Once again a powerful essay that speaks to the condition of black people in the US.

Something that is in the process of developing out of the field of psychology is the growing awareness that people bear not only the traumas of their own direct experiences, but also to their families and communities over time. Finally scholars in psychology are going beyond immediate family abuse, to extended families, and beyond to the ways relatives children never meant because they come from family BEFORE the birth of the child. Which, of course, must deal with racism. It becomes part of our genetic heritage because, as geneticists are learning, how one is treated both in the family and in the larger communities leaves genetic mutations.

I can't explain the theory well as I am still trying to comprehend it myself. Not only our own behavioral history but also the histories of parents, grandparents, great grandparents and the like, are ground into our very own beings.

The theory goes a long way toward acknowledging the culturally ground-in near impermeability of racism, as if the structure of it were created out of solid steel beams. Well, the theory gives us (me) ways of talking about race to convey what is required to make any substantial change. I recall reading pieces by other researchers who applied it to race; unfortunately my stroke-zapped brain lost it somewhere in the recesses of my mind. It will come up again, I am sure.

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Georgia NeSmith

Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.