In a powerful segment about men’s mental health on The Social, eTalk reporter Tyrone Edwards spoke honestly about the impacts of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, systemic racism and the death of George Floyd.
“I’m not muting how I feel anymore,” Edwards told hosts Melissa Grelo, Cynthia Loyst, Lainey Lui and Marci Ien. “I’m sick and tired of having to be the only one that feels the rage. I want everybody to think about these things as not just Black issues.”
“If I’m angered about Black men being killed, all those years of hard work – no matter how well I can articulate myself, no matter how comfortable I am with showing how ‘soft’ I am – [are erased],” said Edwards. “I become the ‘angry Black man.’ And because of that I’ve been quiet and bit my tongue. I’m not doing that anymore. I am an angry Black man. I’m angry about this stuff. I’m tired of it. It’s taken a toll on me.”
In response to a question from Grelo about how people can be better allies to the Black community, Edwards said action is urgently needed to make issues, like LGBTQ+ representation, pay disparity, Black people dying at the hands of police and representation of people of colour in films “all of our issues.”
“The best thing anyone can do is stop acting like you didn’t see it, like you didn’t notice – that reaffirms that our lives don’t matter,” he added. “If you don’t understand why I’m so upset and I have to explain it…All you have to do if you want to do the right thing, is just do something.”
Edwards also spoke about his personal experiences with racism and the steps he takes to overcome how he is perceived. “I already know when I walk into a room, I’m not afforded respect immediately. I’m a big Black guy with dreadlocks – and now, this beard, thanks to the quarantine – and I know that until I open my mouth, and I’m able to share, that most people already have an idea of me that isn’t the one that I’m ok with. So I try to correct that. I see people greet stranger’s dogs with more love and admiration than me. That’s not going to change until we challenge [our preconceived notions].”
In an Instagram post, Edwards reiterated his message. “Non-black friends & associates if these issues of Black men dying for nothing don’t anger you or matter to you then neither do I,” he wrote. “Grateful that @thesocialctv allowed this segment to have the time it needed.”
There are numerous resources available online for people looking to educate themselves around these issues, and crucially, take the action needed to begin to correct them. Here are a few good places to start:
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To show up you must come forward boldly with three things. KNOWLEDGE + (radical) EMPATHY + (radical) ACTION. • My heart is so heavy. The weariness I see in the eyes of my people is crushing me. Breath is short and sighs are long and optimistic hope is feeling fleeting. • I’m going to log off for a while but I wanted to leave this here for the thousands in my ear asking what actionable items they can take. • Here is a resource dump, the only thing I can cough up at this point — I haven’t the energy to engage much more at the moment but I hope you’ll make the choice to DO something. • In the words of Angela Davis “it is not enough to be not racist, you must actively be anti racist.” • I implore you to remember — the point of AntiRacism work isn’t to make white people feel they are “doing better” in their positions of privilege and power within this immoral system— it is for them to hold themselves and their white community accountable for addressing and attacking the very system that needs to be destroyed in order for black people to stay alive and to be well. • #RevolutionNow • Head to the link in my bio to find links to all of the resources featured in the sides. I updated my Racial Justice Research Doc to include recent murders. • Support the people you are learning from. Whether it be me or my hundreds of thousands of brothers/sisters/comrades who are on the front lines physically, emotionally or intellectually. • Cashapp: $rcargle PayPal: PayPal.me/rachelcargle Venmo: @rachelcargle My non profit that provides mental health care access for Black women and girls: @thelovelandfoundation My monthly online learning platform: @thegreatunlearn
Maybe you've seen tweets and comments from well-meaning white people about "not knowing what to do" in the face of all this trauma. This is… not helpful. Here's what you should do instead. https://t.co/M55QZfIjZ4
— Stacy Lee Kong (@stacyleekong) May 29, 2020
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We read @ibramxk ‘s book for our last organization-wide read. The book in the photo is actually my copy. As you can see – lots of notes and questions. More passages highlighted than not. Learning is hard. Unlearning is harder. Pretending that most of us don’t need to do either when it comes to racism is its own form of violence.
Watch the powerful Social segment in full below.
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