Slave Mentality and Its Effects on African Americans
Endurance is the heart and soul of all nations, all races, and all people. But what happens when the only nation you know stands guard against your smallest of achievements and takes as its prize your history, language, and who you are as a person? What would you do if your true nation did not recognize you as its child, and your adopted nation refused to recognize you as a person? In this section, we will try to understand “slave mentality” and how it relates to the destruction of the American dream in African Americans.
Keep in mind that the incorporation of the psychology behind slave mentality is only the second blow of many (being taken away from our home was the first), but both sides have had casualties. Oh yes, White America has fallen victim to slave mentality also. I think it is only fair to begin with the teachings of Willie Lynch. A famous speech was delivered by this man on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712.
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Among the first of his allegations was that he had a foolproof method for controlling black slaves, and that this method would reign supreme for at least 300 years. His plan was simple; it required slave owners to take a different approach to long-range comprehensive economic planning in order to maximize productivity. He likened the African male, female, and child to horses, and how to “break” them. It is interesting how he categorized the method of destruction of a human race with razor sharp military precision. Take age, intelligence, size, gender, status on plantations, attitude of slave owners, and ‘color’ or shade” (Lynch). In order to truly understand the significance of these points as a whole, every category will be addressed to some degree. Willie Lynch began with his plan for the African man with a new saying; “Take the mind, leave the body. ” A man in practically every culture is the head of the household, and the woman is, by virtue, psychologically dependent on the man. If his power is stripped, it would then be fairly easy to manipulate the female and her child.
For example, according to Willie Lynch; if you take the meanest and most uncooperative male “nigger”, strip him of his clothes in front of the other nigger males, females, and children, tar and feather him, tie each leg to a different horse facing opposite directions, set him on fire, and beat both horses to pull him apart in front of the remaining niggers, fear will be achieved. ” But why stop there? “Take another male, and beat him to the point of death, but don’t kill him, put the fear of God in him, ‘for he can be useful for future breeding. In doing this, the female will be put in the position of being psychologically independent from her male counterpart because she can see that he holds no value to the master; he can be killed for no reason. She will raise her male children to be mentally weak and dependent, but physically strong. She does this because the slave master has shown her that he fears the black man so much that he is willing to kill any and all of them. And out of fear for her child’s life in the future, she teaches her man-child to say “Yas Suh, and “Yas’m,” for she now knows his life is worth nothing unless he is a good worker.
The male image is thoroughly destroyed. At this time it is more important to concentrate on the “breaking” of the mother. She is critical in maintaining “sound sleep and good economics” for the white man. The reasons for this line of thinking are simple but genius; she is the one who raises the children. If you train a female horse to eat out of your hand, she will in turn teach her offspring to do the same (Lynch). The male slave master will only deal with the female slave once the process of “breaking” is complete.
He must first make sure that she will give her body, with no objections, at any time the master feels the need to relieve himself. He rapes the slave women as all rapists do—for power. Of course, it is more complicated than that, (it always is). He needs new slaves to sell for profit or keep for free. He also did not want to be killed in his sleep by the Africans for his heinous crimes. The most sinister reason, however, was to keep the Africans divided amongst each other, which brings us to another category, “color. ” Crossbreeding the nigger means taking so many drops of good white blood and putting them into as many nigger women as possible, varying the drops by the various tones that you want, and then letting them breed with each other until another circle of color appears as you desire. ” The field nigger and the house nigger were born out of this reasoning. This is important because of the psychology of what he was trying to achieve and how it relates to African Americans today. “Put the nigger and the horse in a breeding pot, mix some asses and some good white blood, and what do you get?
You get a multiplicity of colors of ass backward, unusual niggers, running, tied to backward ass long headed mules, the one productive of itself, the other sterile. Both mule and nigger tied to each other, neither knowing where the other came from and neither productive for itself, nor without each other…. the one constant, the other dying. ”(Lynch) This means that donkeys and horses do not have fertile offspring. A male donkey can mate with a female horse to produce a mule, and a male horse can mate with a female burro to produce a jenny, but the mule and the jenny are incapable of reproducing.
Therefore, the only constant is the donkey (African women) and the horse (white men’s blood). The theory was to divide and conquer the African in every conceivable way. All races are intelligent, whether they speak the same language that you do or not. If you isolate one race, take away their basic human rights, indigenous language, all comforts, and humiliate them constantly, the only course of action you have left to do in order to sleep at night (assuming you have a conscience) is to create an environment that would make the Africans distrustful of each other, but dependent on you for their overall welfare, however meager that may be.
We already covered how to mix blood to get different colors that would be appealing to the slave master, but we haven’t fully covered why. The lighter the African’s skin was, the easier the load. A light-skinned African was afforded certain privileges, like working in the main house amongst the slave owner’s family. Cooking, cleaning, and attending to the slave owner’s children was the main role of a light-skinned slave.
She (and sometimes, he) received extra gifts, like leftover food from the slave master’s kitchen and a bedroom in the master’s house, assuring the light-skinned slave would never have to sleep in the slave quarters, provided they stay in line. The light-skinned slave felt a sense of “moving up. ” In contrast, the original dark-skinned slave was only allowed to work in the field, making the light-skinned slave feel more superior to the dirty field niggers, and the dark skinned slave gained contempt for the house niggers.
In turn, the dark-skinned slave was more apt to run away and the light-skinned slave was more willing to stay, neither of which were willing to help each other. “Take the mind, leave the body. ” The rules of engagement were laid down with the use of fear, distrust, and envy, and America’s dependency on the slave mentality was born. Although slavery was abolished in 1865, America’s belief in Africans being less than animals stayed the same. Black folks were free to believe in anything they wanted to believe in so long as their black asses stayed in line and continued to act and think like slaves.
The nineteenth century was a time that black folks learned all kinds of new words, one of which was Indentured Servants, the ultimate meaning (which Africans soon found out) being still a slave, but with a new twist—maybe “we” will pay you something for your troubles. Volumes of books have been printed on the subject of indentured servitude relating to African Americans, so it is only important that the essence of this impact on newly freed slaves be offered.
Africans (who were not looked at as Americans yet) were finally able to hope for the same rights that immigrants had the moment they got off a boat. Although the laws relating to African and immigrant indentured servants were distinctly different in every state, black folks saw the possibility of progression since one tie had been loosened (slavery). But it wasn’t until almost one hundred years later, when GM and Ford set up shop in Michigan in the 1950’s that African Americans (separate but equal) bought into the concept of the American Dream and the Nigger Rich lifestyle.
The next section is dedicated to the American government’s “maintenance” of the slave mentality and how it relates to African Americans in economics, education, and ultimately the false achievement of the American Dream for some black folks, and the disillusion of the same idea in everyone else. One of the many things the older black people of my generation used to say when I was growing up was, “if you’re black you gotta step back. ” No one alked about how to achieve the American Dream, rarely was anything positive said about our government, and nothing nice was ever said about white people either as a whole or individually. Keep in mind that these were people that came from a time in Louisiana when black people had no civil rights. They grew up in the early 1900’s, started having children in the late 1930’s, and their children were faced with having to acquiesce to humiliating tasks such as stepping off a curb to let a white person pass by, and never making eye contact with a white female.
Parks were beautiful if you were a white child and barren with broke down equipment if you were black. The bathrooms were always broken if it was for “colored only,” and well maintained if you came from the “whites only” line. Walking through the front door anywhere that was not your place of residence could get you killed. All this is proof that slave mentality endured in white America 200 years after Willie Lynch and his famous speech. Now, “if you’re black you gotta stay back” is hardly ever spoken aloud.
America has become craftier and decided that it (once again) needs black people for good economics. Today, for every dollar of net worth that white America owns, blacks own seven cents (The American Prospect). That’s two cents less than Hispanics, and 93 cents less than the majority (whites). When it comes to welfare, blacks and Hispanics are in the lead by 2 to 1 over whites. Prisons are overflowing with black men age 18-55. 10. 9% of the entire African American population in the United States is incarcerated. Black males occupy more than half of America’s prison population.
They are four times more likely than whites and twice as likely than Hispanics to be jailed (The Daily Voice). Why is this? It could it be that black men just love to break the law, but when you factor in that black people account for only 13% of the nation’s population you may want to rethink that assumption. I see it all as pieces of a puzzle that are finally coming together. “Get rid of the black man, he is useless. ” In order to grasp this fully, let’s start with the welfare system. A lot of women receive government aide, mostly because the father is absent. /3 of all Americans receiving welfare are black, 1/3 is white, and 1/3 can be everyone else. If black people make up only 13% of the population, then a staggering amount of black women and children are living below the poverty line. It doesn’t matter if they are lazy or not and here’s why; let’s say Towanda thinks it is more beneficial to stay at home and receive around $300 a month per child she has. She thinks it is great to receive an allowance for food in the form of food stamps every month, and never having to worry about medical bills is a load off her mind since she has five babies.
Take into account that there is a $1200 cap on the amount of cash aide you can receive in a month in most states. How she can possibly pay her bills, buy clothes for her kids, diapers, and other toiletries on $1200 dollars a month is crazy. Because she has bought into the slave mentality of waiting for the master’s hand-me-downs, she continues to operate on the level of a house nigger. On the other hand, Shaniquia has three children, her man is in jail, but she works and receives government assistance and is still just scraping by.
Her man gets out of jail and tries to make it work as a family man, but Shaniquia has been mother and father for so long her man has no authority in her home. She would rather kick him out and forget about any help he could have given their family, to go on just scraping by and raising her children in reverse roles. In effect, both women have bought into a practice that has been taught for 298 years. It is a lot more complicated than the cut-and-dry version that was displayed here, but what if it wasn’t?
In my opinion, most black men who beat their women are acting out their frustration of feeling de-manned. No woman should have to take that no matter what race they are, but in the case of the black woman it was already planned for her black man to feel this way. He was set up! I’m not saying that it is ok for him to act like this; I’m saying I understand the slave mentality. The majority of black men complain about black women being too head strong, and that they talk “too much shit,” but the reasons for the black woman’s behavior should be evident—role reversal.
The black woman has had to be in charge of raising the children, working, maintaining a household, and even taking out the trash. A man “can’t tell her nothin’. ” Women of other races in America have had to go through being the head of household too, but only for the past 60 years. We have a 425 year jumpstart on them. Most poor people don’t choose to be that way, as is the case of most black people, but if you are uneducated, odds are you will live in poverty. There’s a terrible cycle at work that is geared toward keeping poor black children living in poverty for ife, or worse. Children raised in the ghetto get ghetto training. Schools where the student body is predominantly black or Hispanic tend to have outdated books (and not enough of them), more frustrated children—which leads to more frustrated teachers, and an overall lack of a good education. During slavery times, blacks were not allowed to be educated, it was a death sentence. Now, blacks are allowed in schools, but taught at a sub-prime level. The exception is if the black child is living in a middle class neighborhood or better.
This child is more likely to get a higher score on the SAT’s, go to college, and achieve something better than his/her poor counterparts. Which brings us to another subject—“Nigger Rich. ” I first heard this phrase at a bar (office6) one month and three days ago. A drunken white man was lamenting about our current President, and said that he was nigger rich. I went home to search for the meaning of this idiot’s rambling, but every site I went to on the computer was basically anti-black (and anti Hispanic, Asian, Jewish etc).
The overall definition is a person who is in debt but is living as if they have a lot of money in the bank. That’s not too bad considering the majority of Americans were living like that until the bottom fell out in 2007. What I found interesting was where the term originated. No one knows the answer to that, but in an interview I did with a man named Mr. Tyler, he told me that “nigger rich” gained notoriety in Detroit, Michigan in the early 1950’s. Blacks were able to get mortgages to buy homes due to their employment at GM.
They had a little money in the bank, new clothes for the kids, and could afford Cadillacs, of which they were buying a lot of. I find this term to be insulting, especially since it is geared toward the minority of mainstream black folks that by some stroke of luck (and hard work) managed to make it out of the ghettos. So where does the American dream fit into all this? From various interviews with black people from all walks of life, the one thing that remains constant is the assumption that about 60% of African Americans believe in the idea that they can make it in America.
Of those 60%, close to zero will acknowledge the weights the rest of us have to carry in search of a place to call home. This in itself is another division tactic derived from the slave mentality. If someone were to tell me that African Americans were the most caring and giving people on the planet, I would tend to agree. After all, you don’t see many white homeless people begging for money in the rich white neighborhoods, they would starve to death. Prejudice is one thing, but I don’t know of any other race that has to deal with such unique circumstances.