Black Boys Matter

Black boys matter.

Such a simple statement. And yet…

George Floyd is dead. His name joins the long list of others (Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, etc., etc., etc…) whose lives have been cut short by racism, bias and brutality.

Photo via Pixabay

We here at ON BOYS are NOT OK with the status quo. We are committed to equity and opportunity, to listening and learning. We will not be silent.  This week — and as often as possible — we are amplifying black voices. Today’s guest is Chandra White-Cummings, a freelance writer and lawyer who’s served as a policy fellow for Moms of Black Boys United. We also encourage you to check out Chandra’s recent Washington Post article, “We Need More White Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Race. Especially Now,” and her new Race@Home multimedia series, featuring conversations about race, socialization and parenting.

“There is a lot of discussion going on about suicide, mental health, emotional wellness and stigma, much of it centered around what’s going on in the African-American and other communities of color,” Chandra says. “However, often, it is the sad unfortunate case that African-American women — moms — don’t get invited into these conversations.”

Let’s listen, and then act.

#BlackLivesMatter #podcastblackout

In this episode, Jen, Janet & Chandra discuss:
  • Factors affecting mental health in the African-American community
  • Implicit, unconscious bias
  • How racism causes parents to “over-pathologize” black boys’ behavior
  • The loss of protective factors — tight-knit communities, nearby family — that once helped support mental health
  • The need for connection
  • How society often misinterprets anxiety and depression in boys — which may manifest as rage and irritability — as “danger” rather than symptomatic of a mental health concern
  • Racial disparities in schools
  • How to begin dismantling implicit bias
  • How trauma impacts mental health —  & how the legacy of slavery impacts mental health today
  • Why it’s time to listen to (rather than study) the black community
  • Engaging in conversations about racism
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

We Need More White Parents to Talk to Their Children About Race. Especially Now. — Washington Post article by Chandra

Race@Home conversation between Chandra & Jen — Chandra’s website. Includes links to many of her articles

Addressing Racism & Racial Disparities with Hilary Beard — ON BOYS episode

The 1619 Project — NYT multi-media examination of the impact of slavery on the United States

Teen Football Star Bryce Gowdy Faced Struggles Before His Suicide — news story mentioned by Chandra at 32:14

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison, by Shaka Senghor — book mentioned by Chandra at 48:08

Chokehold: Policing Black Men, by Paul Butler — book mentioned by Chandra at 48:03

Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, by Mitchell Jackson — memoir about growing up black in Portland, OR

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