• Julian Randall

Black Men With Sickle Cell: Things to Remember

Being a black man in America, especially in the sociopolitical climate of 21st century America, can be one of the most emotionally and psychologically taxing identities to possess. This makes the black male body one that is oftentimes most targeted, underrepresented and narratively controlled in various capacities. Such issues are often compounded for black men who have sickle cell and who may or may not have the necessary support to navigate the world healthily. For all of the black men of color who are seeking ways to change the way that they engage while having this disease, continue to read.

You Are Not What You Do

First things first, it is absolutely crucial for you to remember that you are not what you do. Having sickle cell disease has the potential to interfere with day-to-day activities, some of which may be critical to you or your families functioning. However, it’s important to note that you alone are enough. Your mere existence is to be accounted for. Being available for a task should never be equated with your self-worth and if you find that you often attach acts with personal value, I would encourage you to reframe that. You’re worthy whether you can “do” or not do.

You’re Allowed To Feel

Society often directly and indirectly encourages men to suppress their emotions. There has been plenty of research done surrounding this issue and studies continue to show that this is not only toxic but leads to a number of long-term health issues that men can suffer from. It goes without saying that someone with sickle cell should try to avoid stressing and taking on additional stresses. Emotional suppression and dismissal is directly linked with a slew of mental health issues and the truth is, if you’re human you can and should, feel.

Accept The Help

That said, you may need a little help from time to time. Due to the social conditioning of a lot of men to sometimes be unnecessarily self-sufficient, we often spend a lot of extra time and energy on things that didn’t have to be so all-consuming. Being a black male having sickle cell is complex. You still want to exercise that male independence but can’t neglect the fact that because of your disease, you may not be able to do it all. But bear in mind that the more help you accept, the easier your life can be. Deservedly so.

You’re Still Male

Lastly, remember that a man with or without sickle cell is still very much so a man. Traditional, societal gender views and roles have a way of making men feel as if they’re only a function of their actions or abilities. That simply isn’t true. So if you’re or you know a black man who has sickle cell anemia, be reminded that a man’s identity is not rooted in his “doings,” but rather his empathy, integrity, and other characteristics that make any human worth knowing.

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