How would you feel if someone walked up to you and said, “You are now my bitch, and there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it!” Then, they beat you, bound you, and broke you and segregated you from your family and everyone that you loved.
This is “The Makings of a Slave”… Before I start, let me give you a little background. My students (incarcerated men in a California State Detention Center) suggested that we read “The Willie Lynch Letter” as a class. Because I love debating and discussing, I knew I could use this letter as the perfect opportunity to shed some light on certain situations and events that are happening now in society.
The letter describes, in detail, how Willie Lynch, a British slave owner, came to America and taught other slave owners how to keep control of their slaves. Some key techniques that he pointed out were to, first, break the man to create the slave. But how does one “break” a man? And no, he wasn’t necessarily talking about physical brokenness. He meant breaking the mind and the will of a man. He describes in detail how this was to be done. One would have to take the man away from his natural element; which was done by taking him away from his family and denying him access to things that naturally belong to him. Then, turn him against his own kind: light skinned vs. dark skinned, man vs. woman, young vs old, etc.). Additionally, make the man dependent upon his master. Make him distrust everyone around him, but you. Cause him to have fear in his heart. Take his women and children away; and coincidentally, make the women and children believe that they no longer need the man, but only the master. This is how you make a slave. This is how he becomes loyal to you and this is what will keep him in bondage for years to come.
The reading of this letter led to a heated discussion between myself and one of my students. We had just had a conversation on “power” a few days prior in class. We talked about what true power is and if they felt like they had any power, being in their current situation.
We began to talk about the government’s role in modern day slavery. How the media and politicians use their “power” to continue to make modern day slaves out of all of us. Constantly instilling fear in our hearts by talk of war, Ebola, economic depressions, etc. The point was being made that the government is the master and we are the slaves.
Then, the conversation took a slight turn and current events came up. The talk about how cops, lately, has been using their “power” for evil and destroying minorities. Killing us and getting away with it. Kind of like how slaves could be killed at the drop of a dime in the days. Because their lives were viewed as valueless. We were only property. Only good for picking cotton and entertaining the master. Making them rich and amusing them, when they wanted a good laugh.
So, what’s changed in the past 300 years since this letter was written? Absolutely nothing! The same techniques that Willie Lynch taught the slaves owners all those years ago are still being used in society today. The techniques are cleverly disguised and masked in the form of entertainment, government assistance, and politics. Let me break it down for you.
One of the most powerful tools Lynch used to keep the slaves in bondage was self-hate. Pick up any magazine or, better yet, log on to any celebrity Instagram or Facebook account and study their pictures…then the self-hate beings. We look at those flawless, airbrushed, retouched, and photo-shopped pictures and we think we have to look like that. We hate ourselves because we don’t look like that. So, we spend thousands of dollars to get Botox injections, tummy-tucks, nose jobs, hair extensions, face-lifts, butt-injections, breast augmentations, and the lists goes on. We do this all because we see a picture of someone that isn’t even real by the time the photo is edited. What kind of craziness is that?
Another powerful tool Lynch used was ignorance. Slaves were not taught how to read and if they were caught trying to learn how, they were severely punished. Why? Because knowledge is power. Do you honestly think slaves would have stayed in bondage as long as they did if they knew their power? Their masters were scared of what could happen if they knew their potential.
Now I think about present times and how it is such a struggle to get our youth to read. As an educator, I can tell you first hand that it is hard to get students to read. They’re not interested in books; only in social media. Social Media has handicapped the world. We spend less time in libraries and more time trying to collect likes and followers on those sites. This type of behavior is encourage because it distracts us from the real issues in the world. We don’t know what’s going on in Congress or on Wall Street, or even in our own backyards. We’re too distracted. This is a form of modern-day slavery. How? Because we are being kept ignorant!
How can the government own a patent on a man-made disease and suddenly that disease is spread throughout an entire country with no rhyme or reason? Yet, no one questions it because we are too busy feeding our minds with celebrity entertainment and reading gossip sites, instead of picking up a newspaper or doing research to gain knowledge. How can an entire plane go missing from the sky with no evidence of a crash or tampering? We are in an uproar for a week, and then another big event happens and we become distracted yet again. It’s one event after another to keep us in the dark and left ignorant about what is really going on in the world. This is how we are kept as slaves and in the dark. We’re divided and it will stay that way until we get to a point to where we say “Enough is enough” and we do something about it.
When did it become okay for us to be dependent upon the government for us to live? How did it become normal for women to become dependent upon food-stamps, welfare, and housing to survive? And to be okay with that? And to train her children to grow up and be okay with living off of government assistance programs? Just like the slaves depending upon their masters. Take a second and let that digest.
So, the question becomes, “How do we combat this?” How do we take the blindfolds off and come into the knowledge that we have been forbidden for so long? We have to refuse to continue to be ignorant. To be fooled once is out of your hands. But to be continuously fooled is a choice. Take a stand against “Massuh”. Do your part! Everyone has a role to play in the refuge against modern day slavery. A student asked me, “So, what are you going to do? You say you’re a writer right? You gone write an article, or what?” He really put me in my place. So, I’ve accepted his challenge.
This is my part. Not just writing this response, but continuously taking every opportunity I can do shed light in dark places and bring knowledge to the ignorant. My challenge for you is to do the same. Everyone can’t protest or get violent, but everyone can do something. Use whatever you talent may be to bring awareness to this issue. But remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process. So, don’t ever become discourage and think that you do not have power and what you are doing isn’t changing anything, because it is.
Now, chop chop, get to changing the world.