By Kidiocus Carroll
On Feb. 25, Beloit College hosted Dr. Joy DeGruy of Portland State University, who spoke on her book “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome — America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.” The event was the last in a series sponsored by Beloit’s Black Student Union (BSU) in honor of Black History Month and was open to students and the Beloit community.
Dr. DeGruy condensed a 10-week course at Portland State University on the Atlantic slave trade, the obstacles that African Americans faced as a result of the slave trade, and the adaptive behaviors that African Americans needed to survive in a repressive society into an interactive two-hour lecture.
Dr. DeGruy was a powerful speaker who drew in audience members with her descriptive language, personal anecdotes and powerful images. Her encouragement of audience participation motivated members to become engaged; sounds and nods of agreements could be heard and seen around the room. Dr. DeGruy’s message was simple: African Americans still bear the scars of the horrific two-century holocaust that they endured, and of the horrors that ensued afterward in the form of lynching and systematic abuse. That abuse became institutionalized and still exists in the form of the education gap and health care, housing and job disparities.
Dr. DeGruy iterated that we do not live in a post-racial society, as some are predisposed to believe, and that African Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, thereby answering the question of why race relations remain an issue to this day.
Dr. DeGruy ended with a simple message of hope: the healing process has begun and will continue. BSU plans to hold one or more showings of her talk during the week following spring break.