During the slavery era, the mindset of success was freedom. This was freedom from ownership, freedom from oppression, and freedom from inequality. Yet, this mindset of success has revolved into freedom from jail as people post “free my friend” on social media. African Americans are the majority of many US prisons. Why are many African Americans still reaching for freedom today?
Today, there is still a need for historically oppressed racial groups in the United States to be free from the barriers that have been societally set for them. Whether it be decreased funding in schools that are majority-minority or freedom from the prejudices that still exist in many cities, colleges, universities, and businesses. There are still many societal factors that ultimately lead to the downfall of many African Americans.
This mindset of finding freedom from historical trauma can provide a major hindrance that can push many minorities back from achieving their goals and successes. This can be due to the factorization of which historical trauma can cause minorities to develop low confidence in their abilities, depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other mental disabilities. This historical trauma that passes on from generation to generation can lead to a continual cycle of decreased success for minorities.
A child with genetic roots that run deep into slavery and the Jim Crow Era may develop a different mindset compared to their classmate, whose ancestors have not seen or felt the pain of historical trauma. This child may grow to develop a mindset to live to see 20. Their classmate may develop a mindset to earn a doctorate degree by the age of 27. The historical trauma that follows many minorities can ultimately serve as a major barrier to overcome, but also an inspiration.
Not all of those who face historical trauma fall into the cycle of poverty. Some may use it as a reason to become successful. Some may be driven by pushing past the historical barriers of racial inequality in a nation that embraces equality. Some may be inspired by their ancestors, who had gone through so much pain and suffering to see their great great grandchildren today in a position reaching for a success that they never had the opportunity to achieve.