What have they done to us? What scars have they left? I am still groping in the darkness! Where is the light?
We are all aware of the many ills of slavery that the Black race has endured for more than 400 years. So, here we are today, still having to fight for our survival, still having to live in fear and uncertainty, even in our own home, still having to endure the brutal and deadly force of Police.

They have had their knee on our neck and we still cannot breathe.
Many of my Black Brethren have had experiences of Racism at some time or another throughout the course of their lives.

I would like to share with you some of the experiences which I had, early in my life, from my own people. Let me preface this by telling you that I love and miss my Mother dearly. She was the guiding principle in my life and most of what I am today is attributable to her. She died 11 years ago at age 97. When I was growing up as a child in St. Kitts, I had and still have a long lower lip and a flat nose.

I always thought that I was ugly and I was told by my Mother and my Teachers to “pinch up my nose”, and to “pull in my lower lip” so that I would look good. In fact, some people have told me that they had to sleep with a clothes pin on their nose. I did not understand it then, nor did my Mother or my Teachers. They really believed that it was the right thing to do. They were taught to admire the features of the Caucasian who had a pointed nose and a small lower lip, and that profile was associated with Beauty. Hence, I always had a very poor physical self image when I was growing up, and it was only when I came to Canada in the sixties that I was told, much to my surprise, that I was handsome. Now, understand me clearly.

I do not blame my Mother and my Teachers for this. They did not know any better at the time and they thought that they were doing the right thing. I am now enlightened and I understand that it was not their fault. It was the fault of the White Slave Masters who destroyed our self image and who taught us how to hate ourselves and emulate them.

It is of paramount importance to appreciate these psychodynamic factors, in trying to understand some of the behavior of our own people today. We need to understand that it is not our fault that we have such a poor self image, that we criticize one another, that we plot against one another, and that we seek to destroy one another. Let us, once and for all, quit blaming ourselves. It is their fault! They did it to us throughout the generations. They taught us. They made us who we are. We are suffering from P.T.S.D.-Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder. And now, here we are, left with the open wounds of an enslaved people.

We need to understand our dilemma and we need to re-educate ourselves. White people have established themselves as the yardstick by which we judge ourselves. We need time to fully understand the extensive impact and the metastatic spread of this cancerous disease of Slavery. We need sociological, psychological, economic and educational resources to heal ourselves. This has to be an important part of a Reparation package to which we are rightfully entitled. I have spoken about and justified the need for Reparation in another article entitled “Reparation-A Must!

I was having a conversation with a black young lady, S.R. This lady was one of 5 siblings and they all grew up together in Jamaica. They all had a different complexion ranging from very light to very dark.

The Mother was light skinned and the Father was dark skinned. S.R. told me that her youngest sister was the darkest and she was treated the worst because of the dark color of her skin. She had to stay home, clean the house, cook, do the dishes and look after the needs of the others whose skin was lighter. She was never given an opportunity to attend school and get an education like her siblings and she had to cater to the needs of her family- all because her skin was darker. One of her brothers who was also dark skinned, was told by his Mother that she did not think he was her son and that they must have switched babies in the Hospital. Can you imagine that??? Denial of your own son because of the color of his skin? Yes. That is the depth of self hatred- rejection of your own!! What a tragedy! Yet another example of the deep and painful scars of Slavery!

S.R. now understands the etiological factors that have contributed to this sad state of affairs and the damage it has done. She has forgiven her Mother because she did not know better and she also feels sad and guilty because of the unfolding of these tragic events. This is yet another example of the cruel casualties of Slavery. That is what they have done to us. This is how we have been indoctrinated by them!!

I know that there are a multitude of stories similar to these and I am certain that the large majority of Black people have encountered some sort of Racism in their family life. I bring these examples to your attention, to demonstrate how deep rooted and far-reaching the effects of Slavery can be-within the very core of your Family and how it can lead to Self Hatred and Self Destruction.

Written by Dr. Wycliffe Baird

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