Ahmaud Arbery case resonates with local Black men who feel under suspicion for just being Black

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Arbery case: Black men feel under suspicion for being Black
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The Ahmaud Arbery case struck a chord with Black men who know what it's like to feel criminalized or under suspicion just for being Black.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Ahmaud Arbery case struck a chord with Black men who know what it's like to feel criminalized or under suspicion just for being Black.

"You feel like people are on guard just by your presence. And that shouldn't be. That shouldn't be at all," said Rasahn Daniels from Durham.

The 37-year-old said he experiences racial microaggressions at traffic stops, and in those moments--more times than not--he's searched by police.

"You automatically feel like you're under suspicion," said Daniels. "You just get used to it. You go through it."

Daniels believes the three men convicted in the murder of Arbery also operated in that behavior--failing to give the 25-year-old the benefit of the doubt.

Last week, while ABC 11 was getting mixed reactions to the murder conviction, Rhonda Allen, a gun rights advocate from Wendell questioned why Arbery frequently visited the home construction site, and whether or not he was really jogging in the neighborhood.

"He was also found after this incident with drugs in his system and he had a criminal record--now what he was doing in that neighborhood I do not know. I am not justifying the acts of the individuals who perpetrated the situation," said Allen.

"I would say White or Black, Asian, Hispanic, if you are going to invoke a life of crime, there are going to be consequences and risk involved," Allen went on to say, " I don't mean to be flip, but if you'd been home watching a Disney movie popping popcorn it wouldn't have happened. White or Black is irrelevant."

ABC 11 showed Allen's interview to Daniels and ask him if he felt any part of the interview was racial.

"Absolutely. It's always a part of it. Even if you don't intend to. She may not have intended to but it's a racist statement," said Daniels.

Psychologist Dr. Anthony Smith at Alase Center for Enrichment in Durham also reacted to Allen's comments.

WATCH: Extended interview with Dr. Anthony Smith

Tim Pulliam's extended interview with psychologist Dr. Anthony Smith on Black fears about societal perceptions.

"Saying to you -- 'this is how you should be' -- but she doesn't know what it's like to be followed around in a store," said Dr. Smith, who is the author of the book 'No More Trauma.'

He said he believes when Black people internalize racial microaggressions and don't deal with it, the suppressed feelings can manifest in a number of negative outcomes: stress, alcohol and domestic abuse, violence or self-harm.

"It's like a balloon if you put too much air in it--it's got to come out some kind of way. Which is why we have to make sure we are taking care of our mental health," Smith said

Smith said it is important to channel those feelings into hobbies or activities that make you feel good and good about yourself.

And he said everyone can benefit from being open to learning people's different perspectives.

"Even if we don't agree with it. It's a different perspective that can help cultivate and look at how we are moving in life."