Elikem Dodor | Editor-In-Chief
Within the last month, we have been sharing various educational resources. We are excited to share a paper written by one of NC State’s own, Will Comer. Comer is an NC State 2020 graduate, obtaining a degree in Biological Sciences with a cross-discipline in Psychology. Comer is also known as Woodah or WoodahThreeTimes for his rapping. You can stream his album, Imposter Syndrome, on Apple Music and Spotify.
Through the lens of the historical trauma theory, Comer explores how systematic racism leads to a cycle of oppression and the breaking down of Black people’s mental and physical health. Due to the length of the paper, we are only sharing the abstract. If you would like to read the full paper, it is available here.
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, a term coined by Dr. DeGruy of Portland State University, describes the process of how different forms of historical trauma can affect the present-day mental and physical health of African-Americans. Over 17,000 epigenetic studies from Dr. Rachel Yehuda of The Icahn School of Medicine have shown normal PTSD causes the amygdala in the brain to overwork in a mode associated with dangerous situations, but the continued overactivity of the amygdala can cause genetic changes that become an inheritable trait and lead to feelings of danger in future generations. These feelings, alongside continued forms of systematic oppression, lead to higher susceptibility of physical and mental illnesses in African-Americans. After incorporating Dr. DeGruy’s theory alongside Dr. Rachel Yehuda’s findings, a clear inheritable pattern of PTSD is seen for not only African-American communities but all communities of color in America. These patterns of inheritance present themself scientifically and survive systematically as disparities in American neighborhoods, schools, and hospitals expose themselves over time. These disparities are seen currently with the presence of COVID-19 disproportionately harming communities of color. Research of historical trauma throughout this paper serves as a call to action for the proper allocation of resources for those in need and answers the research question: How can previous experiences of historical trauma influence the current mental and physical well being of people of color in the United States?
Again, the full paper is available here.