Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome & More…

Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome : Prof. James Smalls and more

// Written by RBGStreetScholar on // Apr-24-08 9:18pm2008-04-24T21:18:46 From:
Professor James Small was born in 1945, on Arcadia plantation, located on the banks of the Waccamaw River.

Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing by Joy DeGruy Leary, Ph.D.,

Foreword by Randall Robinson

When African-Americans accept the deprecating accounts and images portrayed by the media, literature, music and the arts as a true mirror of themselves, we are actually allowing ourselves to be socialized by a racist society.

Evidence of racist socialization can be readily seen when African-American children limit their aspirations… It can be seen when we use the accumulation of material things as the measure of self-worth and success.

So, in spite of all our forbears who worked to survive and gain their freedom; in spite of the efforts of all those who fought for civil rights… we are continually being socialized by this society to undervalue ourselves, to undermine our own efforts and, ultimately, to hate ourselves. We are raising our children only to watch America tear them down.

Uptone Press-Hardcover, $24.95246 pages, illus.

Today, the legacy of slavery remains etched in our souls. Understanding the role our past plays in our present attitudes, outlooks, mindsets and circumstances is important if we are to free ourselves from the spiritual, mental and emotional shackles that bind us today, shackles that limit what we believe we can be, do and have. Understanding the Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome plays in our evolution may be the key that helps to set us on the path to well-being.

Excerpted from Chapter 5, Slavery’s Child

Dr. Leary
Dr. Leary

Dr. Leary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, a master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), a master’s degree in Psychology, and a PhD in Social Work Research. She is an Assistant Professor at Portland State University. With over twenty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work, she gives workshop attendees practical insight into various cultural and ethnic groups that form the basis of contemporary American society. Dr. Leary’s workshops also go far beyond the topic of cultural sensitivity; she provides specialized clinical work in areas of mental health and ecological resilience.

Book Review below by Kam Williams

You know an experience has been transformational when it repeatedly brings you to the brink of tears, and this is exactly what transpired while poring over the pages of Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. For me, reading this sensitive exploration of the African-American psyche was the emotional equivalent of an all-day session on a shrink’s couch, as I felt many pangs of recognition as layer after layer of deep-seated traumas were diagnosed and discussed, not as personal neuroses, but as the plausible, predictable, and shared response of many blacks to the predicament of being raised in a racist society.

The author, Joy DeGruy Leary, Ph.D. is nothing short of brilliant in the way in which she approaches the subject, prodding you to place present-day behaviors in a proper historical context. Plus, Dr. Leary, a Professor of Social Work at Portland State University, draws on her 18 years of practical work in the field dedicated to mental health and cultural resilience. For it is her contention that the subjugation of African-Americans did not end with slavery and that freedom only meant the master’s whip was replaced by the illusion of equality and opportunity.

This was witnessed in the Jim Crow laws, lynchings, de facto segregation, grandfather clauses, poll taxes, restrictive covenants, redlining, gentrification and other assorted measures which arose to maintain the status quo. In reaction to the ongoing oppression, black people developed an identifiable set of survival skills, some of which were self-destructive.

And it is these harmful symptoms which Dr. Leary is interested in eliminating in order to put her people on the road to healing.

So, after initially expressing the notion that the dysfunction found in African-Americans is nothing to be ashamed of, she exhibits all the care and concern of a doting parent in discussing the introspective path to rebuilding one’s self-esteem. Easier said than done, this involves many steps, perhaps the most difficult being a long, hard look in the mirror to know oneself. For only after confronting and exorcising some societal demons, will one be well enough to interrelate with one’s community from a fresh perspective, as a tender person, fully-informed, considerate and uncompromisingly honest.

Required reading, or should I say therapy, for every African-American.

Related Link: Afrikan- Centered Cultural Development and Education/log/rss


About willbe1960

About Me:
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome & More…

  1. heather says:

    I can hardly wait for Monday to get to a bookstore! Your blog sends a powerful punch to me as a woman not just because i have white skin and grew up in overt racist times (b.1955) but also as a mother-in-law of a ‘first generation’ Canadian-Ghanian. The man in the middle of the first picture looks so very much like my son-in-law’s friend, it stunned me.

    My grandchildren live and thrive and struggle in a bi-cultural home. All of our backgrounds (including mine as a person with mental health issues) are discovered through our daily interactions and we work hard to be thoughtful toward the differences in cultural training we received. Blending two traditions is not always easy but so so so worth it!

    The reason i came to your blog is because i have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (complex and chronic) and the topic interested me. I look forward to reading this book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s