Foreword to "Psyche" by Liz Mputu
When asked my thoughts on the influence of oppression on the mental well being of those most commonly victimized I immediately wanted to spew on about nutrition and how the United States government deprives us of a humane food bank system that assures our physical well being. This seemed a bit like reaching but I knew I was onto something, I just had to decide on what precisely it was that would tie these two ideas together.
In the year of the "Oppression Olympics" it seems as though we all have our two cents on how the powers that be have stripped us of our declarative voices, but when we log in online what we see before us is a very different story. On the daily, people are going on the internet to relay their emotions hoping to be heard only because the oppressive system in which we exist has caused us to believe our perils are falling upon deaf ears and there is nothing more violent in a white patriarchal capitalistic society than silence. When countless black lives were lost this year by the brutality of police it was not the loud denial of bigots that tore souls apart but the apathetic lack of understanding that came from many of those who couldn't imagine the emotional response provoked by that kind of experience.
Oppression boils down to a lack of resources intentionally withheld by those who would rather have us ill-equipped because if we don't even have sustainable food, it is no surprise that we lack the education and financial privileges required to fully engage in self-exploration which allows us to transcend our unique traumas and heal by way of awakening through the understanding of our personal histories. When we are a people with roots that are difficult to trace, sacrificed in place for the culture of a patronizing other. Our knowledge of self depletes and with it our spirits and sanity. This instability of not fully grasping who we are and where our salvation lies reflects back onto civilization in the form of mental and physical shortcomings as exemplified by the comical psychological disorder from the 1850s, Drapetomania-- the label used to describe a state of mind slaves held which compelled them to seek freedom.
Oppression is the difference between going to see a trusted therapist and posting a status online because you have nowhere else to turn and although our people have flourished in devising creative solutions to compensate when we lack, we are deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if we are in need, we can provide, and if we are to live, we need not hide in the fear that comes with the shame of feeling insufficient.
"Psyche" officially out today! Grab your copy HERE!