Gyasi Ross: Making excuses won't help Native people
"See, I hear “intergenerational trauma” arguments over and over and over. I hear that the reason why Natives consistently serve as the poster children for FAS, teen suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence is because of what happened to us in the distant AND not-so-distant past…ok, I can dig that. That makes some sense (and I’ll hold any questions regarding whether ALL people have gone through some trauma in the past).

Still–like in Haiti–at some point we have to ask the question, “Despite the intergenerational trauma, how much of our pain/suffering is of our own creation?” I venture that the answer is “more than we like to admit.”

Thing is, if we use that intergenerational trauma rationale as the reason for our continued struggles/destruction, exactly where does it get us? Dead, but with a great excuse for our demise?? Drug addicted, but with a great excuse for our addiction?? A people filled with teenaged mothers, but with a great excuse for why we simply perpetuate the same cycle? See, we can continue to use, like Haiti, colonial mistreatment and governmental antipathy as an excuse for every failure under the sun–but it doesn’t help any of our kids to get college degrees or any of our teens to get out of the suicide-laden rut that we’re in. Excuses will not help us to escape our rut–they only provide our children another reason to believe that they are not equal with non-Natives."

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Gyasi Ross: Paul Shirley: (Donated) food for thought? (The Thing About Skins 1/28)

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