I’m afraid of black men. Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about domestic violence. Really, this has nothing to do with black men. Except it does, for me.
I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is triggered when I see a black man on the sidewalk or riding a bike. This is because I have experienced domestic abuse at the hands of a former boyfriend who happens to be black. I hate this. I absolutely hate that black men are the trigger. Why? Because I love black men. I love everyone. I am terrified that my fear, which has nothing at all to do with black men, might show itself and make a lovely black man think that I, a white woman, hate him. Just because black men trigger a physiological response from memories being pinned to a bed, against a wall, and restrained in a bathroom by my former black boyfriend does not mean I hate black men. It just means that seeing a black man in a public space causes a fight or flight response in me: several moments of intense fear manifested by heavy breathing, a rapid heartbeat, and blurred mental acuity. The times that these triggers have actually been accurate – when the black man on the sidewalk has been my ex – my panic actually lasts for many hours while my brain replays the encounter along with memories of the abuse, leaving my body tense and my brain a mess. Continue reading I’m Afraid of Black Men