Suicide Rates For Black Children Have Doubled While Declining For Whites
The researchers who found that suicide rates have doubled for Black children while declining for White children were surprised by their own results. These are the first recorded data in history for which Black suicide rates surpass that of other race groups. Suicide is what can happen at the extreme of when youth and adults are marginalized and lack the resources to cope with this marginalization. The reasons for the increase in Black children’s suicide are unknown. In today’s climate, however, efforts toward protecting children from the subtle and not-so-subtle burdens of discrimination and oppression seem warranted.
I, personally, never anticipated that I would need my psychology Ph.D., my research in African American identity and emotional health, or my understanding of implicit bias and institutional oppression to navigate my child’s pre-Kindergarten classroom. As it turns out, I need them all. The preschool to prison pipeline is real. While “educational” systems are not fatal in the traditional sense, they can engender low self-esteem that subsequently kills motivation along with academic and intellectual performance.
What is less well known is that young, emerging adults who have a less than positive cultural identity and who internalize racism are also more prone to depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Parents and other caregivers must protect Black children from subtle messaging that their lives don’t matter. Such messaging can be more detrimental than fractured limbs and bruised faces as it’s hard to heal what one cannot see.
What factors do you think are behind the suicide rates? Read more HERE.