Race and Technology

Here is the Mental Health Cafe’s first podcast post, Episode 01- Race and Technology. Please comment and share this content for others to consider.


Sexual & Gender Minorities: Social Determinates of (Mental) Health

The significance of race, gender and sexuality as intersections of identity directly affect how we walk the world. (Marini, Stebnicki & Mizelle-Johnson, 2009) wrote that it’s important to not only understand identity models to do mental health counseling, but also assessing bias and preconceptions going into the counseling process. (Dowden, Gunby, Warren & Boston, 2014) explain, “Being Black/African-American is not just about skin color or the origin of descendants; it is equally related to how Black people define themselves in a society that perpetuates prejudice, racism, micro aggression, separation and exclusion (Gibson & Obgu, 1991). According to Cross & Vandiver (2003), the core of nigrescence theory expanded focuses on various ways Black people make sense of themselves as social beings rather than a collection of personality traits.”

Helping professional have the ethical and professional responsibility to facilitate conversations and spaces in the therapeutic process for the client to unpack or explore each aspect of identity and the interplay between power and influence in society. Identities in the LGBTQ population especially play into the social determinants that necessitate mental health services. My passion as a medical/ mental health professional is focused on addressing the person as a whole. Mental, physical, spiritual, cultural, intellectual, etc.


Marini, I., Stebnicki, M., & Mizelle-Johnson, N. (2009). The professional counselor’s desk reference (pp. 41-49). New York: Springer Pub. Dowden, A., Gunby, J., Warren, J., & Boston, Q. (2014). A Phenomenological Analysis of Invisibility Among African-American Males: Implications for Clinical Practice and Client Retention. The Professional Counselor, 4(1), 58-70. doi: 10.15241/ard.4.1.58


Remembering Toni: Writing Tips derived from the work and career of Toni Morrison

This is a blog post review of Josh Jones’ post on Toni Morrison’s writing tips. When I consider the contributions of the late Toni Morrison I summarize her writing and career as profound and prolific. Deep, insightful, fertile, abundant, creational, intelligent and vivid; Toni Morrison is prolific in The Bluest Eye, telling a story of race, rejection, and trauma set in middle America during World War II and centers a black female child as the main character. Morrison is profound in Beloved where she tells the story of an African-American woman and her family and what choices and freedom, family, autonomy truly mean. It was separate from the typical slave narrative that focused on the field of centered males (whether slave, master, or soldier) as the main character. 

In these works of art, she births a new voice and ultimately new genre of culture within literature. She also Reached deep into the American psyche and touched points that were not explicitly black although her characters often were African or African American, she included narratives that shed light and could capture the attention of other cultures or races experiencing similar touchpoints. She did not make all her stories about blackness, but she certainly told the story of humanity from different points of view and ensured it was coming from an afrocentric lense. Now that I have prefaced her identity as a writer, I can explain how the tools that she left us worked.

1.Write when you are at your best!

For Toni Morrison who started writing at the kitchen table as a single mother of two young sons, what she understood about herself first was her capacity. She was attuned to her operational functions and also aware of what she wanted.  She spent the early hours of the morning protecting time and space for herself and her goals. She wrote her first work of art in between two jobs, diaper changes, late nights and early mornings. She was intentional and set aside the time to be her best. That begets the question, when are you at your best. (Rhetorical, but think about what that looks like for you). For me, it’s mornings, from 4:45 am- 10:30 am I am my most motivated and sharp.2

2. There’s a thin line between revising and fretting 

I’ll rephrase this: There’s a thin line between polishing and damaging the furniture. There is a difference between correction and self-censorship. She had to be mindful about how much and what parts of creating she would alter, redact, repackage. 

For me: I struggle with in starting a second career as a mental health professional; which parts of my identity need the most visibility, care, protection or monitoring. I am African. I am male. I am queer. I am an intellectual. I am sensual. I am generous. I am middle-aged, I am musical, I speak and think in different languages. These various aspects of my identity show up and sometimes I don’t know which parts to take out for view, put down, or put away. I struggle with double-consciousness as an intellectual with how I speak, what I offer the world and how much of my pain I reveal. W

For you: What are you redacting, editing, censoring, modifying about your story, self, identity or life that you are not intentional about. Is it necessary, are you happy with the revisions? 

3. A good editor is “like a priest or a psychiatrist

For me: Separate the message from emotions

For you: Don’t get hitched to what you are trying to convey. Be critical and unabashed with shaping your craft. Seek and receive quality feedback early, often and ongoing through your process. 

4. Don’t write with an audience in mind, write for the characters

For me: Don’t people please, do your job!

For you: What processes are in place to ensure your authenticity & genuine quality throughout your work? 

5. Control your characters

For me: Have your ideas, do not let them consume you. Bridle your brilliance.

For you: What measures do you have in place to ensure structure and a delineation from what’s personal? Where is your line and how are your drawing it?

6. Plot is like melody; it doesn’t need to be complicated

Morrison front loads themes and motifs so that she can repeat or weave them throughout the whole work. 

For me: Show people what I am talking about, what I am made of, who I am from the start.

For you: What does your melody, themes, or motif sound like? How will you be consistent in the music so people can hear the connection and patterns?

7. Style, like jazz, involves endless practice and restraint

For me: Restraint- it’s easy to have your instrument blaring at full volume, but it takes true skill to restain and be craftful to make people want to listen.

For you: How are capturing the attention of your audience whether it’s a superior, a love interest, a presentation or plan.  How have you practiced for the performance?

8. Be yourself, but be aware of tradition

For me: Clear message here for me. As a queer black guy, I am not seen in most spaces. In non-queer spaces I blend, and in queer spaces, I am often times invisible and not included in the number for consideration. I mention this because it’s important to understand who you are in order to be clear on where you should or should not go in life. I am learning to be myself in whatever space in which I am kept. I am still aware that social stigma, beliefs and prejudices, ignorance, violence and discrimiation may be a result of me simply being. 

For you; What traditions prevent you from operating or showing up fully in your life?

What barriers does society place on you? Which barriers are you aware that you have placed upon yourself?


Our History: About D&A Consulting Services

being a (re)source for those in the community who are marginalized and sidelined by a lack of social and emotional support. “- D. Ray

In 1988, our founder was diagnosed with Visual Perception Deficiency / Visuospatial Deficit Disorder as well as Attention Deficit Disorder without the feature of hyperactivity.

This diagnosis was the springboard to early civic engagement with the local CHADD (Children with ADHD) chapter. In addition to local advocacy groups, there was early proliferation of educational activism including: Individualized Education Plan as well as academic accommodations for the classroom and for standardized testing.

All of this firsthand data led to years of self- discovery and research into how people think, behave, and feel. In the early part of their 30’s, our founder realized they met the criteria as a Sexual and Gender Minority based on their lived identity.

Although for decades the performance, expression and presentation of gender was binary and traditional; this was not a static reality. They were left with processing the pathology of their own gender minority status on one hand, and the clarity, insight, cohesion or oneness self on the other hand.

How/ where do you deal with the fullness of minorities who by definition usually don’t have sufficient data nor visibility. Who are they, what do we do when we find people of full experiences who don’t align with presumed cultural, sexual, gender, or physical ability standards?

This my friends is what D &A Consulting created its mission around.

Our target is to strategize in decreasing unemployment and increasing mental health accessibility for LGBTQ people of color. Using our training and capacity building as helping professionals along with our ability to identify with LGBTQ people of color; by providing mental health services through job coaching, individual and group therapy, cultural competency training for employers, educating the public on gaps in physical or mental capabilities, personal, and professional development for clientele; while being a (re)source for those in the community who are marginalized and sidelined by a lack of social and emotional support..”- D. Ray, Founder

#100DaysOfAcceptance (Day 2)

Disabled, but not really

From Bro. Wesley Hamilton (FB)

Ok, here’s the full video…. Please share as I want everyone to understand why I do what I do. Everything has always been from personal experience. I believe we all have a story and if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to share it then maybe just maybe it can be the beginning to your freedom. And the start of someone else’s healing…

Disabled but Not Really mission is to educate and empower individuals with disabilities, improving awareness and inspiring new goals. We provide fitness grants to individuals with disabilities who want to focus on fitness but can’t afford the training. We also support the local KC community through KChange which provides water and care packages to those who are less fortunate. The Distrikc that’s focused on empowering inner city youth. Advocating for mentally and physically healthy lifestyles is invigorating — just wait until you see what’s next!

Learn more: Disabledbutnotreally.org
Donate: https://disabledbutnotreally.org/give/

Day 2- #100DaysOfAcceptance

♿, … but 🚫⛔ really…

This day is dedicated to an intentional representation of people of African descent who may have been born with or acquired a disability.

We don’t have many spaces that center our humanity while doing to solve the dilemmas that we encounter.

Being disabled is hard, being black, (not rich) while disabled could prove a tragedy…

This organization a prime radical acceptance!
Disabled but not really was founded by Bro. Wesley Hamilton

They say that we’re disabled. They say we can’t or shouldn’t…

We are disabled, but not really…

One Hundred Days of Acceptance #100DaysOfAcceptance

My new project for my Master’s Degree
100 Days of Acceptance …

Day One:

I took my insecurities, my body, and control all at the same time. I showed up in a space today where I didn’t think that I belonged…

I was WRONG. That’s why I am kicking off 100 Days of Acceptance & #blackselfcare with myself.

Today I HAD to prove to myself that I was worth saving…

Share your observation or experience around black self care….

Links, pics, posts, and shares all are welcome!


My time doing laps…. continuously!

Mentorship 101: #RulesOfTheDraft

For our podcast, we will explore the process of vetting or selecting a mentor. In order to do this we will consider the following: #WhoIsYourTeam ?

1. Eligibility: According to (Wilson & Elman, 1990), “a mentee should choose a mentor that free of conflict of interest or presumed judgmental aspects.” This is important because a mentor should be chosen with consideration of how the satisfy the minimum requirements through credential, lived experience, availability and commitment. An eligible mentor should be weighed against any potential deficiencies that could detract from a healthy relationship. (Luckey, 2009, p. 9) reports, “Mentors are selected based upon a set of characteristics and criteria that are
deemed critical.” This is why the first step is to effectively qualify your mentor for the process.

2. The Process: The first step in mentorship formation is the initial contact. This phase is what the American Psychological Association calls a “matching process through professional or social interactions between potential mentors and mentees can get better acquainted with one another. This is the phase where both parties can determine if the relationship is worth the time (American Psychological Association, 2006).” The goal of initiation is to establish rapport, boundaries, expectations and common ground.

Next, the relationship begins to take formation and develop structure. According to , structured time and activities refers to the organization, rules, boundaries, and activities that aid in establishing structure for mentoring time. The mentors who strategize to focus on mentor/ mentee roles are those who pay attention to his or her responsibility as a mentor/ mentee, including but not limited to being supportive, encouraging, and motivating, encouraging goal setting, and empathizing with my mentee (Weiler et al, 2015). This structure allows the relationship to be sustainable.

(Johnson, 2002) offers, “Effective mentors are explicit when it comes to defining and clarifying their own expectations and those of proteges. Prior to committing to a mentorship, psychologists clarify their expectations regarding how the relationship will look and what it will incorporate. This includes some discussion of expected mentor functions (e.g., support, encouragement, research collaboration, creation of opportunities), degree of mutuality, and range of appropriate contexts for interaction (Kram, 1985; O’Neil & Wrightsman, 2001). Wise mentors revisit these issues as the relationship unfolds and conduct ongoing evaluations of the health and value of the mentorship.” This is the biggest piece and the longest phase of ironing out the logistics within a mentoring relationship. It is crucial for both parties to understand capacity and bandwidth of the relationship, and the network that may be offered as a consequence of the relationship. This is where anyone would probably spend the most time developing, fine tuning and growing.

Stay tuned for #RulesoftheDraft Part II of the series where we will address: indecisiveness within the mentoring relationship, addressing challenges or areas of opportunities that may arise as well as what to do once needs change or you grow outside of the existing offerings of that mentor/ mentee relationship. #MentorshipMatters

“Forbearers and the Proliferation of a Legacy: Tips for understanding the not so ‘Nuclear’ Family”

`“We live in an era of metamodernism / transmodernism, which shall be defined as the mercurial condition between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons. … It must be art’s role to explore the promise of its own paradoxical ambition by coaxing excess towards presence.” (Turner, 2011)

This post serves as the antithesis concerning the epistemology of the nuclear family as a systemic default in order to more adequately survey the function of family structures. This lens will provide metadata that will inform the tips used to understand non-traditional families in a new way.

Tip One: Understand the current cultural definitions of ‘family’

“One definition of family that is exclusively biological does not reflect the reality of modern multicultural populations and contemporary social practice” (Burns McGrath & Edwards, 2009).

“The definition of family is dynamic, with change over time and within group variation. For example, the Western postmodern family has looser kinship ties than in the past, with relationships that are diverse and fluid (Stacey, 1998). Blended, adoptive, and gay families, as well as those resulting from a variety of assisted reproductive technologies, place an emphasis on choice rather than genetics. For many, family is about social relationships and not solely concerned with the transfer of genes from one generation to the next (Finkler, 2001; Lévi-Strauss, 1969; Peletz, 1995). Non-biological social factors, such as role behavior, determine family membership” (Burns McGrath & Edwards, 2009).

In today’s world we have to understand that, metamodernism calls for consideration in its reconstruction of previous eras. These far-fetched practices stand to “upend almost all of our traditional cultural understandings of gender and reproduction” (Allen 3). Furthermore Allen submits in response to findings that sperm and eggs can potentially be created from skin cells, “there’s no telling what human reproduction will look like by the end of the century” (Allen 2) (Arrowsmith, 2018).

Tip Two: Understand the historicity of chosen social units and families:

In many family units non-biological guardians and caregivers take on the responsibility of cultivating the safety, growth, security and protection of another member. This is not just evident in the general population, but also true in the LGBTQ community.

In the 1980’s with the HIV epidemic and low availability of social support and healthcare, families called “houses” began to form. These were (invite only) selections of a manufactured family unit. These were bonded ties although often times not legal entities. These houses still demonstrated the power of social structure as it relates to the reshaping of public health and culture of the family unit.  This also intensified a few years back during the massacre at Pulse nightclub. Unbeknownst to the general public there was a reformation of chosen families and self-selected social units that have power and hold weight in shifting the social fabric.

The legal and ethical implications are part of the digital footprint of how social identities are captured and handled. Although not prescriptive, this may serve as an indication of how social identifies have outgrown antiquated measures of heteronormativity (Kaplan, 2014).

Tip Three: Understand gender vs. sex

Gender is presentation and performative while sex is biological. There are only a select range of genotypic results in humans: male, female, or intersex (which often may be categorized as either male or female). There are a sundry of phenotypic gender expressions, presentations, and performances that show up in humans e.g. – masculine, feminine, androgynous, non-binary, bi-gender etc. It is imperative to understand the roles of both sex and gender as it could relate to family systems. These diverse non-conforming attributes provide a different flavors or constellations of the family make up in a transmodern or metamodern world (DeToy, 2017).

Tip 4: Understand transmodernity and metamodernism

Shifts of culture as humanity, technology, science and culture converge. We can no longer deem our social structures restricted to the confines of genetics, but broaden the understanding of family and its impact beyond what gender roles were previously understood, outside the political power that continues to exist, and accepting the flow and evolution of how humans are actually relating and connecting.

Transmodernism is both continuous and discontinuous with Postmodernism. For Rodríguez Magda, transmodernity is characterized by a continuation, transcendence, and critique of the two earlier periods—modernity and postmodernity—entailing a change in human perception and thus in the understanding and representation of reality [1]. There is no real break, “hence the necessity to abandon the prefix ‘post-’, but a fluid return to a reconfiguration of the previous phases” (Aliaga-Lavrijsen, 2018).

Transmodernity provides a completely different concept of science and technology. […] Science and technology, as with all human actions, have to be reoriented towards world citizens’ desire for a sustainable and socially inclusive world. They have to respond and become ‘responsible’” [47] (p.42) (Aliaga-Lavrijsen, 2018)

In addition, Trans-modernity gives us the necessary political and epistemological position to transcend all (post)essentialist contradictions and treatments of race, gender, tradition, culture, economy, etc., and to create a ‘ground zero’ of biosphere politics without inherent domination and superiority of one over another. Once the grounds of shared risk, vulnerability and interconnectedness of all humans occupying our Earth are acknowledged; a true dialogue without patronization can be created (Aliaga-Lavrijsen, 2018).

In essence, when considering the epistemology and social construct of family; it is imperative to also consider cultural and political shifts that affect how we live, develop, and how the historicity of data that is written or digitized about what families can be. Families are not necessitated upon genetic findings. Families do actively exist and thrive as political and social resistance in this day in age. Families are fluid and have amended the normative presumption that come along with tradition. Families are legacy building entities to which societal and global subsequently respond.

In conclusion, Families are not necessitated upon genetic findings. Families do actively exist and thrive as political and social resistance in this day in age. Families are fluid and have amended the normative presumption that come along with tradition.


Can I just share (1) thing I am learning while working as a counselor?
#Boundries cause people’s lives to completely change… #mentalDNA #RaysUp