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Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery

Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery is a very insightful book which evaluates and addresses the background on the psychological legacy of slavery. The author challenges us and forces us to take an inward exploration to understanding the causes and the impacts which slavery had on the minds and the souls of the African Americans. He also brings to our attention the positive trait of understanding the true worth of individuality regardless of our position or circumstance in life.

It is interesting that though times have changed these factors still remain hidden in the some form or the other to overpower the minds with the legacy of slavery in the new generation. Slavery has been described as “forced labor” and this aspect of slavery is present in our generation with the mental slavery which emerges in the form labor for the drive for money, status and ambition. In his collection of essays Dr. Akbar addresses two major phenomena, firstly the impact of slavery and secondly the influence of Caucasian images for worship on the psychology of the African Americans.

Dr. Akbar addresses the behavioral factors which have evolved from the collective issues which have been prevalent in the historical context. His views are very insightful and thoughtful, which challenge the existing ground which perpetuates the legacy of slavery. He is very accurate in his analysis regarding his first essay, Psychological Legacy of Slavery, where he gives an account of 300 years of experience in the slavery’s brutality. He also touches the unnatural and severe psychological and social shock which this kind of exposure has on the minds of the people impacted by slavery.

The African Americans experienced these events in the past and the impact has stayed with them in the form of mental seed and social evil for long years to come. These negative impressions have their roots in slavery. Dr. Akbar has also enlightened us with his observation and analysis in his essay entitled Liberation from Mental Slavery. In this essay he presents and devises strategies for breaking free from these mental chains. He exposes us to the bigger picture of animal life where instinct or innate programming is the guiding factor in the progress of the species.

He identifies the special trait in human beings who have the evolved based on self consciousness. Human beings respond to their environment based on what they know of themselves. They know what they are taught. Thus our experiences shape the mould for our future response and action. Thus it is very important to acknowledge our slve mentality as it is the foundation on which the rest of the decisions are resting. The last essay, entitled Racial Religious Imagery and Psychological Confusion, is one of the most influential and contentious essay in the book.

Here he leads us to the image of the creator and the influence which is has on the minds and the actions of the individual. The influence of religious symbols and the imagery is profound in the thinking process of the individual. The creator is assigned specific characteristics which limits the mind for greater experience. The image of the creator has the power to set the tone for the potential of creativity in human field. This also nurtures identification with certain features and superior and inferior status based on these characteristics.

He very specifically points to the fact that the Caucasian image of divinity has become an unconsciously controlling factor in the psychology of the African American. This is further reinforced by the fact that Jesus is portrayed as blond haired, blue eyed, fair skinned image. Even the references to biblical images have been portrayed in the form of the paintings, carvings, sculptures and biblical figures as projection and confirmation of the Caucasian image. There is no mention of true black images in connection to biblical references.

This overpowers the psyche, as different and inferior from the rest. This also is the presentation of the racial seed. Akbar is right when he addresses this issue as remarkably significant, in terms that just mere captivity is not the issue, the real issue is the domination and the hurdles which are prevalent in the path of liberation of the blacks from the mental slavery. The experiences of the black people have transmitted into them a feeling of inferiority and discrimination which holds them back from reaching their full potential.

He also rightly points out that ultimate liberation does not involve simply substituting as African racial image for the Caucasian one; but ultimate liberation comes from the recognition that the form of the Creator is a form far superior to all human flesh. The freedom is the price of acceptance and even though legal freedom was claimed in 19th Century, the social freedom was accepted practice only in 20th century and the goal should be to achieve psychological freedom by breaking the chains of dependence and discrimination in 21st century.

Dr. Akbar’s views are forceful and strong with clear logic and pattern which traces the legacy of slavery and provides an insightful solution to the issue of breaking free from the chains of psychological slavery by acceptance, self awareness and adherence to the higher principles of life and creation. I am in complete agreement with his views very authoritatively presented in his essays.

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