Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook(Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC)
The effects of slavery are very much alive and well.
During the American Institution of slavery, the Black man was strategically and systemically brutally attacked with more than 350 hundred years of conditioned/brainwashing through fear, intimidation, and trauma.
The Black man embraced and embodied this trauma into his everyday life causing serious levels of personal and emotional dysfunction, if the Black man was off-centered and out-of-position, the Black family and Black community would forever be off-centered and out-of-position (this represents our community today).
How else can one logically explain the hurt exhibited by the Black man except that this hurt, while not as stinging (physically), the emotional and psychological scars are evident in our men?
Note; our women are equally scared; however, because the Black man is suppose to be the protector and provider of his family, in many cases, the Black man has been more targeted.
Do we need to describe the daily trauma of the Black man during this nearly 350 year period?
Let me speak to a few: 1) excessive work with no reward or pay, the work was equivalent to the hard labor sentence to hardened criminals, our ancestors worked 24/7); 2) not having any control over the direction of your family (no leadership could be exhibited); 3) the sexual and physical servitude of his wife and daughters to the whims of the slave owners many times deviant sexual appetites; 4) the barrage of whippings, beatings, and physical torture that were many times so brutal and intentionally done in front of his wife and children, by the way, our men rarely received any medical attention; 5) sale of family members as a punishment to the Black man for something he was supposed to have done, who loses a loved one and never sees them again in life; 6) numerous escape attempts and recaptures.
I was told police departments were the derivative of massive searches for runaway slaves; 7) high levels of suspiciousness and distrust not with just the oppressors, but within his family as well, the family was completely divided psychologically; 8) little to no food, specifically any good food, our families took rationing to a whole new level; and 9) murder and lynching – the lynchings of our men and boys were the ultimate mind control statement of the slave master.
Very rarely did our women get lynched this is because she serve a different purpose.
It was the image that was under attack“ they had to destroy the image that a Black man could provide security for his family.
In fact, the woman was given the power to stop this behavior if they taught their sons from following their father’s footsteps and instead be totally submissive to the slave master.
The white slave masters conducted numerous studies on how to perfect the American institution of slavery.
Why? It was extremely profitable and they had to protect their investment. Also, for what they had done and were doing to the Black man, they fear there would be a retaliation of some sort, they feared for their own safety.
Conscious of the massive injustice and wrong that they were every hour perpetuating against the Black family and knowing themselves what they would do; they knew they had to create a mental enslavement of the Black man, many refer to the Willie Lynch syndrome. The slave masters were in constant search looking for any signs of the dreaded retaliation.
They watched and learned to read the state of mind and heart of the Black man. What they saw was unusual levels and a disposition for intoxication, domestic violence, sullenness and indifference, this was reinforced in so many instances.
What they sought and were able to achieve was the “making of a slave.”
As Frederick Douglas stated, Let’s make a slave is a study of the scientific process of the rationale and results of White ideas and methods of insuring the master/slave relationship.
This was a huge issue for the slave masters and the success of their enterprise depended heavily on the long-term dependency of the Black man.
The destruction of the Black man was/is the key to keeping the Black family in physical bondage (slavery) and now mental bondage (mental slavery).
During slavery the Black family, specifically the Black man was in a perpetual state of trauma. There were millions of men who were born and died enslaved in this vicious and cruel penalty for a crime that they never committed.
How does one survive in such an extreme state of trauma? This plight is magnified when one considers that this treatment was sanctioned by the religious imposters of the religion of Jesus Christ (Christianity).
How any man of God could, let alone the so-called Son of God, be in agreement with slavery is unfathomable.
Everything we’ve come to know about Jesus Christ, if he were alive during this period, he would have been the biggest abolitionist and fought to end slavery.
Who manipulated the facts? Who inserted the Church into this mess and what was their role?
When you can answer these questions you will come to realize these beliefs transfer from generation to generation and continue to thrive today.
What does the trauma look like for our ancestors that a God (which is portrayed as white) permits and/or condones the brutal treatment of Blacks?
How did the slave master whom many considered to be good hearted Christians, believe that Blacks are a cursed people without a soul – that our ancestors were nothing more than animals? God had abandoned the Black man or it at least appeared that way.
Where was God during the beatings, lynchings, and torturing of our ancestors?
America is considered to be a Christian country so how could this happen?
Without real knowledge about our history, one would believe that our ancestors were always Christians nothing could be further from the truth. Don’t get it twisted, our ancestors were extremely spiritual and many continued, however interrupted, the religious practices of their forefathers.
We were in this country for nearly 200 years before we were allowed to read and when it became permissible, we were taught the Bible.
Today, the children of our ancestors are Christian.
While many have removed the white image of God, it reigns heavily in everyone minds (we just don’t talk about it).
When did we accept Christianity? How was Christianity introduced to us?
Wasn’t this the same religion that relegated our ancestors to the level of animals? We must consider the trauma that this has caused, I don’t profess to have the answers but I do have a lot of questions.
These questions and many more need to be addressed along with how our ancestors were traumatized by the oppressor’s religion.
It is my belief that, in many ways, these hypocrisies mentally enslaved us today and continue to traumatize us.
None of us today can imagine the psyche of our ancestors, especially our men that this experience has created.
What we know is that this happened and it harmed our people irrevocably and for the children of our ancestors who dismiss this, is proof that they are damaged.
The children of the slave master who dismiss this, suffer, like their ancestors, a deep sense of denial. We must examine the physical and the silent trauma that this experience has produced for the Black enslaved family?
Mind you with all of these questions and all that has transpired, why have there been any real investigation and/or in-depth study of the Black man in America?
I know what it is, we are no more than animals. We have no soul remember? We’re not human, we don’t have human feelings.
Part of the brainwashing is that we have morphed into what we were made to be (animals) and we believe that no one should make a fuss about what happened to us.
We have been made to mask our feelings and emotions but this denial and refusal to address this trauma and pain is passed from one generation to another (it’s even imbedded in our culture today).
The trauma and the legacy of slavery have been passed down and thrives through the socialization process and is the cornerstone to a disproportionate number of our men not in the lives of their children.
In addition to the structural poverty and all of its effects (I will address this in future articles), we live out the legacy of slavery everyday, we are now fully engaged in a vicious cycle of despair and a series of catch 22s (structural and self-inflicted attitudes).
The self-infliction can be seen in how we raise our children and the trauma that we pass on to them.
The socialization process defines how we think and how we feel about so many critical issues and none can be more critical than the dysfunction and the consequences of a failed concept of fatherhood.
In part four I will address the love and/or tough love, discipline (physical abuse), and sexual dysfunction as it relates to the legacy of slavery.
Also, how this contributes to a wider gap of Black men missing in the lives of their children, which predisposes our children to not only follow suit but also predispose them to extreme levels of drug addiction and negative social behavior.