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Mothering The DNA of Fear

I am inspired, yet perplexed by quotations flooding social media with the intent of inspiring and uplifting women.  These quotes receive thousands of “likes” by readers, including me. 

Woman, “the creator of life.”  Repeat that to yourself… ”the creator of life… hu-man kind”, needing affirmed by external voices, when life begins in her womb.  When did “the creator of life” relinquish woman’s innate cellular authority to be less than any other being? Women hold a place of cellular authority that should not be changed nor denied by public policy or legislation.  Yet through marches, speeches and petitions, women have been forced to plead a case for equality and recognition, pleading to an authority of decision-makers, born in the womb of a woman.  

At the risk of being viewed as an insensitive African American woman, I understand Kanye West’s controversial statement.  West has received much of criticism for saying, Africans remained slaves because they wanted to be slaves.  I was not upset nor offended by his comment.  Kanye failed to explain, if he knows, why his statement has validity and can be a proven fact.  You see, the power of the “DNA of fear” is real and scientifically documented. 

This DNA of paralyzing fear passed through generations of the African slave subjected to acts of brutality, rape, lynching and the separation of families.  This inhuman treatment inflicted psychological damage to the victims and to their descendants. This DNA of fear kept thousands of slaves under control even though they outnumbered their oppressors. If there was any sign that the imposed physical and mental degradation left an ounce of courage to resist, that courage was met with public torture and beatings.

These events sent clear messages to those witnessing that you must suppress resistance and relinquish to the authorities with the whips and the chains.

The powerful physiological DNA of fear works on every human being, including women.   After the Emancipation Proclamation, some former slaves returned to the plantation of oppression and fear, because they had no place to go, no skills to manage life on their own and it was the slaves’ norm.

This time tested evolution of fear has been proven through studies causing mice to be fearful of the smell of cherry blossoms.   Researchers taught mice to fear the smell of cherry blossoms by exposing them to a mild foot shock.  Generations later, the offspring of the tested mice experienced fear and anxiety from the odor of cherry blossoms.  Researchers, at Weill Cornell Medical College in 2013, also found that this ability to remember can be effected by the presence of immune system factors in the mother’s milk.  The finding showed that chemokines carried in a mother’s milk caused changes in the brains of her offspring, affecting their memory in later life.   How can we begin to comprehend the impact of the chemokines in the milk of the slave woman, breastfeeding her newborn, when all of her previous children have been snatched from her arms and sold? Has the DNA of being subservient and the mutation of the acceptance of inferiority birthed its way through generations of women?  At What point, during the evaluation of humankind, were "the givers of life", crushed into a role that today needs affirmation from quotes on the internet?

The revealing words of this 16th Century “Mystery Document”, are an eye opening explanation of the acceptance of some societal norms that still exist.  This land transfer note was stumbled upon in a second-hand bookshop in Warrnambool, Australia, and it reads:

“Woman is to win everything by peace and love; by making herself so much respected, esteemed and loved, that to yield to her opinions and to gratify her wishes, will be the free-will offering  of her heart.  But the moment a woman begins to feel the promptings of ambition, or the thirst for power, her aegis of defense is gone.  All the sacred protection of religion, all the generous promptings of chivalry, all the poetry of romantic gallantry, depend upon a woman’s retaining her place as dependent and defenseless, and making no claims and maintaining no right but what are the gifts of honor, rectitude and love.”

The DNA for the need of “aegis” from anyone other than the Creator of the Universe diminishes the cellular and genetic ability to create life.  On this Mother’s Day 2020, women are continuing to fight not just to change laws, but to change attitudes of men and attitudes the woman in the mirror.

Pamela D. Marshall Executive Director At The WELLness Network, Inc. Author, Journalist, Yoga Teacher and Podcast Host

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