Slavery, historic trauma and the critical need for reparations

Author-Ta-Nehisi-Coates-testifies-House-Judiciary-hearing-on-Reparations-HR-40-061919-by-C-SPAN, Slavery, historic trauma and the critical need for reparations, National News & Views
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates testifies at a House Judiciary hearing on Reparations on June 19, 2019. Coates (“The Case for Reparations,” “Between the World and Me”) argued that African Americans have been exploited by nearly every American institution, before and since slavery ended. But only chattel slavery ended, not legal slavery, which manifests in the penal system as codified by the 13th Amendment, stating that if you are convicted of a crime, you become a slave of the state. Two million people locked in prisons, jails and detention centers with another 4.5 million people under some kind of state supervision can attest to the fact that every one of those Euro-American institutions built on the blood, sweat and tears of Black and Indigenous people and undergirded by white pathology and racism have created multiple pipelines to prison and thus continue crimes against humanity to this day; and why, as Anthony Gay argues here, reparations for past and continued crimes against Black people must also be recognized by the international community and awarded now! 

by Anthony Sharif Gay

The slave trade, slavery, colonialism and Jim Crow are all extended experiences defined as traumatic.

Oppression, racial persecution, racial discrimination, hate crimes, mass incarceration, prison, cops killing Black people, arbitrary arrests, prosecutions and sentencing are, each and all, forms of torture and are experiences defined as traumatic.

Not only do these human atrocities impact individuals and communities who directly experience them, but because of the extent and protracted nature of these atrocities, the effects are played out in the lives of descendants who did not personally experience them. 

All trauma results in serious neural, endocrine, hormonal and melanin damage, mitochondrial energy depletion, and stagnated development and evolution of the neuro-melanin-endocrine system as a whole.

This translates as diminished capacities to think critically and creatively, diminished capacities for self-discipline, control and regulation, impaired abilities to empathize and cognize information, memory and special awareness debilities, and over-all lack of development in the advanced neuro-melanin centers of the prefrontal cortex, heart and higher faculties of the human energy field.

Further, now that the trauma survivor is cut off from their more advanced and evolved neural networks – or doesn’t develop them at all – and is not secreting any or enough of the neuro-transmitters and hormones conducive to inner peace, self-transformation, illumination and cosmic consciousness, they are, instead, tethered and enslaved to the lower primal, repto-mammalian brain networks and hormones responsible for raw instinct and impulsiveness, aggression, carnal urges, fear, fight or flight and survival.

“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” – Steve Biko

When trauma is endured by a people over decades and centuries, their gene pool, DNA and therefore, collective behavior, are altered and modified. The melanin and neuro-melanin in our bodies and brains are manifestations of our evolutionary creative life force. 

When acted upon by environmental conditions and stimuli or our own thoughts and decisions, we catalog and register the effects and preserve them to be passed on to the progeny of the group, community, nation. Trauma is stored in the blood, psyches and subconscious of the collectives until removal of the cause of trauma and actual healing can take place.

This is the quintessential “Willie Lynch Syndrome” we hear so much about, but we may not reflect on and examine its multifarious ramifications. If we unpack the idea and functions of slavery, we will see that there were and are multiple devastating elements, each being a human rights violation and crime against humanity.

Slavery is not just forced labor without pay, free labor, though it is one element of what has caused our collective trauma. Slavery included and includes kidnapping, human and sex trafficking, rape, forced pregnancy, forced sterilization, sexual violence, torture, murder, deportation and forceable transfer of persons, deprivation of physical liberty, genocide, menticide, extermination, scientific experimentation and exploitation, etc. It is the absolute power over the life, fortune and liberty of another.

Moreover, consider how a pregnant mother’s womb, the outer world, and the embryo-fetus are distinct, yet interdependent, interactive, symbiotic and osmotic components within an overall system. When pregnant mothers suffer any form of trauma, especially the most egregious and heinous, not only is the mother’s neuro-endocrine-melanin system damaged, but the toxic cocktail of hormones cause the baby to develop and be born with a more dominant hind brain, repto-mammalian, with more fight or flight survival hormones activated.

After a few generations selecting for the traits white slave owners wanted, they no longer had to break slaves – most slaves were born broken.

“For a century after the Civil War, Black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror,” Ta-Nehisi Coates told Congress at the hearing on Juneteenth 2019, “a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.” Unsurprisingly, Kentucky Sen. McConnell opposes reparations. With a blatant show of ignorance and trauma-inducing unaccountability, he stated one day before the historic hearing: “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea. … We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African American president.” Wow! – Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP

During slavery, Black infants were forced to drink cow’s and goat’s milk so that the master’s white infants could be nursed on the vitamin and neuro-transmitter rich, also melanin saturated, human breast milk, adding to the deprivation of and damage to Black babies’ psycho-neuro-endocrine health. Incidentally, nothing has really changed, substantively, as Black mothers are still encouraged to feed their babies formula and cow’s milk. 

These traumatic circumstances have the cumulative genocidal effects of depriving generations of Black babies who grow into physical adults the critical bonding process that fosters the evolution of a human being into a woman-goddess, man-god.

This is also how a community-nation is criminalized and how stereotypes are solidified into permanent facts.

These are the pictures of historic and intergenerational traumas. When the trauma is produced and passed down the genetic line of a single family or small tribe, it is called intergenerational trauma. When the trauma extends across an entire racial, ethnic or national group due to specific atrocities, it’s labeled historic trauma.

“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” – Steve Biko

As a final extension, with regard to how Euro Aryan terror has altered the trajectory of Black evolutionary purpose and possibilities, think about the fact that slaves were bred selectively. As with horses, dogs and other animals, Black human beings were not only bred for physical traits including strength, size, speed and beauty, we were bred for emotional and psychological traits such as passivity, docility and obedience. 

Afrikans, New Afrikans and Black people must impose retroactive responsibility on the American government, state governments, federal and state actors in official and individual capacities, past and present, corporations and families, for slavery and every other crime against humanity inflicted upon us.

After a few generations selecting for the traits white slave owners wanted, they no longer had to break slaves – most slaves were born broken.

What individuals and communities create and produce, how effective they are and their ability to problem solve their way to the engineering of an advanced civilization are the outcomes of and intricately connected to brain power, formidability in tackling adversity and propensities for independence and leadership.

Had Africans not been interrupted by the crimes against humanity, thus far outlined, and had New Afrikans and Black people not been interrupted by the continued mutations and refinements of these human atrocities, we would, without a doubt, be in a much greater socio-economic position; we would be at a more advanced stage of evolutionary development and would be at the forefront of global innovation and progress.

Black people should not only be demanding reparations for past crimes against our humanity but also for the contemporary atrocities and human rights violations, namely, the large scale, widespread, systematic and planned cloak of authority attacks against Black civilians by state actors, meaning law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, legislators, governors, attorneys general et al.

Retroactive legal responsibility to pay reparations

Human rights violations and crimes committed by state or federal actors under cloak of authority as part of official or undeclared policy and practice that produce large scale victimization are international crimes against humanity. Abuse of state power transforms domestic crimes into international crimes, regardless of whether or not the acts or omissions are permitted by domestic law.

Congresswoman-Sheila-Jackson-Lee-now-lead-HR-40-sponsor-at-Congressional-Black-Caucus-press-conf-070120-1400x1400, Slavery, historic trauma and the critical need for reparations, National News & Views
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is now lead sponsor of Reparations bill HR 40 since the retirement of Congressman John Conyers. HR 40 is named for the broken promise of 40 acres and a mule made to freed slaves. Conyers first introduced the bill in 1989, just one year after Japanese Americans won a formal apology from the U.S. government and reparations for their internment during World War II. Today, the bill has 173 co-sponsors in the House, and its Senate counterpart, S 40, has 17 co-sponsors.

Reparations are a human right and Black people are entitled to and owed them. We don’t have to and should not be requesting reparations from the very ones who have committed and still commit international crimes and human rights violations against us. 

Afrikans, New Afrikans and Black people must impose retroactive responsibility on the American government, state governments, federal and state actors in official and individual capacities, past and present, corporations and families, for slavery and every other crime against humanity inflicted upon us.

Does N’COBRA have a direct and open conduit to the UN, the ICC and other transnational human rights tribunals, commissions and organizations? Are we in dialogue and in active communication with ICC prosecutors or the Inter-American Court of Human Rights?

Remember, Jewish people didn’t ask the German government for reparations; they were imposed on them, with the support of the international community, backed with international human rights – not German civil rights in German courts.

Mitch-McConnell-Senate-majority-leader-announces-opposition-to-reparations-one-day-prior-to-House-Judiciary-subcmte-hearing-061919-by-J.-Scott-Applewhite-AP, Slavery, historic trauma and the critical need for reparations, National News & Views
“For a century after the Civil War, Black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror,” Ta-Nehisi Coates told Congress at the hearing on Juneteenth 2019, “a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.” Unsurprisingly, Kentucky Sen. McConnell opposes reparations. With a blatant show of ignorance and trauma-inducing unaccountability, he stated one day before the historic hearing: “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea. … We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African American president.” Wow! – Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP

What is our collective strategy for reparations beyond S 40 and HR 40? What are we asking for specifically versus what can we start demanding specifically? 

Can we use modern technology to begin a nationwide plebiscite? What about Zoom discussions on this topic?

For me, a sizeable portion of reparations should come in the forms of trauma recovery and wellness programs, nutrition, prison abolition, Black autonomy measures – for protections against state and government abuses and attacks from the weaponized criminal justice system – boarding academies structured on rites of passage, initiation science and other essential compensations beyond monetary payments and land restitution, though these are needed.

Reparations have been awarded to victims and survivors of crimes against humanity in Chile, Argentina, Japan, Serbia; to Jews, Rwandans, Austrians, South Afrikans and the Irish. When will Afrikans, New Afrikans and Black people receive justice and reparations for what the United States of America and white Euro-Aryans have done to us?

I, personally, would like membership in N’COBRA and invite discussions and ideological struggle on this issue towards our liberation and evolution. Let me know how I can better serve and make meaningful and effective contributions to our collective struggles. Thank you and live well.

In struggle,

Anthony Sharif Gay, aka Herukhuti Sharif

Herukhuti Sharif is a controversial creative thinker who’s spent the past 20 years pioneering and studying the spheres of trauma and addiction recovery, human development – pedagogy, consciousness and neuro hacking; and Black studies – history, law-government-political science. He is a published author, writer, entrepreneur, human rights advocate-activist, nutrition-fitness enthusiast, trans-nationalist-trans-racialist, and practitioner of the ancient art and science of Kheper/Xeper. Herukhuti Sharif is also a founding member of the Last Few, a collection of captive journalists, in partnership with our communities, to assert and protect our human rights and hold authority accountable.

Send our brother some love and light: Anthony Sharif Gay, 188904, ASPC-Tucson, Winchester Unit 8B25, P.O. Box 24401, Tucson, AZ 85734.

Editor’s note: Shortly before midnight on April 14, 2021, the House Judiciary Committee passed HR 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act – a significant victory for U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. Jackson Lee is following in the powerful footsteps of the late U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Michigan, who pioneered the legislation over three decades ago, after conferring with the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). Also on April 14, the House Oversight Committee passed HR 51, along party lines. This bill would make Washington, D.C., the 51st state.