Final Essay

Submitted By laurencalifornia
Words: 1817
Pages: 8

Imagine the destruction of everything that you know. Your people have been massacred, your family has been separated, and pale-faced intruders have forced you from your home. With the passage of time your identity is lost to the deceiving facades of society and your history fades away with every failure to acknowledge its existence, its importance. But even worse, this atrocity will not die out with the end of a generation, it will continue to haunt the mentality of your people for generations to come. Since its imperialistic beginnings, America has thrived on the dispossession of other people. We live in a society that was built on the loss of others. Europeans have historically decimated, and continue to, deprive, deny, and trivialize “the other”. The extent of these oppressions is so tremendous that the mental, physical, cultural, and socioeconomic effects have transcended generations and are still prevalent in society today. The barrier of time is no match for the trauma of these histories as they continue to plague nearly every aspect of life for the divested and their descendants. After countless decades of proclaimed political and societal “progression” toward an equal and fair society, when will the soul wounds of these peoples finally be mended? Or better yet how will they? The range of trauma experienced by non-Anglos in this country surpasses cultural destruction. It is epistemological. It is the emotional, psychological, and subsequently physical manifestation of subconscious grief felt, and it results from the devastations carried out by the colonization and racialization of “the other” by Europeans. This trauma is the continual suppression of identity, because the resistance of this country’s Eurocentric society to actively try and rebuild these broken cultures feeds it. While America has finally come to acknowledge and apologize for their wrong doings, they have failed to right these wrongs. Healing needs actions, not words. Sadly, if they continue to discount the need of these oppressed people for action, the trauma will only persist for decades or even centuries to come.
Trauma and healing have become important concepts for understanding the situation of colonized and racialized people. When we think of trauma, one may view it in terms of the individual or maybe the close family and friends that an individual’s trauma may affect. The notion of historical trauma confronts that limited view. Historical trauma is the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma experiences (Brave Heart 7). It makes the assumption that these devastating historical experiences are at the root of how a culture of people fairs in this country today. The damages can be so severe that it becomes intergenerational, lingering and affecting the lives of those who did not directly experience them, but identify with the group that did. These indirect victims then portray signs of internal grief. The historical trauma response is the constellation of features in reaction to historical trauma (Brave Heart 7). For African Americans, dehumanized as slaves for centuries and successively discriminated against under the consensus of the law, the historical trauma response has been their perpetual low class status, their hegemonic battles amongst one another illustrating the internalization of white discrimination, and their staggering occupancy of America’s prisons and near nonexistence in it’s institutions of higher education and positions of power. For Native Americans, whose populations were decimated by the early missionaries, dispossessed as the original owners of this land, and denied the sovereignty as a rightful nations of people, their historical trauma response has been their high rates of suicide, domestic abuse, depression, low-self esteem, and destructive behavior. When studied and analyzed thoroughly and through an unbiased lens, it is easy to see