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Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome Is it real or is it an excuse?

Updated on November 12, 2012

Awaken Your Mind

What do you think?

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is a theory. It was researched, developed and named by Dr. Joy Degruy Leary (2005) in her widely popular book by the same name. Her book explains that there are many people that exhibit symptoms in this syndrome. Dr. Leary (2005) documented Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and its effects on African American children. Leary (2005) opened the door to understand how the disorder pervasively manifests in children who carry the generational curse of vacant self-esteem, ever-present anger and racist socialization into schools and communities.Leary (2005) stated that these three symptoms account for much of the troubles existing in the daily lives of African American children. Leary (2005) stated that drug abuse, poverty, illiteracy, sexual exploitation, gangs and street violence can be traced back to the experience of slavery and the aftermath of emancipation where methods and practices of racist socialization maintained the white privilege to the detriment of African American people.

Leary (2005) explains that African American children who descended from slaves live within the shadows of slavery. They have limited avenues of escape; this is especially true for those children born in poverty. Her text describes poor living conditions that are coupled with mass media focus on white supremacy in the American culture. This continues to build self anger, lack of respect for self and others. Leary (2005) discusses how African American children are raised to hate themselves as a result of the preponderance of mass media messages that demean African American people.

There is also a well known letter written to slave masters by fellow slave owner Willie Lynch. He wrote the letter in 1719. In the letter he clearly outlined a psychological process to annihilate the African slave family system by destroying the natural dependent tendency that females have on males to protect and secure the family. Willie Lynch boasts about the method to control the mind, body and spirit of the African female slave through beating her severely short of death. In his letter he stated that the outcome of the indoctrinated African mother is to make her teach her boys to be dependent on her and to teach her daughters be independent.

The goal of Willie Lynch letter was twofold: controlling the slave inventory and increasing economic profits of slave owners. This psychological brainwashing had far reaching effects after 147 years since the abolishment of slavery the majority of African American family systems are headed by single mothers. The anger in African slaves who experienced brutal beatings, rampart murders; as well as untold suffering can be seen in the deep seated rage expressed by all children whose disdain for life is shown by the high incidents of young black on black , black on white and white on white crime, the unexplainable murdering of good people and the lack of respect and good character exhibited by young people towards each other and their elders.

On Wednesday, June 13 QueenMother4real Media discussed this issue at the show Roundtable Discussion with Iyanifa Alajoye. We held an excellent discussion on whether PTSS is real or an excuse? Listening link:

Given the information learned about the psychological murder of the African ancestors’ family systems and the current state of African American families.

Do you think that Post Traumatic Slave syndrome is a real syndrome or an excuse for not fulfilling one good destiny on Mother Earth?


Leary, J. D. (2005). Post traumatic slave syndrome America's legacy of enduring injury and healing. Milwaukie : Uptone Press.

Lynch, W. (1712). The Willie Lynch Letter. James River: Feather Trail Press.

Sponsored by Yoru’ba’ House of Worship, Inc.


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      3 years ago

      wow. so that means, I, as a europian polish decendant, can claim: post traumatic concentration camp syndrome? as I have stated for all of my life: my ancestors have been in this country for only 2 generations. so if you hold me responsible for what happened to your ancestors, then I hold you responsible for what happened to mine. I have been pulled into racist situations. I See how ridiculous that sounds. My belief: it's more about playing the perpetual victim. throughout my 60 some years, I have had the opportunity to meet, wor with, play with sit next to, shop next to, have intimate relations with, people of all walks AND positions of life. I have observed vastness in the way ancestorial circumstances affect them. It boils down to the perpetual victim. I do have compassion for those who had suffered, from my ancestors to others. another problem: profiling hate. More: being a bully towards me when you can't get your own way, and then call the race card

    • Neil Horton profile image

      Larry Horton 

      6 years ago from Greenwood, Arkansas

      The theory might be valid if there were actually any living slaves..... looks like another excuse to me for many to not stand on their own two feet and accept reponsibility for their own future. The My great grandmother was a slave so you owe me...does not wash.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'd never heard of the book or its author, but I disagree completely. Everything the author says about the problems of today's African-American younger generation can be said equally true about Hispanic younger generation, and, for that matter, much of what I see in my everyday environment: young people of ALL backgrounds have more opportunities today than ever before but elect to live what some people call a ghetto lifestyle instead- and then complain about it.

    • michememe profile image

      Miche Wro 

      6 years ago

      I agree with gmwilliams. We have used slavery as a crutch and as a "owe me" mentality. We think others owe us. It was others who fought to free us, selfishly but they fought none the less. We latch on to the negative of the past, instead of the positive. Their we're several good things that happen to move us forward. Education is mainly one.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Yes, many Blacks have the post traumatic results of slavery. This traumatism affects some Blacks even among the postmodern generation. However, many Blacks use the issue of slavery as an excuse not to achieve their utmost in their human potential. Yes, we Blacks experienced slavery but that should never be an excuse to achieve and be our utmost as a people. It is time that the drama cease!


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