In honor of Black History month, we are examining the effects of generational trauma and the use of coping strategies within the African American community. Research has shown that trauma, especially childhood trauma, can cause adverse effects on individuals’ mental and physical health. When dealing with trauma or stress-related incidents we tend to lean on coping mechanisms to deal with our emotions. Moreover, research has been done to explore the correlation between racial oppression and mental health outcomes on communities of color. For instance, in the United States, slavery has a generational imprint that has effected people of African descent for years. A question we can be left with is, “What are impacts of generations of slavery and adverse childhood experiences on the African American community today, particularly our males?”
According to Dempsy (2002), African American youth tend to engage in negative coping strategies such as avoidance, aggression and internalizing behaviors. Bryant-Davis (2005) research on coping strategies within the African American community noted the importance to recognize cultural context when cultivating positive coping strategies such as activism, creativity, community support, spirituality, humor, therapy, and racial reframing (Bryant-Davis, 2005). She defined Activism as, “helping others to gain a sense of empowerment and counter feelings of self-doubt or to make sense of the trauma by finding a way to take the negative experience and use it for good of others in similar situations” (Bryant-Davis, 2005). Furthermore, other researchers have continued to underscore the importance of creativity such as expressive arts. Rogers (2017) cites writing is a tool that enhances personal growth because it brings forth feelings and a learning about one’s self leading to an improvement in identity. Research has also found unofficial storytelling possess strengths and weaknesses, such as the survivors gaining validation for their experience and only having limited effect on the “structures of silence,” respectively (Hackett & Rolston, 2009, p. 370).
It is necessary to under the impact trauma has had on people of African descent for generations and how we as a people have coped with these traumas. One Temple Fitness is so excited to have a public affairs professional and comedian, Crista Jackson, be our guest speaker for this month's talk.
Listen to this amazing discussion as we explore coping strategies and the impact of generational trauma. Do not forget to comment below.
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