Complex Historical and Racialized Trauma
Historical trauma refers to trauma that is experienced and held not just in individual bodies, but in whole communities and across generations. This includes but is not limited to racialized trauma caused by policies of colonialization, racism, claims of white superiority, enslavement, trafficking, genocide, and other exploitive practices.
Humans have been physically violent towards one another since the beginning of human civilization. In the middle ages, human torture was a sport that you watched in an arena, and public torture called "punishment" was available in town squares. Humans have continued to perpetuate abuse against one another. Some of these methods are state sanctioned and many are just culturally supported.
Much of current cultural trauma is hidden in plain sight. Examples include the language of sexual violence where the discourse names how many victims who were assaulted and programs focused on prevention of being raped (passive voice) vs. how many people committing acts of sexual violence and stopping people from raping (active voice). Words like "inner city" and "diversity training" (code for non-white and not-like-me) vs. efforts to challenge white segregation and structural white supremacy.
This cultural and historical and racialized trauma is passed down in our stories, cultures, laws and policies. It's not just our thoughts but in our bodies. We literally "embody" that trauma. The field of epigenetics is teaching us that traumatic events show up in our dna with gene receptors being turned on or off and those "settings" get passed along to our offspring.
I am a white-bodied practitioner who is interested in exploring my relationship to historical and collective trauma. If we wish to heal ourselves, our families, our communities and our culture, I believe the path can be found in somatic (meaning of the body) and communal (vs. Individual) healing methods. The more each of us can build our capacity to feel from within our embodied reactions and patterns, the more we can attune to and heal our generational wounds and evolve our humanity.