This morning news has been floating around of Kanye West being treated for depression, and his allegedly being on suicide watch. Normally, I do not cover these gossip type situations, however; depression is a very serious matter and requires our attention.
If you examine the responses to this news of Kanye via the usual channels, you will find mixed emotions. Some individuals are angry at how casual most people are about his depression, while others think he’s a joke and needs to “man up” and get a hold of himself.
One of my friends asked the question, “Why are people so callous about Ye’s breaking down?” Well, I’m going to try and answer this for her here.
Some time ago, I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who is a PhD candidate. We were discussing depression, and why some of us are more prone to it than others. She told me that because I am Puerto Rican, aka brown, I carry all of the abuse that my ancestors were exposed to via my genetic material. Her statement was that there is science to indicate that those who’s ancestors have been oppressed, actually carry these emotional experiences genetically, the same way that you carry the genes for hair and eyes. The science states that these emotional experiences, the hurt our ancestors suffered, is also passed down to us.
The blood that runs through my veins, the blood of my Indian appearing father, the blood of my mother’s African mixed mother, all of the African and Native ancestry which appears to have bypassed my appearance, these still run through my veins. “Though you may look white to some people on the outside, make no mistake, you are brown and carry our people’s struggle locked inside you.”
That’s some deep stuff, and I don’t know much about this emotional genetic science she speaks of, but I accepted it as a very real possibility, and a feasible explanation as to why I have been prone to bouts of depression and internal struggle.
This brings me to the point of this article, what I’m looking to say is that by default, according to this science, us brown and black people are prone to depression. This is according to the years of abuse and oppression that our ancestors have faced. That being said, for the average person out here, who is poor, and struggling with life, it is extremely difficult to empathize with a man like Kanye West being depressed. It’s not because people are cruel, it’s not because they lack humanity, or hate him. The reason, and mind you, this is all speculation on my part. I believe the reason is because we are all dealing with the same struggles that he is, but in addition to that, we are struggling with poverty.
Does that make Kanye’s internal struggle any less? Absolutely not, take a look at recent history, and a figure such as Robin Williams, money does not remove pain and depression from life. Most of us common folk would never understand that. A Kanye doesn’t have to worry about paying rent, or getting food for North, or excessive credit card debt, and things of that nature. A person like you and I, we do worry about those things, in addition to the same problems that Kanye may be facing at the moment.
It is my belief that this is why so many people are showing a lack of empathy towards Kanye. I believe that humans are inherently good people. I also believe that Kanye, though a genius, and filthy rich, can indeed be struggling with depression. I know he made statements about supporting Trump, and I know this has turned many people against him, but let us not lose our humanity. We should not seek to destroy a human being because of their political affiliations, nor disregard a person’s suffering because of their wealth. At the end of the day, Kanye West is a person, just like you and me. He may be rich, he may be talented, he may be famous, but he is a human being. Let us not forget this, and let us not downplay depression.
Image Credit: Petras Gagilas