What if black male violence and gangs were understandable ?
What if we could look back not so many generations and remember the cruelty of the the slave trade. What if we had ancestors who were shipped; bound and suffocating across an ocean, sold like animals and then beaten, starved worked and raped as they ‘owner’ saw fit.
What if we had been separated from our wives and husbands, our children and parents? What if we feared for their safety but couldn’t protect them?
What if we suffered the indignity of eating from a trough, the pain of the whip, the trauma of rape and then having our babies sold as stock?
Then wouldn’t we be angry too? Wouldn’t we be full of hate and violence? Wouldn’t we want to destroy?
And how would we know about family when our families had been treated with no respect? How would the children born into slavery ever know the warmth of family hugs and love?
Would we be surprised then that these slaves, although freed, couldn’t shift the feelings inside?
Isn’t it just possible that those feelings were passed onto their children?
Because that’s what we humans do. If we know that food is poisonous, we tell our children not to eat it. If we know that fire burns, we tell our children not to touch it. If we have known that white people were abusive and violent, what would we advise our children then? And what would they tell theirs?
Would we do things differently if we knew that the study of epigenetics shows that the environment changes our genetic make up; for better and for worse?
And if we could see a link between how black families were treated all those years ago, what would do differently with the angry young men and women on all the world’s street corners and online today?
Would we punish them and send them to jail? Would this change their anger? Their role models? Their understanding of the world. Or would it perpetuate it?
What if governments could see the link? If they could see how treating one group of people as less than human, means that in future generation you create groups of people who behave in ways you don’t like.
If we knew that, what would we do differently? How would we want people to govern? How would we defuse the generations of anger, hatred, isolation and family fragmentation?
If we could find compassion, understanding and connection what would be different?