Growing Up White, Privileged and Colorblind
Khloe Kardashian sits in front of a green screen, story hair and make-up done perfectly, in the ‘diary’ section of her family’s TV series, she open’s her mouth, and once again I hear ‘it’s causing me major anxiety’, or something similar to that. All I can think, is that it is this kind of normalising of a mental health issue that ensured that I didn’t go to the doctors for a year and a half after I started thinking that my sadness, obsessive behaviours and nervousness were above a line which enabled me to live a normal life.
Khloe Kardashian may have the actual mental health issue ‘anxiety’, in fact, her sisters Kim and Kendall have both spoken about it in that way. However, she is an example of the way ‘anxiety’ the emotion, which we all experience in stressful situations, is equated the meaning of, ‘anxiety’ the mental health issue which has serious impacts on its sufferer’s lives. Khloe rarely if ever defines or speaks seriously about suffering with anxiety, and so it can be assumed that the form she is referring to is the emotion we all feel, but giving it the weight of an actual mental health ‘disorder’. This isn’t a problem which finds its roots in Khloe or the Kardashians, but is a trend in our contemporary popular culture. It’s in the viral tweets we send around, the updates we send to our friends about our day.
Feeling anxious and having anxiety are two different things, similarly to feeling sad and having depression. But it is the way that people talk about feeling an everyday emotion and equate it with the seriousness of those suffering from panic attacks, unable to leave their homes that causes a problem. When talking about the emotion, it is different to say ‘I feel anxious about this’ implying a certain situation, than to say ‘this is giving me anxiety’, implying you have a health issue. But as we’ve begun to finally be more open about mental health issues, we’ve also blurred the lines between what is a problem and what is a natural feeling. We make jokes and memes about anxiety and depression as though they are things we all feel everyday instead of serious conditions for which we should be getting help.
For me, living in this world where everyone I know was having their ‘anxiety triggered’ by small stressors, it meant spending years without the help I needed. My personal experience of anxiety is expressed through crippling migraines, insomnia, and at my worst, not panic attacks, but constant, milder physical feelings of panic and terror which I can’t seem to escape. It took until I was so paranoid of everything that I was hearing sounds I knew weren’t there for me to realise this wasn’t just anxiety, the emotion, that everyone has and everyone jokes about, but something more sinister and serious.
If you have any mental health issues of any severity, talk loud and proud about it; and if you haven’t, talk loud and proud about the experiences of others. We need to be open about our health for our own, individual happiness, but also to help others relate to us. However, although these boundaries are incredibly blurred sometimes, there are differences between someone feeling anxious or sad about a situation, and my anxiety or someone else’s depression. Equating the emotion to the condition trivialises how I feel and makes me much LESS likely to seek help. So sorry to Khloe, who was picked out as an example of the problem here, but if you have anxiety, be honestly open and serious about it, and if you don’t, maybe chose your words more carefully next time.
Written by Katherine Skippon
“We’re nice to everyone Maddie, medical but that doesn’t mean we have to be friends with them.” This was a saying my mother often told me during my childhood. Although I didn’t quite understand the meaning behind it at first, website as I got older, I quickly caught on to what she was inferring.
I grew up in Dalton, Georgia; a super small conservative town you all have probably never heard of. I had friends of all races, and never once did I consider the possibility of someone being judged by something as trivial as their skin color. When I was in fourth grade, I moved schools. It was scary because I didn’t know anyone, but I quickly became best friends with a girl named, Ivett. Ivett and I called each other every night, and everyday we would share our lunches. One day she had asked me to stay the night at her house over the weekend. I remember being so excited to run home and ask my mom; I just knew she would say yes because she had let me stay with all of my other friends frequently. However, when I had asked her, she immediately said no before I could even finish my sentence. I was crushed; I cried and pleaded to at least hang out with her for a day, but she said no to that as well. When I asked her why, she simply replied, “…because she’s Hispanic Maddie.” I was baffled. Who knew the color of one’s skin was so important to some people? I had finally understood the inference behind my mother’s saying.
Since President Trump has been elected, my heart is constantly heavy; it seems as if every “closet racist” has come out of hiding. In February, a white supremacy couple from Douglasville, GA was sentenced to 13 years in prison for shouting racial slurs at a black child’s birthday party ( http://nypost.com/2017/02/28/couple-gets-prison-for-terrorizing-black-childs-birthday-party/ ). This is a prime example of how Trump’s election has provoked others to use racial, demeaning terms and actions towards others. How could we go from such a caring and well-respected president, to a man who refers to women as “nasty” and immigrants as “rapists and drug lords”? This man is supposed to be a reflection of our country and who we are as Americans. The goal for us should be to move forward, yet it seems we’re only going backwards.
I grew up in a Southern-Baptist church were everything was by the book. The second commandment of the Great Commandment states, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Many Trump supporters are indeed Christians but are also the main ones spewing hate towards anyone who is slightly different them. If you ask me, that is the complete opposite of “loving thy neighbour as thyself.” Now, I am not saying every Christian that supports Trump is a racist because that is not true, but I have come into contact with many fellow Christians that encourage discrimination towards others. We are told to live through the image of God, and incorporate him into our everyday lives. Yes, we are human, and we do sin, but would God want us to discriminate against his own creations?
Within the first few months of this year, I found out very quickly racism does continue to live in this world. It seems like every time I log onto social media, or turn on the news, some sort of racial occurrence has taken place. No matter how long I’ve tried to deny it, and see the good in others, it is still alive and flourishing throughout our nation, our community, and our neighbors. Racism has even taken a toll on my own family as well. I am the only one in my family who isn’t a Trump supporter, which has repetitively led to arguments. During the election, my mother even threatened to kick me out of the house if I did not vote for him. In addition to that, her and my grandmother often use terms such as “Build that Wall” and “MAGA” while my boyfriend (who is Mexican-American) is present! My grandmother has also asked him if he has a green card or visa, when she has been reminded many times that he was born in Nevada. My family has been very quick to make assumptions about him, solely because of his skin color and heritage.
Whether we choose to partake in the actions of our president is on our own, but we also have the choice to stand up, and be the voice of this nation. All it took was one man turn our country into turmoil, but it’s going to take all of us to bring it back in the right direction. We have to come together, fight for equality, and the restore the very thing that makes America special, our diversity.
Written by Maddie Knight
Twitter and Instagram: @maddieknight20