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Do Black Stories Capitalize Off Black Trauma?

Books like “The Help” and “12 Years a Slave” are often categorized as Black stories but do they uplift the Black community, or do they capitalize off the trauma and pain of Black people? Until recently, it was considered taboo to speak about the dark history of the world. Now it’s become something of a sensitization.

These stories captivate large audiences because of the shock factor. “The Help” garnered enough attention to spawn a movie. One of the most memorable scenes is the pie scene. “12 Years a Slave” is another famous book-turned-movie. A memoir based on Solomon Northup, a free black man who was sold into slavery. Northup is drugged, taken away from his family, and tortured in the South. Both books follow black protagonists as they navigate through trauma and struggle, with little to no options. That, however, just might be the problem.

While these books do a great job at capturing what has happened, They can become tiresome and overdone. To highlight better representation, that starts with reevaluating books like “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker or “Push” by Sapphire. Categorizing them as Black struggle stories is a start.

The increased interest in black stories can be seen throughout the media. One of the most recent sensations was the Amazon prime TV show “Them” which featured an infamous “cat in the bag scene,” resulting in a rape and the death of a baby.

Showcasing positive stories about Black excellence should be the new normal, not Black struggles. With the recent events of the world and the constant push for change, there is only hope for more stories that highlight successful black voices. There has been an increase and popularity in tv shows, however, books still have a limited amount of Black success stories. The Black community has grown past the need for another Black trauma story to be broadcasted on main screens.


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