Multigenerational Trauma and the Canadian Black Woman: A Subjective Inquiry into the Enduring Black Slave Experience
Cuffy, Loferne Pauline
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Numerous recent studies argue that mental health is a primary determinant of a societys general wellbeing. However, as important as these studies are said to be insofar as the advancement in the treatment(s) of mental health problems, they all lack a focused attention on how Black women in Canada are affected by these problems. This research paper is primarily concerned with addressing this shortfall in the medical establishments appreciation for the majority of Black womens true position. The paper develops from the idea that this shortfall will be inevitable so long as researchers remain reluctant to explore the possibility that todays Black womans biopsychosocial constitution has been and continues to be shaped in profound ways by what has been called the slave experience. Today the slave experience finds resonance in the phenomenon known as multigenerational trauma, a trauma constitutive of a number of salient forces, with the most significant among these being the enduring negative patriarchal(/paternalistic) constructs of womens biological and psychological inferiority to men, institutionalized racism, and multiple instances of violence against women. This paper explores the ways in which these (and other) constructs contribute to the negative mental health status of Canadian Black women, as well as suggests methods to more effectively address their mental health concerns.