October 8, 2021

No matter how we slice it, pronounce it, or dress it up—a nigga is a nigger. However, our indoctrination has caused some of us to refer to ourselves with derogatory terms. Currently, and conveniently there are those who blame this phenomenon on rap culture which has been inextricably tied to the streets of impoverished Black communities. Such people forget that said phenomenon preceded rap culture.

Black people suffer from the generational trauma that is inherent to Blacks in America. Jim Crow, lynchings, police violence and mass incarceration are not only attacks on the body, they are assaults on Black being. The insidious violence called dehumanization creeps into our minds and causes us to function in ways that deny us our own humanity. As a result, children are denied childhoods, men are denied masculinity, and our women are denied every facet of their being. We deny ourselves and each other these things because we are taught to emulate a people in a society that has declared us inferior.

We have been indoctrinated to believe that white is right and that Black is less than, therefore, when racism seeks to destroy us, we often blame ourselves. We tell ourselves it is our fault for not following the protocols laid before us. Unfortunately, by blaming ourselves we absolve the oppressor and his systems, thereby condemning our people to repeat the cycle.

I am the face of humanity. The face of humanity is my face... My neighbor and I have the same origins; we have the same life experience and a common destiny; we are unchanging equals; we are faces which see themselves in each others; we are mutually fulfilling compliments; we are simultaneously legitimate values...he and I are mutually fulfilled when we stand by each other in moments of need. His survival is a precondition of my survival.

The Zulu Personal Declaration

This understanding of the oneness of all things is made a weakness in a world divided by hierarchy. With the dominant class being white and male, Black people have been indoctrinated to think, act, react and conceive with minds dominated by the notion of white superiority. Such a condition is what we call mental slavery, which is explained by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in his book, The Miseducation of the Negro:

When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his "proper place" and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the backdoor. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.

No Black person, born in the times of white supremacy, is immune to mental slavery. The Black diaspora has been mentally colonized for centuries. Black and brown people have always struggled to retain their land and its resources, however, there has also been the constant struggle to retain identity. Even those who seem to be the most educated and most conscious of our condition are not exempt from exhibiting symptoms of this indoctrination. The symptoms manifest themselves in a myriad of ways. Some may kowtow and go above and beyond for white acceptance, other symptoms can be as subtle as Black people referring to themselves as "niggas."

The symptoms of this indoctrination may manifest as violent, degrading lyrics in a rap song. A rapper may articulate, imagine and even celebrate the viciousness with which he can harm those that look like him. This can easily be identified as a manifestation of self-hate that accompanies the generational trauma of being miseducated. Without proper knowledge of that which encumbers his mind, he is unable to acknowledge his "problem," and thus, is left with the assumption that self destruction is an inevitable facet of his existence.

Worsening matters, is the fact that even Black people will attack and blame young rappers for expressing the destructive parameters of the Black male existence. The Black man's plight of poverty, addiction, abandonment, abuse, and violence is not viewed as a crisis. The destruction of the Black male is simply a part of American normalcy. Therefore, Black males are without the space and opportunity to express their full range of humanity. He is denied the right to hurt and to heal.

The majority of rap's lyrics reveal the effects of humanity's longest and most detrimental mental health crisis; that is the psychological war waged against Black people. For decades rappers have laid across the proverbial couch and have engaged in a process of catharsis, sharing with their audiences the pain that accompanies oppression. Unfortunately, they have been vilified for doing so, and instead of analyzing lyrical specimens young black males are made out to be spectacles.

There has been much stock put into the sentiment that "hurt people hurt people." However, when Black boys and men commit (or are blamed for) acts of violence there is less interest in understanding what form of hurt caused a Black male to hurt someone else and instead the majority of the energy is expended on punishing him. This is an American reflex honed by slavery and its different forms. To this day, doctors, scientists, and mental health professionals believe that Black people do not feel or that we possess a higher threshold for pain. As a result, Black people are less likely to be prescribed medication and are more likely to be punished for mental illness. It is no wonder that some young black youth have turned to self-medicating.

In professor Nina M. Moore's The Political Roots of Racial Tracking, we learn that "whereas whites literally tipped the scale in regard to use of illicit drugs, it was blacks who were disproportionately targeted for arrest by law enforcement" (213).

Professor John F. Pfaff mirrored her sentiment in his book, Locked In:

"The incarceration rates for drug offenses are 34 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic whites, 74 per 100,000 for Hispanics, and 193 per 100,000 for Blacks."

We are in the midst of a whirlwind and stuck in a cycle of denial precipitated by indifference which is evidenced by our unwillingness to listen. Listening, however, is one of our greatest ways to exhibit love. It is impossible to love another without understanding them and it is impossible to gain an understanding without listening. Black people have grown accustomed to their issues falling upon deaf ears and as a result our culture has innovated ways to be heard.

Whenever a new genre of music emerged, it was born from the voices of the oppressed. Spirituals were a prescription for strength and also road maps to freedom, the blues was born out of depression, and like its predecessors, rap was brother from struggle. Generations of parents have rejected everything from rock-n-roll to jazz, both of which came from the souls of Black folk. As an 80s baby, raised on the rap and hiphop of the 90s, I remember the reaction of adults who couldn't understand how young Black boys identified with the lyrics of rappers such ad Ice Cube, Tupac, and Scarface. If the adults would have listened, the evidence of our trauma was right before them, we bobbed our heads to being "The Nigga You Love to Hate," we played "Trapped" on repeat and "My Mind's Playing Tricks on Me" became a Halloween anthem. These rappers were the progeny of generations of Black people who had been denied humanity. Their lyrics were like riots in the minds of unheard black boys. Dr. King warned us that the riot is "the language of the unheard."

The generational trauma articulated in 90s rap was exacerbated by poverty, the crack epidemic, and gang violence. And the older generations stayed true to the cycle of not listening and instead of seeking to understand what ailed the youth they condemned rap and reminisced about the old days when songs were fun somehow, these hiphop purists forgot "The Message." Grandmaster Flash painted the pain and struggle of impoverished Blacks across the minds of mainstream America:

Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge

I'm trying not to lose my head

It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder

How I keep from going under.

Eventually groups like NWA would come along and "Express" themselves by reciting reality and in doing so, they would affirm the humanity of millions of unheard kids from the burghs to the suburbs. While much of America blamed Black on Black crime on rap lyrics, rap probably saved more young Blacks than it did harm. It gave generations of struggling young Blacks the means by which they could purge themselves of feelings that would otherwise remain secreted and eventually manifest themselves as some form of violence.

Black people, frustrated with the violence, misogyny, and drug culture focused on the soundtrack to our lives instead of grappling with the reality which birthed the lyrics. What they did not understand was that by doing so, they became the crabs in the barrel—crabs of whom they often complained. The term "crabs in a barrel" indicates that there are always Blacks tugging and pulling each other down. The belief in this phenomenon, however, is a perfect example of the slave mind. The slave readily accepts being battled, circumscribed, oppressed and imprisoned, however it blames others identically situated for reacting adversely to an irrational situation. (There is no rational reaction to an irrational situation ).

We know that if we jump into deep water to rescue a drowning person the drowning person will grab at anything to pull themselves above water, they will even pull their rescuer underwater in attempts to save themselves. If the rescuer is inexperienced they run the risk of being drowned by the person he/she attempts to rescue. Crabs in a barrel are not drowning but the violence of confinement can be likened to drowning in despair.

Black people have coined a response to being profiled and lumped into groups formed by stereotypes, "we are not monolithic." While this is true, we often fail to apply this logic liberally or accurately. Just because we share trauma does not mean that we all react, or handle trauma similarly, therefore we must allow each other the space to be ourselves in order to heal ourselves.

In a time when mental wellness is at the forefront of public health, the masses regurgitate the mantra "hurt people hurt people." However, when it comes to young Black men and boys hurting or being hurt mental health is not viewed through such a liberal scope. The masses are not interested in why, what, or his Black males feel. In fact, in. most cases we are assumed to not feel, to be inherently violent, and to deserve death in its plethora of forms.

The indifference toward Black mental health has come with a great cost to the Black community. As Black men struggle with mental health it directly impacts the Black family unit normalizing dysfunction, absence and abuse. Dysfunction is so prevalent that some Black men defend themselves by stating, "I take care of my kids." The abuse that is absence is the product of Americas history of stealing Black men away from their families. It is important that we combat these dysfunctions and to do so we must work on our mental health. In the current state of oppression Black mental wellness is a revolutionary act. Join in.

If you do not believe that Black wellness is a revolutionary act consider the fact that some Americans refer to the Black Lives Matter movement as a terrorist organization. The very idea of Blacks having an affirmative right to life offends cultural norms. Even Bill Clinton referred to young Black males as "super predators" and by doing so, remained true to the tradition of denying Black humanity.

The problem has never been rap music, similarly, the problem has never been the crab. The problems are the conditions that culminate to make violent lyrics possible. Rap reveals the symptoms of our disease. Unfortunately, the United States attacks the symptoms instead of treating the disease. It is important that Black people divorce ourselves from the practice of American indifference and the mindset of blaming the patient form revealing the symptoms if his disease. We cannot resolve the problems of the Black community with the mindset that has contributed to our destruction. We must view mental wellness as a vital component to our liberation.


The youth are speaking to us through their music. Ask yourself why they identify with certain lyrics. Don't assume to know everything. The greatest expression of love is listening—not with the intent to respond but with all intentions set upon understanding. Therefore, when parents and older people say, "I don't listen to that," such a response sends the message to young people that "parents just don't understand" and it is therefore, useless to communicate with them. This of course causes a divide within family, community, and generations.

It is important that we do not get blinded by popular culture and its rhetoric as many people take to their platforms and proclaim to be voices for the voiceless but have yet to confer with the voices of the people for whom they speak. You don't hear me though.

"I write for those that's predisposed to living wrong."

Tone Nwigwe (Dogface)

We must be prepared to accept death in whatever form it may come.


How do we change things?

The very fist thing must be education. We have stressed the importance of education and its functions, however. we must also view change from the standpoint of mental wellness. If we think about mental wellness, at its core it the process of getting to know one's self—it is education.

In order to know self, it is important to know Black, to have knowledge of what Black is and its history. It is in exploring history that we find the events that caused our current injuries. The behaviors that cause us harm are the results of the generational trauma related to the abduction, enslavement, and brutality that our ancestors endured. For instance, the problems within Black relationships have their roots in behaviors learned from the slave master's plantation. Due to the dehumanization of the Black woman, white men were able to take liberties with Black women. The Black woman was a means to satisfy lusts and to produce more capital in the form of children. As slave masters, overseers, and other white males were forbidden to acknowledge any attachment, or human emotions they felt for their victims. For this reason, among others, behaviors that legitimize oppression and sexual violence against Black women have become a part of the culture. As a result, Black women have not been able to find refuge in their own communities, homes, or relationships.

"You cannot understand a system until you try to change it."

Kurt Lewin

Let us look at our systems of behavior as we would a bicycle chain. Many of us can remember the very first time the chain on our bike popped. As children, many of us had no idea what to do. The mechanical malfunction seemed too great until someone placed the chain in the wheel and rotated the pedal until the chain caught. The system had to malfunction and come undone in order to understand how it worked. The same goes for systems of behavior.

The dehumanization associated with Black skin is a factor overlooked by those charge with assessing Black trauma. The inability to identify the incessant and multiple forms of violence imposed upon the Black being creates a cultural incompetency within the medical field. The white dominated medical field is in fact, culturally insensitive when it comes to Black people. This is no accident, it is embedded in the history of science.

For centuries, the idea of white superiority was supports by the European dominated field of science. Blacks scores the globe have been forced to live in a world where the most powerful institutions went to great lengths to prove the inferiority of Blackness. The act of imposing a subhuman status upon Black people is an assault on our humanity and cannot be remedied without acknowledging it.

Whiteness was made to make Black people less than and in doing so it became the apparatus that manufactured the slave mind. In the simplest understanding, there are two kinds of slaves; the field slave and and the house slave. Accordingly, the field slaves tended to be much darker, while the house slaves were often the lighter in complexion. The shade or of an enslaved person was used to create division between Blacks. While the shade of the enslaved often determined their ability to get close to white people, it was the slave's mentality that became the primary factor by which Blacks came to gauge the binary poles of the slave mentality.

The house slave is identified by their adoration, capitulation, and dedication to the slave master. While the field slave, on the other hand is known for harboring intense acrimony, defiance, and at times revolt. However, as with any binary construct, it is impossible to peg every enslaved person as either house or field, to do so is to further dehumanize. However, it is not the humanity that is intended to be measured, instead, these two poles represent mental disease created by the tyranny of whiteness.

A Black boy will move through the world and at every turn, experience the assault on his very being. His experience tells him that the world is hostile toward him, those in charge of his education, however, may teach him otherwise. They may try to convince him that his perception is flawed. These teachers are without the experience and cultural competence to provide him with the immunities of a true education.

In the quest for information, there is a change that will occur inside of us all. Some call it consciousness, others call it wokeness, nevertheless, as the change occurs we learn to utilize science the the endeavor of life. Put simply, we learn to question everything, we learn to cross-reference whitewashed material, we learn to decipher intellectual racism, and most importantly we begin to see the trap.

Dr. Amos Wilson used an analogy of a mouse in a trap. He stated that seeing a mouse in a trap was one of the saddest sights one could witness. I've contemplated his analogy and considered its relevance to the current state of Black people in America:

The sight of a mouse in a trap is sad because we know that the mouse saw the trap as plain as day. The mouse may even have seen the contraption capture and kill other mice and still pursue the cheese. While this is a perfect analogy for the destructive mind state of the street, it is also analogous to any mind set that can be measured by Einstein's definition of insanity. It is Einstein that said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. By Einstein's measure assimilation, participation, and integration are all forms of Black insanity.

Many people jump into the streets because they see the cheese. The problem is that there is evidence of a structure surrounding that cheese. That structure is made of racist laws, law enforcement, capitalism, and long-term care facilities called prisons.

In my bag here, I have a fool proof method for controlling Black slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed correctly, it will control the slaves for at least 300 years. My method is simple and members of your family and any Overseer can use it.

I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves; and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and they will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences, think about them. On top of my list is "Age" but it is there my because it begins with "A." The second is "Color" or "Shade," there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantation, status of plantation, attitude of owner, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, or South, have fine or coarse hair, or are tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action. Before that, I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust and envy is stronger than trust and envy is stronger than adulation, respect and admiration.

The Black slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

Don't forget you must pit the old black versus the young black male the young black male against the old black male. You must use the dark skin slave versus the light skin slaves and the light skin slaves versus the dark skin slaves. You must also have your white servants and overseers distrust all blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect and trust only us.

Gentlemen, these kits are keys to control, use them. Have your wives and children use them, never miss an opportunity. My plan is guaranteed and the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful.

Thank you, gentlemen.

The Wilkie Lynch legacy has been passed down through generations of Blacks and Whites. Accompanied by the physical terrorism, Black youth continue to live with the reality that their Black bodies are still in danger and are subject to violence equal to that of the days of Willie Lynch.

As an 80s baby I reached my teenage years in the 90s, an era when crack cocaine and gangbanging were at a rise. The signature mode of violence of the era was the drive-by shooting. Suddenly, Black neighborhoods were faced with their usual poverty, an influx of narcotics, and a new form of violence. Civilians and gang members alike, were caught in cross-fires, innocent bystanders, unintended targets, and it seemed as if everyone was ducking bullets, so much that we were taught the procedure of seeking safety when we heard gunshots. Stay away from windows and hit the floor. There were stories of people sleeping in their bathtubs and those who could afford to moved away from the violence. Gang activity per water the fabric of Black communities and caused irreparable harm. Black people were living in war zones and to this day, they still are.

Drugs and violence are a part of the milieu of the "hood" and for a generation of ghetto children who loved through violence, they were forced to deal with the abrupt death of their friends, family, and neighbors on their own. At the age of eight I witnessed a man shot shot in his back, running away from the gunman. The impact lifted him off of his feet. I was frozen in awe, my mother called me to her side. We took cover. And when we left the scene we went about life as if nothing every happened.

This happens too often and to many of our children. Our society pays lip service to its efforts avoiding the normalization of violence, the truth, however, is that violence against the Black body is as American as apple pie. When violence occurs in Black neighborhoods people in general assume the worst and assign guilt to not only the persons involved but the community at large, thereby, criminalizing the very people who have been victimized.

According to the criminalization of Black people created by systemic racism, violence is inherent to our nature. We are consisted savages, animals, and super predators. Black males from environments that exist outside of whiteness understand that the antipathy felt toward them and some have embraced their existence as outcasts within this nation. These outcasts make up the subculture of the streets where embracing being the villain is not only easier, it is logical. To the street culture, attempting to gain acceptance in a society that will ultimately deny your humanity is an exercise in insanity. This subculture is reminiscent of the underground groups that existed on plantations and black communities. Such groups operated outside of the parameters of white laws and threatened the hierarchy of whiteness by acting independently and without regard to the status quo. These are the progeny of the aforementioned field slaves who rebelled against the structures formed to oppress the. The streets are rebellious and offer an integral component of black liberation.

Rap, born from the street culture, articulates the self-destructive mentality by using references such as niggas, savages, beasts and even monsters. These descriptives that society uses to disparage and demonize Black men, are used as symbols of strength and defiance. Consequently, the violence of the streets is wielded as a false power, because those who believe themselves powerless often mistake the ability to inflict pain as the capability to exercise power.

The street mentality is an IMSA city embraced as opposed to submitting one's self to the insanity imposed by the oppressor. It is important to always keep in mind that in the context of mental health, there is no such thing as a rational reaction to an irrational situation. With that in minds we must understand that poverty, racism, and violence are irrational situations for human beings.

While the privileged are able to access the time, resources, and sensitivity to address their mental health, the vast majority of Black males do not enjoy such luxuries. Black males are assumed to be incapable of feeling and as a result, we are assumed to be able to endure inexorable amounts of pain, as a result, mental health treatment is not only denied but in most cases, laughable.

While imprisoned and in an effort to combat the cycle of generational trauma a group of brothers united in an attempt to launch a peer support group with a focus on Black men who have endured trauma associated with gun violence. The psychiatric staff at the prison fought us, tooth and nail. These were mental health professionals who could not understand why we needed "specialized" treatment. We began with the fact that we were disproportionately represented within the system and then explained cultural factors that white professionals have not taken into account, such as racism, and the myriad confines that it creates. White mental health professionals have only recently acknowledged the existence of these things, however, they are still ill-equipped to treat people of Afrikan ancestry. Put simply, there is a level of apathy that accompanies white privilege, therefore, it is improbable that one can aid in healing the black mind with the same mind that facilitated its disorder.

The prison's mental health professionals believed that their cookie cutter approach to mental health treatment was sufficient in a world where we have readily acknowledged Americas racial dichotomy.

This is but one example of living the experience of the denial of Black humanity through the denial of Black treatment. Many Black men in prison, otherwise, are left to their own devices to achieve mental wellness. We are essentially left to learn brain surgery on our own living cadavers. While some are successful, others remain slaves to the system, trapped in the cycle, simply because they do not know themselves.


When I was around five or six years old my mother worked as a nurse and at times her boyfriend would look after me while my mother was at work. I do not remember much about the man except the fear I felt when alone with him. He was definitely not one who believed in sparing the rod. While mom was gone I avoided him as much as I could, such was the beginning of my education in independence.

One day while alone with him I had mustered the courage to tell him that I was hungry. He allowed me to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. While I enjoyed my sandwich Kevin reminded me to clean up my mess. When I as done I found the washcloth and wiped the table. I remember sitting at the table when Kevin came in and sat across from me. He asked me if I cleaned up after myself. I said that I had. He looked at me and then at the floor. He spotted bread crumbs. I had forgotten the floor. He cursed me as stupid and referred to my blackness as if it were the worst thing that anyone could be. I remember the feeling I felt, a fear that paralyzed me. He asked questions that I couldn't answer, later I would learn that they were rhetorical questions and that my attempts to answer them made me even more stupid and him more angry. He ordered me to clean up the mess. I must have moved too slow because he punched me square in the chest as I moved to get out the kitchen chair. I don't remember physical pain at all, only surprise, and the pain of being hurt by someone who was supposed to protect me. I remember choking back tears.

I wasn't allowed to cry. He yelled for me to get up and clean. I moved to get the broom and clean the floor and was unable to contain myself. The tears fell from my face and the sounds that came from my throat were not mine. Kevin grabbed me and flung me from the kitchen and into the living room of the small apartment. I landed on the couch and attempted scramble to my feet and get to the door. Kevin grabbed me and silenced my cries by placing a pillow over my head until I blacked out.

That was one in a list of events with Kevin. For years I relived this memory and my body removed the terror of the violence. I had grown up with an aversion to covering my head, putting on a shirt caused me panic, especially if my head got stuck in one of those tight kid shirts. Even attempts to wrap myself in blankets and pulling the covers over my head, felt like suffocating.

This trauma manifested into violence, anxiety, and a fear of confrontation. I had learned to avoid confrontation or to address confrontation with violence. There was no in between, I did not learn to use my until I was fluent in violence. I had never considers myself a violent person because I had tried to avoid violence. In fact, I have always been offended when politicians and the media referred to Black men as "violent criminals" because it implied that we were inherently violent.

Prison forces introspection and one day I asked myself, "Am I violent?" I thought of all of the violence that I had committed and it was odd for me as a person who avoided confrontation to be violently confrontational. I thought of the violence I'd committed and noted that it was similar to the violence that I'd endured, or witnessed as a child. At the age of eight I witnessed my first shooting up close. At twelve Christmas morning was interrupted by one of my mother's violent boyfriend's which resulted in me looking down the barrel of his gun. Ironically, that year is the first time I shot a gun at someone.

No one helped me fight these demons. I had thought like so many other Black males—that life was just fucked up and we all had to push that shit down and move on. As a Black male, the message was clear, the only thing that I was allowed to feel was oppressed. Having actual human emotions were reserved for funerals. The streets teach us that it is more advantageous to be tough than it is to be well. We continued to believe that it is better to be a fraction of our true selves and give the appearance of strength than to be an entire human and appear weak.

Appearance is critical in life of Black men, all people are prejudge by their appearances however, when it comes to Black males many of those judgements come with dire consequences. Therefore, many of us put great stock into appearances. We understand, as Black males that dehumanization, injustice, violence are inevitable. The violation of Black being is something that his out of our control, however, we can control our reactions, and our attitudes toward those imminent violations. Many of choose not to show emotion in order to deny our oppressors the satisfaction of seeing our tears.

Although we are living our own trauma, we also relive the trauma of our ancestors. The trauma of emasculation emerges as poverty renders us unable to provide and the "system" (whether we abide by the law or not) has proven to deny is the right to protect our families and communities. As a consequence there can be overcompensation in order to protect and provide. Said overcompensation results in us becoming that which we defeats oppressors, holding our neighborhoods, families, and relationships hostage as we spiral out of control.

Black males must make a conscious decision to value wholeness over toughness. In doing so, we will realize that it takes more toughness to dare to be whole than it does to appear tough. Our families and communities deserve 100% of us—appearances are made by criminals and part-time fathers.

In the late 1800s The United States declared that Blacks were three-fifths of a human being. Such a declaration is evidence that we must reject the socialization of Black dehumanization. One way to achieve that is to take care of ourselves and each other. Embracing wellness is a revolutionary stance and by doing so, we may free future generations from the mental bonds of slavery. There is reward in change, blessings in brokenness and strength in healing. True freedom is the freedom to be human. Until we are able to feel, we will never be able to heal and will always be slaves to pain.


We Got Issues is a statement and the first step that we must take in order to feel the fullness if our humanity. That first step is acknowledging that We Got Issues and by doing that we will be able to address those issues.

The same powers that propagated the myth of the heartless Black man are the slave owners who used such logic to justify keeping us in bondage. Now, those Black men that we thought heartless are in the same penitentiaries across the country frustrated at the criminal justice system's unwillingness to consider that they are humans.

We have declared that Black lives matter so that police will see our humanity. We push for criminal justice reform because Black men are over incarcerated, over sentenced, and overrepresented in the criminal justice system because of the indifference toward their humanity. We fight for education to reflect a true ad accurate history in order to properly reflect our humanity. At every turn in our society, Black people are demanding that our humanity be at the forefront. It is therefore, counterintuitive and counterproductive to embrace and deny humanity.

Embracing our humanity means that we acknowledge that our mental chains are rooted in the trauma if slavery and the forms to racism that came after it. We must be able to see it in order to combat it. Black liberation is psychological warfare.