• Search for solutions leads to awkward interactions in white man's world
I was reading some comments from a post I made on Gaza last year, and one of the commentors said that “the writer of this piece is depressed, and I hope they go for therapy”.
Well, let me tell you, Maina! Therapy has been on my list of things to do consistently for as long as I’ve been in the United States.
In Kenya, therapy was mainly in the form of a Kisii fellow named Nyaundi, who carried all my secrets but now only sends me a text once every five months. He was the first person I came out to, and he hit me back with, ‘Haiya, si I knew!’ and then we kept walking with a fat one rolled up.
He is a fine journalist now and he has a cat! This post is not about Nyaundi, though.
My last two therapists have been white women, and I am scared of white women, remember? The last white lady I told my trauma to said, “The next time you feel anxious, I want you to place your hands on your waist (akimbo) and say, ‘I am not anxious.’ And trust me, it works!”
It’s safe to say I never went back because as I looked at her demonstrate (she felt she needed to), I felt it was better to remain depressed.
My other therapist sent me to the psych ward after two phone sessions with her. At the psych ward, our therapist was a white man and he sat with me once and told me he could sense I was a happy person. I said, ‘Sure,’ and then I kept colouring.
I used to think that maybe I need therapy to address why I disqualify therapists on the basis of race until I read about how white therapists treat their black patients. I didn’t read it; I saw it on Instagram. I read comments and I felt seen.
The United States is like Hunger Games but for your mind. On the outside looking in, it doesn’t seem like people here live in a dystopia because looks are everything for America. However, you live here long enough, and your mind learns to remain in a constant state of panic and what ifs, especially if you are black, brown or simply not ‘white’.
I know that when I say white, you are quick to picture the white people living in their white houses with their white children playing in their white picket fences, but that’s not who I am talking about. I’m talking about the idea of whiteness, the social construct that is white men and white women and the consequences for white, black, and brown folk when we buy into and ultimately try to defy this construct.
What’s happening in Gaza is a classic example of what happens when you defy whiteness. It’s been more than 90 days and more than 30,000 murdered with 40 per cent of them being children. So yes, I am depressed and I’m still screaming, ‘Free Palestine’ until Palestine is free.