Trauma in African Americans

Linda S. Garvey, Director Seasons of Care, Inc. Early Learning

Dear Editor:

For many, 2020 was a turbulent year filled with turmoil. Last year I often found myself thinking of the word trauma, its origins and how it impacts the Black family. Trauma derives from a Greek term meaning “wounded.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trauma as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.

The definition seemingly indicates adult situations or conditions; however, even babies can be born to and experience trauma. Babies and toddlers are essentially helpless and depend on their parents, extended family, and community to have a sense of safety and security. They need emotional nurturing through loving and reassuring interactions to help them cope and ultimately survive.

Almost everyone has heard the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Its truth holds today, yet many doctors, lawyers, and famous people of color often leave their communities. I question why these leaders and role models leave when their presence could make a positive impact on children of color and strengthen the “village.”

Their departure and absence takes a heavy toll on communities and further solidifies the negative stereotypes communities of color suffer. It weakens these communities and strengthens poisonous racism.

How much do we understand about this deadly poison that has been controlling our people for the last 400 years? We know for certain that we must control this harmful and sinful poison of racism that is blocking our children’s social and emotional development.

As a preschool teacher, I see the importance of children identifying themselves as a race. It is an important and excellent topic to teach as early as preschool.

When they enter primary school, they will be able to communicate about who they are. They will also recognize the beauty and benefits of diversity and equality despite differences. They will be able to discuss family stories and cultural identity.

Therefore, parents, it’s so important that we teach our children about their culture. It will assist them with finding their purpose and contributing to the “village.”

Racism and the brutality of the trauma it inflicts have catastrophic effects on African Americans. It seeks to strip us of our humanity and purpose of life. We have become lost souls obsessed with something that disconnect us from others.

Knowing who you are is an important part of children’s social-emotional, language, cognitive and literacy development. Please, we need to address the root causing us trauma.

Linda S. Garvey, Director
Seasons of Care, Inc. Early Learning

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