Kicking It With A Comrad About The Failure of Black Men in the Struggle to Address How Racial Oppression Has Negatively Affected Our Health
Recently i was in conversation with
Comrad Quincy Stewart regarding how those of us in the struggle for [New Afrikan] political self-determination, economic self-reliance, and cultural reclamation don’t realize, don’t accept, deny, minimize, nor address the chronic stress of racial oppression ‘pathology producing’ we’re constantly under thus many of us have become disabled or died prematurely from non-health intervention.
In the conversation I highlighted that many of us have suffered from and are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress-Disorder (PTSD), Brother Quincy Stewart said he disagreed with the PTSD designation due to [New Afrikan] male traumatic stress not stopping in the ‘post’ period but its ongoing likening it to the perpetual ‘constant’ stress of a chicken in a rotisserie oven.
Indeed, from my perspective Brother Stewart’s cultural specific ‘diagnostic tweaking’ and rotisserie analogy was on point, yes We suffer from Perpetual Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
From my perspective another important factor of why [New Afrikan] men in the struggle don’t address the heightened psycho-physical stress impact of being involved in the struggle against racial oppression is ‘machoism’; you know the white man system can’t break me down, can't make me sick cause i’m too strong for that.
i’ve experienced and witnessed first-hand the oppressive toll on [New Afrikan] men’s health in the struggle. For over 4 decades i’ve seen the perpetual stress of fighting racial oppression turn many New Afrikan men to using alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms; unfortunately many became alcoholics and addicts.
The [New Afrikan] males in the struggle attitude of “the white man system can’t break me down, can't make me sick cause i’m too strong for that” is a reflection of John Henryism; a strategy for coping with prolonged exposure to the perpetual stressors of racial oppression by expending constant high levels of effort which results in accumulating physiological costs (hypertension, stroke, heart disease, etc.).
The term John Henryism was conceived in the 1970s by [New Afrikan] epidemiologist and public health researcher Sherman James while he was investigating racial health disparities between [New Afrikans] and others in North Carolina. James term was based on the [New Afrikan] male folk hero John Henry Martin who worked vigorously enough to compete successfully with a steam powered machine but died prematurely as a result of his tremendous effort.
Along with John Henryism is the influencing legacy of [New Afrikan] exploitation movies of the late 1960’s and 1970’s of invulnerable ‘Super Black Revolutionaries’ and others getting revenge against ‘the Man’ such as “Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.” Huey P. Newton head of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense wrote an essay about the film in the Panthers' newspaper.
In the essay Newton argued that Sweetback was a cultural reflection of the same types of political ideas that the Panthers championed, Sweetback would become required viewing for members of the Black Panther Party. Unfortunately John Henryism and Sweetbackism still influences Black men in the struggle today preventing us from seeing and addressing our health vulnerabilities.
As [New Afrikan] men in the struggle We must don’t understand that on the battlefield 'wars and struggles' against oppression comes with casualties and disabilities.
Racial Battle Fatigue
Indeed on the American battlefield struggling against racial oppression there have been massive [New Afrikan] male casualties and disabilities. Yes [New Afrikan] males both in the struggle and those not involved suffer from ‘racial battle fatigue’, a term coined by William A. Smith, associate professor, University of Utah.
Research shows that racial battle fatigue causes [New Afrikan] men to suffer more from ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder’ (GAD) which has both psychological and physical symptoms that are so severe that they can significantly affect everyday tasks and job performance.
[New Afrikan] men with GAD have chronic worrying, intrusive thoughts, and difficulty concentrating. Physically, generalized anxiety disorder manifest such symptoms as tension headaches, extreme fatigue and ulcers; it increase the risks of hypertension, stroke, and heart failure.
Yes [New Afrikan] men those of us in the struggle against racial oppression today do suffer from racial battle fatigue and Perpetual Traumatic Stress Disorder. No, We’re not invulnerable super Black revolutionaries beyond the health pathologies of racial oppression, We're the most vulnerable!
Therefore, being vulnerable We must incorporate self-healing health strategies and practices ‘prevention and intervention’ as a critical component in our struggle for self-determination to address internalized oppression ‘disorders’ to stop premature disabilities and deaths.