I just finished reading Willie Lynch’s speech, and find myself just think-in about the concept of negative mental legacies of slavery.
Might the conditions of slavery, which were designed to break and remake human beings into passive slaves, first and foremost, have been about mental conditioning? Might physical control and terror have been a means to the end of mental control?
Might African Americans have finally achieved the end of overt terror, captivity, and the legal institutions of our oppression…only to presently be faced with the additional task of removing the mental conditioning?
Heaven knows that a historically oppressed people have an obligation to come together, to work together, to mitigate their own oppression. Can this be why we find it so difficult to come together and act in our own selfish best interest?
Might this be why some African Americans today often exhibit behaviors and attitudes that are confusingly self-destructive? Not having explicitly examined, dissected, and exorcised these mental demons (the negative mental legacies of slavery), might we be unconsciously passing them on from generation to generation?
Lynch was an astute manipulator of human psychology, as were others who shaped the system of slavery. He fully understood that the manipulation of human fears, wants, and needs could be used for purposes of social control and exploitation.
This think-in thing ain’t easy. It’s really a lot easier to just not do it and instead simply go with the flow. Still, I’m committed to this think-in.
While Lynch perfected this divide and conquer thing; someone else was perfecting the use of physical control, torture, and the public display of brutal punishment as another way of controlling/conditioning slaves; and someone else perfected the exploitation of the fact that Africa, as a continent (not as a country), was made up of many different cultures and languages. By separating the slaves, so as to mix the many different cultures of Africa, the cultural bonds that strengthened the slaves and fostered resistance were broken. This was especially effective since using any African language, practicing any African religion, or demonstrating any behavior not desired by the slave master was punishable by brutal public floggings or death.
Our African American forefathers had to contend with a triple jeopardy: their enslavement; their own human, linguistic, and national differences; and the effects of Lynch’s divide and conquer methodology. And remember, Lynch guaranteed that if his method of using “…fear, distrust, and envy for control…” was used correctly it would “control the slaves for at least 300 years.” Further, he stated that, “…the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year, the slaves themselves would remain perpetually.
Yet children accept the customs of the culture they were born into, without question. So, the acceptance (internalization) of the negative mental legacies of slavery was both natural and normal. Not having carefully examined the negative mental legacies of slavery, might they have been unconsciously passed on to future generations? Also, America’s educational system still refuses to carefully examine the institution of slavery (as I am attempting to do right now) and present it with intellectual honesty. Rather, the schools our children attend today teach that: slavery is not paying someone for their work; the ridiculous concept of the good slave owner, as opposed to the bad slave owner; and that slavery (and any lasting effecting it might have had) was eliminated a long time ago.
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