The Realities of Black Grief – Doneila McIntosh, M.Div., M.A.

Jan 5th, 2024 | Episode 276

The reality for Black individuals and families living in the U.S. is that death happens more often and earlier on than for their white counterparts. In the last two decades, these higher rates of mortality resulted in 1.63 million excess deaths for Black Americans compared to white Americans. Doneila McIntosh brings her personal and professional experiences with this reality to her work as a researcher studying the intersections of disenfranchised grief among African American families. Disenfranchised grief occurs when a loss isn't recognized or seen as valid, often the result of stigma. The disenfranchisement of Black grief is rooted in racism, which influences both the disproportionate rates of mortality and the lack of support for grief and grief expression.

Doneila McIntosh is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota in Family Social Science with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Doneila has a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) in Theological Studies and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (M.A.). Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, she worked as a chaplain for nearly 10 years.

We discuss:

  • Doneila’s current research on understanding the impact of disproportionate rates of death and grief in the African American community.

  • Her personal and professional motivation to do this work.

  • The desecration of sacred Black grief spaces.

  • How structural racism leads to Doneila and other researchers having to “prove” the reality of disproportionate rates of death for Black people living in the U.S.
  • The disenfranchisement of African American grief.

  • How the language we use to talk about grief is rooted in culture and how that can be a strength.

  • The gap in the research literature about Black and African American grief.

  • Culturally specific interventions to support grief.

  • How culture shapes grief expression.

  • Doneila’s work to become literate in the historical & current context of Black grief and the cultural strengths she uncovered along the way.

  • How her family honors her grandfather’s legacy.

Follow Doneila on IG @doneila_mcintosh

Ep 276 GOL

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