By Huberta Jackson-Lowman, Ph.D. & Wade W. Nobles, Ph.D
The ongoing practice of the enslavement and trafficking of Black African migrants in Libya is a human disaster; and the rape, torture, starvation, disease, and murder occurring before the world’s eyes cannot be tolerated.
This Libyan travesty, however, must be put into context. In America, the pathologies of unresolved white privilege/supremacy, hatred, divisiveness, misogyny, inequality, and zenophobia have recently been newly unleashed. The issue of slavery in Libya can be connected to the historical trauma and psychic terrorism experienced by Black Americans. This connection would probably be challenged and/or dismissed by most of white America.
As evidenced by Libya and the upsurge of racial hatred and denigration in America, we are in a special time where hatred, racial assault and the disrespect and dehumanization of African people are openly approved and essentially unleashed again. As mental health practitioners, we are not sure it has ever been contained. Libya is not isolated in being a place of inhumanity for African people.
The government sanctioned killing of Black men, the terrorist killing of Black church worshipers, the acceptance of the KKK and Neo-Nazis as good people are events happening in the USA. There should be immediate political and economic consequences for the violation of African humanity in Libya and the USA. The link being made between the current horrific enslavement of Black African migrants in Libya and the increased visibility of “racial hatred and denigration” in America needs to be made, in order to clarify and fully appreciate the depth and degree of unabated racial inhumanity in the world.
The ABPsi recognizes that the damage to the mind and the corruption of the social fabric due to the human atrocity of enslavement and dehumanization are far-reaching and invisibly intergenerational. Psychology, however, is too often thought of as only devoted to treating so-called “crazy” people. Congruent with our mission to liberate the African mind, empower the African character, and enliven and illuminate the African spirit, the discipline and practice of Black psychology is devoted to helping and healing people’s every day life and living. We are healers of humanness.
In entering our 50th year of service, we, the ABPsi, as scholar-practitioners dedicated to the psychological liberation of persons of African ancestry and optimal Black mental health, call upon the United Nations to provide leadership in the development of a multi-layered economic and political response to this systemic crime against humanity.
The response should include strength-based, culturally-affirming, and culturally-centered mental health treatment and interventions designed to counter the traumatic effects of enslavement and trafficking on Black African migrants in Libya.
Additionally, we urge all concerned persons to petition/charge their congressional representatives and other elected officials to call for immediate and direct action to end this dehumanizing situation. It is not missed by the membership of ABPsi that such atrocities simulate those that took place in America when generations of African Americans were subjected to dehumanizing enslavement practices, the residuals of which contribute to the contemporary unrest in America.