Slave Mentality and Its Effects on African Americans

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Emily Miles
H. Lee Barnes
English 101G
November 14, 2010

The Slave Mentality

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. 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...
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