Bearing Black


  • Deanne Bell, Ph.D.



Trayvon Martin, Race, Psychic colonization, Cultural complex, Cultural resistance


In this essay I critically examine the idea of race in light of the killing of Trayvon Martin, an African-American unarmed teenager, in Florida in February 2012. I utilize ideas from liberation psychology, including psychic colonization, and depth psychology, including cultural complex, to explore the racialized black as a colonized, traumatized other. I also use my autoethnographic experience (as a Jamaican who now lives in the United States) to discuss how identities built on race are a source of suffering both when we make others black and when we are made black. Bearing black robs us of the possibility of our humanity. Throughout, I ask several questions about sustaining race as a sociological idea if we truly intend to dismantle racism. I invite us to reconsider race in light of an instance where Rastafarians, a small group of Afro-Jamaicans who express profound race consciousness, determine their own image, not only as black, and as a form of resisting white supremacy.


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How to Cite

Bell, Ph.D., D. (2013). Bearing Black. Journal for Social Action in Counseling & Psychology, 5(1), 122–125.

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