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Thursday, March 5, 2009

DR. LEARY SPEAKS ON: POST TRAUMATIC SLAVE SYNDROME

I pulled this down from Youtube and was not only impressed, but enlightened by her analysis. What she talks about here is directly related to what I've experienced myself in my relationships. Check out the segment I've included. Double click the picture to go to Youtube and put all 11 segments together in one playlist so they can be played as one video.


She also has a book out that can be purchased at Amazon or Half.com, under the same title. Read the book or view the video and realize just how significant the impact of slavery is in our present situation.

Every year Congressman John Conyers reintroduces H.R. 40 in Congress. This bill calls for the establishment of a committee to study the need for reparations and a method of delivering them to the sons and daughter of Africa in America. Dr. Leary's thesis that we continue to suffer from Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is powerful. She's been able to explain, in short order, why we react to certain situations and cues the way we do.

I lived in Los Angeles, CA for 10 years. I still refer to L.A. as "Hell A." I loved living in a place with a moderate temperature and a star studded background, but it took its toll on my psyche. The first five years I had very few valuables, other than my life. But, during those five years that primary valuable was always in jeopardy. When I first moved to the city I didn't know who to be more afraid of the police or the gangs. I figured the police could shoot you on purpose and call it justifiable homicide (legal lynching). The gangs might shoot you and they'd call it collateral damage. I didn't know anyone who got shot by the police in all my years in L.A., but I did see a drive by go down, when I lived in Compton and I did know of someone who got shot outside a party in a driveby. So, the possibility was there of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But, for me and many others, as well, the everyday threat was that my vehicles would be burglarized, vandalized or just broken into. That happened on a regular basis. It got to the point that I knew who was doing it, but was powerless to do anything about it, for fear of retribution.

I moved from Hollywood to Costa Mesa, in Orange County, CA. Life was sublime there, but the mother of my children would get pulled over by the police all the time. So, everything was not right. Finally, we moved out of state to Seattle, WA in the early 90's. We bought a brand new vehicle after selling our late model VW's and things began to feel "normal." It still took one year for me to realize that I was, in fact, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It dawned on me one day that the fear I had in L.A. of my vehicle being towed, or ticketed by the police, because we had to park on the street; the fear of the Cholos using my car as a drug drop; the fear of parts of my car, that would incapacitate it coming up missing, for no reason; the fear of my battery, headlights, car seat, etc. coming up missing, for no reason was unreasonable, because we had moved into a totally different environment.

That whole process took one year. Imagine if my wife had been raped! Imagine if I had been physically assaulted! Imagine if I had been torn away from my children as they were sold down the river. Imagine if many of the things that we came to experience during slavery had happened to us, not in secret, but right out in the open. I just read a tale description of one of the most barbaric punishments imaginable, where women would be stuffed with gunpowder and blown up in front of the slave community. This was domestic terrorism at its worst. Imagine the impact that would have on the children, born and unborn, the men and the women.

I've got a relative who lives in the north and refuses to return to Georgia, the land of her birth, because her mother was shot to death by a White man while she was in her arms. Now, this relative is more than grown, she's in her 70's or 80's, but the pain of that occurrence is ever present. How could slavery have been any milder. Certainly, the after effects continue to ripple like the waves, not on a pond, but on the ocean, because these incidents didn't end with the demise of plantation slavery. Following slavery we lived through reconstruction and the subsequent development of the Klan, The Knights of the White Camellia, The John Birch Society and numerous other groups of White Nationalists, so called patriots, who are still with us today.

We continue to read stories in the daily news of brutal acts committed by Whites on Black people from all across this nation. We continually see reports of white mobs, individuals and organizations perpetuating violent acts on members of our community for no other reason than they can do it and get away with it. So, the trauma of slavery, the stain of slavery still covers this nation like a pall.

Dr. Carol Swain claims that asking for reparations would be upsetting to whites and that really all we need is an apology. An apology would be a start, but it cannot be the end result, for an apology negates the fact that not only was harm caused in the past, but that we continue to be harmed in the present, because there were no long lasting consequences for the heinous crimes committed by the slave owners and their affiliates under color of law.

It wasn't just the acts that were grievous, it was the laws themselves, which is why we should, in all honesty charge the U.S. government with crimes against humanity and seek remuneration. They would have us believe that to pay such a price would be foolish, because we wouldn't know how to spend it. Bogus, that's never brought up when someone sues for real, psychological and emotional damages in court. They would have us believe that we're just a bunch of lazy nerdowells, negating the fact that we built this "great country" that everyone wants to immigrate to. They'd have us believe that our plight is due to our own lack of vision and planning, when they know darn well that they continue to place stumbling blocks in our path, at every turn.

At this point we'd love if the playing field could be leveled. But at the same time part of leveling that playing field should include reparations for damages that have been and continue to be done to the members of our community separately and collectively.

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