I would like to acknowledge some of the people who made these writings possible. I would first like to thank my stepmom, Darlene Moore, for always encouraging me to be better and to elevate my thinking always. Second, I would like to thank Doctor Andrew J. McKenna of Loyola University in Chicago for his contribution toward elevating my thinking and for teaching me how mimesis and mimetic theory plays a major role in every society in the world. And last but certainly not least, I would like to thank Professor Christina Gomez of Northeastern Illinois University who taught me that Blacks are not the only so called “niggers” of society or the only ones being dehumanized and, more importantly, for giving me an outlet to share my thoughts, feelings and story with a society that would otherwise have no idea who M.L. Key is. Thank you all . . .
My story begins on the first slave ship that ever touched the shores of America: from the earliest days of Blacks in America, we have been treated as less than! Less than what? Take your pick. It all adds up to a people and a culture dehumanized. My writing continues with a letter I read attributed to a White man named William Lynch. William Lynch was a British slave owner who was invited to the Colony of Virginia from his plantation in the West Indies to teach his methods to slave owners in the colony. It is said that the slave owners of West Virginia brought him in to help with their slave problems, mostly slave uprisings, but also their economic growth. What he said to them was transcribed into a letter entitled “The Making of a Slave” in 1712. He told them he had a foolproof method of controlling Black slaves. He guaranteed that if implemented correctly it would control their slaves for at least 300 years. The main ingredients in his method were fear, distrust and envy. He knew that distrust was stronger than trust and envy stronger than adulation, respect or admiration. He told them that the Black slaves, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become “self-refueling and self-generating” for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years.
How do you dehumanize a person? First you must break them of all human traits and refashion them into what be no more than a beast of burden. Let me ask you: have you ever seen a horse broken? Neither have I, but I am familiar with the basic principle. William Lynch says in his letter, ” We will use the same basic principle that we use in breaking a horse, combined with some sustaining factors. What we do with horses is that we break them from one form of life to another; that is, we reduce them from their natural state in nature. Whereas nature provides them with natural capacity to take care of their offspring, we break that natural string of independence from them and thereby create a dependency status, so that we may be able to get from them useful production for our business and pleasure.” This was the methodology to break the Black slaves. (Another human being!!!) He says that both the horse and the nigger are no good to the economy in their wild and natural state, so both must be broken and tied together for orderly production. For an orderly future, special and particular attention must be paid to the female slave and the youngest offspring, both must be crossbred to produce a variety and division of labor. Both must be taught to respond to a peculiar new language! Psychological and physical instructions of containment must be created for both.
Ask yourself: is this the way you treat people you believe to be human? He goes on to say that “both the horse and the nigger must be broken;” that is, breaking them from one form of mental life to another. “KEEP THE BODY, TAKE THE MIND!” In other words, break the will to resist. He points out that if you break the female mother slave, she will in turn break the offspring in its early years of development, and when the offspring is old enough to work, she will turn it over to Master, for her normal female protective tendencies will have been lost in the original breaking process. But before all this can occur, first, the male image must be destroyed. The way that was done was by marching a big strong Black male in front of the other Black males, females and children, tarred and feathered. They then tied each of his legs to a different horse, set him on fire and forced the horses to pull him apart. Immediately afterwards, they took a bullwhip and beat the remaining Black males to the point of death. Thereby limiting the female’s protective tendency towards her future independent male offspring. William Lynch warns though, and (I quote): “By reversing the positions of the male and the female savages, we created an orbiting cycle that turns on its own axis forever, unless a phenomenon occurs and re-shifts positions of the male and the female savages. Our experts warned us about the possibility of this phenomenon occurring, for they say that the mind has a strong drive to correct and re-correct itself over a period of time if it can touch some substantial original historical base.” This was the main reason slaves were not allowed to read!
A lot of Blacks and issues in the black community today are the result of this phenomenon. Many are still trapped in that mindset commonly referred to as the “Willie Lynch Syndrome” unable to break free from that slave mentality. I know the response to this argument is “that was a very long time ago and Blacks are not being treated that way today.” But not so long ago Black men were being killed at the whim of any white citizen or police officer and the recent deaths of young Black men at the hands of those very same white officers and citizens only go to reinforce that those days are not still behind us, no matter how much we try to deny what’s staring us right in the face. The question is: why is this so? My answer and belief is because Blacks are being scapegoated in the eyes of society, as they’ve always been, to be the worst of what society has to offer. Now without even knowing any Blacks or having any experiences of their own with Blacks, whites and, by extension, everyone else already has preconceived notions about Blacks in general. How did we get there? And when I say “We” I mean Black people, how did we as a race become the scum of the earth in everyone’s eyes? How did a once great people, a people responsible for some of the greatest minds and achievements known to man, in the past and today fall so far? Some would say it was because we are the original and first-born of the Creator and that we are being punished for being disobedient and breaking our covenant with God, our Father.
Others say it’s because we are not truly human and we don’t deserve to be treated as such. While others still say we’re animals and never should’ve been freed from the bondage and chains of slavery and no matter what anyone says or believes, to them we will always be their slaves. In accordance with that belief, laws are being passed to keep Blacks in bondage and in chains on the new plantations [prison]. How else do you explain a people that only make up 15% of the population accounting for over 60% of the prison industrial complex? Martin Luther King, Jr. says in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “An unjust law is a code inflicted upon a minority which that minority had no part in enacting or creating because it did not have the unhampered right to vote.” When you systematically incarcerate a certain group of people, then pass legislation that says ex-cons can’t vote, it doesn’t matter that you’re no longer standing outside the voting centers with guns, sticks and dogs to stop people from going in because you’ve come up with a better way to hamper that vote. You need only arrest them, charge them and sentence them and that right to vote is gone. Saint Augustine said: “An unjust law is no law at all.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all laws are unjust, because there are some instances when a law is just on its face, but unjust in its application. This is more often than not what Blacks come up against on a daily basis.
Once again, more than 60% of the prison population is Black, can you still tell yourself that slavery doesn’t exist? When the very same people who were enslaved before are once again being systemically placed in bondage and chains and traded on the open market. Almost all Fortune 500 companies now have stocks in or benefit from American prisons. Is it any wonder why America alone has more prisons and prisoners than every other country in the world combined?! Can you continue to see young Black men who are unarmed be gunned down in the streets like dogs and still tell yourself that Blacks are treated like human beings? It wasn’t that long ago Blacks were used as beasts of burden out in the fields, and Black women were used as breeding stock. A guy once told me that “history might not repeat itself,” but it does rhyme.
I want to ask my non-black readers how many Black friends do you have? I don’t mean someone you occasionally deal with, but a real and true friend. If the answer is none, I want you to ask yourself why that is? Because I’m sure you tell yourself all the time “I’m not a racist” and “I’m not prejudiced.” Now I’m sure given enough time you’ll be able to come up with a million reasons why you don’t have any Black friends. But I think it goes deeper. And for you all that do have a couple of Black friends, can you honestly say that you trust them wholeheartedly? Or do you harbor a deep-seeded belief that all Blacks are rapists, thieves and murderers? If you feel like I’ve put you on the spot, that’s because I have! In order for you to see a problem, you must first recognize that a problem exists. I need you to keep in mind that if you do harbor these beliefs, for more than 400 years White men raped Black women and men, stole their bodies, their minds and their dignity; murdered them in unprecedented numbers for no other reason than they were having a bad day or simply because they could.
So I ask myself: what has really changed? Black men are still being murdered for no other reason than being Black. And, yes, it’s true, Blacks are killing Blacks at a consistent and unheard of rate, but is anyone really surprised? Blacks, like everyone else, have been conditioned to devalue Black life. A concept embedded in their DNA from their ancestors’ earliest days of captivity. In the days of overt slavery the slaves were always pitted against one another, from the field slave against the house slave, to the light-skin slave against the dark-skin slave. All doing what they needed to do to survive.
There’s no difference today! You need only to look at the statistics that show the lighter-skin Blacks are more successful than the darker-skin and considered the more beautiful of the two. I myself for a long time was guilty of those very same thoughts and beliefs. In the Black community as well as the Latino community having lighter skin almost guarantees that you’ll be treated better, not just in your community, but in society as a whole. It’s also going to ensure that fear, distrust and envy mentioned in the beginning. Also, in the beginning I mentioned how Willie Lynch devised what he called his “fool proof method” to make a slave and keep that slave a slave almost indefinitely, by above all taking the “Mind.” And in taking the mind, embedded after the BREAKING was a mindset that still resonates today. Not just in Blacks, but non-blacks as well, and it’s so subtle that I don’t believe many people are even aware of it. In the last 25 years they’ve also once again pitted the female against the male. Statistics show that women are 10 times more likely to find a job than their male counterparts. Once again placing the male in a role other than protector and provider, essentially emasculating him without a whip! This is especially so in the Black and Latino communities.
I’ve recently enrolled in a Latin American Studies class taught by Prof. Christina Gomez of Northeastern Illinois University and what I’m coming to see and realize is that Latinos are rapidly becoming the new NIGGERS in America. They may not have been brought over here in slave ships, but the treatment has been no less harsh. I grew up in Chicago on the southeast side with hardly any interaction with Latinos. Would it surprise you to learn that Latinos are no less than 20 blocks east of my neighborhood? Now if you were to ride through both neighborhoods on any given day the only difference that you would see is the color of the skin of the people that reside there. The hardships, the difficulties of raising children and keeping them safe, the inequality of educational opportunities, the jobs available, and the attainment of home ownership are all the same. What’s also the same is the fact that the separation of those 20 blocks have created mini islands with their own little militias to defend them.
What’s also been created to combat the ongoing assaults by various federal agencies and police officers is a strict code of conduct and a language to communicate. Not unlike what the ancient Hebrews were forced to do in order to survive the dangers of first the Pharaoh, then the Romans. The only problem with that code and language that I see is that it’s packed with that “Willie Lynch Syndrome” and where once it was just relegated to Blacks, it has since spread to all other minority groups, not just in America, but around the world as well. If you’re wondering how this is possible you need only to look at Hip Hop and how that culture has spawned a culture within itself. And for any who don’t know, Hip Hop was created by Blacks as a means of not only communication and expression, but a way to separate themselves from their captors. But if that’s not enough, then turn on your TV or computer. Better still go into one of your kid’s rooms. For the most part, my people are just trying to survive in captivity (make no mistake, we’re still in captivity) and doing what’s needed to survive.
How do you tell a people who have been genetically engineered to devalue human life, that when they kill to eat, to live, to survive –a conditioned forced upon them- that what they’re doing is wrong? It should be noted at this time that almost everything in life is a learned behavior and everything Blacks have learned they’ve learned from their captors. Captors in a society who themselves don’t value human life, for that matter, any life at all. From the earliest days of a child’s memory in America, those memories are packed full with violence, whether that violence is outside the home or inside the home makes no difference. This aspect of life in America is not a race thing, nor is it gender specific. When I was a child those memories of violence (though I didn’t know it then) were of “Tom and Jerry” (a cartoon), westerns and mob shows. There were other violent shows and cartoons, but those are the ones that stand out for me. I say all that to say this: in a society that was built on violence, raised on violence and loves violence, is it any wonder why almost everyone is violent?! But the only thing that seems to be highlighted is Black and Brown violence.
Studies have shown that, under-education, poverty and crime creates a declining economic status. How do they combat this declining economic status? By spending billions to build more prisons and hire more police officers! Explain to me the logic in that. If the reason for poverty and crime is under-education and lack of employment, wouldn’t those billions be better spent to create more jobs in that community and better education in their schools? Instead the Black and Latino communities get over-policing, closed schools and stiffer laws from crooked politicians who have been elected on the backs of the poor and disenfranchised. All this guarantees is continued poverty and a crime rate not seen since the Great Depression. This way of living can only be described as systemic poverty. Systemic Poverty is defined as a lack of resources for comfortable living affecting the entire bodily system. To keep a people, any people in such conditions is tantamount to keeping one on the slave block, and Blacks have been kept on the slave block their entire existence in America –whether overtly or covertly.
Also, I want the reader to know that I’m not just some bitter Black man blaming the White man for all my misfortunes in life. But know that I am angry. I’m angry at myself for becoming the very statistic they talk about. But I didn’t get here by myself. Nor, is the fault all my own. I read somewhere once that if you’re Black or Latino your life is already determined before you’re even born. That determination depends on where you live at the time of your birth. Well, where I lived was filled with poverty, under-education, prison and an early death, most likely violently and at the hands of someone that looks just like myself. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail described the plight of Blacks in American beautifully when he said: “ When you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are Negro living constantly at tip-toe stance, never knowing what to expect next and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodyness’ then you’ll know what it means to be Black in America and know yourselves as dehumanized people.”
In closing I want to leave you, my intelligent brothers and sisters with this: “ The first law of reason is that what exists – exists. What is – is and from that irreducible, bedrock principle all knowledge is built. That’s the foundation from which life is embraced. Thinking is a choice and wishes and whims are not facts nor are they a means to discover them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality –that is our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the affront of thinking –to reject reason- but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see.” (Terry Goodkind)
Slavery happened, the rape and mass murder of millions of Black men, women and children happened. No matter how much you want to bury your head in the sand as if it didn’t or simply refuse to give it any thought at all – it happened. It’s still happening! Open your eyes and realize that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Thank you for reading.
Also, some believe that “The Willie Lynch Letter” is a forgery and that maybe so, but the treatments described are all true. For further proof of this, read: “The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass.”