Justifying your presence or actions often verifying your intentions is the life long reality of many in the United States. Not a surprise. The idea that being just you is somehow a suspicious action is in of itself a daunting existence. The fear of responding to an anonymous inquirer to a sometimes or possible dubious query can be and many times is met with a “push back” or an answer that’s just not good enough for the inquisitor. What do you do now?
Intentions are something else. It’s the next level of the justification of your presence. Why are you here? It’s knowing the correct answer that will both satisfy your questioner and diffuse a tense encounter. Your intentions must be both reasonable and necessary. Unfortunately actions can be the intentions not originally yours but the ideas or desires of a third party. Maybe your mother sent you looking for something at the neighborhood store. In other words articulating the intentions of another to a questioner add a whole new and different level of anxiety. Complicated by just being a child.
Most dictionaries define paranoia as an irrational burden. Paranoia and unusual behavior may be part of many mental illnesses, such as depression and dementia, but they are more prevalent in mental disorders like paranoid schizophrenia and delusions. An integrated society does have challenges.
Okay wait. If you’re not being irrational and the angst that you’re feeling is real. Then what is that called? An encounter with a questioner that is in a position of authority whether legal like the cops or a judge, a teacher or employer could create a passion that is rational. The real fear of bodily harm, unwarranted jail time, failed classes or work sanctions. That’s not paranoia, is it? Further, compound an adult’s anxiety because of the actions or frequent calls to justify actions when one was a child. Black children frequently get handcuffed.
Working to relieve tentions seem unimportant. If they were critical we’d have a remedy already. Many of us can recall encounters african americans have had with law enforcement not only employers or others in authority as depicted in news stories. That hasn’t been enough to attempt discussions to alleviate paranoia but exacerbate it (Colin Kaepernick). Centuries of unarmed killings are frightful. Not to forget or underestimate the legitimate anxieties the inquisitor may have. So some shoot first.
What’s the answer? What does society do to make it seem acceptable or necessary to kill, incarcerate or permanently alter the dreams and aspirations of people? Author, newspaper publisher and famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison felt the US Constitution was a flawed document from its inception. Legal biases. On the other hand US Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Robert Taney wrote in his opinion against Dred Scott that our nation’s founding documents weren’t intended for blacks to begin with. Therefore Taney felt the expectation of certain liberties were not required or shouldn’t be demanded for black folks anyway. Permanent generational uneasiness by design, remember to always say yes sir.
We have or society has created generations of fearful citizens and for that matter unfounded suspicious people as well. What do we do now? Until fiquring out or diagnosing the uneasiness of folks just being and lowering the pressure will continue to be the life altering disaster it’s always been. Perhaps examining the alternatives to anxieties such as intuitive feelings of superiority that drives the need for justifications. Until better times tread lightly and remember hands up.