PTSD and other forms of Self Hatred among Africans and Caribbeans: Part IV

| December 29, 2013
Scherin Barlow Massay

Social Anthropologist – Scherin Barlow Massay

In Culture news.

A few weeks ago, I watched a very controversial film. One of the main characters, himself  enslaved, was set up to oversee the other slaves.

His only concern was staying in favour with his master, and keeping the little privileges he had been allowed to have.

His own particular brand of brain washing, i.e., the viewpoint that anything African, its culture, and its people were primitive, ignorant and uneducated caused him to disassociate himself from them.

Once alienated from them mentally, he fully absorbed his master’s racist attitudes and behaviours. The transformation, now complete, allowed him to be used as the eyes and ears of his master and as an instrument in the suffering of his people.

Enslavement and neo- colonialism produced many ways of alien thinking and acting by those who are alienated from the problems brought about by the structures that keep racism in check.

Usually, such ones have had a measure of success in European society so they change sides and often deny the collective experiences of struggle that other Africans in the Diaspora have gone through, and still go through.

Even when presented with documented evidence, they minimise the social disparities and sufferings. Like the character in the film, they develop amnesia to the struggles and suffering of their own people and are more concerned with fitting in.

Psychologically, they have absorbed and keep absorbing all of the negative propaganda that have been promoted about Africans since they were enslaved, as well as the ideology that whites are the natural leaders on the hierarchical ladder.

With such a mental disposition, they identify themselves with the oppressor class and court favours from such people. This pattern can have dire consequences for black communities because Europeans often appoint such ones to positions of power where they become the acceptable medium for dialogue between blacks and whites.

Samuel L. Jackson plays the part of the head house keeper in Django: Unchained. Photo courtesy www.flicksandbits.com

Samuel L. Jackson plays the part of the head house keeper in Django: Unchained. Photo courtesy www.flicksandbits.com

In effect, they become like overseers, keeping their own in check, while giving a distorted representation of the concerns within black communities. The film’s liberal use of the “N” word was also another controversial issue. The use of the “N” word has become increasingly popular among African-Americans and some young people of African-Caribbean descent.

They justify the use of such terminology as a form of affection and affiliation. Historically, the term was used as a form of contempt when addressing enslaved or free people of Africa and its Diasporas.

It conjures up a history of enslavement, abuse, lynching’s, burnings segregation, rape, injustice and inequality. When a white person used it, he was verbalising his hatred and disgust towards people of African descent.

Today, West African descendants in America try to justify its use by ignoring its true meaning and come up with a false reality that is supposed to make using the word acceptable.

However, in reality, when they use the words of white supremacists, it shows the disdain they feel for their own people and their lack of cultural intelligence.

In addition, their use of the word reflects the dominant cultures mindset towards a people they have marginalized socially, economically and politically with the desired results of them imploding on themselves.

The use of the “N” word among West Africans of the Diaspora is another offshoot of that internalised self-hatred, of that implosion. See Part III

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