Tag Archives: African American History

Is The Willie Lynch Syndrome on Auto Pilot?

Is the Willie Lynch Syndrome on auto pilot? Willie Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies, who gave a speech in 1712 outlining how to control one’s, slaves. Lynch’s method of controlling slave was to pit the slaves against each other such as old versus young, male versus female, light skinned versus dark skinned. Lynch believed if his method was implemented properly a slave master would be able to control his slaves for 300 years.

Now, I know we all are aware that this problem still exists today but my concern is that I have noticed that the problem exists amongst the conscious community. I thought I would not witness this behavior amongst people that I considered conscious or self-aware, but I may be wrong.

There were a couple of recent incidents the occurred that made me ask myself is the Willie Lynch Syndrome on auto pilot? One incident that occurred was the black feminist protest against the movie Birth of a Nation. In my opinion, the movie was a pivotal movie for several reasons, the story of Nat Turner is about a slave who rises up against slavery and kills a large number of our oppressors. The other reason this was a pivotal movie, had the movie had overwhelming box office success other movies would be made about other black heroes during this era or other eras in American history. The Black feminist may have single handily destroyed the success of the movie because the movies creator Nate Parker had been acquitted of rape several years ago. I do not understand why protest the movie because a man was found not guilty of a crime and you never protested any of the other movies he was a part of. Even if you do not like the man you do not have to destroy a movie that told an important story. Just imagine had this movie been successful all the other movies Hollywood would have been willing to make. This would have allowed our children to see people like them performing heroic feats that did not involve sports. The children would learn how to stand up to our enemies.

The second incident involves the Big Baller Brand, Big Baller Brand is an athletic clothing line owned and operated by LaVar Ball. If you have not heard of the LaVar Ball he is the father of three sons who are excellent basketball players. The oldest son will be a top-five pick in the upcoming NBA draft and his two other sons will be attending UCLA in the future on basketball scholarships. Big Baller Brand recently released a basketball shoe for the price of $495. Everyone has offered their opinion about the shoe and the cost of the shoe, to my surprise, was the negative comments coming from people who I assume are conscious individuals. Ball considers himself a black business owner, people were commenting that he is taking advantage of the black community by charging so much for the shoe and that he has a white wife. First, no one inquired about how much it cost him to make the shoe and maybe that has an effect on the price. Secondly, I do not know about the city or town you reside in but my city I see black people with $1500 Moncler Jackets, $2000 Balmain jeans and it seems like everyone has something Gucci or Louis Vuitton. I do not hear masses of black people speaking out about the prices of these items and why they are being marketed to black people. Thirdly, LaVar having a white wife does not discount him from being a black business owner. I am not defending the price of the shoe I just saying why speak out loudly against one of us and talk softly about them.

I am not as worldly as some other people but I do not hear or see other “minority” ethnic groups speak out publicly against their own people. I do not see Asians on social media degrading other Asians or on television trying to steer people away from another Asian’s movie. If a black person is doing something to harm the black community or put the black community in a negative light, by all means, call them out. But if the person is trying to advance him or herself without causing harm to the black community do not take your grievances to social media. If it is something that you feel needs to be addressed do it quietly, amongst ourselves the rest of the world does not need to see Willie Lynch Syndrome on auto pilot.

 

 

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The Functionality of Racism in America

What is the functionality of racism in America? Who benefits from racism in America? Why isn’t everyone working to end racism? Many believe this country was built on racism, if not for slavery would America have been able to build wealth. Slavery ended in 1865 so why hasn’t racism dissipated over these past hundred plus years? In my point of view and some others, racism is as strong as ever in America. In fact, one could argue that racism has increased worldwide since the end of slavery in America. Now there are some who will say that Black Americans are better off today than in the past, but this may all be imaginary. Black America’s wealth percentage has not increased compared to other ethnic groups. Racism may not be as overt as in the past but racism still exist, which begs the question why does racism still exist?

In my opinion, racism has an important functionality in America and that is why racism still exists and may forever exist in America. In my opinion, racism is being used as a tool to mask classism. Past empires practiced classism and this philosophy contributed to the downfall of these empires because the number of lower class citizens outnumbered the number of upper-class citizens. In the classism system, the lower class citizens can easily overpower the upper class. Knowing that this issue has existed throughout history there must be a system in place that will keep the lower class citizens fighting amongst each other. If the lower class citizens are fighting against each other they will not be able to unite and overthrow the upper-class citizen, hence the system of racism.

This theory about the functionality of racism in America came to me several years ago while watching the election coverage on MSNBC. The MSNBC report was interviewing people from a rural town in Mississippi, one of the gentlemen the report spoke with was an older white man, I remember the report stating that the older man’s annual income was around $12,000. The report went through a number of political issues and tried to explain to the older gentleman that it would benefit him and his family financially to support a Democrat. The reported explained that many of the items on the Democrat agenda, if passed, would have a direct impact on him and they would benefit him. The older white stated he would never vote for a democrat because all the democrats want to do is help Black and Hispanic people. The older gentleman stated he was fine with his financial situation as long as the government did not provide anything to minorities. I took two things from this news piece, one the older gentlemen felt that even though he is considered poor, being white made him better than Blacks and Hispanics. The second thing was that he is willing to do without to ensure that Blacks and Hispanics do not benefit in any way. I thought to myself that white privilege is enough and if so racism will not go away.

There are small incidents throughout American history where we see racism mask classism. In 1920’s New York; Italian immigrants, Irish immigrants, and Black lived in many of the same neighborhoods. Gang violence was high during these times because poverty was prevalent, the gangs started to prey upon the upper class. The New York officials knew the city could not sustain with so many people at the poverty level, so the officials started putting the Irish immigrants into the police force and the Italian immigrants into the fire department. This left the Black New Yorkers without any outlets and the Irish to enforce the laws. This created a middle class which meant mostly Blacks were lower class and his protected the upper class because the number of lower class citizens had decreased and the now middle-class citizen were in charge of protecting the upper class.

Martin Luther King’s assassination, when speaking with my son about MLK’s assassination he assumed the MLK was in Memphis fighting for civil rights. I explained that MLK was there in support of the sanitation workers strike. The sanitation workers were striking for better working conditions and salary. One has to ask himself was MLK assassinated because of his work in the civil right movement or because MLK’s focus started leaning towards more economic fairness for all people.

For a moment let us imagine America without racism. Without racism would citizens be upset with the huge wealth gap in America? Would the older man I mentioned earlier be so excepting of his financial situation? America’s love to complain and blame others for the country’s problems, without racism who would they blame? Would the lower class and middle class rise up against the upper class?  If my theory is correct we may never get rid of racism because America is controlled by the upper class and the last thing the upper class will allow to happen is to lose control of the country. Racism may not just have a functionality in America, racism may be the engine which keeps America on the path that is on.

The Unlearned History of the Black/ African-American Community

Does the unlearned history of the Black/ Africa-American community affect our position in society? If this unlearned history of the Black/African-American community was common knowledge would the world be different today?

I stumbled on this concept during one of my, for the lack of a better term, verbal jousting on twitter. Another individual and I were engaged in a conversation through twitter where I stated that Black people have contributed heavily to the development of America. His reply was am I talking about slavery, I replied we have contributed and invented things that have impacted the agriculture, science, and industrial sections of the country. The individual then reply name two instances, I provided him with five names of black inventors. Needless to say the conversation was basically over at this point. The individual had claimed in an earlier exchange that he was Native American, based on this exchange the question arose does the unlearned history of the Black/ African American community affect us. This question may be important because the individual I was in the exchange with was unaware of our contributions and learning of these contributions may affect his opinion about us. If so, will learning this history change the members of the Black/ African American Community?

During my sons and my school years I have noticed that there is very little taught about our history, during Black History Month the schools may dedicate more time to Black Historians but usually it is the more common black individuals. When our history is taught the majority of the time we are taught about individuals who impacted society after slavery, but our contributions began way before slavery. My little knowledge that I have gained about our history was acquired in my adult years. To gain this knowledge I read books or watch speeches by individuals such as Dr. Phil Valentine, Professor James Smalls, and John Henrik Clark. I also watch the Hidden Colors series and watched Black News 102. These individuals, media platforms, research helped grow my knowledge of our history. I still only possess a little bit of knowledge concerning our history.

In my opinion, learning about the Black/ African-American starting from slavery puts us at a disadvantage. Our children start learning about themselves from the lowest point in our history, therefore the view of your ancestors starts from a point when we were treated less human instead of a point where we ruled the world. When discussing slavery, it is made clear that we did not win our freedom, our freedom was given to us. This sends a message that the oppressor is the only one who can answer our prayers. If our children were taught about Ancient Kemet, Nubia, The Moors or individuals such as Mansa Musa would this give them a certain pride and motivate them to return to these levels of success. Movies like Tariq Nasheed‘s 1804: The Hidden History of Haiti is so important because it shows our children that during slavery there were some of us who took back our freedom and you do not have to wait for someone to give you your future.

Many of us have brought into the images that have been given to us, such as we are savages, Africa is an under developed country, that the European civilized us, and come from nothing. None of this true, in fact, it is the exact opposite. Learning this history may change our position in society and it may change the way the rest of society views us.

There is a reason our history is kept from us, some of the history is distorted, or stolen. I remember when I was much younger someone said to me that “with no history you have no future.” So is the unlearned history of the Black/ African-American Community affecting our future?