black mental health, community, conversation, culture, mental health, mental health, nursing, podcast, self help, Society

The Revealing Reasons Why I Am Grateful My Dad Was A Racist 

Why Witnessing Injustice on a Daily Basis was Necessary for My Purpose and Calling

By: Christine Zethraus, PMHNP-BC

A picture of Christine with her father
Christine (7th grade) and Charlie (Dad).
He picked me up in Fort Worth, TX after my mother kicked me out.
I was on my way to Georgia to live with him for a year.

Boy oh Boy…what a year that was!

Growing Up….

Growing up and being raised partly by a loud, obnoxious, alcoholic, drug fueled, racist father was draining. I am a lover by nature so having a parent who was the extreme opposite of myself was challenging to say the least. My father and I were polar opposites in our approach to life. He was harsh, crass, vulgar, and forceful. I am pensive, reflective, laid back, and try to see things from many perspectives. 

I ask a lot of questions. I crave truth and seek the other side of the story. My father made a lot of assumptions about others. And built his stubborn house there. 

Beginning of My Gratitude for my Racist Father…

Now, don’t get me wrong. I can be loud, relentless, in your face, challenging, and forceful when it comes to unfair treatment of others. This is where my gratitude for my racist father begins. He taught me sometimes IT IS necessary to get loud when you are fighting for what you believe in. It is necessary to be vocally forceful. Sometimes your approach is needs to be challenging and drain others I suppose.

Unfortunately, I can also have these same qualities when I feel personally betrayed in romantic relationships…ugh.

That story for another time. (hint: daddy issues)

Hearing the N-Word was Essential in my Childhood…

Hearing my Father say the N-Word constantly was absolutely necessary to my upbringing. Watching my father scream racist remarks to folks minding their own business driving by was imperative. Observing violence and constantly feeling fear in my Father’s presence was essential to my childhood. Being afraid of the person, parent, father figure, family member who looked like me was fundamental. 

My Purpose in this Life…

Why in the world would I ever say such a thing? Why would I say my Father’s violent behaviors and racist mindset were an essential part of my childhood? 


I would never have cared about any other issues outside of my own race, culture, economic status, education, and upbringing had I not experienced my racist Father’s wrath of misguided hate towards others. Along with his misguided hate towards me at times. Being front lines to daily injustice shaped who I am. Shaped my mission in this world.

I had to physically feel injustice. I had to emotionally feel injustice. I had to intellectually feel injustice. I had to encompass the enormity of all sides of to care, ask questions, reflect about the Injustices of different races, cultures, economic statuses, education and healthcare disparities. I HAD to experience, witness, feel the hate and fear of it all in order for ME to see the multiple sides of the injustice coin. 

And now……

I find solutions by seeking other’s truth, ask questions, and do my best to see it all from many perspectives.  

Check out my youtube Channel Below:

Healing Cycles of Abuse | Episode 31 | the adversity

Thank you to all my listeners, readers who are making the bold decision to heal! Healing truly is a choice. A choice you deserve.

The other side of that mountain of fear is waiting for your authentic self & your authentic happiness you are so worthy of.

-Christine Zethraus, Mental Health NP
conversation, culture, divorce, mental health, podcast, self help

episode 29: the path (My Bold Conversation with The Path Podcast Host and Speaker-Coach Arlene Bolden-Korleh)


What if your path was planned since you were a little girl? What if you had a path of getting married, having children, a successful job, and living happily ever? What if your path changed without warning instantly crushing your hopes and dreams? 

My bold conversation with Arlene Bolden-Korleh about her unexpected journey of her path to divorce is honest, thoughtful, and enlightening.

Arlene’s podcast, The Path, eloquently describes itself as our “survival guide of BOLD sisters whose hopes & dreams takes a detour – forcing disappointments – to turning obstacles into opportunities.” Arlene turning her pain and disappointment into a passion to help other women is truly inspiring.

Arlene Bolden-Korleh is the creator and podcast host of The Path. Arlene is a Certified Speaker-Coach, and Consultant for the John Maxwell Team. She is a Motivator, Confidence Builder, The One Who Believes Purpose Is Bigger than obstacles!

Arlene’s Resources: 

Listen to Arlene’s podcast The Path here on Apple Podcast. The Path Podcast here on Buzzsprout. 

Listen to Arlene interview me about my coronavirus journey, my dysfunctional childhood, and how my racist alcoholic father impacted my own  path. Arlene asked me the uncomfortable questions this time. 

Connect with Arlene on Instagram | Twitter | FB

Email Arlene at if you have a BOLD story to tell on her podcast 

Christine’s Resources:  

Thank You to all the listeners for giving this podcast healing wings! I am forever grateful.

Connect with Christine onTwitter | Instagram | Blog | Facebook | Youtube 

Check out The Family Burritopodcast Christine makes with her sister Jessie — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. — Send in a voice message:

How Coronavirus Saved My Life Podcast Episode 23: the stigma
black mental health, community, culture, experts, mental health, podcast, self help, Society, Stigma, therapist, therapy

episode 23: the stigma (Solutions to Mental Health Stigma in the Black Community: A Panel Discussion)


Mental Health experts and advocates discuss solutions to mental health stigma in the black community

Meet the Panel: 

Adris  Moffett,LCSW-S “Your Classy Therapist”

Danny  Ross, LPC-S, Author, Public Speaker, Specialized Research Therapy in African-American Families, podcast host 

Jarred Denzel, Mental Health Advocate who’s goal is to normalize mental health and end the stigma

Christine Zethraus, Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Podcast Host

Topics Discussed: 

  • Why each panel member was drawn to mental health
  • Why normalizing mental health in the black community is important 
  • Why black men have avoidant attachment style in relationships 
  • How the black community reacts to suicide 
  • Ways to decrease judgement and shame when discussing suicide 
  • Listening without responding 
  • Creating safe space when discussing emotions 
  • Normalizing depression discussion
  • Church being a solution to reducing mental health stigma 
  • How living with your family doesn’t mean you’re a family 

This episode is sponsored by Anchor. It’s the easiest way to make a podcast

How Coronavirus Saved My Life Podcast here 

Check out The Family Burrito Podcast Christine makes with her sister Jessie here

Disclaimer: The information and recommendations in this Podcast are only opinions of the host and guests of the How Coronavirus Saved My Life Podcast.  — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. — Send in a voice message:


How Coronavirus Saved My Life Podcast picture of Christine's Genealogy book
Personal, Podcast, Racism, Mental Health, Coronavirus

How Embracing the Ugly Side of Your Family’s History is Healing

Why It’s Important to Yourself and the World

By Christine Zethraus, PMHNP/Podcaster

Part One:

A year ago today, March 01, 2021, my Father died. The Father who exposed me to violence, hatred, racism, chaos, distorted boundaries, and my main example of a Man, died year ago today.

Prior to his death, I had made amends with him, began to unwind his conditioning, and began to see him from a different perspective. I was able to ask him questions from a purely inquisitive state, not from a emotionally wounded child one.

After his death, I found our family’s genealogy book in a box of his. The genealogy book starts in the 1800s. I did not recognize any of the names nor had heard of any of my ancestors listed. I was surprised to discover we came from Louisiana, Alabama, Virginia, and South Carolina.

As I skimmed through this genealogy book, I became horrified. I found an itemized inventory and appraisement of my family’s property such as farm equipment, combs, farm animals, dishes, wagons, etc. Then last on the property lists were the enslaved people my family owned. I placed it back in the box for a year. Until now.

How Coronavirus Saved My Life Podcast picture of Christine's Genealogy book
Embracing the Ugly Side of your Family‘s Genealogy Book

I decided to read my family’s genealogy book again, this time with an open inquisitive mind. This was extremely difficult as one of the enslaved children my ancestors owned had the same name as my daughter for the price of $200. I was horrified again.

Until someone gave me a different perspective.

I am so fortunate to have people in my life who create a safe space for me to ask uncomfortable questions and allow me to discuss topics which may be uncomfortable for them. During a phone call with my close friend, who is an African-American male from the East Coast, I expressed my horror, shock, and disgust about my family’s genealogy book listing the enslaved people they owned. I expressed the need to write about my feelings as a therapeutic release. I was highly emotional and ready to write a blog full of upsetting expression.

My sweet friend’s response to my highly charged emotions and my desire to write an emotional piece on my family owning enslaved people was almost just as shocking as my family’s genealogy book.

His response was….

“Embrace it”

Excuse me? Embrace the fact my family owned wives, fathers, children, mothers, daughter, sons all while calling the women wenches? Excuse me! Embrace it? No! Never was my immediate response.

A picture of page from genealogy book listing price of enslaved people my family owned
One of the lists of enslaved people my family owned

However, I calmed down and listened to my trusted friend. A friend who grew up in tough places for a black man on the East Coast where he had to assimilate and codeswitch depending on the environment. A man who is now a leader in educating young adults in the Diversity and Inclusion World. I knew if HE was telling me to embrace the ugly side of my family’s history then this a powerful moment where I can use my voice to help others do the same.

But I didn’t just change my mind instantly. I needed to really figure out what the word “Embrace” meant to me and how choosing this way of looking at my family enslaving people did not include agreeing with it.


Check Out How Coronavirus Saved My Life Podcast–episode 17: the assumption
black history, Personal, Podcast, Racism, Mental Health, Coronavirus, Society

How Coronavirus Saved My Life Podcast: episode 20

The conditioning (Society’s Conditioned View of the Black Man Experience)

Sneak Peak into my conversation with Podcaster Willie Porter from The Thing About Us Podcast

My Conversation with Willie Porter about his personal experience
My father and I at a company picnic.
black history, Personal, Podcast, Racism, Mental Health, Coronavirus, racism, Society

My Racist Father, How his Racism Affected me….

How Hearing my Father Say the N-Word Frequently Affected Me

Growing up with a racist father was exhausting. I have many memories of us riding around in his car. He would scream the N-word to other drivers he felt were driving stupidly. He wouldn’t just say the N-word. The word “stupid” or “dumb” always came before. Hearing “Stupid N***er” growing up was confusing, terrifying, and strange. He never explained how these people were “stupid” or what the N-word meant. My young body told me all I needed to know. My body would become tense and nauseated. My body still tenses when I recall these memories.

My first memory of my father was of him threatening to shoot my Mother. He was pacing the living room, on drugs, and full of hate. I remember being in freeze mode as my Mother and Step-Father were knocking on the windows calling my name outside. This was on Thanksgiving.

My first memory of Thanksgiving was violence.

How ironic.

Because of his racism, I have always been drawn to other cultures and races. Especially the African American culture and community. I have always been a seeker asking many questions– particularly when it comes to injustice. I think on some level I was trying to find the evidence of my racist Father’s misguided hatred. There was none. What I did find were loving communities, big families, good food, and the BEST churches.

Christine as a teenager and her racist father at a work party
Me (age 15 or 16) and my father

I was 15 the first time I went to a Black Church. The JOY was infectious. I remember wondering why everyone was so HAPPY. I had never seen happiness on that level in my life. My body had a different response this time. A response of pure LOVE which I had never felt. A response I am forever grateful for.

The African American Community showed me what LOVE is. More importantly, what LOVE feels like. It felt like a SAFE warm blanket surrounding me.

Towards the end of my father’s life he began to change his mind. My last video of him is being dumbfounded our family once owed slaves. I couldn’t believe what he was saying so I had to record it. I am so glad I did because he was not hopeless. He was not born racist. He was conditioned to be racist by my racist Grandmother. She was conditioned as well.

My father left me one MORE surprise after his death. Most of the people he hired to handle his affairs before he died were African American. He hired those “stupid” people to handle his most important documents.

How ironic.

Confederate soldiers grave marker outside my racist grandmother's cemetery
Personal, Podcast, Racism, Mental Health, Coronavirus, podcast, racism, Society

My Racist Grandmother…

How her Hatred and Racism Affected me

Yesterday, I felt my dead racist Grandmother was summoning me to visit her grave.

One of those gut following kind of things. I had never visited her grave all these years she’s been dead. She is buried not far from my house in a grave next to my Uncle.

When I was a kid she would tell me things like I was not allowed to swim with black people because it was “like bathing with them”. She viewed black Americans as animals.

She was horrible to everyone in general.

Her racism, along with other family members, is most likely the reason I have always been drawn to non-white cultures and ethnicities.

My Grandmother was physically beautiful. Classic 1950s movie star look with perfectly curled hair from rollers. Skin always shiny. Obsessed with her weight. She had a great sense of fashion. In fact, she owned a popular dress shop back in the day.

There was little beauty on the inside. Masculine and tough to the core.

During my 20 min drive I kept wondering why she wanted to be buried in this particular cemetery. And here it was. My answer.

Confederate grave marker
Confederate Grave Maker

She wanted to be buried with her hatred

She had so much hatred in her racist heart.

When she died years ago, she almost died alone with no family until I decided, with help of my friend, to be there with her. She died within minutes of me arriving.

Visiting her cemetery and seeing this marker caused many emotions to come flooding back. Emotions buried so deeply of her abuse to myself and others.

I am grateful I followed my gut. Why? Because I released all that buried anger, hurt, and confusion. I have been storing and repressing those emotions deep in my body and soul.

Now I can move on. Now I can help myself and others heal.

I am so happy to have so many beautiful people in my life with huge hearts.

It’s a reflection of you and a reflection of me.