There is an almost palpable level of fear rising in the minds of many Americans over the steady stream of
unarmed young black men and boys, women and girls killed by police. How do we protect our children? How do
black people conduct themselves to be sure that they are not seen as dangerous. Not shot down, because by
their physical appearance alone, their movements are intuitively misperceived as imminently threatening.
While the majority of killings have been white officers against black citizens, there is that small number
of black officers on black victims that indicates that it’s not only about white on black racism.
Whether it’s this American drama on our urban streets or any of the international wars that bring death
to everyday life, it is clear, killing is not a solution to anything. Guns do not speak more articulately
than human reasoning. Mental health, is the essence of prevention. Racism is a mental health issue. Diminishing
the value of “others” is a mental health problem. In this book, Marc Lamont Hill joins Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michelle Alexander
in bringing clarity to the ongoing war against black men.
“Crazy”….is what people feel when their reality doesn’t match that of the masses. “Crazy” is what many black folks have been made to feel upon entering the wider American culture. In many parts of the US, whites make blacks look and feel crazy because of their denial of racism.
“Between the World & Me” is a new, non-toxic, natural antidepressant. A balm of words, concocted by a master pharmacist of the black experience, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Senior Editor at The Atlantic Monthly. Ta-Nehesi puts racism on a glass slide and puts the slide under a microscope that not only magnifies for dissection, the pathogen thereon, but allows one to verify the feeling caused by that pathogen.
This is a book that every mother, actually every black person, should read. It helps gel those streams of hurt, embarrassment, anger, disgust, frustration, sadness, reactive paranoia and as he points out, fear, that roll constantly off black people’s backs. In more solid form, one can more closely examine them and then toss them away. Or one can examine them, identify them and set up preventive barriers.
The news is full of conjecture about Chris Brown and Bipolar Disorder. We have all been wondering about reported domestic abuse against ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Why would she have tolerated being hit? Did she have warning? Was she caught off guard? Had it been going on all along? So many questions that the public has. The issue of Bipolar Disorder, a disorder of mood control and probably also of perception, is one that affects more and more families. Chris Brown and Rihanna just bring it to the attention of the public. One might think they are alone in dealing with bipolar blues but the media attention on Chris Brown’s difficulties lets us know that’s hardly the case.
Actually, Lindsey Lohan, Justin Beiber, Lamar Odom, Miley Cyrus and many more who we would think have great lives have put alcoholism, depression, bolar disorder, domestic abuse and other frequent mind health problems in the spotlight, where we can all learn.
Is Bipolar Disorder overly or inaccurately diagnosed?
In a September, 2013 article in The Mail Online, Bipolar Disorder was referred to as in “vogue”, a “fashionable mental health diagnosis”. A top UK psychiatrist, Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, wrote about the exponential increase in the range of symptoms described as “Bipolar symptoms ” and the liberal diagnosis of moderate mood swings as constituting this disorder. Years ago there would have been a great distinction made between moderate hormonal mood swings and the previously rarely diagnosed disorder called Bipolar Disorder. It is also noted that with the huge uptick in diagnosis there has been a record breaking surge in the prescription and sales of antipsychotic drugs. Drugs that have very serious and in some cases, permanent negative effects are being prescribed as if they are aspirin.
What’s the root cause of the problem?
Since the source of these mood swings is not actually known in most cases and since the drugs do not cure these unknown causes, why are so many people being prescribed these drugs and why are so many people taking them without asking questions about the side effects, whether there are less harmful alternatives and whether their problems might not be treated by psychotherapy?
While the movie Mandela was very moving and informative, its depiction of prison life and its impact on Mandela seemed painted with a broad brush. One knew that Mandela must have had a special weapon to protect himself and maintain his focus on his mission. That special weapon was very likely his mind. The coincidental help that accelerated him to the highest position in South African government may have been born of the prayers of many but his concentration on his intentions may have prepared him for ascending to his destiny.
Hill Harper, of CSI: NYC and Covert Affairs, has written a book to aid in the continuing development of mind power even in confinement. Hopefully, what is missed in everyday interaction with family and life on the outside, can be compensated by strengthening inner life and inner power. The tools created from that can allow for catching up much lost time.
The son of a psychiatrist father and anesthesiologist mother, Hill Harper is not just an actor (CSI: NY and Covert Affairs) but also an author of a number of books meant to encourage young black men and women. His latest, Letters to An Incarcerated Brother, tends a growing cancer of racism in America – the epidemic incarceration of our young men.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Hill points out that one in six black men is incarcerated now. He expects that one in six number to increase to one in three. That fact along with the letters he received from so many inmates caused him to listen, learn and then aid the young men who have been locked up so young, long before they have had any chance to discover their real worth and power.