“Trauma creates one of four types of people: victims, rescuers, or perps—and if you’re really lucky and really strong, and very willing and brave, survivors.” -Allison Anders- American Director
The big Aha! moment is that the trauma never goes away – Viola Davis This quote expresses the feeling of many African-Americans after the gunning down of the ten people in this photo in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York by an 18-year-old white supremacist. News outlets report that the racially motivated hate crime had been planned for 5 months and that others in a private internet chatroom were invited to give the killer advice on the details.
After the news hit, I noticed that my social media feed was eerily quiet. There was not outrage like the George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Aubery incidents of 2020. No cries for justice from either African-Americans or Caucasian allies. No rallying cries like for the Ukraine. Just complete silence. I think Black folks were in shock—I know I was. Somehow, another white male youth after having shot and killed masses of people, ended up calmly arrested, handcuffed, detained and very much alive—while the families of ten victims who had just gone to pick up a few things at the store were left to mourn forever. Millions of African-Americans across the nation who have watched these bleak scenarios time and time again are left to wonder if we are safe anywhere in this Country. It is traumatic, ongoing, domestic terrorism. TRAUMA is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience; emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury which may lead to shock and sometimes leads to long-term neurosis (symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety, etc). There is a very real anxiety/fear for our lives and those of our loved ones, but there is also the continued trauma of the micro and macro aggression, labels, and history of systemic oppression and injustice we face daily.
The Psalmist Asaph asked a poignant question to the rulers of Israel in Psalm 82:2-4 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah He tells them to 3Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; uphold the rights of the afflicted and oppressed. 4Rescue the weak and needy; save them from the hand of the wicked. I hesitate to refer to African-Americans as ‘the weak’ because of the strength and grace it’s taken to persevere through so much historical trauma in the US. We definitely have been disenfranchised of many rights and opportunities—but the right to live and freely move about? We should not be in fear of that. The question, ‘How long?” is one we pose all the time, not only to our governmental rulers, but to our God.