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12 Generations a Slave: Blacks weren’t allowed to mature and it shows

January 20, 2014


by: Josiah Jenkins
The 12 Years a Slave movie is a compelling story of a free black man who found himself trapped in the grips of slavery. He was kidnapped, stolen, his life was of no value to his captors. The story is emotional but, more so, educational as it highlights very pivotal moments in the Black American history that led to us being psychologically damaged as a people. Many of those moments are substantiated by our culture today in the 21st century.

The first American slaves landed in Jamestown, Virginia in the 1500’s and slavery lasted almost 400 years following that. Some would argue that this slavery continues today. Back then there were many rules against us and few rights for us. However, were critical things that we had to abide by: We had better not learn to/reveal we could read or had any moderate level of intelligence beyond a trade. We couldn’t own anything of value. We were to entertain Master at the drop of a dime no matter how we felt or what we were doing. It became understood entertainment was an acceptable event we could participate in. It was even more welcomed than us gathering to worship. We had better come to Master when he called us or suffer painful circumstances. Lastly, we had better mind our manners in the presence of him or his race.

Do remember being encouraged to sing or dance for your parents and their friends as a child? Are there any (specifically black-owned) bookstores in the black community? You ever noticed the improved behavior from some blacks when whites come around, too afraid to be themselves?

The remnants of what has happened to our ancestors still show that we are as much compliant today to the 15, 16, 17 and 1800’s conditioning of arriving Africans. These suppressive treatments have led to the stagnation of our development. We still act them out in ways we seem to often justify. Here are the 5 top things we still perpetuate:

1. Today, the majority of our youth are in hot pursuit of being entertainers.

2. We class reading as a low priority. We are not gaining access to real power and do not handle small pockets of power maturely.

3. We seek acceptance. We try to get the respect of people through superficial activities, materialism, titles and name dropping.

4. We feel the evils of the white man but we also see him as our savior.

5. We feel secure once we are accepted into the white man’s big house and look down on the blacks who have not yet been accepted in.

The thing that cripples the black community more than anything is our dependency on direction. We all need direction at some point, but that direction should lead to empowerment, not the dependence on more direction. We’ve had self-appoint black leaders for many years but I implore to you that “Real leaders don’t create followers. They create more leaders.” If we are continuing to see a growth of dependency and need for those leaders, then those leaders are doing a horrible job at helping blacks develop as a whole.
We have been enslaved for generations. One man may have seen 12 years but Blacks have seen 12 generations. These movies act as stories of what has happened to some ancestors in the past and hints what continues to happen to us today. We still act like children. We still act dependent on the next marching orders from government or a black sitting in a high post. We have poor interracial relation skills; we inferiorize ourselves like children sitting in the midst of adults.
Fruitvale Station, The Butler, and The Help are all movies, and though entertaining, they attempt to bring understanding that not much has changed for us developmentally and economically and it won’t get any better until we change psychologically.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 27, 2014 9:39 pm

    Thanks for this powerful article, Truth and nothing but the Truth. And you are so right, it won’t get any better until we change psychologically. If GOD is for us, why do they continue to be against us?

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