Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mental Health in Oakland's BAMBD

When Marvin X called mental health healing a priority at the founding of Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District, he was laughed at and derided. Today, BAMBD co-founder Paul Cobb suggested BAMBD's headquarters should be at Oakland's John George Psychiatric Hospital. When Marvin was asked what should be done with the Technical Assistance grant from Carmel Developers, again he was laughed at when he suggested the TA grant should be for mental health treatment. He was told the TA grant should be for infrastructure development.

Oakland's "Plato, Rumi, Hafeez, Saadi" replied, "The BAMBD people, i.e., youth, adults, businesspersons, developers, all need the mental infrastructure to make any positive contribution in the district, otherwise it shall slowly morph into the Miller Lite cultural districts that proliferate America, perpetuating the world of make believe and conspicuous consumption (Dr. E. Franklin Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie), with the added menace of gentrification or ethnic cleansing in the sick name of modernization, i.e., displacement. The "moderns" think buildings are the bedrock of culture when it is the minds and hearts and creativity of the people that propel culture into the now and future.
For sure, Oakland BAMBD will not get off the ground until sound minds can meet and agree to disagree on certain points of concern. When those of the radical Black Arts Movement can meet with the conservative political, business and artistic community, there shall be the grand possibility of progress.

We, Black Arts Movement radical artists, must realize a cultural district is a communal endeavor, not the vision of any well meaning visionary, until then the district will be in contention with many forces that are symbiotic and must therefore be synchronized for the better good.

At this hour, the pressing need is for all those contending forces to meet so they can, in the words of Prophet Isaiah, "reason together...." After all, Oakland is a model city of radicalism and if such model will survive the present era, all conscious people must form the united front Ancestor Amiri Baraka called for in his last days.

To date, the BAMBD has received nothing but crumbs, no operating budget, no general fund, not one dollar to its BAMBD Billion Dollar Fund. But BAMBD associates have received kibbles and bits from side deals made with developers and others with an interest in controlling and dominating the district.

Let it be known the BAMBD radical fringe is open to working with liberals and conservatives within the district, whether artists, businesspersons, workers, toward the long-term existence of said district, i.e., for the next 25 to 50 years as envisioned in the City of Oakland's Downtown Plan.
--Marvin X

Mental Health in da Hood or A Day in the Life of North American African Families Anonymous

Case #1
This has been a hectic week in our work as a lay mental health counselor. In one case, we walked a family member back from the black hole of depression after her family saw her on Facebook as a rising star and suggested she was being pimped and exploited by publishers and agents managing her budding professional career. She did not inform family members she had paid for her promotional project and was in no way being exploited. In fact, most of her "dream team:" of promoters, managers, agents, photographers and editors, worked for free because they appreciated her talent and believed in her message of healing from a plethora of traumatic situations. But her family's negative response to her attempt at transforming her life of horror into one of success, joy and happiness, sent the budding star into depression, being able to recover her mental equilibrium after a long distance conversation with her counselor. He told her she was once the stone the builders rejected that has now become the cornerstone to lead her family out of the cycle of generational mental trauma and despair. Her mentally ill mother who had been abused by her mother who was abused by her mother, told her daughter she would be the mother's slave because the mother loved her three sons but hated the little smart mouth bitch who was regularly confined to her room for days, weeks, beaten and deprived of food. Writing her memoir has been therapeutic and her mental strength increases with each passing day. She has been blessed with so much talent, no power on earth can block her success as a professional artist and healer in the Black Arts Movement tradition of  spiritual and cultural consciousness combined with political activism to uplift herself and her downtrodden people.

Case #2

This mother of twin boys has been a regular victim of abuse from them due to their manic depression augmented be refusing to take their meds, instead, relying on marijuana and other unknown substances they are induced to buy from the boys in da hood, especially to entice them to become gang members since they live on a block where there are regular shootings and police situations. Alas, lately, the police have been called to their house because they get out of control fighting each other and turning their wrath on the mother who has received injuries from head to toe, including black eyes, busted lips,leg and arm bruises that have been reported to the police and courts. One son is presently in a mental health confinement center, the other son is wearing an ankle bracelet, but are scheduled for residential home confinement and/or juvenile hall confinement. The traumatized mother is at wits end from mental and physical abuse, has lost weight, appetite and suffered anxiety attacks for which she is taking medication, along with other meds for loss of appetite. 

Of course she loves her twin boys but they are totally out of control, especially when they will not take their meds but manage to buy marijuana from their friends and come home high and attempt to eat everything in the refrigerator. She informed one son, "If you fucked up, don't come home. I never came home fucked up. Go down the street to your father's house and tell him you fucked up! But he's sicker than you. He's been giving you five and ten dollars so you can buy marijuana." Alas, the father saw his father shoot his mother but didn't kill her. One of the twins that the father discriminates against recently told his father, "I am going to kill you or get my boys on the block to take you out!"

The mother will be happy to get the boys in a long term facility as she has done all she can and is clear her life may be in danger unless they enjoy behavior modification. Although the father lives nearby, he is of no support since he suffers generational mental illness as well. 

Case #3

This mother lives homeless to keep her mentally ill son from living with her. We have gone to the mental institution with this mother but we were not able to visit the son because he was under medication and in a zombi state of mind. Instead, we talked with other patients in the visiting room who were from many ethnic groups and mostly young people. This mother is conscious her sons malady is a situational disorder as Fanon described in Wretched of the Earth, or as Dr. Nathan Hare has noted in his writings. Oppression and white supremacy are the primary causes of North American Africans mental health issues, as well as physical health and spiritual health issues. 

The mother begged me for a solution. Of course, liberation from oppression is the ultimate solution. Pending national liberation, we suggest neural placidity or a change of environment that will cause a change in the brain cells. We were fortunate to experience neural placidity ourselves when we were fortunate to escape to the foothills of Northern California for five years to enjoy solitude that allowed us to heal from the deaths of a son and a partner. It our solitude, we wrote five books in five years and most importantly, enjoyed a peace of mind in nature never before experienced. In our time alone in the mountains, we enjoyed the beauty  of nature, birds, bees, deer, wild turkeys, hawk, horses, cows, bulls, frogs, sun, wind, well water sweeter than juice, but most of all, we healed from the death of a son and a lover. 

Case #4

A young man black and beautiful, wanting the love of a black woman talked with us about his frustration at every approach to a black woman partner or even friend. He was frustrated at not getting a positive response from greeting a black woman. He noted that if he called her bitch, she would probably respond in the affirmative. But he was rapidly losing hope and moving toward seeking a relationship with a white woman whom he said would immediately recognize him a a god and bow down to him rather than dismiss him as a nobody with no value as a human being. In a de facto peer group session, he discussed is problem with another client. I told her to tell him to go ahead and get him a white woman since that would spare a black woman certain pain and trauma since he would not force her into the persona of a white woman that was his ultimate desire. Yes, spare the black woman the pain of donning the role of a white woman, blond hair, bleached skin, etc., most importantly, expressing the white supremacy mythology of those in the European persona or mask! In short, don't destroy a black woman in your attempt to love a white woman, simply get a white woman and live the life of make believe. At least you have spared the black woman your white supremacy trauma. As as per the black woman seeking a white man, do not destroy a black man, rather go straight to a white woman and bow down to her as Miss Ann, spare the sister your white supremacy mythology, perhaps the black woman will find a black man or black woman to satisfy her physical needs, though I say the deepest needs are spiritual and please tell me what spiritual needs are gender based? Spirit is beauty and truth, not gender or age based. When Allah brings two souls together, it is beyond gender, age, religiosity, politics, Allah says only Let it be and it is!

Ok, love is beyond race, love is love and race is race. My sister married a white man who continued calling her  his "nigger bitch!" In truth, I could not sock him in the mouth since my six sisters called themselves bitches and behaved as such. 

I find it ironic that my family is a virtual united nations, with relatives and in-laws from Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean and elsewhere. But most interesting is a result of my Islamic  polygamous marriages,  I was/am joined with many families by blood and marriage, and these relationships can be useful and highly beneficial. But at the same time, there is a chance for healing since all families suffer similar trauma. For example, the last rites or funeral ceremonies will possibly engender long repressed hatreds, jealousy and negative imaginings. 
And yet who can deny that being part of a family with hundred of relatives, and yes, mostly by blood and marriage, is a wonderful thing, something undeniable truthful and beautiful. The only tragedy is not taking advantage of this family opportunity since we know the white world of white supremacy is a family affair. We have no idea of the family and blood connections of white supremacy family relations. 


Navigating the Perilous Mental Landscape

Navigating the perilous Mental Landscape

Like the earthquake in Japan, man too is in mental motion, a mind quake of the most devastating degree that is rocking his mental equilibrium to the core!

We must be aware of the times and what must be done. A blind man named Ray Charles told us "the world is in an uproar, the danger zone is everywhere...." And so it is, ancestor Ray, there is turbulence in the land and in man, woman and children. As the earth enters another 25,000 year cycle of history with the coming New Age of high spiritual consciousness, there are many who remain deaf, dumb and blind to present and future events, even though the news is full of rapidly changing events in the global village. One would need to be in worse shape than Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder not to see the earth is in transformation, even Nature itself. The ice is melting, the sea rising, the forests burning, earthquakes and tsunamis , drought, famine, pestilence, in diverse places, just as Jesus predicted.

Apparently, many do not believe what Jesus said even when they see events he predicted before their very eyes, on the news, Twitter, Facebook, Cable TV and elsewhere. He said mother would be against child and child against mother and father. Did he not say brother would be against brother and sister against sister? And do we not see this in our social relations today.

It is crystal clear to me we are in times in which a friend is no longer a friend, a wife and husband no longer wife and husband. There is no love between them. Husbands and wives say the horrible things to each other. Daughters and sons say the most wretched things to their parents, often when the parents are helping them.

But when the danger zone is everywhere, no one, no relationships are exempt from the turmoil sweeping the old order out and ushering in the New Era. But there is an almost organic relationship between the earth quaking and the minds of men, women and children becoming totally unbalanced. In this time of radical change of Nature and man, those with no understanding shall become unglued, losing their fragile mental equilibrium or simply tripping out. Ultimately, they become a danger to themselves and others and must be committed, for they are not the person we knew only yesterday. Today they are a total stranger who does not know us, cannot even recognize us, yet we have known them since childhood. They could be a sibling yet they do not act like there is any blood relationship between us. We behave like total strangers.

It could be parent/child relationships that come to such a low point children will sue parents or visa versa. In short the love is gone. Amiri Baraka tells us in his play A Black Mass, "Where the souls print should be there is only a cellulose pouch of disgusting habits...."

As we walk the streets be very careful what you say to people, for they are on edge, on the precipice, ready to strike out at the slightest perceived negative incident, or wrong word uttered.
Yes, they are ready to kill, so be aware as you make your daily round.

The political/economic atmosphere is charged with venom, but it is misplaced aggression, for no one is going after the bankers, the loan sharks, the Wall Street financiers who were casino gamblers with the wealth of the people, stealing 13 trillion dollars in the sub prime housing scam.
And yet hardly a banker is in jail, meanwhile 2.4 million mostly poor are incarcerated for petty crimes, additionally they suffer drug abuse and mental illness, not to mention lack of proper legal representation at the time of their trials. The only white man doing time is the one who stole from the rich, not the poor. Those who robbed the poor are yet receiving multimillion dollar bonuses while 30 million workers are unemployed and millions are now homeless.

It is this atmosphere that is so unsettling to the mental state of those who were already suffering stress from the general hostile environment, from bad food, the media dispensing
information from the world of make believe and promoting the addiction to white supremacy conspicuous consumption

How do we move from problem to solution, from addiction to recovery, from sickness to healing?
The Buddhists says knowledge plus the right action. We must first understand the time and what must be done. These are perilous times, very dangerous, thus one must tip through the tulips, through the mind fields that lay before us, behind us, to the right and to the left.

We must practice eternal vigilance and stay on guard against being deceived. There are those who wish to deceive us so that we remain victims of the slave system. They will not tell us all the institutions are exhausted, political, economic, educational, religious, marital. None of these shall continue with business as usual. They must and shall undergo radical structural change, if not simply thrown into the dustbin of history where they belonged long ago.

Those not prepared for radical change shall be blown by the wayside where they shall inhabit the lower realms of an animal existence until they die or recover from savagery and come into the era of civility and spirituality beyond religiosity.

Those who are a danger to themselves and others will need to be confined to a program of long term recovery, a rehabilitation of their disgusting habits, namely greed, ego, pride, lust, arrogance, and other deadly sins, and most importantly the inability to practice freedom, justice and equality, constitutionally unable to share the wealth and practice democracy or the consent of the governed.

The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end, or rather what goes around comes around. What we are witnessing and experiencing is not linear time but circular, for we shall continue, but only those who are able to jump out of the box of the old structures into the new.

The fearless ones, they shall be successful. Those not motivated by the illusions of the monkey mind shall be successful. We pray for the others who persist in their inordinancy, blindly wandering on, as the Qur'an says.
--Marvin X

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