African American Male Trauma Work
Whether right or wrong, when discussing the ills and disparities within the African-American community, many things are discussed, such as violence, drugs, poverty, and emotional, physical, spiritual health. However, there are two that come to the forefront, especially in the urban community: racism and the black men’s role. Let’s start with one that many have difficulty with, no matter black, white or brown and that is the issue of racism.
One group wants to focus on what many believe is America’s original sin, chattel slavery and they believe that pervasive structural racism still exists. Historians agree that chattel slavery’s destruction of family relationships to this day undermines African-American’s ability to form healthy relationships and
families. (Joy Degruy 2005) Another group wants to believe that racism isn’t that big of a problem and besides we had a black president.
When the Black man suffers, everybody in the family and community suffers tenfold. It’s been said that men are responsible to cultivate hope. The presupposition is that men themselves have hope, for how can he cultivate that which he does not have? And how can he heal from pain that he refuses to acknowledge because he believes to do so is unmanly? Unwittingly and helplessly, Black men pass their pain on to the women and children in their lives and the cycle of slavery’s devastating pain continues and its profits soar. And yet, there are those who still ask, “Why the focus on Black men healing?” The idea of healing black males as a form of community development is something that has been seen as a rebellious concept. Simply, because is causes some discomfort in many social circles.
African-American men are not responsible for America’s original sin and the pervasive structural racism built upon its foundation, but Black men better take the responsibility for HEALING from its devastating impacts upon them, so Black men can be healthy crusaders with women in rebuilding our families, vital communities and capable children. Without healing from individual and intergenerational trauma it’s hard to fully experience a relationship that reflects respect for all the people in the relationship, including the children and move towards becoming a safe and healthy part of the community.
In 2008, we started our efforts to address increasing disparities confronting the African American community utilizing a broad range of projects and strategies that include promoting educational and culturally sensitive trauma informed initiatives focused on addressing African American male and community trauma.
3033 27th Ave S
P.O. Box 6120
Minneapolis, MN 55406-9998