There is a peculiar stress that automatically comes with being Black in America. This stress can be a blockage to normal developmental growth and reaching one’s full potential if not channeled and checked. I have labeled this unique stress associated with being African American as Mundane Extreme Environmental Stress (MEES),
…mundane, because this stress is so common and is so much a part of our day-to-day experience that we almost take it for granted; extreme, because it has an extreme impact on our psyche and worldview, and how we see ourselves, behave, interact, and so forth; environmental, because it is environmentally induced and fostered; stress, because the ultimate impact on African Americans is indeed stressful, detracting, and energy consuming. One just needs to review the history of Africans in America to document the atrocities and inhumane treatment of slaves and the subsequent institutional, scientific, and personal racism leading to continued inequities between African Americans and other Americans, to understand the foundation of mundane extreme environmental stress.
All African Americans experience M.E.E.S. in some form or another. This small booklet, MEES and Me, Musing of a Mad Matriarch, describes this phenomenon, the forces that created it, and looks at strategies for coping and advancing in spite of it.