By Dr. Cynthia Lubin Langtiw
In the past two years I have been jarred by disturbing images of assaults on young Black bodies in the American media.
- Tamir Rice, a twelve year old boy, shot and killed by a police officer on a Cleveland, Ohio playground.
- An unarmed bikini clad girl with a police officer kneeling on her back in order to subdue her in McKinney, Texas.
- Michael Brown’s lifeless body on the street in a pool of blood for hours after being shot and killed by a police officer on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.
In each tragedy, I am saddened and troubled that the representatives of the very system intended to protect Black youth instead violated these individuals’ corporal integrity. Our law enforcement system did not view them as children to be protected, but as the enemy from which society necessitated protecting.
As a clinical psychologist, I cannot help to think of the impact of these widely publicized events on the psyche of Black youth in America. How can they develop a sense of belonging and well-being as they move through the world knowing the dangers of living in their skin?
This week I was jarred by another image: Dominican born youth of Haitian ancestry protesting their impending “statelessness.” As a Haitian American woman, my heart resonated with the plight of my magnificent diasporic sisters and brothers. These Dominican Haitian youth are not hiding in the shadows. They are demanding to be seen.