Beyond physical wounds, healing Black male trauma

By John Rich, Opinion Contributor, USA Today | August 30, 2020

Former Stoneleigh Fellow Ted Corbin and his Healing Hurt People Program are featured in a new USA Today op-ed by John Rich, in which he examines the racial trauma that young Black male survivors of violence experience.

As a primary care doctor in Boston in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I saw many young Black men who were injured by violence. But one young man stands out in my mind.

The first time I saw him, he was lying in a hospital bed sweating and writhing in pain. Like many young men I saw as a doctor in an urban medical center, and despite what I – and many of my colleagues – might have assumed, this young man had done nothing to provoke the attack. Rather, he was shot simply for his refusal to relinquish the gold chain that hung around his neck. My surgical colleagues had repaired his physical wound in the operating room and were struggling to control the painful aftermath of the injury and the medical treatment.

But it wasn’t long after his pain calmed down that this young man told me the story of the police officer who stood over him as he lay on the ground bleeding. The officer chided him with the words, “Don’t do nothing stupid like die.” This left him angry and disgusted. And I sensed that this brutal disregard for his humanity, as he was lying on the ground fearing he would die, left him with an even deeper wound that he couldn’t name.

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