Opinion This is America: Why we need to validate each other's pain
'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' costume designer said he saw Anthony Mackie 'light up' when he put on the Captain America costume for the first time
Costume designer Michael Crow told Insider that Sam Wilson's costume is a "merger" of Steve Rodgers' Captain America and the Falcon.Michael Crow, the costume designer for "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," told Insider that the moment Mackie put on his new look for the first time it was a memorable moment.
When they invited me to write here for Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to say something that would transcend identity.
Maybe this sounds strange, since you're reading "This is America," a newsletter centered on race, identity and how they shape our lives. I’m Alia, a reporter at USA TODAY covering culture, gender and mental health. But I think this month, it's worth noting that there are experiences – grief, loss, trauma, among others – that link us. If only we can stop ourselves from turning away.
Text of Biden's first address to joint session of Congress
Text of President Joe Biden's first address to a join session of Congress, as provided by the White House: Madame Speaker. Madame Vice President. No president has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time. Madame Speaker. Madame Vice President. No president has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time.
I decided to write about pain. Pain is universal. And yet pain is so often what we disbelieve, discount, diminish – in ourselves and in one another. We minimize pain so we can avoid conversations about injustice (). We fail to cope with pain that can have violent consequences (some gender experts argue stereotypes of masculinity, ). Our reluctance to sit with one another's pain costs lives (many suicidal people I've interviewed say when they were suffering and reached for help, ).
T-Pain apologizes to dozens of celebrities, including Fergie and Viola Davis, for just now learning how to check DMs
"I was today years old when I found out about the request folder on Instagram that's full of celebs trying to reach me," the rapper wrote.In the caption of the video where T-Pain is demonstrating his newfound knowledge, the rapper writes "I swear!! I'm just now seeing all these messages and mentions TODAY!!!! How do I super apologize? Press conference? Town hall meeting? I'm dumb.
But first: Race and justice news we're watching
Important stories of the past week, from USA TODAY and other news sources.
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- Their mission? To get more Black product managers in tech. Here’s why.
What's the difference?
'Life is ... guaranteed pain'
Sometimes when I'm doing an interview someone will say something that makes so much sense to me I want to scream. A few years ago, I was working on a project on suicide and I interviewed Adam Swanson, a senior prevention specialist at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Swanson, who identifies as LGBTQ, tried to kill himself when he was 9. We were speaking in the context of suicide, but his statement felt bigger than that.
EXPLAINER: What remains as US ends Afghan 'forever war'
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — After 20 years, America is ending its “forever war” in Afghanistan. Announcing a firm withdrawal deadline, President Joe Biden cut through the long debate, even within the U.S. military, over whether the time was right. Starting Saturday, the last remaining 2,500 to 3,5000 American troops will begin leaving, to be fully out by Sept. 11 at the latest. Another debate will likely go on far longer: Was it worth it? Since 2001, tens of thousands of Afghans and 2,442 American soldiers have been killed, millions of Afghans driven from their homes, and billions of dollars spent on war and reconstruction.
"We don’t want to talk about the fact that the pain that people carry and then disperse on other people results in a system in which people feel pain all the time," he told me. "Life is painful. It’s guaranteed pain. But ... if we can help people get through moments of pain there’s a lot of value to this life, too."
Swanson was talking about systemic causes of suicide, but he was also talking about how to be human. Helping someone through pain doesn't mean shifting them out of it. We do this instinctively, when we tell someone to "look on the brightside" or that whatever someone is upset about, especially a child, "is not that bad."
Everyone wants their suffering validated
Pain is fundamental. But it is possible to meaningfully support someone in their pain. First we must be willing to listen. Then we have to fight our instinct to turn away.
"Sometimes we don't want to believe people because unconsciously we want to avoid feeling bad for the person," said clinical psychologist Seth Gillihan. "It might feel easier to deny that anything happened, or that it was as bad as the person said, because it makes us feel more comfortable. It's actually rather inconvenient to acknowledge another person's suffering. Because most of us as humans feel compelled to do something when someone is suffering."
Biden’s America First hangover
In key areas like immigration and Covid-19 relief, Biden isn’t breaking with Trump’s nationalism. In fact, he’s continuing it.There have been real accomplishments, like the transformative American Rescue Plan. But in key policy areas, even ones where Trump’s approach deeply damaged America’s democratic image, the Biden administration has seemingly been content with continuing its predecessor’s policies. On immigration and the global Covid-19 response in particular, Biden has seemed unable or unwilling to move past Donald Trump’s worldview, giving “America First” a home in a Democratic White House.
Last year, I wrote a story on.
Am I OK?:
At the end of the piece, I write about how the suicidal woman, a comedian named Deena Nyer Mendlowitz, realized that no one could take away her pain, no one could take away the suicidal thoughts in her head. But her friend and fellow comedian Susan Messing, in caring for her, bought her time. She validated what she was feeling, and consistently showed her what she deserved.
“I love her so much. I don’t want her ever to think that she burdened me. It is simply what happened. And I am grateful that I was able to be of service to her. God, that’s going to make me cry,” Messing told me. "If we have just the tiniest temerity of thought to support other people, that can help, and we don’t know how much."
Reckoning with a society where suffering is pervasive
We don't only turn away from the pain we see in one another, but from our culture's collective traumas. We don't want to reckon with a society that creates so much suffering.
People who have survived suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts, who have survived sexual violence, or live with relentless racial trauma often suffer in silence. Because when they do speak out, they are frequently blamed or maligned.
"When we think about historical trauma, especially for people of color, it has always been about ... invalidation," said Alisha Moreland-Capuia, director of trauma-informed treatment, consultation, and outreach at the Center of Excellence in Depression and Anxiety Disorders at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. "As human beings we engage with the world and derive meaning from the world based on what we sense, what we see, what we hear, what we feel. To have that chronically invalidated, and to be told that your senses don't matter, that's a whole form of trauma in itself."
Ashley Cain smiled for the 'first time' since Azaylia's tragic death
The former Ex On The Beach star, 30, took to Instagram on Monday to reveal he has smiled 'for the first time' since the tragic death of his beloved eight-month-old daughter Azaylia.The former Ex On The Beach star, 30, took to Instagram on Monday to share a snap of the sky tinged with orange as the sun set, and told how he believed it was a 'sign' from his little girl in the 'heavens above'.
Acknowledging pain is a healer. It's why when a Black woman is killed by police weIt's why on Holocaust Remembrance Day we promise to "never forget."
"A silence mandate is crazy-making for people who ... see the world for what it is," said Jennifer Gómez, a psychology professor at Wayne State University. "A place that includes ... violence just as much as it includes joy."
This is America is a weekly take on current events from a rotating panel of USA TODAY Network journalists with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. If you're seeing this newsletter online or someone forwarded it to you,. If you have feedback for us, we'd love for you to .
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Fauci says school should be open 'full blast' five days a week in the fall .
Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, said Thursday that schools in the fall should be open "full blast" five days a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 resume life without masks or other restrictions.When asked by host Jake Tapper on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" if he agreed with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and the president of the American Federation of Teachers that schools in the fall should be 100-percent open and in-person five days a week, Fauci said he did. "Yeah. I agree with that.