Oftentimes those of us who have broken the shackles of mental slavery look at other black people who are still “sleep” with a level of disdain, forgetting that we too once didn’t know what we know now. We must understand the impact of 400 plus years of brutality, oppression, rape, slavery, and racism has on the collective.
So what exactly is Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome?
Dr. Joy DeGruy developed this theory over a 12 year period and compiled her findings in her extraordinary book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome– America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.
Here is a summary of the book and the theory from joydegruy.com:
“P.T.S.S. is a theory that explains the etiology of many of the adaptive survival behaviors in African American communities throughout the United States and the Diaspora. It is a condition that exists as a consequence of multigenerational oppression of Africans and their descendants resulting from centuries of chattel slavery. A form of slavery which was predicated on the belief that African Americans were inherently/genetically inferior to whites. This was then followed by institutionalized racism which continues to perpetuate injury.”
Until we learn how to deal with the psychological collateral damage of this American experience it will be difficult to establish a positive foundation within ourselves individually and as a collective unit.
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome creates a subservient consciousness, a “can’t do” attitude, low self-esteem, and many other associated self-destructive states of mind.
Healing can only began once we address the problem, learn how to fix it, and then take the necessary steps that follow.