Positive thought, meditation, or prayer have historical and contemporary importance for many people. The perceived utility of positive thought, meditation, or prayer is significant for a number of reasons. Contrary to popular misconception, as an aggregate, blacks/African-Americans/immediate African diaspora are quite traditional and conservative. This is counter to the common depiction of blacks/African-Americans/immediate African diaspora as heathens,primates, immoral, and unlawful. There remains a belief that the majority of blacks need to be controlled by law enforcement and by whites. Traditionalism within black/African American/African diaspora cultures, and common misconceptions of these cultures, have an impact on the experiences and health of blacks, in general.
For example, we need healthy responses to frustration, anger, and aggression. The need for healthy responses is a reminder that mental health and physical health are often unaddressed or under-addressed in black and African diaspora communities. It would be helpful if mental and physical health were included in discussions of negative emotions, feelings of disenfranchisement, and community violence (with law enforcement and among civilians). It would also be helpful if health was a component of more community events which can take various forms, including passing around health pamphlets to encourage people to attend support groups. Support groups can provide opportunities to discuss individual thoughts and feelings. This is counter to feeling silenced and feeling the need to downplay personal feelings for the sake of the well-being of the community. Such outreach and discussions are important not only for blacks but for every person who feels silenced, taken advantage of, and who need healthy responses to life stressors.
What kind of outreach would you like to see in your community?