Recently a viral video made the rounds of a Black teenager being pinned down and arrested by law enforcement officers at Bridgewater Commons Mall in New Jersey while the white-looking teen involved in the fight was told to sit on a couch nearby by the same police officers. This disturbing video highlighted the racial inequities that Black people often face, and proved to be triggering for many. With the ever increasing documentation and media coverage of these types of incidences, it can be overwhelming for our community to process the inhumanity that we face on a frequent basis. This can also lead to trauma and PTSD, causing negative effects to the psyche of our community.
EBONY tapped Dr. Monica Johnson, a licensed clinical psychologist and host of the podcast Savvy Psychologist, to break down how implicit bias and the "assumption of criminality" informs the actions of those in law enforcement and how it impacts our community as well as the trauma that we've internalized as normal practices. Johnson also explains the difficulties that arise from insufficient diversity and inclusion practices across society.
To help us get by in troubling times, Dr. Johnson reminds us of this Toni Morrison quote "Definitions belong to definers, not the defined." So don't let others tell define you and thrust their negative perceptions on to you. Additionally, she shared a list of reading material that she thought may be helpful for coping with triggering incidences that can affect the mental well-being of adults and children alike.
A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Brick by Brick by Giuliano Ferri
Raising Antiracist Kids by Nicole C. Lee Esq.