Monday, July 21, 2008

Most of yall dummies wont even read the whole thing

Aristotle, who was born in 384 B.C., philosophized that we are all born free or born slaves. Webster's definition of slavery is "submission to a dominating influence." The problem with this definition is that it is too vague. The 1926 Slavery Convention of Geneva defines slavery as the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised. Slavery does not have a definite beginning in the world. It is almost as if slavery has and will always be apart of our society. American slavery differed from all other forms of world slavery in that the slaveholder's intentions were to dehumanize and demoralize ALL African Americans. This history has desecrated African Americans as a community. Africans were stolen from their homelands, brought to America and stripped of their money, language, land, and religion. No longer were they proud African Muslims. They were conditioned to be idiotic Negro Christian slaves. This is the label that has had Black people in a constant state of degradation. Because of slavery, Black communities experience many societal problems, such as unemployment, broken families, police brutality and imprisonment. While these problems are not unique to Black societies, they are so rampant and widespread in the communities that they have become to be seen as the norm.

An extensive problem in Black communities is absentee parents, both mothers and fathers. America is confronted with a disproportionate amount of single parent Black households. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2004, 40% of all Blacks were never married compared to 24% of whites. What we as a nation fail to realize is that when Africans were forced into slavery, they were almost always separated from their families. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2004, there were 36.6 million Blacks in the United States. Blacks made up 12.8% of all U.S. households while whites made up about 67% of the population in the same year. The problem with this is that the white poverty rate was only 8.2% while the Black poverty rate was 24.3%. Blacks have a ridiculous amount of unemployment and poverty in their communities. Social stratification is defined as "the creation of layers of a population who possess unequal shares of scarce desirables, the most important of which are income, wealth, power, and prestige" (Shepard, 230). Each layer of a social stratification system is called a social class. Many members of the Black community are members of the lower or middle class. African Americans by default have lower life chances, that is to say, a lower likelihood of possessing the good things in life. These good things include health, happiness, education, wealth, etc. Since a certain amount of power, income and prestige is needed to secure life chances, many Blacks are left with not much hope of redeeming themselves from the psychological bondage slavery has entwined African Americans in.

All of America's societal problems are more prevalent in Black America then in any other racial community. Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary identifies this phenomenon as Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. According to Dr. Leary, "Multigenerational trauma together with continued oppression and the absence of opportunity to heal or access the benefits available in the society leads to Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome". Blacks were freed from slavery and given no guidance or direction on how to live and maintain in the Free Labor system. Left to their own devices, many Blacks stayed on the plantations and became sharecroppers. They still maintained their slave mentality because it was all most Blacks knew. They were freed but still held the notion that they would not amount to much more then a small time sharecropper simply because they were Black. These problems are a direct result of slavery and the widely held preconceptions that Blacks are inferior to whites.

Another problem Blacks face today because of slavery is the notion that the lighter one's skin color is, the farther one will get in life. This is a result of slave hands repeatedly referring to darker skinned slaves as monkeys or unattractive. Slave owners pit the slaves against each other from the beginning of American Slavery. We can still see this happening today. Light skin and dark skin Blacks are constantly in competition with each other. I have personally had experience in this arena. Being a mixed heritage light skin Black woman has taught me a lot about how Blacks view the importance of light skin and "good hair". I have an older brother who is employed in a high level management position within a Fortune 500 company. At 23 years old, he garnered this position without a formal college degree. In fact, he dropped out of community college when he was 20 years old. My mother, who is a "full Black" woman, has stated repeatedly that my brother got the job because he is light skin and "acts white". She bases her argument on the fact that my brother is higher ranking without a degree then a certain dark skinned Black man who has a Master's. This is the type of thinking that perpetuates the self-hatred that Blacks have internalized since the start of American slavery.

As a Black woman, I feel it is my duty to educate my community on the injustices of the past and explain why we act the way we act. Slavery is the basis for most African American sociological issues. Black people need to realize that they are suffering from Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome. Almost all African American's can trace their roots back to a plantation in which their grandparents, sometimes just 3 or 4 generations back, were slaves. The Black community today still possesses a lave mentality. Blacks continue to be oppressed, given dilapidated schools, below minimum wage jobs, drugs and poverty. Blacks are forced into small communities with no outlet for the anger, frustration and self-hatred bred out of slavery. Instead, Blacks internalize the labels the White man has given to them and Blacks then turn around and take it out on those who are just like themselves. All of these Black societal problems are never properly addressed and dealt with. Instead, they are minimalized or kept "in the hood", away from the prying eyes of middle-class white America. In order to change the misgivings and preconceptions of Blacks, America as a society itself must first accept responsibility for the use of slavery as genocide.

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