Lecturer: Blacks Have Yet to Heal

Jennifer Hines Cunningham, Herald News (Paterson, NJ), February 3, 2006

Some students at William Paterson University Thursday said they could see a correlation between the behavior of some students on campus and what a visiting professor called “post-traumatic slave syndrome.”

Joy DeGruy Leary, an assistant professor of social work at Portland State University, presented more than a decade of research to a crowd of some 100 people at and concluded that generations of black families have been traumatized by the lingering effects of slavery. Her talk was the first in a series of Black History Month programs at the school.

Leary said she often hears blacks say that “good hair,” or hair that is straight is more desired than “nappy hair,” or curly hair.

“Why do we loathe the things that make us black?” she asked the audience. “These are socially learned behaviors.”

Student Janelle Batson, 23, a junior, said she believes that lighter-skinned blacks on campus are sometimes seen as socially superior.

“This is something that is definitely affecting the black community on campus,” she said.

Senior Dennis Wilson, 27, said “Many in our community are prone to dislike work because as slaves, we had to work long hours and weren’t justly compensated.”

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