Screening the residual effects of slavery

Bejan Siavoshy

The Black Student Union held a showing of “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome,” a film about how the residual effects of slavery in America dictate current race relations, at the Black House on Tuesday.

The BSU hosted a screening of Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary’s 2004 lecture in Mount Vernon, N.Y., highlighting some of the main points in her book, “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.”

Biniyam Fissehaye, BSU vice president and public relations representative for the African Student Organization, felt it was important to share Leary’s work with other students after hearing her speak at CSULB.

Fissehaye said that he wanted those in attendance to learn from Dr. Leary’s lecture and be aware of how slavery could still affect African-Americans and play a role in their community.

In the film, Leary, who teaches the graduate-level social work program at Portland State University, illustrates the connections made in her research between the chattel slavery that was practiced in the United States and the problems that the African-American community face today.

Donnella Collison, CSUN junior and ASO president, was self-reflective after the screening, saying that, although it will take time, she will re-evaluate the aspects of her upbringing and try to distinguish what is a cultural characteristic of being African-American and what is a by-product of slavery.

“From now on, I am going to think more about certain things?Like that strict discipline that a lot of us grew up with, that is not us,” said Collison. “It was engraved in our ancestors and they passed it along through their families because that is what they went through. So from now on, before I do certain things, instead of jumping up to say ‘well this is my culture,’ I will ask, ‘Is this really your culture, or is it something that was done to your grandmother or your great grandmother?'”

Pan-African studies professor Monica Turner feels that self-reflection is an important thing to take away from the film.

“What I would like to see is a lot of self-reflection, a lot of toiling and a real serious attempt at breaking through the mental and emotional barriers that separate (African-Americans) from each other,” she said. “If you can divide a people, you can conquer them, and I think that has been our biggest struggle.”