Un-edited LinkedIn Forum Response- Conversations That Are Killing The Black Community: Suicide
It’s funny because I would say that 75% of the people who I have known relatively closely in my life, have had some close encounter with suicide. Far more people than not, or so I’ve encountered, have considered, attempted or experienced a loved one’s suicide.
In my own family, my mother, sister and myself have all attempted suicide when our rainbows weren’t enough, unknowingly passing that on to my niece. And yet, no one ever talks about it. At least not in a productive, let’s face this so no one ever has to again, type of way.
In essence, suicide is meant to be a means to gain control over something or anything that has rendered one to feel powerless, helpless, doomed and immensely desperate. And there’s no room to talk about and address what might truly lead people to feel so drastically helpless.
Ultimately, there has never really been a platform created to address the trends and societal implications of a suicidal society. We often hear about all types of suicides nationwide, near and far from home. Yet, we, as a society, through family tradition of silence to media perpetuation of ignorance, we address suicidal deaths by often, only dealing with the death but never the suicide.
Suicide is not only a Black or Brown problem, as it severely affects current soldiers and veterans, impoverished and foster care youth, and LGBTQ youth and adults, just to name some of the groups most significantly impacted by suicide.
Yet, within a community of people so vulnerable to the most severe degradation of humanity on a daily basis, as the community of Black and Brown people is, the pathology of suicide becomes overwhelmingly highlighted. As Suzanne mentioned, suicide has been a widely known and seldom discussed, though infrequently addressed pathology killing the Black community for centuries.
I believe that the conversation begins with simply acknowledging it, without shame and stigma. People are often shunned and dismissed for even considering sharing the reality of their past experiences with suicide.
It’s simply one of those conversations that needs to happen at home, among families and loved ones as well as, in academic, professional and social settings. As long as the acknowledgement of the existence of suicide remains taboo, the conversation about what influences and feeds the pathology of suicide will remain taboo.
Much to peace to you all for sharing in this discussion, as we all know, we are a beginning and formidable part of building the conversations that will dismantle our chains!