The cyclical realities of the impact of racism, anti-Black racism and other forms of intersectional violence on our health make breathing seem like a luxury at times. The full blunt impact of racism and other forms of violence echoes heavily in our hearts, our minds, bodies and actions.
Grief is a direct result of racism and intersectional violence and it affects us physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, transnationally and transgenerationally. More importantly, not being able to fully engage in our grief is a direct outcome of chronic experiences of racist violence.
This winter, the grandmother of the deceased Colten Boushie told the New York Times: “Even to this day…I hold back on crying.”
Insoluble grief, anti-Black racism and other forms of violence that Black, Indigenous and racialized people deal with can result in chronic prolonged traumatic health issues. These issues can include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, cancer and low birth rates.
Due to anti-Black racism, Black communities’ health issues are often not taken seriously. As a result we are not given adequate and equitable health care services. Often Black community members are re-traumatized as they seek help and support for their health issues.
Our illnesses are under-researched and under-served. In order to deal with this stress, some opt out of the system entirely, only re-entering during an emergency situation.
Impacts of daily experiences of racism also include depression, anxiety, addictions and post-traumatic stress. But racism is often not discussed in mainstream health circles.