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Black People Processing Emotions

Updated on February 25, 2012

I don’t understand - please reveal your thoughts on this matter. Don’t be defensive – be honest. Even if you don’t process emotions well, explain why this phenomenon occurs and acknowledge it does exist amongst African American people.

Why does it seem that there are a majority of African American people who can’t understand depth in a movie, feelings, and the context of which lines are being delivered? I have seen several movies like: For Colored Girls Only or Good Deeds and still I must ask this question – What is wrong with black people processing emotions? Is it lack of maturity or intelligence? Does it go deeper to that? Does this come from a history of our feelings not being recognized? I can’t say it’s an age thing because older people also incorrectly receive the messages being delivered in the film.

When Tyler Perry’s Movie came out – For Colored Girls Only – I sat in horror in a packed theatre of women unable to grasp the messages and imagery being shared. Comments and snickering following by dialogue about how the woman was talking too much on the date i.e. she should have known the man wasn’t right. I’m like really? Let’s sit and blame the woman for the assault that occurred, shall we? How about when Whoopi Goldberg began the words that expressed the devaluation of her beauty as a dark skinned woman and how she was told to have children with light skinned men – greeted with laughter from some people. I overheard comments like;”She is ugly!” These were not the comments of one group but quite a few had laughter and comments similar while missing the entire reasoning behind the dialogue being shared. Concepts that flew over the majority of their heads while they talked during the movie, laughed at inappropriate times, and verbalized the most WARPED thoughts in America.

Flash Forward – Good Deeds. Scenes within the movie that clearly showed hurt/devastation about one’s well being, feeling lost, were greeted by laughter at the most inappropriate times. Again I had a question on my mind:

Why are so many black people incapable of processing emotions?

Now I will say it’s not all but so many of us find it appropriate to laugh or make stupid comments unnecessarily whenever there is a deep moment or emotions that need to be absorbed or processed. Why? All experience hurt, disappointment, love, feel sad, feel lost, hope, are happy, loose our way, and have many emotions we share that make us human. So why so many find the need to laugh, clown, or talk over emotional moments or deep moments? What is wrong? Are some in such denial with feelings that they feel “feeling” anything is trivial and needs to be dismissed?

Feeling does not make you weak. Feeling does not make you wrong. Feeling does not remove your ability to use your brain. Feelings do open you up to the vibes of the universe.

I just want a reason as to why this happens. I do understand that not everyone processes emotions quite the same way – but in my opinion it seems to be an issue with African American in particular. Why?


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    • SantaCruz profile image


      6 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Wow. I've never heard this question before.

      There are obviously lots of factors at play. In many cases though, I think it's important to distinguish between not processing things appropriately/correctly and being unwilling to process them in a certain way *publicly*.

      The comment about Whoopi is sad. I see it as a sign of self-hatred.


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