Catherine Clinton on the Weeping Time

Perhaps the greatest horror of slavery would be [that] you could be denied your own children. That although you were born into a family and you might indeed bear your own children who would be your descendants, you were somehow cut off from them by slavery. It was a system which could destroy blood ties, which could not destroy the bonds of affection which might try and survive and rise above and transcend the system of slavery. But as you were born into the world and knew who you were, that selfhood could be denied by society around you. You didn’t own your own body. You had no legal standing. You were not a person under the law. And indeed, that kind of constant reinforcement of alienation was one of the greatest psychological damages of slavery. And even if you might transcend the psychological damage that this did, you nevertheless knew that at any time, your family could be taken away.



One response to “Catherine Clinton on the Weeping Time

  1. Dear Jane,

    The painful and serious historical fact, that this is not fiction anymore but reality.

    The reinforcement of alienation is for many adoptees, so not for all, one of the greatest psychological fears and damages of adoption. The same mechanisms show up here just like in the time of slavery. Many ‘victims’, feel safer to be silent and even enforce others to adjust and to be happy, than to ask themselves the most painful question, how this all is related to an industry, scrupulous and willing to sell and buy children, except their own kind to other races and cultures.

    It was frightened to discover the close mechanisms of slavery and adoption. Not only Tobias wrote about this but many others (especially anthropologists) discussed the discourse of this international phenomenon. Strikingly, not many Female academics from faculties like Law, Pedagogy and Social Psychologist in this case (Nancy Verrier might be unique in this position) – many of them are adopters – dare to challenge the question, why they do not concur the damage they cause to their own sex.

    There are still many questions open to be answered and to find the necessary dialogue regarding this sensitive topic.

    Warm regards,


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