We live in a world today where almost nothing can happen without it being posted on social media. The sandwich you had at lunch, your outfit of the day, your night out, and most recently police dash cam footage. The latter, however, can not be unseen. Seeing a young man or woman gunned down by a
police officer murderer never leaves your mind. It leaves somewhat of an imprint. What makes it worse is that even after the footage surfaces on social media we are hardly ever given the justice that we deserve. That the victims and their families deserve. Cops are given a slap on the wrist, paid leave and or maybe they are fired. It is completely demoralizing to the youth who now have to grow up with the fear that they could be next at any given time. Safety is very important these days, not only in our neighborhoods but in our minds. No matter what side of the fence you may stand on in the argument, there is no reason why there should be a list this long:
Unless you have been living under a rock or are completely unplugged from social media (I applaud you), you will have seen headlines on the release of the police dash cam footage of Philando Castile. I had to sit this one out. For the sake of my mental health, I could not expose myself again to any footage where people that look like me were getting killed in cold blood. So I figured I’d share a few tactics that have kept me mentally safe this past week.
For starters, you have to master the “super scroll” like it is nobody’s business. I pretty much programmed my brain to wherever I saw any type of video attached to Philando’s name, my thumbs and eyes would immediately move forward. This took a little time to get used to. Mostly because I know there are people, silent “allies” who have been scrolling past these events for the past five years without even an ounce of compassion. You just have to remember you aren’t scrolling because you want to remain ignorant. You are scrolling so that you can continue to have a positive mental state. You are scrolling so that you can continue to show up for life.
Next, if you are like me you may have people on social media who share these events. I can understand sharing to bring more attention, but I know my mother would never want strangers sharing my death on social media no matter the circumstance. So now may be a time to temporarily unfollow/unfriend those people. You don’t need that constant reminder every day, and this will save you from that. If you can utilize a mute feature that could also substitute. Mute those keywords that are bringing up media that you do not need to see. I muted “Trump” for a couple weeks earlier this year. It was such a vacation, but just like how all vacations come to an end so did that. I realized that I had to unmute it just in case he decided it was time to legalize slavery.
Lastly, make sure you take some time to do the things that relax you and make you happy. I think as young adults we can forget about this sometimes. Everyone is so caught up in making it seem like they have it all together so much that when they really aren’t there they panic under the pressure. Whenever I think that this world is stressing me out I just think about the PlayStation 1 startup sound, or Christmas in 2000, or maybe even turn on my favorite movie.
Speaking of movies, I just also want to speak on them and television and how often art can imitate real life. My featured image is from the season 2 premiere of Queen Sugar. I don’t want to go into a review for anyone who hasn’t seen it, nor am I going to promote that you watch it. This was strictly for me, and I just wanted to say thank you to Ava DuVernay and the writers of Queen Sugar for not letting this situation end like so many of them have in real life. I also want to take a moment to memorialize Philando Castile, the angels listed above, and the countless other people whose lives have been turned into hashtags. I pray that your families find peace, and I’m sorry that it has to be like this. Here’s to one day where none of this ever happens to anyone.