness is a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behavior”. Now, that we have defined what it means to be mentally ill, we must also look into the “strong black woman” narrative and religion.
The “I’m a strong independent black woman, and I don’t need no man or anyone” is a worn out toxic stereotype the needs to end. This stereotype dates all the way back in slavery times (but the gag is, slavery wasn’t that long ago as history books claim it to be, but I digress). White men (slave masters) created this “strong black woman that can take anything” narrative to compensate for the rapes against black women. Black women (and in some cases now) didn’t have much of a choice but to just sit and take it. Taking into account of the rapes, beating and belittling, black women were seen as the dogs of society. The black woman is made to just sit and take everything that is thrown at her, but is supposed to hurt and still take care of our men. (Now masculinity is a very fragile social construct but I will address masculinity, sexuality and mental illness in black men in another post.) I am sick and tired of being told, “Amara just pray about it. Amara, God made women strong enough to face this”. Now this is not to dispute or say that black women aren’t strong or can’t be, this is to shed light that black women or even little girls shouldn’t have to be strong all the time. How are we supposed to live in a world, in which we are; attacked by our fellow black men (physically and verbally),deal with racial micro-aggression’s on a day to day basis, deal with sexism and misogyny and then be told that even though you’re tired to stay strong. We are told that if you’re falling into a deep depression that it’s okay for you to go through this because you’re a black woman and “God” has your back. Depending on what you believe, God may have your back but society and your own community won’t.
Silencing a black woman and telling her to take it because she is a black woman, is deadly. It diminishes her worth, and also plays into the “their is no such thing as mental illness in the black community”. This is a lie, and is killing us because it is seen as a “white issue”. This is not a white issue, this a “anybody and everybody” issue. As a young black woman with mental illness that plagues her family, I can say, the silence needs to stop. The “strong black woman narrative” needs to stop, we are inadvertently “killing” ourselves. We need to come together as a community and stop this silence and stop ignoring mental illness, as if it’s not an issue. The subject of police brutality is just as important as mental illness in regards to the black community.
If you are someone you know is suffering from mental health issues find out more here or call 800-560-5767.
Stay connected with the author: Princess_Amara9
***The content expressed in this blog are the sole artistic expression of the author and the views, opinions or thoughts in this post are not a reflection of ItsNoriNori.com