Slave Mentality

Signs that you are still operating under the slave mentality, and ways it can show up in everyday life.

  • Fatherless children (Reminiscent of breeders, who had no responsibility to the children they created, impregnating multiple women and walking away).

Slaves were property, chattel, similar to farm animals. So plantation owners devised ways to protect and increase their financial investments; increase their livestock. The demand for labor was high and cotton was king in the Deep South so “forced mating” increased the stock. That trauma imprint set the stage for being confused about personal responsibility to address the destructive patterns in your life and transform your circumstances accordingly.

Example: How many of your seeds have been scattered in the name of love and then abandoned?

I realize there are other factors impacting father’s not being present in their child’s lives. If you want to bring up poverty, imprisonment, drugs and alcohol or any other barrier that prevents them from being present I would say all of the “yeah butts” can be traced to the roots of a way of thinking that is still reflects a slave mentality. We act like we believe we are chattel and have gone about reproducing without taking responsibility for parenting the children and the results; we’ve have give our power over to the police an/or government to regulate and care for our children. Harsh, yes. True, yes. I know every circumstance is arguably not rooted in slave mentality and it is worth considering, if these patterns are present in your life.

  • Single parent homes (specifically single-moms)

Usually it is homes run by single women. No strong leadership inside the family and children are left unsupervised to run amuck. I know single moms/dads are holding it down the best they can and no one can parent effectively without support. I can only speak as a Black woman who works with the youth in schools and in consulting with families about the impact of unexamined multigenerational trauma and those patterns of feeling powerless as they continue to show up in our children. We have dropped the ball on community connection and personal accountability to speak to the issues plaguing our communities in a transformative way. How are we transforming our experiences in a way that informs and grows our children, if we are still not clear how our lack of internal leadership influences our children; Houston we have a problem.

“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that means that an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.

  • Finances (irresponsible) — children burdened by the family’s financial decisions and/or teachings (verbal, non-verbal, visual)

This phenomenon is not just happening in Black communities. A lot more communities will be experiencing this as we navigate the fallout from Covid-19. Families who were able to make it, are now faced with the reality of how close they were to the poverty line and what that truly means. The stress, trauma and mental impact of barely surviving has been a way of life for many BIPOC communities. We are now faced with an opportunity to get smart about where we spend your money and on what. Get clear about what your priorities are and how your priorities either grows or destroys our communities.

Are we trying to build something for your children or do you believe there is no possibility of growing past where you are?

  • Problems with romantic relationships

This is a very complicated point because I am a little salty that some Black men find more value in white women. That’s fine, you love who you love and that has nothing to do with Black men turning a blind eye to the struggles of Black women. I’m not salty you have a white woman, I’m salty you feel the need to turn your back on me to have that white woman. There has not been a time in history that Black women were protected and that is at the foundation of what we see as “angry”. Its not anger folks its a deep soul hurt that is so painful we dare not speak about it. Black women have internalized the pain of going it alone which outwardly looks like strength and resilience. Internally we are plagued with high blood pressure, obesity, hypertension, stress, depression, anxiety, violence, etc. etc. etc.

As messed up as it is, there is no push in the Black communities to prioritize mental and physical health. We can credit the pandemic for uncovering the need to have those mental health conversations within our families. To destigmatize mental illness and get the necessary help. Dealing with health issues is confusing and scary and on the front end, as a community we are not talking about sustainable health practices that will keep doctors agendas to increase their bank accounts out of our lives. We need to be talking about growing our own food, because what is sold in some grocery stores is not fit for human consumption. Everything you buy is filled with hidden sugars and things your body cannot process and if it’s not processing out, where is it going? We know that improperly digested food stuff can take up residence in your colon and increase belly fat that will someday take you out: stroke, kidney failure, liver disease, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer.

I had this conversation with my brother about the Black community not taking personal responsibility for health and well being. I asked him how is the church, which is a fundamental part of his life, not talking about physical health, mental health and well-being in a way that highlights personal responsibility? If the church is talking about being financially responsibility, why are they not speaking on the importance of physical and mental health? Over half his church is 50–100 pounds overweight. Folks are self medicating with alcohol, drugs and any number of other mind altering distractions instead of talk about what really matters. He had no answer for that and he will bring it up because that is how we transform our thinking by having generative conversations.

Another point where I recognize remnants of slave mentality is:

  • How we treat ourselves and other black women.

We don’t like talking about how we tear each other up in conversations about colorism and natural hair. Our friendships are sometimes not what we would like and we are afraid to have conversations that elevate it. We go about verbally destroying everything that is special and unique within us and call it “being real”. Being real is about lifting others up and celebrating their unique qualities.

We have forgotten how to stand in our power, in our beauty and accept ourselves for the amazing creatures we are and not chattel here to please and be pleasing, catering to white fear.



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Edna Sadberry

Edna Sadberry

Committed to addressing multi-generational trauma. I post about the foundation of trauma patterns that impact beliefs and behavior.