The Intergenerational Trauma of Slavery and Racism
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is any experience that causes significant fear, helplessness, and confusion. Trauma can have long lasting negative effects on attitude, behavior and functioning. (paraphrased)
I know you are tired of responses that directly or indirectly imply, “Get over racism and slavery. Things have changed, and slavery is a thing of the past.” Perhaps you are having trouble “getting over it” because the media and life generally trigger racial anxiety. I understand, and God understands. That is why you are reading this today.
Slavery, and racism are traumatic experiences. Trauma is one reason “just got over it!” does not work.
Just like child abuse, divorce, war, and other traumatic events can affect generations, slavery and racism can affect those who did not directly experience slavery. Some studies show trauma transmission can go down three generations. While slavery and segregation may have ended in many nations some years ago, the effects of these traumatic experiences are still being felt because parents pass trauma to their children. Racism has not ended, so the trauma is still being transmitted.
Studies also show that trauma can be transmitted genetically. This reminds me of the saying that “it is in the blood”. While scientists are yet to figure out how this process occurs entirely, they acknowledge that it exists. Even the Bible acknowledges this fact. The fall of humanity through the fall of Adam and the redemption of humanity through the blood of Jesus are perfect examples.
Psychological transfer of trauma is also possible because traumatic experiences change human behavior, attitude and functioning. How parents think about life reflects in their words and actions, and children naturally learn from parents as their first teachers. Traumatic experiences impact how parents raise their children, and many times they teach their children to deal with life the same way they dealt with trauma.
The good news is that Christ has redeemed us from every curse or trauma (Galatians 3:13). We need to receive and enforce our freedom from generational trauma.
Spiritually, you can enforce your victory over generational trauma by praying, fasting, and declaring God’s Word concerning your freedom from every generational trauma. As parents, our victory over the trauma of racism sets the foundation for our children’s victory.
Say this out loud if you can: Racial trauma ends with me in the name of Jesus. I am not transferring racial trauma to my children in the name of Jesus. Today, I refuse to continue the intergenerational transfer of trauma. I enforce victory over generational curses by the blood of Jesus. I decree and declare freedom from intergenerational trauma and curses in the name of Jesus.