Talking about the black lived experience can be tough

Conversations about race are critically important to building awareness; however, how they are undertaken matters greatly.

As a member of the Black community, I have observed our constant challenge with varying aspects of widespread and individualized tragic events. These traumatic impacts are made worse by the relentless news stories, media exposure and politicization. The persistent media exposure keeps the events alive in the public mind, which brings about an increased desire to talk about what has happened.

The increased number of conversations can be seen as a good thing because it brings awareness. But, it is a double-edged sword. Awareness keeps the tragic events alive in the consciousness of the media viewer or consumer and, in turn, has the potential to create long-term and debilitating emotional, mental and spiritual consequences. Depending on the approach taken, these conversations, needed to stir up support for change, can also be frustrating and exhausting.

It is often said that talking about it will make it better. This depends, however, on a few other factors, such as: Is there therapeutic listening? Is emotional support being offered? Is the recipient simply vicariously listening to satisfy curiosity? Where the former two provide connection, the latter can leave the talker with stirred-up grief—and potentially feeling more alone than helped.


continue reading »