Everyone is aware that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a real rising illness suffered by a great number of Americans. It is an ever-present diagnosis that is being used to describe the condition of many people. This is a mental disorder manifesting stress and anxiety brought about by thinking about or seeing a reminder of a traumatizing event or experience. But this disorder goes much further for many African Americans, resulting in what can be called PTSS ( Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome).
We have a multitude of war veterans, car accident victims, and victims of heinous and horrific crimes suffering from some form of PTSD. There are specific events or actions taking place that can bring about unpleasant memories producing anxiety and stress, which are associated with PTSD. Such cases bringing about PTSS result when many African Americans suffer from when they see certain White politicians or lawyers emphatically and blatantly defending issues that are highly offensive and insulting to the African American community—issues conjuring up unpleasant memories of our heinous and tumultuous treatment in this country.
White lawyers or politicians in Congress such as Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz are some of the White politicians whose political rhetoric is insulting to many Blacks as well as being highly offensive to the truth—usually unsubstantiated by facts. They are major initiators, responsible in helping to further activate PTSS in many African Americans. These lawyers appear to flaunt their White privilege and portray condescending arrogant attitudes, reflective of White racist politicians of the past, advocating slavery and denigrating African Americans as subhuman.
Often PTSS among African Americans is exacerbated when White lawyers or politicians try to persuade others to accept and support issues that are racially bias or conjectures that are undeniably wrong and untruthful. It is only made worse when these White politicians are oblivious to the facts and uninterested in the truth. They are obsessed with presenting their arguments as the unmitigated law. Many African Americans subconsciously experience de ja vu, revisiting a time when this practice was the standard of White politicians who argued to deny Blacks basic civil rights and liberties.
Many African Americans and pursuers of justice find this attitude arrogant, racist, and insulting to the pursuit of truth, equality and justice. For many African Americans, it subconsciously (as well as consciously) brings about stress and anxiety resonating from the years of watching our White law makers, especially southerners, argue and enact laws and policies that relegated Blacks to be inconsequential and undeserving subordinates. Truth and equality were irrelevant and inconsequential in enacting blatant discriminatory laws—laws that even now are systemically ingrained in all our institutions. These are the White men on all levels: local, state and national that proudly dismissed the worth and rights of African Americans by enacting laws and policies that deny Blacks opportunities and basic civil rights.
Many Blacks do not understand why some Whites don’t have the empathy or compassion to understand how centuries of this scenario could affect the mental well being of a race—a race so entrenched with the dehumanization by their White counterparts. Most Blacks understand their history in the United States because vestiges of systemic prejudice, racism and blatant discrimination are ever present in their daily lives. PTSS suggests that there is a genetic connection of descendants of slaves being able to feel the pain and angry of their ancestors.
While watching TV, especially during the investigation and trial of the impeachment of the POTUS, many conscious African Americans were reminded of historic White bigots arguing emphatically to deny the rights and liberties of African Americans—arguments they won that drastically impaired the economic, social and political advancement of people of color in this country.
It is quite upsetting when African Americans see the good ole White boy group continuing in the practice of their ancestors of insulting the truth and promoting White supremacy. Watching the bias rhetoric argued by many White politicians can only contribute further to the mental disorder (PTSS) so evident in so many African Americans.
PTSS is a real disorder for African Americans, although we are told that we should get over the results of slavery. But we are constantly exposed to reenactments of what we consider White politicians arguing legislation to further devalue the progress of African Americans. How can you get over a disorder that the dominant population doesn’t understand, care about or feel is relevant? Maybe asking some Whites to be empathic and sensitive to the feelings of African Americans is asking too much.
Treatment for PTSS (which is a form of PTSD) will require extensive counseling and acknowledgment by White America for its involvement in blatant heinous transgressions against African Americans. If nothing else, many Africans Americans are asking the contributors to PTSS to practice racial sensitivity and show empathy and concern for the feeling of others who may not be White—and to also have respect for the truth.
If America is serious about correcting its long list of transgressions against African Americans, PTSS, (usually aggravated more by privileged, entitled White men), it must be seriously studied and addressed. It is often said: “Acknowledging a wrong is the first step in correcting the problem.”