What Are You Learning from ROOTS on The History Channel?


What are you learning from ROOTS? What did you already know? What do you think viewers SHOULD know? I’d really like answers to this!!

I have learned that song has always been an instrument of rebellion, from singing in a native tongue to communicate, to using the appearance of obedience and even (celebration? I don’t know the word I want but it’s something that whites would interpret that way) in English to give one another support and pass messages.

The true craft and intelligence involved in survival is a lesson that everyone could take, I think. But it proves what I’ve always known – that being a slave or being slave-descended is a testament to surviving the extremes that many others have not encountered. For those of us who don’t live in that descent or space, it is a challenge to understand but a necessity to respect and support.

Another thing that is played out before my eyes in ROOTS is the constant watchfulness, the endurance necessary to get through a day, and the PTSD that is now understood to be generational as a result of this constant vigilance against violence.

I was just witness to a White Supremacist rampage in a black genetic genealogy group. This supremacist claimed to be due reparations because his European ancestors were forced into military servitude. He said it was the same thing as African-Americans deserving reparations. In so doing, he mocked the African-American experience. This is an apples-and-oranges comparison. All forced duties and enslavements are bad things, for certain, but the experience of Black America is unlike anything else.

I watch this show, ROOTS, seemingly just a TV show, and I learn at greater depths the generational trauma still suffered by black America exists in the DNA, and that this has already been proven scientifically. I can understand it at a distance though I have not experienced it genealogically.

ROOTS episodes 1 and 2 are available online and on Roku; the remaining two episodes are showing on Lifetime, A&E and The History Channel.

All of these things are valuable learning experiences. What do you say?

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