Her attention to how The Middle Passage and enslavement dehumanized whites is so badly needed. She infers that the decolonization of the white mind is just as urgent as Fanon's project of psychic decolonization of the minds of black people, or escape from a 'slave mentality' a la the Willie Lynch letter.
Much of her historical information is illuminating, and her main argument - that, due to their history of slavery, African-Americans perforce had to learn methods of coping that have been handed down through the generations, and which are no longer serving them well - simply makes sense. Dr. De Gruy Leary is excellent on the trauma of slavery, and her personal stories (on how to teach and motivate a group of learning-disabled African-American tweens, for example) are illuminating. Blumenbach is arguing that modern humans originated in Georgia, in the Caucasus: "For, in the first place, the stock (Georgian) displays . ..skull bones being white lead him to the conclusion that Europeans were the first humans?" But that's clearly not what the quote says. Dr. De Gruy Leary is quite right to say that, from this false assumption - that Georgians from the Caucasus were the first humans - Blumenbach is making statements that can't be proven and therefore aren't science. Therefore, he insisted "Africans were not inferior to the rest of mankind 'concerning healthy faculties of understanding, excellent natural talents and mental capacities'.4 (quoted in Wikipedia.) Blumenbach was distressed when his arguments were taken up by racists, and argued passionately against racism. This book was uncomfortable for me, as a European American, to read.
An eye-opening, mind-blowing look at race relations in American society-- from a perspective grounded in history, psychology, and sociology. As a white person who has recently found herself more and more a part of predominantly black communities, I was eager to understand a little more of the experience of people of African American descent in the United States, historically and currently. With this understanding I have dedicated my life to helping the children of the African Diaspora, particularly those whose history is wrapped up in the history of America." (Pg. 5) "As a result of centuries of slavery and oppression, most white Americans in their thoughts as well as actions believe themselves superior to blacks.
I am glad I read this book and I think more people should know about it.
The third chapter is about the abuses, physical & mental, endured by black people by being taken from Africa, going through the middle passage & everything that happened once in America to them & anyone born into slavery. The last two chapters are about how these things affect black people today & a call to find a way to fix it. The despair, hopelessness, lack of strong cultural foundation, low self-esteem, all play a part in how black people navigate through the world. The effects this has on the self-esteem on the people around them is interesting & is likely due to cultural differences that place more emphasis on people rather than things. The last chapter is about fixing the problems in black communities which would likely require many things. Despite the ending of the book, it's still worth a read for understanding the effects that racism & oppression has had on black people in America & how they are connected to issues in the past.
If you answered yes then Dr Learys Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome Americas Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing is a must read. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is a condition that exists when a population has experienced multigenerational trauma resulting from centuries of slavery and continues to experience oppression and institutionalized racism today. The author of this historical work, Joy DeGruy Leary, Ph.D., has done a masterful job in paralleling the conditions that gives rise to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the conditions experienced by Africans who were stolen from their shores, transported to America under the most horrifying conditions, sold into chattel slavery and striped of all human dignity.
I think Dr. DeGruy connects our history, present, and future in a very thoughtful way and she also lays out what I believe to be very helpful tips for healing within the black community. I would suggest this book to anyone interested in learning more about the connection between African American past and our present, African American psychology, healing, and just the general mental health of black folks in America.
She educates and articulates in a manner of "duh, this is common sense people" and I absolutely loved it b/c most of what Dr. DeGruy discusses as the symptoms of PTSS is common sense.