Just about everyone in the US is aware of and talking about the outbreak of violence in the city of Chicago. A lifelong friend of my grandson recently lost his life to gun violence there. For Chicago, this is not a new phenomenon. In the early 20th century, the city was wrought with crime when it became known for it’s speakeasies during the Prohibition and after. However, unlike the criminal element today that is restricted to certain communities, the criminal element of the early 1900’s impacted everyone, without regard to race, class, religion, or neighborhood. And the violence was eventually squelched after the economy recovered from the Great Depression.
What is happening almost one hundred years later is prevalent in impoverished African, Latino, and Muslim communities across the globe. And controversy abounds as to who or what is responsible for this wave of, not only criminal, but hostile behaviors. Unfortunately, that behavioral trend was cemented in our genome after hundreds of years of surviving threat after threat. Consequently, the attempts to solve the problems have met with negligible results. Could it be that over time the human race has only compounded what was already a volatile social environment?
Scientific studies conducted by Emory University in Atlanta indicate that past memories are encoded in our DNA. So, the source of Chicago’s problem is more than what most would consider to be an irrational response to centuries of oppression and suppression affecting the African and Latino diaspora. Because according to this study, memories are genetically encoded to inform future generations of potential threats to their humanity. They also inform us of ways to counteract those threats.
The behavior of those of African descent across the world has typically been characterized as criminal and violent. But what about a rising social trend in Africa? One of uplifting, not only one’s own family or community, but the entire continent, through social endeavors that speak to the good of the people and addresses their need to respect the ecosystem, while embracing diverse spiritual views of the world we live in?
The phenomenon of memories being genetically encoded is not limited to those of African descent. If we have developed a lack of self-esteem and behaviors based on fears of oppression, suppression, and death, then those who are the oppressors have developed behaviors based on their sense of superiority and fear of us. And, if violence, as a reaction to the transference of multigenerational fears, is occurring, then Mother Africa is finding a way to reverse that trend. As this new movement progresses across the globe it can serve as a beacon of light, causing a positive shift in paradigms for humanity as the transference of intergenerational memory continues to occur.
There are so many possibilities to consider as we begin exploring this phenomenon of memory DNA that I can’t address it in one article. So I will apply this theory to other aspects of humanity in subsequent blogs. However, it is comforting to know, as an African-American, that we can join the rest of the African diaspora in creating a change in the human genome. Change that can ensure acceptance of those things that positively impact us, while helping us deal in more productive ways with the intergenerational fears that compel us all to pursue counterproductive behaviors.