No Justice, No Peace? A Black Man’s Guide to Clinically Treating Your Suppressed Rage


Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I am 38-year-old black father who wants to comfort and educate my 13-year-old son during these difficult times, but I am struggling myself.

With the recent killings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the cops in Dallas [Editor’s note: this letter was written prior to the attack on the Baton Rouge officers] my heart has been heavy lately, and I have been feeling a little vulnerable.

I know that you are probably not used to hearing a man, especially a black man, say that he feels vulnerable. I have experienced a lot of things growing up, but I have never really felt vulnerable.

I am trying to make sense out of my emotions and my feelings of white people, especially white cops. Like most black men, I want to comfort and help my son, but I do not understand this emotional thing that is happening with me.

As a psychotherapist can you provide some insight?

Which emotion causes people to feel vulnerable and react violently?

Thanks in advance,

Vulnerable Black Father

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Three Reasons Why Ferguson is on Fire


To understand why Ferguson is on Fire, you do not need a Ph.D. However, you do need to reflect and to allow your heart to guide your thoughts, words and actions. Given that we live in a democracy, every man and woman is entitled to express his or her opinion and I am simply sharing mine as a Black male.
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A Grieving City and Front-line Leadership: Capt. Ron Johnson



Upon returning to my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri on August 20, 2014 to give back to my community and to support outstanding leaders like Capt. Ron Johnson, I experienced mixed emotions. On one hand, I felt proud, grateful and excited about being in a position to provide psycho-education to mourning individuals. On the other hand, I felt troubled, worried and disheartened. Read more

Black Economic Empowerment: “I Can” Speech

In celebration of Black History Month, I would like to share a speech that I recently gave at an event.

Here it is:

Throughout history, blacks have fought for economic equality and were inspired by an “I Can” attitude. The Black Economic Empowerment movement was designed to transform the economy to be representative of this diverse and great country. And our forefathers and mothers envisioned a world where you and I would acquire economic equality and one day stand with our heads held high and say with confidence and conviction “I Can”. Read more

How Does a Black Male Determine if His Life Is Meaningful?


I want to preface this article by telling you that I believe that every man’s life is significant regardless of his ethnic background. I am sharing my personal view as a Black male and do not claim to be a representative for all Black males. I provide this disclaimer up-front because I want this article to be read with a non-judgmental and empathic heart. I encourage individuals to seek to understand the Black male’s mind-set and plight before providing commentary or passing judgment.

In light of the recent George Zimmerman “Not Guilty” verdict, millions of Black males who look like Trayvon Martin are questioning their significance.

Throughout history Black males have lived with the disturbing assumption that our lives are insignificant and dispensable. Why? To help you better understand this mind-set, I would like you to join me as I take a historical review of the Black male’s plight in America.

Over the course of my educational journey, I have read countless stories about violence against Black males, but the seven stories that deeply shaped my mind-set about the meaning of my life as a Black male are listed below.

1. Nat Turner was lynched in Jerusalem, Virginia in 1831.
2. Lint Shaw was lynched in Royston, Georgia in 1936.
3. Emmitt Till was murdered on August 28, 1955 for whistling at a white woman.
4. Medgar Wiley Evers was murdered in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963.
5. James Meredith was shot in Mississippi in 1966.
6. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
7. Sean Bell was murdered in New York in 2006.

Learning about the suffering of other Black males helped me understand my pain and mind-set. The manner in which I currently view the importance of my life and that of other Black males has been passed down from generation to generation. Thoughts of being insignificant are so deeply-rooted in our minds that it invades the very fabric of our souls.

As I reflect on my personal experience of growing up in urban America, I am disheartened by the fact that violence has and continues to be a constant factor in how most Black males experience life.

Here are seven experiences that caused me to question the meaning of my life.

1. At age seven.  I was shot in the arm by mother’s ex-boyfriend while riding in a car.
2. At age ten. I saw a local drug dealer gunned down.
3. At age nineteen. I was robbed at gun point in broad daylight after visiting the library in downtown.
4. At age twenty-one. I attended my seventeen-year-old nephew’s funeral after he was gunned down while walking home from the store. No arrest was made.
5. At age twenty-two. I received a phone call informing me that one of my close friends was murdered during an attempted robbery.
6. At age twenty-three. I attended my thirty-four-year-old cousin’s funeral.
7. At age twenty-four. I received a phone call informing me that another close friend was shot during an attempted robbery.

The violence that I experienced and witnessed as I entered into manhood was the by-product of the suffering endured by Black males throughout history. Unfortunately, experiencing violence is a tragedy that continues to plague Black males and causes many of us to question the significance of our existence.

When asked “How Does a Black Male Determine if His Life is Meaningful?” I remind people that all individuals have a basic need to feel safe and secure. Black males, like others feel that their lives are meaningful when they are protected from violence and receive justice when victimized.

As we all strive to cope with historical and current injustices, we must not forget to address the psychological challenges experienced by Black males. We must provide resources to help them define and give meaning to their lives. To live life without an identity is as harsh as living life without a soul. Knowledge of self and why we exist provides a road map for living our lives and helps shape our souls.

Like many others who have died due to violence and experienced injustice, Trayvon Martin has become the identity of Black males and touched the soul of the Black community. We identify with his plight, pray for his family and will take action to ensure that all Black males are protected from violence. The safety and security needs of our youth must not go unmet.


If you or someone you know is struggling to understand the meaning of a Black male’s significance,  please secure a copy of my book “A Black Man’s Worth: Conqueror and Head of Household“.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

6 Messages That Prevent African-Americans from Achieving Emotional and Financial Stability


Messages are forms of communication that are transmitted to individuals either in writing, in speeches or in behavior with the intent of informing or advising them to take action. Messages can either be uplifting or destructive. As an individual who was raised in the 70s, I heard messages that were empowering, heart-felt, educational and uplifting. During the 70s and 80s era, I like most African Americans, felt proud to be Black. Through the messages I heard and read, I was challenged to embrace my heritage, examine the moral fabric of my character and strive to advance myself and my community.

Over the course of my childhood and educational journey, I have read hundreds of messages, but the six messages that profoundly shaped my mind-set and behavior as I ventured into adulthood are listed below.

  1. Thurgood Marshall’s “Equality” speech inspired me to Fight for civil rights.
  2. Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Comprise” speech inspired me to Advocate for myself and others.
  3. Mary McLeod Bethune’s, “What Does American Democracy Mean to Me?” speech inspired me toValue education.
  4. Madame C.J. Walker’s “I Am A Woman Who Came from the Cotton Fields of the South” speech inspired me to Invest.
  5. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech inspired me to Dream.
  6. Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” speech inspired me to Excel.

As I reflect on my childhood experience and educational journey, I kneel to God daily and thank Him. I thank Him because my moral and ethical foundation was built on messages that were uplifting and inspiring. Throughout history, African American’s prosperity and growth has been linked to the messages that we embrace. Unfortunately, we are now living in times, where the messages are not so inspiring and uplifting.

Here are six messages that prevent African Americans from achieving emotional and financial stability.

1. Get Yours and Don’t Worry About Others. In this day and age, many Black people place more emphasis on meeting their personal needs than ever before in history. The “Village” concept is a thing of the past as more individuals are doing what is best for them. This is definitely not in line with our ancestors’ legacy of helping others. If our ancestors were self-centered, selfish and lacked consideration for others, the Civil Rights Movement would have never occurred. Individuals like Rosa Parks and Dr. King did what was unpopular and dangerous because they understood the value of doing what is right instead of what is popular. They also understood that emotional prosperity is achieved by helping others. Commitment to yourself will cause you to be by yourself.

2. Experience Is The Best Teacher. Many individuals in the Black community are quick to say, “You cannot tell me anything unless you have gone through what I have been through”. We have a tendency to place a great deal of emphasis on learning through experience. Whether intentionally or not, we often encourage individuals to experience some form of drama or hardship so that they can have creditable testimonies. For most, our experiences lay the foundation for the majority of our learning. While experience is a great learning method, we must be careful not to minimize the importance of learning through study or education. Through my personal experiences, I have learned to recognize my mistakes and through my educational experiences, I have learned to prevent them. Simply put, experience in my opinion is an intervention and education is prevention. In the famous words of Vernon Law, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives you the test first, the lesson afterwards”. With this in mind, I highly recommend that you do not solely rely on experience or education alone. Balance your life by incorporating both so that you can grow in a healthy manner.

3. Get a Good Job and Work Hard For Others. This message definitely hinders progression in the Black community because many of us are taught to do well in school so that we can get good jobs. We are also taught to value hard work. Personally, I do not believe that there is anything wrong with securing a good job and working hard, but I am mindful that working hard for others will not propel my lifestyle or my loved-ones’ lifestyles to the next level. In my short-time on this earth, I have never met anyone who has acquired wealth by solely working hard for others. In order to build an empire, it is paramount that we seek opportunities to generate some form of passive income. Although Madame C.J. Walker was orphaned, abused and uneducated, she understood that the acquisition of wealth was acquired by working for self. She began her own cosmetic company and later became the First African-American female Millionaire. If you desire to have financial stability in the twenty-first century, you must continue to work hard, but also strive to become financially independent.

4. Psychological Problems Can Be Resolved By Praying and Attending Church. As a devoted Christian, I truly believe in the power of prayer and believe that God is capable of healing the wounded and sick. However, I also believe that church should not be the only place where Blacks seek assistance for psychological distress. On a daily basis, I interact with a large percentage of individuals who are clinically depressed and suffering from anxiety. Many of them could benefit from psychotherapy and psychotropic medication, but are often encouraged to just pray. As an African-American, I understand the financial, social and culture challenges associated with accessing counseling services. However, when confronted with medical problems or sickness many of us do whatever is needed to seek and receive medical care. We do not place our physical health in the hands of our pastor or the church. So after you finish praying get some professional help. If you desire to achieve emotional stability, you must learn to nurture your mind, just like you nurture your body and soul. As the old saying goes, “The Mind is A Terrible Thing to Waste”.

5. Look Good Even If You Do Not Feel Good. This message encourages individuals to purchase material items (clothes, shoes, cars, homes, etc.) in order to cover up their emotional or psychological distress. It also encourages individuals to internalize their problems. As a community of people, we have mastered the art of faking it until we make it. However, by now most of us should have learned that the possession of expensive clothes, shoes or cars will not resolve our internal turmoil or psychological distress. I grew up hearing individuals say, “Looks can kill you”. I used to believe that this was not true, but after years of observing African Americans invest more money into their outwardly appearance than they do in their emotional and physical well-being, I am starting to believe that looks can kill.

6. Support Black Businesses, but Make Sure You Get The Hook-up. Some of us will only patronize each other as long as we are getting the hook-up: “something free or a discount“. I am often told that I have to offer something free or some kind of discount in order to gain the support of African Americans. While this is disturbing, it is somewhat true. How can African American business owners grow our businesses if we are constantly being asked to give away products or perform services for free. I do not have a problem with giving because I believe that Givers Gain and God has blessed me to be able to give. However, I do have a problem with people always looking for the hook-up. Please understand that getting the “hook-up” does not always benefit you because you get what you pay for. Also, please understand that for profit businesses exist to make money and to grow. If we as a people are to achieve financial stability, we must support each other and be willing to pay fair market price for services and products we receive.

As you continue to celebrate Black History Month, please remember that messages have power and often influence behavior. If you desire to achieve emotional and financial stability, please be careful of the kinds of messages you listen to and embrace. Disregard messages that demean your character, reinforce negative stereotypes and stagnate the Black community. You cannot always control what you hear or influence the kinds of messages that are delivered, but you can control how you behave after hearing them. Remember that your belief system is a composite of messages that you have embraced. With this in mind, I strongly recommend that you disregard messages that inhibit your ability to achieve emotional and financial stability. Listen to the right messages and I guarantee you that your life will change for the better.

Black on the Outside, Christian on the Inside

Life as a Christian is easier than Life as an African American

As an African American, I struggle to find peace in this Sinful World, but as a Christian peace finds me.

As an African American, I am judged by my physical attributes, but as a Christian I am judged by the condition of my heart.

As an African American, I am consumed with feelings of bitterness, emptiness and discouragement, but as a Christian I am consumed with feelings of peacefulness, wholeness and hope.

As an African American, I am judged by the steps of my forefathers and mothers, but as a Christian I judged by the steps of my Lord and Savior.

As an African American, I am influenced by Worldly things, but as a Christian I am influenced by Godly things.

As an African American, I have the potential to be a great spiritual leader like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but as a Christian I have the potential to nurture others and to lead like Jesus Christ.

As an African American, I struggle to connect with and love other ethnic groups, but as a Christian connecting with and loving others come with ease.

As an African American, my image is tainted by negative labels such as hostile, aggressive, overbearing, and selfish, but as a Christian my image is illuminated by positive labels such as friendly, considerate, humble, and selfless.

As an African American, my life is influenced by capitalism, racism and violence, but as a Christian my life is influenced by helping the needy, loving thy neighbor and turning the other cheek.

As an African American, I cannot change my skin color nor do I desire to, but as a Christian I can change my attitude and must strive to.

As an African American, I despise diversity because some people use it to justify unruliness, but as a Christian I celebrate diversity because it verifies God’s creativity.

If I could embrace my role as a Christian as equally as I embrace my role as an African American, my life would be easier.

Diversity should be recognized as a means to celebrate God’s creativity, not as a mean to justify unruliness.

Excerpt from “A Black Man’s Worth and A Black Woman’s Worth” 

I wrote this and put it in both of my books because I wanted to encourage all African Americans to remember that God created us to live as Christians. There is nothing wrong with celebrating and honoring our diversity as African Americans, but we must also put forth just as much effort to celebrate and honor Christianity. Being a Christian means we can enjoy peace with God. When we are weary and tired, we can rest assure that we can find peace in Him. If most of us lived in harmony with God, our lives as African Americans would not be as bad. I Peter 5:7 reminds us that one of the greatest blessings enjoyed by Christians is that we can cast our cares on the Lord.

I Am Nobody Without Somebody

As I reflect on my childhood, I am humbled by the fact that my beloved and deceased mother worked long and hard hours to ensure that I had a roof over my head, food in my stomach and clothes on my back. For this I am grateful and will never forget that I am nobody without somebody.

As I reflect on my journey into manhood, I am humbled by the fact that my older brothers, uncles and cousins taught me how to survive and face adversity with a conqueror’s attitude. For this I am grateful and will never forget that I am nobody without somebody.

As I reflect on my desire to place women on pedestals, I am humbled by the fact that my sisters and aunts provided a nurturing environment so that I could learn the value of giving back and treating women with respect and kindness. For this I am grateful and will never forget that I am nobody without somebody.

As I reflect on my success as a professional therapist and entrepreneur, I am humbled by the fact that my family and friends have supported me through the years and believed in me when I did not believe in myself.  For this I am grateful and will never forget that I am nobody without somebody.

As I reflect on my life in general, I am humbled by the fact that God has enabled me to understand the importance of gratitude and humility. For this I am blessed and will never forget that I am nobody without Him.

The ability to humble one’s self is a skill that every Christian should strive to master because Proverbs 3:34 tells us that God “mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble”. No matter how successful you become in life never forget to humble yourself.  Individuals who are too proud to recognize, honor or submit to others will eventually face destruction. As we humble ourselves, we come to truly understand how much we need others and learn to be thankful for people who influence, shape and impact our lives.

As you continue on your life’s journey and travel your path to success, do not forget to practice humility and never forget that you are nobody without somebody.

Always humble yourself, recognize others and give God the glory.