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  • Writer's pictureJeneisha Harris

“The Land of My Oppressors”

I just landed in London.

I had my headphones in but I took them out because I wanted to hear the sound of us landing into a place that has a unique place in my heart.

Fun should be on my mind but instead my ancestors are.

You see.. my slave name is Harris.

This is a last name that has all 6 letters covered, with blood..

It derives from England and what a coincidence that I am here right now too.

The moment I stepped foot on the payment something came over my body that I can not explain.

Stepping into that land of my oppressors has my spirit in distress and with every step I take on their soil I can feel the ancestors weeping, through me.

Is this what Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome feels like?

To be in the land that your families’ slave owners are from, and automatically feel it.

The pictures are pretty and the food is good but the pit of my stomach has filled with trauma and questions.


Why did you come all the way from home to take us from ours?

Capitalism and free labor, of course.

But the question why is for your spirit.

What had your soul so uneasy that oppression for you, was necessary..

I see cafe shops and stores on every corner here in London.

But there should be counseling centers on every corner, instead.

While I’m here, I am re reading Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy Degruy.

A book that changed my life.

Now since re reading this book, I am seeing healing through a more broader scope.

There is this misconception that oppressed people are the only ones in need of healing this trauma but I am here to remind you that the oppressors need healing, too.

Enslaving and degrading an entire people is a special kind of hate.

One that needs to be uprooted and confronted head on.

Healing must take place within the mentality of those slave masters that has been passed on to their decedents.

Because they need help right along with us.

I am having such an amazing time here in London.

The architecture, the food… are all beautiful.

But the history… oh the history here isn’t so pretty. At least not for me.

As I am walking these streets of London, I can’t help but to prep myself.

What if I coincidentally run into someone with the last name Harris?

And what if, that person has a connection to mine through slavery?

Whew… this is deep.

But keep it coming.

The experiences, these questions, this trauma..

I need to face this head on in order to truly, heal.

Maybe I am expecting an unrealistic fantasy of reconciliation and an unfathomable level of forgiveness.

Or maybe, just maybe… what I am saying has truth to it.

As I am walking, I see them walking like ain’t nothing wrong… like your ancestors ain’t did nothing wrong… I guess we all have to eventually move on, but not like this.

And I know what you may be thinking… their decedents had nothing to do with slavery.

But there is a level of accountability and responsibility that has to be had.

I was not a slave, but I have to heal this post traumatic slave syndrome that was generationally passed on to me.

White descendants were not slave owners but they have a duty to clean the economic, mental and emotional mess that their ancestors left.

There should be a museum that represents every single slave and their master who derived from here.

Can we at least get that much from you?

England.. oh, England.

You are beautiful but inside, you don’t look so good.

I think you are ill… you have been for a while.

We ain’t the only ones that’s broken.

I hope that one day, you can begin to get better so that reconciliation between us, can be possible.

But I won’t be waiting… because waiting for your apology is like waiting for rain in this drought of trauma.

In the meantime, you need to heal.

You have people all over this world in pain because of you..

Broken because of you.

And you think you don’t need healing too?

You’ve got some serious work to do.

You’ve got some trauma to undo, sense to come to and some explaining to do.

And I hope that happens for you, soon.

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