My Own Speechless Terror

When individuals and communities experience traumatizing events, they often lose the ability to describe what they have been through in words. Harris (2009) calls this “speechless terror.” As an African American woman and the creator of a trauma-focused intervention that addresses the traumatic experiences of people of color, I am speechless. I find myself in a chaotic cyclone of disjointed thoughts and feelings. Wanting to say something, but paralyzed by fear, confusion, and anger. For those colleagues, friends, and acquaintances seeking to understand the deep-seated, identity-based traumas that are impacting the African American community, I would like to recommend these resources to you. Read them with an open mind. But also remember that while these resources can support you in understanding and validating our collective anger and terror, frustration and powerlessness, trauma and strength, the ideas contained in them only scratch the surface of the African American experience. Read. Explore. Introspect. Empathize. Connect. Advocate.


Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (Degruy)
White Fragility (DiAngelo)
Let’s Get Real: What People of Color Can’t Say and Whites Won’t Ask About Racism (Mun Wah)
Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Friere)
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (McIntosh)
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (Anderson)
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Stevenson)
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Eddo-Lodge)
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander)
24 Books for White People to Read Beyond Black History Month (Clark)
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (Tatum)

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