The recent homicides in Milwaukee of this month have shed a striking and palpable light on the breadth and depth of actions that can result from the rising angst of this current age.
I read a recent blog post titled, “This is What Black Burnout Feels like” by Tiana Clark.
In the blog, she describes how “so many of us are weary and worn down. No matter the movement or era, being burned out has been the steady-state of black people in this country for hundreds of years.”
She goes on to quote from Lou Hamer, who joined the civil rights movement after a forced sterilization by a white doctor in Mississippi — declaring “All my life I’ve been sick and tired. Now I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Sick and tired does not even begin to describe it!
From the CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States, 2013:
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Non-Hispanic black adults are at least 50% more likely to die of heart disease or stroke prematurely (i.e., before age 75 years) than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
- The prevalence of adult diabetes is higher among Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks, and those of other or mixed races than among Asians and non-Hispanic whites.
- The infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic blacks is more than double the rate for non-Hispanic whites. Rates also vary geographically, with higher rates in the South and Midwest than in other parts of the country.
- Additionally: African American women are much more likely than white women to die of breast cancer. The mortality gap is widening as the incidence rate in African American women, which in the past had been lower than in white women, has caught up to that in white women.
- *** Non-Hispanic blacks (49.6%) had the highest prevalence of OBESITY!! ****
In the blog, Clark goes on to ask the question of how does a black woman combat burnout? With some “Black Girl Magic.”
She asks and I, too, ask: “Have black women had to subsist on mystical powers to persist. Have black women had to rely on wizardry to make it through a tumultuous life?”
This message is to black women and really any woman who thinks that she is invincible. To any woman who believes that she can overcome the inherent limitations of her own humanity. We may love to think of ourselves as Superheroes. Who wasn’t a fan of Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman had no kryptonite.
But we are not Wonder Woman. We are human beings.
We cannot keep pushing, pushing ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically without effect.
We very likely are the backbone of our homes, our neighborhoods, and our communities; but we cannot continue to push down our own needs, feelings, weaknesses, and shortcomings. We have got to take time for ourselves, put on our own oxygen masks, and breathe.
In the final portion of the blog, Clark writes that “If I succeed and push myself harder, I will increase my chances of fraying at the seams on a cellular level.
Not only will I age faster and get sick faster, but I will also increase the difficulty of conceiving and giving birth — all of this while hurtling faster to my death with more debt than any other group in American history.”
We have to do better.
If this topic interests you or you would like to speak further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I will be presenting more information for discussion on April 11, 2020 at the Outpost Natural Foods Community Room in Mequon, Wisconsin.
Click here to learn more and to register. Together, let’s make a difference in conquering ‘black burnout.’