In The Mist of it All … By Taj Omari

DSC_0052-e1502399248302Submission from close friend. Film maker Taj Omari who I love so much!  Also check out her interview WatchBlossom.

In The Mist of it All …

By Taj Omari

Now that the hustle for finishing “Ghost” and organizing “No Ghost Writers” is over, I can take a min, sit back, and reflect… and all I can say is DAMN!!! The event was better than I could ever imagine. The energy in the room was positive and supportive, the talent showcase was amazing, and my film received nothing but love and constructive criticism to help me grow as a film maker and artist. But I have to acknowledge the fact that the day before “No Ghost Writers”, word of Charlottesville broke loose. In the mist of preparing for my event, I intentionally ignored the news because I did not want to be consumed with anger. And when I finally looked up what happened, I was not surprised by the ignorance in my country. The incident reminded me of a very disappointing conversation I had with a young black man a few weeks back. He said, “ I don’t understand why black people are still mad. I wasn’t a slave, You weren’t a slave, our parents and grand parents weren’t slaves, why are we still mad. We need to get over it.” I was shocked by his Tom Fuckery. How can you NOT feel enraged when white people of all ages are still waving confederate flags high and mighty. How can you NOT take note of white people ignoring the fact that they too were immigrants into this country and yet they claim this land as their own. How can you IGNORE the micro-aggressive comments, the social unrest, the political scrutiny, and the systematic injustices . So YES I have a right to be mad! But what I do with that anger separates me from the ignorant. In many ways I stopped believing white people were the sole problem here. Don’t get me wrong, they started all this bullshit, but how can we end it if we are not united and educated. White people can be foolish and ignorant, and they proved that to us when Donald Trump was elected into office. So I expect Uncle Tom Fuckery from them….. but not US!! I believe we are and need to be better than that! For African Americans ( black people and culture) our history begin with slavery. We come from pain,suffering, and oppression simply because we are black. And yet here we are! Black and Beautiful as ever. So YES I expect more from my people because we have been though hell and back. But in the same breath… we have the bandwagon black people who simply are mad because they think they have to be (The  “I’m black so I believe OJ didn’t do it” type). We have the “woke” but really just quote memes from Instagram black people ( typically the self proclaimed woke).  Then black people that are comfortable living in modern day slavery ( the ” I mean…. I gotta job so I’m cool”) . And then we have black people like me. The creative minds who can’t hurt fly ( unless that fly start some shit) and would rather mold minds with art then climb the up hill battle of protesting and yelling back at ignorant white oppressors. So Charlottesville did not surprise me one bit. I am surprised when black people think that our country has changed since 1808. In a way I feel like many of us are still living in the Matrix of social reform and equality. So I ask myself and others, in leu of Charlottesville, what are we going to do bout it? My homegirl wrote a blog post called “Woke” on her page Anxiously Ivy , and she provided many therapeutic ways to deal with the bullshit of this country, and I praise her for that. We need more of THIS!!!! Lets talk about it AND be about social change…. which started with changing ourselves as individuals. Doing the spiritual work to see beyond what America has placed in front of us and find love and triAs for me, I want to make a movie about it. The strongest, most powerful prison is then within our minds so I feel my job is to continue to create. And I encourage other creatives to continue to use their art as a vessel for peace and UNDERSTANDING!!!!!!!! Spread knowledge not ignorance! Develop the community by getting them involved indoor projects. Host events, poetry nights, art galleries, and fill them with content that will expand consciousness. As a black people we are not yet free. Some/ many of us are still held captive in their minds. And if all of us aren’t free, none of us are. 

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What about Black LGBTQ lives? The importance of intersectionality within the Black community

 

Lgbtq

(not sure who this artist is but I love this painting)

So last semester I took an online class called the Psychology of LGBTQ Issues with Dr. Matthew Robinson; a professor at Harvard University. There was a few take aways I got from this class that I wanted to share. All quotations below are a combination of old post from weekly write ups written by yours truly.

Overall when you hear the word intersectionality it is often used when talking about feminism. This class made me aware that  intersectionality also includes POC (People Of Color) LBGTQ individuals.

  1. Realizing my privilege as an Heterosexual African American woman

“I never thought in detail about how minorities as a whole share common struggles until now. I never realized that being Heterosexual means that I am a part of a group that may contribute to homophobia (Matthews 2007). Such as white Americans may unintentionally benefit from white privilege. Ethic minorities and the LGBTQ population share similar issues of being labeled “minority”, yet LGBTQ ethnic minorities have to also endure heterocentrism within their own ethnic group. (Greene, 1994). An example of Hetrocentrism is the perpetuation of a romanticized heterosexual family structure seen in the media; painting a picture of how a family is supposed to be according to society. ”

2. Bisexuality do exist in the Black Community….

“Sexual Orientation is often viewed as being dichromatic in nature such as being either homosexual or heterosexual; this type of view often does not give others who do not fit into these categories of sexuality much visibility or thought. Bisexuals are often seen as being confused, promiscuous or not certain with their identity.

I personally thought about the depression and anxiety an individual must go through when having to endure being double a minority, such as African Americans who identify as being bisexual. Ethnic minorities such as African Americans are subject to higher rates of harassment while being apart of the LGBTQ community (Mays & Cochran, 2001). Racial related stress and being apart of LGBTQ community makes this population vulnerable to mental health disorders (Fisher, Wallace, & Fenton, 2000).  When compared to the Lesbian and Gay population, bisexual individuals report lower levels of perceived social support, with higher levels of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal ideation, or actual attempts (Balsam & Mohr, 2007). experience poverty, increased workplace discrimination, and endure violence at higher rates (Tweedy & Yescavage, 2015)”

3. Get rid of the DL phenomena 

“Oprah did segments in the 1980s on African American men who are “down low” i.e. having a wife and kids but also have a boyfriends on the side. These segments are seen as the driving force behind perpetrating the stereotype that African American men are  on the “down low” and carrying HIV. Even in the movie For Colored Girls a character is married to a man who has sexual relations with men without her knowing it…“next time you should admit you’re mean, down low and low down; trifling and no count straight out. Instead of being sorry all the time, enjoy being yourself. When I get back I want you gone and take your HIV with you” giving him a paper displaying that she has been diagnosed with HIV positive (Shange, N., Scott, O., Law, L., Venza, J., Carroll, 2000.) Unconsciously internalizing media stories such as this could effect how the African American community (especially black women) I believe that black men should be able to identify as bisexual without feeling the need to pick one or be placed in a box. Sexual freedom should be able to exist within the African American community as it do in White communities.”

4. Spirituality can be used in Psychotherapy for African Americans who identify with LGBTQ…

“Religion and spirituality is often seen as being a major part of someone’s identity and/ or culture (especially with African American patients). Many heterosexual individuals are able to say their religion vocally without feeling a sensibility towards their affiliation. According to Boswell (1980) institutionalize religions have been a driving force of oppression towards Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual men and women since the middle ages. I personally appreciated Davidson (2000) article on ways of incorporating spirituality into psychotherapy and counseling. I have never thought about the spiritual side to the coming out process until reading this article. Religion played a role in the results of Dahl & Galliher (2012) LGBT youth study that showed participants made efforts to deny their attraction to the same sex and felt a disconnection to their religion. In therapy patients may also disclose to therapist that their families have attempted to “pray the gay” away.”

As future therapist it is important to know a patients sexual and religious development, in order to build on their spiritual side, without feeling the need to suppress them.”

 

P.S. Check out Moonlight its really good. 🙂

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