Breaking the Chains of Slavery
A personal view by Alton Bell on the legacy of oppression as evidenced in his community.
Have you ever wondered where the anger and rage, exhibited by some of our young men in the UK, emanate from? Have you ever thought why is it, that a large proportion of our Black men think that it is OK to have children with multiple women? Does the fact that so many of our young women are single parents bother you? What about the Strong Black Woman syndrome; do you suffer from it? Additionally, why does the Black Church continue to ignore the ongoing impact of slavery, particularly on Christians?
One of the ravages of the enslavement of Africans as chattel was the near destruction of the family unit, and the severing of most of our links with the past. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833. However, prior to this, Black males were used as studs to create offspring to increase the workforce, and to help swell their burgeoning coffers. There was little regard for their humanity or for the ‘links’ they had with their progeny. This was a deliberate ploy to destroy the family unit and create a ‘disconnect’ with their past. This methodology emasculated the male and, by default, created the strong Black woman. Subsequently, today our boys have no concept of a ‘rite of passage’, and there is a real distrust between Black men and women. I would argue that there was something fundamentally evil about African enslavement. It took men and women, made in the image of God and, through religion, science and philosophy, sought to reduce them to the level of animals. There remains something quite negative in the psyche of too many of us, which says we are not good enough.
I believe only deliverance can reverse what I would describe as the ‘curse’ of slavery. What is Deliverance? It is a process that sets people free from the mindset that dictates short-termism, working against each other (the ‘crab in the barrel’ mentality), and procreating without taking responsibility. It is the means of getting people to understand their cultural, spiritual and economic heritage. If we believe that the truth sets us free, we need to engage with our history – warts and all – and confront issues that still affect far too many Black people. How do we start the process? Here are the first three steps:
- We need to make Jesus Lord of all areas of our lives.
- Forgive all the countries involved in the slave trade.
- Find out as much as you can about your ancestry, to deal with generational issues.
Rev Alton Bell is the Chair of MJR. His book 'Breaking the Chains of Mental Slavery' goes into these issues in much more depth.