I read a book by the name of "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing" by Dr. Joy DeGruy, a few years ago. It describes a set of attributes associated with multi-generational trauma experienced by African Americans and Black peoples across the diaspora; including undiagnosed and untreated post-traumatic stress disorder afflicting descendants of enslaved Africans as well as other outcomes. My mind was blown. I've since bought several copies of the book for friends, neighbors and associates. I've also recommended it to teachers, business and community leaders.
Reading about PTSS was the beginning of an awakening for me. Early on in the book, Dr. DeGruy tells a story of a child that received a correction via a universal diaspora sign; "the look." While the parent was distracted the child in the story started to stray in a way that our culture would discourage. Another unrelated black adult made eye-contact with the child and conveyed via an unspoken language "get back where you know you belong." The book goes on to explain that we've been conditioned to keep our children close; why this practice has been passed down from generation to generation as well as the ramifications of the conditioning. The child in question immediately corrected their behavior because the lessons of past generations were already ingrained in them via their parent. They knew "the look" despite the vessel communicating it.
The same goes for other behaviors that we've become accustomed to, that are called out in the book. The colonization of our bodies and minds affects everything we are. How we process information, including everything from our entrepreneurial interests to our day-to-day engagement with each other has been influenced; oftentimes to our detriment. We have been shackled in profound ways. Decolonization is one of the tools we'll use to break the lingering chains of oppression.
All of our messages will attest to the beauty, wisdom, strength and diversity within the collective cultures of the diaspora. ọṣọ aṣa.