Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome In New African American Horror Series
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Since Get Out, the Horror and Sci-fi genre has seen the release of Lovecraft Country, Us and Antebellum where the theme of violence looms large.
In particular, the theme of repressed violence seems to linger in almost every scene which is taut with the possibility that the repressed violence of African Americans towards Whites as symbols of White Supremacy may spontaneously and unpredictably explode on Screen in the same way it threatens to combust in Society.
Whilst Reviewers have expressed different sentiments as to the effectiveness of the violence Motif in each of these releases, its important to consider why the issue of repressed African American and Black diaspora violence exists and where it comes from.
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
According to Dr Joy DeGruy Leary On Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (P.T.S.S.), is a theory that attempts to explain the behavior of African American communities in the United States and the diaspora.
It is treated as a Psychiatric condition that stems from the multi-generational oppression of Africans and their descendants resulting from Centuries of Slavery.
This form of Slavery was based on the idea that Africans were inferior to Whites which was re-inforced by Institutionalized Racism in order to preserve White Supremacy which still has negative Psychological effects today.
In short, the recognised symptoms of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome are:
i) Low Self-Esteem;
ii) A Propensity for Anger and Violence;
iii) A distorted self-concept.
Slavery’s Racism and violence also resulted in the mental state of Africans in America and the diaspora today that exhibits the symptoms of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.
As such, Get Out, Us, Lovecraft Country and Antebellum can be understood as expressions of the angst felt by African Americans and those Blacks in the diaspora still dominated by Whites who have not had the opportunity to openly express their repressed anger through outward violence towards Whites.
Africans and Black people in Africa already expressed their open violence towards the White Population as part of the Anti-Colonial Wars of liberation.
Other than the Haitian Revolution, Africans in America and the diaspora have not violently confronted White Supremacy and purged the violence within them in the same way Africans did in the Anti-Colonial Wars.
Indeed the success of Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement was predicated on its non-violent approach.
It may be for this reason that Martin Luther King enjoyed support because he promised that the transition from the violence of Slavery to Equality based on Civil Rights could be achieved without an ultimate violent confrontation between Blacks and Whites in America that would purge the desire for oppressed African Americans to outwardly express their violence and opposition to White Supremacy.
Nevertheless, it would seem that the Ghost of imminent racial violence they foretold continues to haunt America today.
In the final analysis, Get Out, Us, Lovecraft Country and Antebellum are admirable and welcome explorations of the largley ignored issue of repressed African American and Black diaspora violence.
The degree to which each succeeds within its own narrative arch is debatable depending on who you ask.
Nevertheless at the core of each of these is the question of the repressed violence of Africans in the diaspora while Blacks in Africa have already gone through the stage of open violence towards White Supremacy, and are in a different phase of Catharsis compared to Africans in America and the diaspora who are yet to openly express their violence.
Get Out, Us, Lovecraft Country and Antebellum can therefore be understood as efforts at establishing the legitimacy of repressed African American and Black diaspora violence if the Trauma of Slavery is acknowledged as a cause for the African American and Black diaspora condition today as the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome Theory would suggest.