by Achea Redd · 16 Jun 2020 · 9 min read
It is a fact that women of color are the most violently targeted people in the world. So, what does the #MeToo movement mean to women who have, since the beginning of time, lacked representation, lacked inclusion and had no voice? Women of color, especially black women, have been reporting harassment, rape and more since the beginning of time, and have always been silenced. The message #MeToo sent to a woman of color is, if you are wealthy (influential) and white, people will listen because you matter.
I was about one month into my dream job as a forensic psychologist in a remand facility for adolescent girls in Brooklyn, New York. Unlike my old job, this one did not offer a parking lot for employees, but I was issued a state parking plaque to use in front of the building when there was space. However, that employee-issued parking plaque was enough illicit the suspicion and disbelief of the NYPD leading to me getting wrongfully arrested and detained for two nights. This experience was not the only instance of racial discrimination in my life, and it certainly was not my last as an employee. I chose to tell this one as it was, sort of, my official introduction to life in America as an educated, African-American woman.
In the the wake of Mr. George Floyd's brutal murder, the United States of America suddenly had something monumental at the forefront of its dissonant mind. The protests and the unrest that burgeoned across the country, and tellingly, across the world, simply said, "Enough, is enough."
Reflections for the hip-hop songstress.
As a psychologist — i.e. one who studies the mind and human motivations — my mind periodically returns to Sigmund Freud, the Austrian neurologist who is lovingly known as the father of psychoanalysis, which is the foundation of psychology and the basis of many of the psychological treatments that we use today.As part of his theory explains, the Oedipus complex is a childhood psychosexual stage, wherein young people harbor unconscious sexual desires that fuel their anxiety and/or frustrations that may, or may not, appear negatively in life — depending upon the successful resolution of this puzzling, internal conflict.I have periodically come back to this tenet of psychoanalysis, always with the nagging inclination that this somehow explains America's issues with racism
We know that all of these things, from illness to job loss to systemic racism, hit the Black community harder, making it even more essential to develop a self-care routine that centers our own physical and mental well-being in ways that are practical yet effective.
Like most people, I am often asked, "What do you do for a living?" As a therapist of color, I think about what it is like to walk into my office. The walls are covered with my photography and beautiful illustrations from former patients of anxiety, depression, and recovery. "Thank You" cards are strung up, and the bulletin-board shows messages of allyship. On closer inspection, you might notice a carefully curated bookcase with titles on trauma, body image, and culture. Everything in the office is done consciously and intentionally; my space is not only a reflection of me but an invitation to others: an invitation offering my office as a safe space to do the work necessary for recovery.