Dear Resident

by  

Greetings, salutations and peace. Peace be unto you and us all as the threat of war looms on the horizon becoming more apparent with each sunrise and sunset.

The “One World” concept has come full circle from economics, where it started, to warfare, where it may likely end. Historically, there has never been an action by a single government that has the possibility of encompassing every people and culture on earth. But man has never had the capability of destruction that he has today.

This image depicts a mural which was painted on the walls of a building owned by the Tranquility Marksman Association, founded by the late Marion Stamps, a tireless crusader for the rights of Cabrini-Green tenants. The building stood at Clybourn Avenue and Division Street until it was demolished several years ago. Photo by Patricia Johnson-Gordon

Pray for peace as you go about your daily routine, despite the threat of war. In the month of February, part of our daily routine is the celebration of Black History Month.

Sadly, our history has not increased, grown or changed since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and neither have we as a people. Certainly, there have been some major accomplishments by a few Black individuals but none collectively. We have been singing the same song, “We Shall Overcome” for the past four decades and have yet to “overcome.” And for the past four decades, as I have observed my Black neighbors and co-workers, my Black friends and strangers, Black adults and children, there is a resounding question, growing ever louder, which I would like to give thought to in this edition of Dear Resident.

The question is Why do we treat each other so bad?

It is the question I ask myself whenever I see Black people in a position to help one another refuse. It is the question I ask myself whenever I hear one Black woman say she cannot stand another based on no more than a first glance with little or no personal contact. It is the question I especially ask myself when we come together as a community to bury one killed by another.

It is the question that even people of other races ask, “Why do you treat each other so bad?” And most often, during the course of conversation, the question becomes, Whats wrong with us?

I would like to share with you a speech I found during my search for an answer to that question. The following has been credited to William Lynch, who reportedly made the speech on the banks of the James River in 1712. It was quoted by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at the Million Man March.

Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies who came to the United States to tell American slave owners how to keep their slaves under control. The term lynching is derived from his name.

In the words of William Lynch in 1712, there are many ways you can keep control over all Black People.

“Gentlemen, I greet you on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves.

“Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies, where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented. “I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock (slaves) by hangings, you are having uprising, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed. Gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate.

“I am not here to enumerate your problems. I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them. In my bag here, I have a foolproof method for controlling your Black slaves. I guarantee every one of you that if installed correctly, it will control the slaves for at least 300 years.

“My method is simple. Any member of your family or any overseer can use it. I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust and envy for control purposes.

“These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies, and it will work throughout the South. “Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On top of my list is ‘age’ but it is there only because it starts with ‘a.’ The second is ‘color’ or shade. There is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantation, status on plantation, attitude of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, east, west, north, south, have fine hair or coarse hair, or are tall or short.

Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action – but before I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust, and envy is stronger than adulation, respect or admiration.

“The Black Slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

“Don’t forget, you must pitch the old Black male vs. the young Black male, and the young Black male against the old Black male. You must use the dark-skin slaves vs. the light-skin slaves, and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves. You must use the female vs. the male and male vs. the female.

“You must also have all your white servants and overseers distrust all Blacks but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect and trust only us.

“Understanding is the best thing. Therefore, we shall go deeper into this area of the subject matter concerning what we produced here in this breaking process of the female n—. We have reversed the relationships. In her natural, uncivilized state, she would have a strong dependency on the uncivilized n— male, and she would have a limited protective tendency toward her independent male offspring and would raise the female offspring to be dependent like her.

“Nature had provided for this type of balance. We reversed nature by burning and pulling one uncivilized n– apart and bull whipping the other to the point of death – all in her presence. By her being left alone, unprotected, with the male image destroyed, the ordeal caused her to move from her psychological dependent state to a frozen independent state.

“In the frozen, psychological state of independence, she will raise her male and female offspring in reverse roles. For fear of the young male’s life, she will psychologically train him to be mentally weak and dependent but physically strong.

“Continually, through the breaking of uncivilized savage n—, by throwing the n— female savage into a frozen psychological state of independency, by killing of the protective male image, by creating a submissive dependent mint mind of the n— male savage, we have created an orbiting cycle that turns on its own axis forever, unless a phenomenon occurs and re-shifts the position of the male and 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; and they advised us that the best way to deal with this phenomenon is to shave off the brute’s mental history and create a multiplicity of phenomena of illusions, so that each illusion will twirl on its own orbit, something similar to floating balls in a vacuum.

“This creation of multiplicity of phenomena of illusions entails the principles of cross-breeding the n—. “Cross-breeding completed, for further separation from their original beginning, we must completely destroy the mother tongue of the n— and institute a new language that involves the new life’s work.

“You know, language is a particular institution. It leads to the heart of a people. The more a foreigner (slave) knows about the language of another country, the more he is able to move through all levels of that society. For example, you take a slave, if you teach him all about your language, he will know all your secrets, and he is then no more slave, for you can’t fool him any longer, and being a fool is one of the basic ingredients of and incidents to the maintenance of the slavery system….”

This is not the speech in its entirety. I found some it just too offensive to reproduce. Especially the cross-breeding of Black people with white blood as compared to that of horses and asses resulting in “a multiplicity of colors of ass backward, unusual n—s, running tied to backward ass long-head mules, the one productive of itself, the other sterile.”

My God! Could the answer to the question be this horribly simple? Is the cycle still turning on its own axis? Do we still think and act like slaves? Are we incapable of re-correcting ourselves?

Certainly, our culture, our African history, with roots as deep as Africa’s tallest tree, were destroyed by Lynch’s axis of evil. There is little culturally African about us today. The history that we celebrate is given us by who we have become, not who we were.

But there is a history common to all men that has the ability to re-correct us. A history that turns on an axis of love. My God! Could the solution to the question be this simple?

It would appear that the only thing left for us to overcome is ourselves.

We shall…

-Pat

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