Queenie addresses mental health and therapy, she discusses it for herself, what her family thinks, how she feels in her sessions, and the tactics she uses to control her anxiety. What are the discussions you've had about mental health and therapy? What are your thoughts?
Growing up I have always been the super pro-black, rocking an afro, reading the only black option on the summer reading list, studying everything about black folk type. My friends always jokingly said I'd marry a white man...I never laughed. As I read Queenie, I was infuriated at the fact that Tom never stood up for his girlfriend. He literally sat there and told Queenie not to over exaggerate instead of correcting his family members, from day 1 with his brother. I've always thought about that dynamic, because often times the significant other may not be racist, but their parents are. I've also seen girls hide their black boyfriend from their parents, while simultaneously inviting me over for the class party. No thanks! I can't even imagine having to endure those constant snide underhanded remarks, because I'm always going to stand up for myself. I love black people, black men, black culture way too much to be with someone who doesn't even know it.
I experienced so many emotions while reading this book that span from painful and sad to inspired and hopeful. I'm grateful for the unconventional perspective and flat out realness that D Watkins gave us in 'We Speak For Ourselves' I believe everyone has their own coping mechanisms to the pain that Black people in particular, experience in urban communities. Mine is to numb myself. Yes, I consider myself to be "aware" and sensitive to the things happening in society , but to some degree over the years, I have created a blockage of protection. I have conditioned myself to believe that this is the most supportive way to protect me from the overwhelming pain that would result if I fully acknowledge the conditions that people are faced with on a daily basis. Reading 'We Speak For Ourselves' has, in a way, forced me to acknowledge that numbing me only helps one person and actually, adds to the problem. Two chapters helped this happen for me and those were Chapter 13 'Be The Person You Needed Growing Up" and Chapter 15 " Don't make it Out Make It Better." I think the titles speak for themselves in regards to the messages they were focused on and because of that I felt vulnerable to all of the emotions D addressed in the book. The emotional roller coaster wasn't necessarily fun but the result left me feeling connected, enlightened, and intentionally sensitive to things I was refusing to acknowledge before. Ultimately, I agree. We absolutely speak for ourselves but D's words in the pages of this book undoubtedly raised the volume on some voices that I had tuned out for a while and grateful is the best way to describe my emotions for that.