I thought I was hearing things this morning. Did that guy on the radio really say that millions of black people around the world are suffering from post-traumatic slavery disorder? He couldn’t have surely. But he did.
This remark came in the context of Tony expressing “deep sorrow” about Britain’s role in the slave-trade in the New Nation, the one that stopped short of an outright apology to avoid the inevitable avalanche of lawsuits that would have landed on No 10’s doormat.
Back to the pundit on the radio, apparently PTSlaveryD, as it is known, is responsible for all the ills that beset the black population of the US – drug and alcohol abuse, single parents families, family break-up, crime etc, you know, the sort of things that affect most other sections of society to some degree or other.
Although new to me, PTSD was dreamt up over four years ago by two social workers and a psychologist in the US (surprise, surprise) to explain why many young black and Latino men were presenting with delusions that white people were menacing them. Their working theory was that somehow these young people were traumatized by things that happened not to them but to their ancestors – or, in the case of “Latino males,” not even to their ancestors, but someone else’s – so they wrote a book about it
Now slavery was/is a terrible thing and has been illegal in this country since 1102. A few people over here made a lot of money out of the trade until it was outlawed in 1807 and, of course, America nearly tore itself to bits in a bloody civil war fought to end slavery there, but to claim that this still has influence two centuries later is bonkers.
It would suggest that people whose ancestors were slaves have no control over their lives and are doomed to poverty, surrounded by crime, to under-achieve at school and generally lead poorer lives. Had a white psychologist put forward this theory, don’t you think they would have been accused of racism?