What is the reverse? Suicide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is now the third cause of death among African-American males between the ages of 15 and 24, behind homicide and accidental injury.
The most mis-understood and under-cared for segment of American society is in fact the Black male. I realize this is hard for some to swallow. Black man is the President of the U.S.A. Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant is on full display right now, as wealthy superstars. Nevertheless, the MOST mis-understood and under-cared for segment of American society is the Black male.
Black men have been the object of social constraint, isolation and elimination since the dawn of the so-called “New World”. Black men started out in American society and continue to be viewed as an expendable commodity, who’s only real worth is correlated to his economic value. This economic value has always represented a high rate of return to others, but never to himself. This is not only a contradiction, but a paradox.
This paradox is one the becomes a driving question that weighs heavy on the minds and souls of “conscious” Black men. This paradox is an unseen, intangible inner drive for the majority of Black men across all categories of education and status.
The recent loss of one of Chicago’s most positive and respected public school Interventionist, Khaldun Everage, should have us talking about the deeper issue confronting the psyche and spirit of even apparently happy and highly productive Black men. But the public landscape is currently consumed with it’s annual infatuation with summer-time violence.
It is what happens to Black males in the privacy of their broken homes, desensitized upbringing and educational experiences that are at the core of our relentless fratricidal and suicidal behavior.
Professor Howard Clinebell states that: "Grief is involved in all significant changes, losses and life transitions, not just the death of a loved person. There is evidence that many psychophysiological (psychosomatic) illnesses are related to unhealed grief. In many cases, a major loss was correlated with the onset or dramatic worsening of the painful symptoms that brought them for help. Included were persons with a wide variety presenting problems, job difficulties, substance abuse, psychophysiological illness, and religious problems. Also included were persons with general spiritual malaise-boredom, restlessness, feelings of deadness, lack of creative energy and purpose in life."
We always ask ‘why are Black men so un-motivated and unproductive?’ But, we seem to lack the character to deal with the correct answers. We are so very anxious to dismiss the pains which are ever so relentlessly imposed on Black male development.
The educational and socialization process experienced by Black people in America largely requires us to loose our ‘Blackness’ to have any chance at ‘success’. This loss is slow, subtle and traumatic. How this expresses itself in the development of the personality formations of Black males is a politically incorrect subject at best, loathed by many at worse.
From 1980 to 1995, the suicide rate for black adolescents rose from 5.6 per 100,000 of the population to 13 per 100,000, according to recent research by Clare Xanthos, a health services research specialist. For young black men, these changes represent a doubling of the suicide rate, making it the third leading cause of death among that demographic.
Who even cares for Black males? Do the majority of educators care? Do health professionals care? Do the majority of our women care?
My sister and comrade, Moni Rashad was keen on challenging Black women to think about these types of questions. These are the kind of question adults must force themselves to get understanding. This are the question Moni Rahad help us raise each month at our INSPIRATION SUNDAY instructional messages.
Just 4 percent of the nation's psychiatrists, 3 percent of the psychologists and 7 percent of social workers, are Black.
The data suggest that 80 to 90 percent of people who commit suicide are suffering from clinical depression or another undiagnosed mental illness,” says Dr. David Satcher, a former U.S. surgeon general who now serves as director of Morehouse School of Medicine’s Center of Excellence on Health Disparities.
When any morally rational person survey’s the popular culture in America, they can see how ill our society has become. This illness has become rationalized, sanitized and standardized. Like any illness or contagion, as it spreads it affects those whose immunity has been the most compromised. In the U.S.A., the Black man’s immunity has been damaged in ways unlike any other segment of the population.
How much time and attention do you put toward listening, studying and understanding the unspoken pain of the Black men connected to your life?
Min. Michael Muhammad