After reading the Willie Lynch letter a few times, I have become more aware of his influences within the present day African American community. For those of you who do not know, Willie Lynch is the British West Indies slave owner who wrote the “How to Control your Slave for Dummies” manual in 1712. And if you have ever been on social media (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) for any extended amount of time I’m sure you have noticed that “the light skin vs. dark skin battle”. I know I know these memes are meant to be funny and not taken seriously but colorism or discrimination of skin color is a serious issue. Colorism has created unnecessary self-esteem issues within our community for too many years. Why are we creating more unnecessary stereotypes and continuing to let it affect us today?
African Americans. Black American. Black. However you define yourself, we are a diverse people. We have many differences within our race including different shades and physical features. Yet within our diversity we are still connected as one race and I find that amazing. However, Willie Lynch saw that as something they could use to take advantage of us as a people. Instead of allowing our differences to be simply differences, he used it to divide us. Why does it matter if you are a part of #TeamLightSkin? Why does it matter that she looks good for a dark skin chick? It only matters because a long time ago we were told it did. We were taught that one shade was more important than the other simply because Master said so.
The mindset of colorism only divides our community and damages our self-esteem. Slave owners purposely treated light skin slaves better than dark skin slaves to simply create division and distrust. It’s not just because they didn’t believe dark skin slaves weren’t as special as light skin slaves. No matter the skin color, we have to realize that a slave was a slave. Although a light skinned slave worked in the house and they were still a slave. A slave was still mistreated, beaten, and owned by another human being.
“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.”
And now 300 years later, we still discriminate each other by the divisions created by a man who meant so much harm. He proved that a divided people is a defeated people. There are too many dark skin little girls and boys who want to bleach their dark skin. Not because they do not like their skin but because they were told that their skin was unappealing. Being rejected by your own race or culture has devastating effects. To have someone who looks like you reject you because of the way you look makes no sense. Colorism only damages our children, our families, and ourselves. So why are we still doing it?
“I’m Just Saying..”