by Kenny Anderson
Recently I had an analytical discussion with Richard Clay regarding young Black males today whose view of life is heavily influenced by the non-sense, half-truths, conspiracy theories, and devoid of facts opinions that’s pervasive on Youtube that keeps these young brothers spinning in an illogical self-limiting ball of confusion.
Let me say this about Richard Clay before I move on with this post, he is a well-known Black community leader in Detroit; he is a solid Brother who I’ve mentored for many years both politically and in the areas of Black Male Responsibility Development and the Black Family System (Parenting). In the areas of Black Male Responsibility Development and the Black Family System Richard has carved his own influential niche; check out his book “Raised Wrong, Educated Worse” and website blackboysincrisis.com
In our investigative conversation Richard said these young Brothers were tailor-made to become a captive Youtube audience because so many of them were underdeveloped in their reading comprehension by being warehoused in the special education system so the dominant way they learn is audio-visual; they can’t read to fact check what they see, thus the only truth for them is what they subjectively see and hear.
We also discussed emotional impairment as one of the primary reasons Black boys are placed in special education. Impaired emotional functioning is defined as the student exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects educational performance: an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
As our conversation progressed I specifically addressed the inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances and general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression that so many Black boys and young adult males exhibit. I highlighted that emotional impairment is really not about individual Black boys, it’s really about the impaired Black family unit that historically produced them through multi-generations.
Slavery the Origin of Black Emotional Impairment
Indeed slavery is the origin of the impaired Black family unit, the children who grew up in slavery were denied the most basic human rights, such as freedom, safety, protection from degrading and cruel treatment, compensation for work done, education, equality and the right to freely move around. They worked for no pay and were property that could be bought, sold, maimed or killed. When slavery was abolished in 1865 there were over 4 million Black ex-slaves in the United States, more than one million were children under the age of sixteen.
These children along with all their parents and other adults suffered from collective Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder; massively suffering from depression, trauma, anxiety, chronic stress, warped and amplified nervous systems that epigenetically became embedded in Blacks DNA ‘emotionally impaired predisposition’ passed down to this day.
I want to highlight how emotionally impaired Black children have been dealt with over periods of history from slavery to this day in most Black family units:
*Slavery 1619 to 1865 – Racist and demented slave masters who created emotionally impaired Black children ‘whipped’ or used cruel punishment’ to force the impairment out of them; most Black slave parents themselves emotionally impaired imitating the master tried either to ‘whip’ the impairment out of them or ‘pray’ it out of them.
*1865 to the 1970’s – Most Black parents themselves emotionally impaired still tried to either ‘whip’ the impairment out of Black children, ‘pray’ or ‘punish’ it out of them. However some Black mothers started to employ trying to ‘talk’ the impairment out of them because of the influence of Dr. Spock. There were also mothers who tried to ‘love’ the impairment out of their children; this love primarily became ‘enabling’ the ‘denying and support’ of self-defeating and self-destructive impaired behaviors. Also there were Black parents moreso mothers who tried to ‘buy’ emotionally impairing behavior out of their children to act right.
*1980’s to the Present – Most Black parents themselves emotionally impaired today either try to love ‘enable’, ‘drug’, ‘buy’, or ‘distract’ emotional impairment out of their children that’s created Black children who are defiant, deny or minimize bad behavior; Black children who are handicapped by over-prescribe psychotropic medications; way too many Black children are selfish and unrealistic wanting a parent(s) to be ‘caterers’ being in constant debt to purchase everything they want, they have a great sense of entitlement! Black parents are fueling an ‘electronic addiction’ pacifying their children with cell phones, tablets, and video games; they’ve become super-preoccupied junkies ‘obsessed and possessed’ by these devices.
Let me make this clear, all Black folks are dealing with ‘lesser or ‘greater’ degrees of self-sabotaging emotionally impaired behavior - the legacy of Post-Traumatic Slave Disorder that we have not addressed in ourselves nor effectively in our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Professor Joy DeGruy states that Blacks have never healed from slavery – the ‘Black Slavery Holocaust’. The original enslaved Africans were never treated for their severe trauma. After slavery ended nothing was done to help Black ex-slaves recover from trauma; nor was anything done to treat Blacks re-enslaved by Black Codes during Reconstruction.
For one hundred years (1865 – 1965) of Civil Rights struggle, no measure was put in place to provide mental health services to Blacks who had suffered from Klan terror, lynchings, racist murders, repressive Jim Crow laws, and diabolical Tuskegee Syphilis experiments.
Even in the post-Civil Rights era, most Blacks today who suffer from on-going racism, massive poverty and unemployment, homelessness, violence, drugs, and psychological duress don’t receive mental health services.
Professor Joy DeGruy says that there has never been a period of time when Blacks in America were given the information and opportunity to heal from our racial oppression-based emotional impairment injuries. So the psychopathologies have continued, passed down from generation to generation without Blacks being conscious of its origin, symptoms, and treatments.
Black folks, until we address and understand the emotional impairing nature of Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder along with engaging in ‘internal reparations’ by significantly raising our emotional intelligence and emotional management skills our family systems will continue to perpetuate emotional impairment.