>To Be Or Not To Be. If You’re Black, That’s A Tricky Question.

>This information is very interesting.

More U.S. blacks attempt suicide than previously thought, according to a landmark study that could help explode the myth that black suicides are rare because of a mind-set that took hold during slavery.

The first nationally representative study to look at attempted suicide among blacks found that about 70,000 of them try to kill themselves each year and 4 percent, or roughly 1.4 million, attempt suicide at least once in their lives.

Also of note:

[…] suicide rate in whites is about twice as high as in blacks, though rising rates among young black men have narrowed the racial gap.

The reasons why blacks were believed to rarely commit suicide?

Historically, suicide was taboo in the black community going back to slavery times, at least partly because “it was really frowned on by the black church,” said Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a Harvard University psychiatry professor and race relations specialist. “It was a stigma and it brought shame to your family.”

Blacks “thought life was supposed to be hard for them,” and that may have helped protect them from suicide, Poussaint said.

You know, I do see a bit of truth in that. I was raised to believe that suicide would ruin your chances of getting into heaven. The influence of the black church has been pervasive in the African-American community for a very long time, and these are its teachings. Our fear of disappointing (or angering) God is deep-seated. Many black folks will stick out life on the strength of that fear alone.

AP: Black suicide attempts worse than thought

17 thoughts on “>To Be Or Not To Be. If You’re Black, That’s A Tricky Question.

  1. >If this number included those who "thought" of suicide it would be staggering I am sure. It reminds me of the spiritual, I am Gonna Run On And See What the End Will Bring. It's like that songs speaks to the optimism that Blacks, even in the face of abject adversity, still have.But suicide is like mental illness in the hood — we just don't talk about it. I wonder how many drug overdoses were intentional.On a personal note in July of 1996 I was in Matzalan Mexico vacationing alone. For some reason I woke up one morning and said, I don't want to be here any more." I actually saw myself walking to the end of a pier and jumping in — I can't swim so this would like sticking a gun in my mouth. There were three distinct reasons the prevented me from taking that trip:1. My three children. I realized there were not enough positive Black roll models around and I didn't want to be yet another disappointment by checking out.2. My three dearest friends. I know they would have been devistated because the would have assumed they had missed a "sign." And since one of them is a mental health professional I know she would have been even more disturbed.3. I wasn't clear on this heaven/hell thing. I basically had been (and continue to be) a good person and I didn't want one single act keep me out of heaven.So, there fellow Lo Zoners, you know something about me that I've never shared with anyone else. I must really like (and trust) you.

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  2. >Wow! I've never been in that space in my entire life, so I can't say I know how you felt, but it is good that you had the presence of mind to actually think it through the way that you did.If how you present yourself on the Lo Zone is any indication of how you live your life, then I must say, I'm sure glad you decided to stay amongst the living. You seem like such a great guy and I welcome the opportunity to meet you.Thanks for sharing.

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  3. >Juan G–I always look forward to your emails and I've known you for a very short time. If you were no longer in my life, it would be terribly disappointing. That being said, I can only imagine how attached your children are to you. They've known you for an entire lifetime!So, anyway, what I'm trying to say is: you made the right decision. A world without Juan G would be awful.I do understand how you must have felt that morning in Mexico, though. I have battled depression my whole life. Sometimes, the wrong ideas seem appealing.

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  4. >Juan ~ Its very commendable for you to give an upclose and personal voice to the blog posting. Your testimony is inspiring. Its also good to know that I wasn't alone in thinking the same thoughts. I've been in that space before where I just wanted to die. But I'm too much of a punk to do it myself. So my prayer was "bless me or just let me die." I knew I shouldn't have prayed that prayer, but that is what I felt at the time. Thank God for grace and mercy cause the blessing because just like the spoiled child of God that I am, he decided to bless me. I praise Him and thank Him for the exceedingly and the abundantly more than I can ever ask or think.The more people talk about it, the more help we can give ourselves.

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  5. >Juan G., I'm definitely glad you're here. I cherish our nine years (and counting!) of friendship and the wonderful exchanges and growth we've had over time. Your family and friends are fortunate to be blessed with you. You are a gift to us here on The Zone.Sheletha, The Zone would not be The Zone without your charm and outrageous humor. God didn't just bless you when He blessed you—He blessed us, too. Thank God you're here.

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  6. >great post lo…juan, i feel ya.when i was going thru my "drama" in the fall of '94, i had my bouts with "what's the point with life???". i had lost my job, my family (separated; later divorced w/child; she got our daughter)and faced eviction from our apartment in the midst of it (all around the same time). it was like my manhood was challenged and i was defeated. (like the story of Job in the Bible) the only thing that save me was my faith and learning to "be still" and "listen" to God. if you read your Bible, particularly the New Testament, you'll see that Jesus dealt with similar circumstances that we face everyday, it's in the context of faith, patience & understanding to see it through.bottom line: you ain't the only one that got problems…

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  7. >Okay I just got this as an email a few moments ago and thought that it really applied to this post. So I thought I would share with the rest of the LOZONERS~~All the Haters can go kick rocks for a moment…God Has Kept Me Here For A ReasonRepeat after me: God has kept me here for a reason. I survived because He has a plan for me. All my bad relationships, the addictions, the consequences, the bad credit, the repossessions, thedeath of my loved ones, the back stabbing from my friends, the negative thoughts, or the lack of support; I made it because I am blessed!I release and let go of all past hurts, misunderstandings and grudges because I am abundantly blessed! I recognize them as the illusions they are, and sent from the enemy to kill my spirit, steal my joy, and destroy my faith; For God is all there is. All elseis a lie!Now give yourself a hug, wipe your tears away and walk in victory!!!!!!!! I love you, but more appropriately God loves you BEST! Be blessed and know that you are at one with THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD! And may the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. Genesis 31:49. Amen! Okay, No more cut & paste for me the rest of the day. I don't want to go to jail.

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  8. >Juan! I'm with everyone on here when I say I'm glad you didn't rid us of your company (among everything else)! Of all the emotionally horrifying things that have happened to me, I have never been of the mind to off myself. I'm still a positive force in this world (no pun intended…watch it, Lo) and still have an effect on lives around the globe. So, I'm glad you came back down to Earth and reflected on it, Juan. We're all better, your kids more than anyone, that you're still here with us on planet Earth kicking rocks around with the rest of us.

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  9. >THe funny thing about life is that you never know what's going on with your "neighbor." This morning when I typed that post I think, in a way, I was actually reflecting how I felt at that moment, i.e., I am not sure I want to be here. In the scheme of things I have nothing to complain about and the few problems that I do have are easily fixed with time and commitment, but you know I've been reflecting on moments throughout my life when I went left instead of right or the other way around and I actually asked what I had to live for.I am actually in tears as I type these words because you guys have no idea how you "reached" me today and brought me back from the edge. Each and every one of you (yes, even Matt) have been angels in my life today without even knowing it and I am deeply greatful and thankful. Sheletha, thank you for shareing that email.You know we can't choose our families but the family that we create of our friends is the most dear and I must say I am glad my Lo Zone family is here. I honestly don't know how I would have gotten through this day without you.BIG HUG to all of you and thanks for snapping a brother out of it.

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  10. >God is AMAZING! He had Lo, post that topic JUST FOR YOU, Juan! He knew your state of mind, and isn't it wonderful that he thinks so much of us that he places others around us and allows them to touch our lives in ways we would have never imagined.It's funny. I don't know what my life would be like without touching base with everyone who posts on The Lo Zone. It has definitely become an extended family of sorts. I guess Mel was right when he said, God is Lo Zone, because we are all joined together for His plan and purpose. God bless all of you.

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  11. >I just wrote a sequel to "Mrs. Doubtfire" and here is the closing monologue by Mrs. Doubtfire, on her TV show: MRS. DOUBTFIREToday’s letter is from little Alexa Webster who hails from Fort Smith, Arkansas. “Dear Mrs. Doubtfire, my name is Alexa and I’m nine years old. Last week we found out that my sister is very sick and needs an operation. My mother said that she may not live. My mother cries a lot and my father is always quiet now. I am going to see her in the hospital next week but I am scared. I don’t know what to say to her and I’m afraid I’ll cry.”Beat. MRS. DOUBTFIRE (CONT’D)Alexa, I wanted to read your letter as soon as I received it, dear. Know that I’m saying a prayer, right now, for your dear sister. I want you to know that it’s okay to be frightened. It’s okay to be scared. And it’s okay to cry, dear. Just being there to your sister’s side is enough. Sometimes people live very long lives, dear, and sometimes they don’t. Doctors can try to fix people and many times they do. And many times they can’t, love. Sometimes we have friends or family members that leave us far too early. That’s why it’s important to let your friends and family know how very much you love them, poppet. Nobody lives forever dear, that’s why it’s most important to share the time we’re given helping and caring for, and most of all, loving one another. God bless, dear. Bye bye."I was hoping this movie ending monologue would show people how important life is and how death affects everyone around us.

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  12. >Okay, let me officially introduce myself to you all…My name is Monique and I've been living in Atlanta, Georgia for 3 years now. I'm originally from Los Angeles and I've been a Lo Zoner for quite a while. I've, on occasion exchanged emails with Lolita and I've visited her site on MySpace (my display name is Serene_Blu…stop by and say hello)…but this post made me want to come from out of the cut and speak up and say…WOW…you guys…I am so thankful for having stumbled onto the Lo Zone looking for the website of one of my favorites authors! This email has been such blessing for me and I'm sure a whole host of others…Anonymous included.The feelings shared here have gotten me to thinking and I think back to a night when I, too, had lost all hope. My family was right upstairs and my husband heard me snivelling and carrying on and came down and held me and prayed for me until I fell asleep! I knew then that God wasn't done with me yet. I found hope in the touch and prayers of that man.You are all an awesome bunch and I'm with Rich…Lo is God…we all are and this blog is evidence of it. You're closer here as a family than I've seen amongst folks that share flesh and blood. It's a beautiful thing.Peace and much love to you all.P.S. Matt, you're off the chain…I Love it!!

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  13. >Juan G., you are so awesome and wonderful to have shared such a personal part of yourself with us today. I am so grateful for you on so many levels, as well as grateful for all the loving, supportive people who have turned what I started as a casual gathering place into a real home, even though it exists in a virtual environment.When I first started this blog, I figured I'd have a site where I could talk about topical issues, stay connected with my readers, reconnect with some old friends, and make some new ones, but this place has turned out to be something more significant than I could have ever imagined. It's like Rich told me, I couldn't have manufactured or planned blog posts that cause the reactions you guys have if I tried. I never know which posts are going to evoke what. The ones I excitedly expect will elicit a large response often go ignored (someone will usually make a courtesy comment just to spare my feelings), but then you'll key in as a group on a post I never even gave much weight to. God is using this site and the individuals who visit it, whether those individuals believe that or not. That it's being used has nothing to do with me or any false idea of self-importance I might have. Even I have sense enough to know that. I'm just a conduit for some amazing energy and love that's taking place out here.Thank you everyone—Juan G., Lance, Sheletha, Matt, Saadia, Monique, Kris, and all those in the cut whose energy is felt whether you know it or not—for being real and for daring to connect with one another.God is Lo Zone indeed.

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