The Impact of Slavery on Current Day Parenting of Black and Minority Ethnic Adopted Children

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The Impact of Slavery on Current day Parenting Of Black and Minority Ethnic Adopted Children Post Adoption Centre. 2 February 2008 Parenting Roles and the African Caribbean Man In Post Slavery Society Lennox K Thomas This paper will explore the roles and relationships in Caribbean families with particular reference to the role of the father and what is left in the absence of him. This will be considered in the light of enslavement of Africans and its attendant violence rape separation and loss. The effect that slavery has had on African American and African Caribbean families has been grossly understated at the time, and since abolition. This lasting damage has had a veil pulled over it partly because of the shamefulness of slavery but also because the beneficiaries of slavery have been compensated for their loss after hundreds of years of exploitation, not the enslaved. Psychotherapy and counselling has had little to say about this period of our shared history in order to shed light on the psychological accommodation of slavery on the psyche of the descendants of the enslaved. The concomitant effect of this on the master’s descendants has been given some attention in as much as it denies black and other people to equal access and opportunity. Psychological effects such as notions of superiority and the inflated sense of European worth in the world and the damage this continues to do on the world stage has been neglected. The topic is often avoided because it satisfies the shame of some Black people and the imperative to forget for those who benefited from slavery. Willie Lynch published a psychological tract in the 18th century on how to create a slave. This gave detailed instructions on how to break, divide, rule and humiliate. The legacy that African Caribbean and African American people have reaped from slavery is something that they sometimes find shameful and belittling, as if they had done something deserving of shame. Given the considered process of conditioning and brainwashing might it not be that African people are in part still

under the spell. The memory of slavery has died quickly even though people in their middle years are likely to have had great grandparents who were born of parents themselves born before abolition. Forgetting the painful history has meant that we have not considered its haunting effect on us. By forgetting we seemed fated only to repeat our trauma. It is by remembering and not repeating that we have the opportunity to work through, yet this is perhaps the greatest collusion that has to be broken. The language of therapy has yet to find a way to talk about what slavery has left in its wake for both Black and white people. Thus far, all that we are able to see are the pathological patterns, not how they came about, the function or purpose for their existence nor how to change them. Therapists and social scientists in the USA have quietly worked away at these issues for the past forty years and have in recent decades had a hearing in the UK. Nancy Boyd Franklyn and A.J. Franklyn (1999) Amos Wilson (1978) Jawanza Kunjufu (2002) Na’im Akbar (1984,1991) and others have long made the link between present day problems in Black families and the dysfunctional position that they were placed in for over three hundred years. It is inconceivable to think of what life was like for the Black person in Africa before the middle passage.

Becoming De-sensitised to Violence The violence that was used to control the slaves is well documented and in turn they learnt to meet out violence to each other when promotion or status was conferred on favoured slaves. The objective of the plantation was the creation of wealth and the means of achieving this was often fear and violence. The slave owner Willy Lynch’s account of how to manipulate divide and rule create sexual jealousy appears to be alive and well. The skill he said was to have them all at each other’s throats and breaking up trusting and loving...
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