Impressions of Breaking the Chans of Psychological Slavery

Published: 2021-09-14 13:55:07
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Impressions of
Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery

Submitted by: Submitted to:
Blake Amos Dr. M. Jwahir Brathwaite
SNR Fall 2011
ELI 9/27/11

This book illustrates various aspects of the psychological effects of slavery on the contemporary mentality of African Americans. It also suggests some solutions to the problem of overcoming the psychological damage that was done. I found this book to be helpful to me as an African American to identify behaviors in myself and the black community that are rooted in our slavery experience and that continue to impede us today. On a personal level I already feel a new sense of empowerment resulting from my awareness of some of the subtle psychological damage that has been passed down to me through generations. Being aware of a problem is the first step to solving the problem.
The first chapter of the book deals with the specific areas of our day to day life that have been damaged by the experience of slavery. The author, Dr. Na'im Akbar begins by stating that black people have negative associations with the very concept of work. Given that we suffered forced labor for hundreds of years, it makes sense that we might feel that work is not necessarily a positive thing. While I think that many of us understand that hard work is a fundamental element of achieving success in any field, I can understand how lots of African Americans have not had the opportunity to see work as anything but a tool of oppression. The fact that we were legally denied the right to literacy and education means that many families have seen generations of oppression and hard work suffered for the benefit and financial gain of white people.
Dr. Akbar goes on to describe how property and material wealth was used to undermine the possibility of any anti-slavery leadership gaining traction in the black community. He says, "The slave community was encouraged to view the greater power given to the master-trained leader as an indication of his superior worth as a leader. The master-trained leader was rewarded, praised and given privileges as an inducement for the slaves to follow his manufactured leadership." Basically the masters branded some leaders as "uppity" or "arrogant" when they expressed desires or ambitions born independently of the slave community. The masters would then punish these "uppity" leaders and subsequently

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