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Breaking The Chains Of Psychological Slavery

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1338
  • Category: Slavery

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Have you ever known the psychological thought of slavery? Well, if not then you’re not alone. Growing up, all throughout elementary, middle, and high school I was taught the basic things about slavery, but not the psychological understandings. When I read this book by Na’im Akbar, I was beginning to understand what was happening in those slavery days. The author’s views upon slavery were very similar to mine, but I enjoyed reading the book. In chapter one, The Psychological Legacy of Slavery includes blacks attitudes toward work, property, the clown, personal inferiority, community division, the family, and color discrimination. I agree with everything that Dr. Akbar states in this chapter, except for black’s attitudes towards work. He stated that many of black’s attitudes towards work are a result of our slavery experiences. Those negative experiences associated with work continue to function as unconscious influences on us that make us respond in ways which may be contrary to our conscious intention.

I do not agree with this because I am an African American myself. From experience many black’s attitudes toward work does not come from slavery experiences, only because everybody didn’t have those types of negative experiences as being a slave or working in today’s society. But, I do agree with Dr. Akbar when he states that over 300 years experienced in slavery’s brutality and unnaturalness constituted a severe psychological and social shock in the minds of African-Americans legacy of slavery towards working. While, the historian has touched on the realities of slavery (past events), psychologists and sociologists “have failed to attend to the persistence of problems in our mental and social lives which clearly have roots in slavery”, said Dr. Akbar. In chapter two, it talks about Liberation from Mental Slavery, but Dr. Akbar views in this sections include: Strategies to Break the Chains of Slavery, Knowledge of Self, Celebration of Self, Courage, Umoja(Unity), Faith, and Getting to Work to Make it Happen.

He said, “In order to change the African American consciousness we must change the information that is in the African mind. I agree with him because Africans Americans in America are only taught the American truths and not in the roots of their ancestors which are the Africans. Dr. Akbar also mentioned that the most potent weapon that we have in developing any kind of independence of freedom is through unity; through unity, breaking the mental chains of slavery requires us to stand together despite the definitions of divisions of that we have been given under the slave’s consciousness.

I agree with this one- hundred percent, because the definition of unity is being combined into as one, and as one, as team there are many accomplishments that can be done such as, freedom. I thought that Dr. Akbar made a great point when it came to faith. He said that faith is a shield from our fears, and he couldn’t explain even more. If you don’t believe in something have faith in it. Faith is not believing that God can, it is knowing that he will. Dr. Akbar also stated that, the slaves had to keep their faith that one day everything would work out and that they would one day be free. This is the power of faith and it was the power of faith that took Harriet Tubman back and forth on her many trips on the Underground Railroad. They’re main obstacles were to reach their goal of being freed forever.

Finally, in the last chapter in the book it discussed Racial Religious Inquiry and Psychological Confusion. This selection includes: Religious Imagery, Impact on the Psychology of the Portrayed Race, and The Solution. According to Dr. Akbar, “Modern students and scholars of the mind have not adequately dealt with the influence of religious symbols and imagery on the thinking of people.” “The assignment of particular characteristics to the Creator is one of the most destructive ideas in the world today,” says Akbar. “The image of the Creator sets the tone for the potential of creativity in the human sphere.” I agree with him because people create all types of images of God and really no one has an idea of what he looks like. Dr. Akbar says, “Perhaps the most disturbing fact is that this Caucasian image of Divinity has become an unconsciously controlling factor in the psychology of African-Americans.” There have been stories about Jesus Christ and God being whites, and that the blond-haired, blue-eyed images of Jesus are historically incorrect.

However says Akbar, “In spite of this critical scholarship, many of our most radical thinking African-American scholars and clergymen are reluctant to openly challenge what they have come to believe unconsciously is actually the image of God.” In the Ten Commandments, rule number two states “thou shalt make unto thee any graven image” which means people shouldn’t create an image for God because they have no idea what color, shape, or size he really is. For African-Americans, racial religious imagery is even more devastating. The author states that, removing the images from the society can clearly protect the young children from the influence of such images. We can protect them from this influence on their thinking which makes them view themselves in a distorted and unnatural way. I also agree with Dr. Akbar because if young children believe that god is white or that God looks a certain way then they will believe that for life. They should be taught to learn that God is not what they think he looks like or what people may tell them how he looks.

They also should know that the false images that they have been portraying are negative things because it’s written in the Ten Commandments. The real challenge; however is to remove the racial images of Divinity from our own minds. In conclusion, Dr. Akbar has done a brilliant job of identifying habits in the black community that are literally the results of slavery. This is a thought provoking book that causes the reader to evaluate their own actions. You may not be as free as you think once you read what Dr. Akbar has to say about the deep psychological damage that has been done to black people over the years. In the book he covers a variety of interesting topics from, the black families, and blacks doing anything to be accepted by whites. Why the only images that the African American community has are of athletes and entertainers, and the beginning effect, which is having a dignity; that has no similarity with your ethnic structure. All beginning readers should really think in their mind that, white, and black should read this book in an attempt to understand why the things that are happening today and what was the root of all these problems.

Yes, I am a proud owner of this book, and I must say it is very interesting. With all the knowledge that is coming to light, it is amazing. History does need to be rewritten and retold and through it all we as African Americans cannot forget we came from a group of people who were survivors through all this chaos and falsehood. Dr. Akbar managed to capture so many issues that black people face today. Not only did he state the issues, but he also provided us with solutions or means of breaking the chains. After reading this book I was enlightened, devoted to change, share the information and make a difference in the lives of black people. They knew the truth will set you free. God kept them in their faith, and religion separated them. Once religion separated us, we started imitating others cultures and this is where breaking the chains of psychological slavery comes from. I believe this book is only for those who are willing to open their minds and put an end to negative perceptions of themselves. Education is the key to making a better African American community; this book deserves ten stars.

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