Our cities are burning, and so is the mental health of this African-American teen

“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” —James Baldwin, author and civil rights activist

This is the perfect quote to describe my reaction to the recent events involving Black men that have taken place during quarantine: a constant state of rage, sadness and hopelessness. Perhaps being able to go out and converse with my friends and peers would help me cope with these events, but unfortunately that wouldn’t help with my healing.

I live in Fox Chapel, a predominantly White community outside of Pittsburgh. Most of my White peers are not capable of having a real conversation regarding race and police brutality. It is very lonely to be smart and Black in Fox Chapel. In a school that does not actively try to fight racism, kids of color constantly have to defend ourselves and what we stand for.

This is not a permanent situation in my life however. In the fall, I will be attending the prestigious Morehouse College, an all-male HBCU in Atlanta, on an academic scholarship. I am beyond excited to study biology on a pre-med track in a community full of intelligent Black men such as myself, but until then I must cope. I must cope with the ongoing pandemic and the ongoing attack on blackness in America.

My phone usage has skyrocketed during my time at home amid the pandemic and, unfortunately, I have developed an unhealthy habit of spending too much time on social media. I have a weird habit of checking Donald Trump’s Twitter account. His delusional and hate-filled tweets are a constant reminder that most of the powerful people in this country are often not on my side. It is a frightening thought that we could have four more years of hateful rhetoric and unchecked white supremacy.

Social media platforms  such as Twitter and Instagram are highlighting the wrongdoings in our society, but they are also fostering platforms that show Black people in horrible situations without any positivity. Coming across a video of injustice while mindlessly scrolling through Instagram is quite common, but the murder of Ahmaud Arbery really took a toll on me.

“Watching a Black man executed in broad daylight ripped a hole through my spirit and the video put me into an endless spiral of thought,” writes William Generett. “Through the tears, I attempted to channel my anger into something positive.” (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

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Our cities are burning, and so is the mental health of this African-American teen

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