Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome affects people of colour in more ways than one. The disturbing images about slavery and the brutalities that engulfed it might cause you to cringe, especially when you know that those things were done to your great grandfathers, and your grandfathers- people whose blood runs through your veins. The horrors might cause you to think some dark thoughts.
Dark makes me think of Mi Alegria who writes dark poems. And by dark, I mean poems about deriving pleasure from torturing another person (something like that). While of course, she can’t act on these thoughts (lol, I’d like to believe she wouldn’t), they exist in the recesses of her mind.
The same way, I think about what it would be like if some people acted on their thoughts about seeking out revenge. The Plantation provided me an answer.
The Plantation is a novel that depicts what it would have been like if blacks decided to trace the white families that enslaved them and carry out a revenge ploy.
It invents a world with whites serving on plantations, answering to black masters. For a minute, when I was reading the book, I caught myself liking the idea, but there is nothing pretty about it.
Revenge only fosters bad blood. It solves nothing. And as much as it brings a feeling of satisfaction, it does nothing to address the original issues.
The only way forward is to embrace genuine forgiveness. To let go of past hate and come to terms that we reside in a different world.
We live with different people. Not the ones who caused our fathers pain.
We can’t afford to be stuck on history. On a moment in the past. We must grow.
Understanding helps us achieve this. Allowing ourselves to understand what goes on in the mind of our oppressors.
A friend of mine, Shine, once said and I quote,
“Be the one who breaks the cycle. If you were judged, choose understanding. If you were rejected, choose acceptance. If you were shamed, choose compassion.
Be the person you needed when you were hurting, not the person who hurt you. Vow to be better than what broke you- to heal instead of becoming bitter- so you can act from your heart, not from pain.”
I will never forget those words.