FIVE SOMATIC HISTORY ERAS History Recorded and Passed on Through Human Bodies

THE MIDDLE/DARK AGES (roughly 500 through 1500)
Powerful European people routinely inflicted terrible punishments on other European bodies for centuries, as had been done before, for thousands of years, with humans being “murdered, butchered, tortured, oppressed, abused, conquered, enslaved, and colonized.”

THE NATIVE AMERICAN DECIMATION & EUROPEAN COLONY ERA (roughly 1550 through 1610)
European explorers from England, Holland, Spain, Portugal and France established colonies, many inflicting trauma, permanent injury and loss of life upon Native Americans with the most pervasive threat to their bodies, that of European diseases. “In 1618-1619, for example, smallpox killed 90 percent of Native Americans living on or near Massachusetts Bay.”

THE ENSLAVEMENT ERA (1619 through 1865)
The English became the dominant colonizers, forcibly importing Africans to North America and asserting dominion over them, creating whiteness and building institutions, processes and relationships to maintain white-body supremacy. “The white body became the standardized, normal body; other bodies, especially Black bodies, were defined as aberrant or substandard.”

THE JIM CROW ERA (1877 through 1965)
After the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified and enslavement became illegal in 1865, the first Jim Crow laws in 1877 “created and enforced the segregation of Black and white bodies, thus renewing and legitimizing the war on Black bodies.”

“The laws also bolstered white-body supremacy through a variety of old and new institutions – most notably the lynching of nearly 3,500 Black bodies.”

THE NEO-CROW ERA (1966 through the Present)
In 1965, “segregation became illegal.” “For two decades the Civil Rights movement lessened some of the overt dissonance between white and Black bodies.” “In the early 1980s, another reversal started, as part of the major escalation on the War on Drugs.” Today, almost 40 percent of people incarcerated for drug law violations are Black, although only 13 percent of the population.

“The Great Othering” around the imaginary concept of race continues today “in de facto segregation in neighborhoods and schools, in discrimination in the workplace,…and “drivers being regularly pulled over by police, often for no offense at all (a.k.a. “Driving While Black)” and by repeated efforts” of some media “to blame, chastise, belittle and shame many African Americans.”

“Subtler forms of violation also remain integral to American culture,” the three most common and pervasive being EVERYDAY STRESSORS of white people treating them suspiciously, MICRO-AGGRESSIONS expressing “disdain for Black bodies,” and an ON-GOING LACK OF HUMAN REGARD messaging “ ‘You’re not important” and “I and others like me are going to keep doing it indefinitely.’ “

QUOTES from Syllabus in April – Chapters 4, 5, 6, Pages 57-96 from My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem

Part 1: UNARMED and DISMEMBERED, Chapter 4: EUROPEAN TRAUMA AND THE INVENTION OF WHITENESS (pages 57 and 62) and Chapter 5: ASSAULTING THE BLACK HEART (pages 72-77)

#HowWeHeal Book Club on Racialized Trauma, 2nd Tuesdays, February through November, 6 to 7 pm, on Zoom. For more details on meetings, please use the Facebook Page link on our Website Home Page and open ‘Events.” THANK YOU!

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