Since 1865, the United States has been suffering from an unacknowledged malady, and nope, I'm not talking about racism, even though it's unfortunately still part of the American body politic. Racism predates 1865.
What I'm talking about is PTSS. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.
Even though it's been almost 150 years since my peeps emancipation from chattel slavery, whether people want to admit it or not, it has had debilitating effects on former slave and former slave owner alike.
A primary example of it happened in April with our different perceptions about the Confederacy. While whites with Southern heritage mourn the 'Lost Cause' and extol the virtues of brave Confederate soldiers, myself and other African descended Americans see them as traitorous racist oppressors who sought to keep us in permanent servitude.
It has had negative effects on our national politics and race relations. African Americans are still judged by racist myths that originated during slavery. Our negative economic status today vis a vis whites is rooted in the fact that the weatlth that whites built up was at the expense of my ancestors 246 years of uncompensated labor and then spending another 100 years locking us out of various occupations thanks to Jim Crow laws.
Some of the colorism issues we have within the African American community can be traced back to America's original sin as well.
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing is a book by Portland State University professor Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary that tackles how the aftermath of slavery has negatively effected African-Americans to this day.
She argues that both overt and subtle forms of racism have damaged the collective African-American psyche—harm manifested through poor mental and physical health, family and relationship dysfunction, and self-destructive impulses.
Leary suggests that African Americans (and other people of color) can ill afford to wait for the dominant culture to realize the qualitative benefits of undoing racism. The real recovery from the ongoing trauma of slavery and racism has to start from within, she says, beginning with a true acknowledgment of the resilience of African-American culture.
Sounds like it's an intriguing book that I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to read.