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Boldly Inclusive America, where art thou? Has America ever been boldly inclusive of Black Americans? They have pledged allegiance to your flag, laid down life and limb, and fought in your wars despite knowing that America did not appreciate their sacrifices, and if they made it home, they would still be treated less than human.
They eat your diet, including the quintessential apple pie, make lemonade out of the barrage of bitter fruit America hurls at them, and worship at the altar of your religion. They entertain your country through sports, poetry, dance, comedy, and music, constantly putting their unique Black American culture on everything they do.
However, for Black Americans, a Boldly Inclusive America concept sounds like a made-for-television science fiction movie. America has never been inclusive of them, let alone embracing them boldly. Black folk has always been this country’s dirty little secret — to be seen and not heard.
Black people have begged for the world to be boldly inclusive of them and their lives to matter since before they were brought beaten, raped, and chained to this country; even back then, they were not even considered human beings. Black bodies were nothing more than chattel to sell the profit, which filled the coffers of slaveowners and made a fruitful economy for America. In fact, all across the globe, scientists and doctors dissected Black bodies like lab specimens trying to prove their many white supremacist hypotheses.
Suffering from intergenerational trauma and the everyday trauma of “existing while Black” permeates almost every aspect of Black life in America. When a person experiences stress or trauma, the “fight or flight” response happens, and the body releases epinephrine to increases the heart rate so a person can move fast. The pupils dilate as blood is sent to the lungs and large muscle groups by releasing norepinephrine. Cortisol is released as well. Over time cortisol suppresses the immune system.
This fight or flight response happens every time a Black person is pulled over or stopped by police or is forced to watch another Black trauma porn video of a Black person be brutally attacked or murdered by police or other white supremacists. From Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Daunte Wright, Rekia Boyd, Laquan McDonald, Tanisha Anderson, Michael Brown, Yvette Smith, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery, to Marvin David Scott III, the list goes on as their murders are reminiscent of the lynchings of the past.
Last summer, with America already under quarantine due to the global pandemic, the senseless murder of George Floyd threw gasoline on an already stewing fire that had been brewing for generations. The massive civil unrest across the country proved to America and the world that Black Americans were fed up begging for Black lives to matter to America.
In the wake of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict, Black Americans could not even get a moment to breathe a sigh of release before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference for the Congressional Black Caucus made this asinine comment, “Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice, for being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that? — call out for your mom, ‘I can’t breathe. But because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice. And now we have to make sure that justice prevails in the sentencing.”
The notion that Floyd being brutally murdered by Chauvin while Black bystanders fearful of their own lives begged and pleaded for Chauvin to stop somehow represented him “sacrificing’ his life for justice is absurd and downright offensive. The fact that this comment did not come from a simple bystander but the actual Speaker of The House who is second in line for presidential succession after the vice president and serves as a spokesperson for the majority party in the White House is quite maddening.
From the white officers allegedly saying Blue Lives Matter after killing Ma’Khia Bryant or Andrew Brown Jr. being shot in the back of the head, the Black trauma continues. Unfortunately, history tells us that Black Americans will continue to get disproportionately murdered by the police while continuing to scream, pray, beg, and plead for Black lives to matter. America can never be boldly inclusive of Black Americans while the blood of Black bodies continues to flow in the streets across the country. Thinking that America will ever be boldly inclusive to Black Americans is nothing but a pipe dream.
Written by Ebonee Stevenson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
HuffPost: These 15 Black Women Were Killed During Police Encounters. Their Lives Matter, Too; by Kate Abbey-Lambertz
NBC News: Andrew Brown Jr. shot five times, once in back of head, according to family-backed autopsy; by David K. Li and Deon J. Hampton
The News School: The Historical Model – “Boldly Inclusive;” by DiMarcko Chandler
The Wrap: Nancy Pelosi Bizarrely Thanks George Floyd ‘for Sacrificing Your Life for Justice’ (Video); by J. Clara Chan
ZRT Laboratory Blog: PTSD and the Resilient Brain: A Symphony of Neurotransmitters and Hormones; by Christina Cowger, MA, LMFT
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jacek Sniecikowski’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Brett Weinstein’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License