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How viral videos of killings of black men take a toll on black male mental health According to healt

For many black men, viral videos featuring the killings of other black men can weigh heavily. Watching the disturbing footage can impact the mental health of African American men, experts say.

For civil rights advocate and Georgetown Law Center professor Preston Mitchum, the images can lead to physical symptoms.

"My stomach is in knots, my heart is racing, my brain is pounding and none of that is hyperbolic," said Mitchum. "It is exhausting to think that you can be up next."

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams offered a tearful statement during a press conference Wednesday. Though he couldn't bring himself to view the most recent killings, Williams said he was "not okay."

"I am tired," said Williams. "I have yet to watch the video of Ahmaud Arbery. It's too much. I have not watched the video of George Floyd. It's too much."

For others, the videos conjure mixed emotions like anger, despair and powerlessness.

"It hurts, but then also you're feeling anger, and then you have a feeling of helplessness, because, what can we do?" said Rwenshaun Miller, a Charlotte, North Carolina, psychotherapist and founder of the nonprofit Eustress, Inc. that aims to improve mental health in black communities.

Video of Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia man who was shot by a father and son while jogging in February and George Floyd, the black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, are the latest incidents capturing the brutalization of black men. The trauma collectively experienced by the black community in the wake of the incidents dates much further back.

"Being shown and seeing images that really demonstrate violence on the black body is something that is not only traumatizing from a contemporary perspective but it also has historical trauma. It really does sort of play to these like larger issues that have been with us for hundreds of years," said Martine Hackett, a public health professor at Hofstra University.

The beating and mutilation of slaves as punishment was accepted practice by slave owners. Late into the 20th century, the threat of lynching in the South was commonplace. Following the 1955 torture and murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy killed by two white men in Mississippi, pictures of his unrecognizable, mutilated body were published. The images of Till's remains are widely considered a flashpoint that ushered in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

According to health experts, repeated viewing of these images can trigger mental health conditions and impact overall health.

"We can experience PTSD, we can experience other mental health challenges as well anxiety, depression, all of these things may be a result of how we're in the world and as these images continue to circulate," said Miller. "That added stress, the trauma and the constant worry will weigh on you very heavily. It's similar to living in a war zone."

"The stress of viewing these disturbing images has a physical manifestation. Often times, people will say, 'this makes me sick to my stomach' or 'I feel like I'm gonna choke' and those are really, those are actually legitimate feelings that you are having," said Hackett. "And the truth is, that's one of the first things is to recognize that these stressors do play a role in our physical health."

Comments (10)

Trauma alters our DNA. I don't totally understand it other than it creates genetic markers that we pass on to our children leaving then more susceptible to illnesses like depression when exposed to triggers.

There is also the nurture element of affective disorders where we learn to be anxious and all sorts of related behaviours from our traumatised parents.

Everytime I hear someone accusing black communities of playing the slavery card and how all that ended a long time ago, I get an urge to resort to foul language and name calling.

Slavery in the US never really ended.

It evolved into other things.
Thanks for posting this blog! thumbs up
For some that truth is not such an open discussion..
I count on certain persons to convey what is interconnected and subterfuge.
"Additionally, on Oct. 1 President Obama authorized a shipment of guns to ISIS-linked militants in Syria – the exact same day he demanded more gun control in response to Umpqua Community College shooting in Ore.

“The approval came at a National Security Council meeting on Thursday,” CNN reported at the time. “…The President also emphasized to his team that the U.S. would continue to support the Syrian opposition as Russia enters the war-torn country.”

But as his administration admitted in the 2012 leaked memo, the “Syrian opposition” is predominantly jihadist militants – just like the Orlando killer."

There are many sides to consider carefully before you have tunnel vision.
Cooper-Jones said Vaughn did not have a close relationship with her son. Neither did three other members of the original committee engaged in advancing justice for Arbery. "(They) have known for months I did not want my child's death to be exploited or used for monetary gain for anyone. I was disrespected and ignored," said Cooper-Jones in her post.
On average when a white man gets pulled over by the cops in the USA, he gets anxious. Thoughts such as "what did I do wrong" or "what does he want" or "what ticket will I get" or "how much will this end up costing me".
On average when a black man gets pulled over by the cops in the USA, he gets a lot more anxious, because he is thinking all the above PLUS, "will I be beaten, jailed, or killed".
And add to that Jim- who can exploit my death, whether addict, innocent, adult, child...and BTW I disagree that it is only applicable to certain persons.
I have seen corruption is not selective in its insatiable greed.Corrupt persons come in every shape and form.
Socrates, we have both been around a long time.
I know we have seen death and are not de-sensitized.
I didn't indicate that it was limited. I said on average.

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