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April 21, 2008

Willie Lynch & Other Black Urban Myths

by Madison J. Gray
A few days ago, I sat in a cafe not far from a couple of brothers discussing the ills of black folks -- the routine discussion, crime, poverty, babymamas; you know, the same stuff that forms the basis of black consciousness rhetorical questions.

After a couple minutes another cat joined them and perported that "Willie Lynch Syndrome" is to blame for everything they were complaining about. He argued all of the problems that seem to be so deep-rooted among African Americans can be traced back to the malevolent devices of the 18th century slave-owner who conjured a plan to socio-psychologically cripple all slaves.

I couldn't take hearing it anymore and as I walked out, I feigned a cough -- BULLSH*T -- and kept moving.

It's not that I was trying to disparage the brothers' thoughtful discussion, or act like the topics they were glancing over were not pertinent. But had I actually been in the discussion, I would have made one thing clear: there was never any such have been duped by an urban myth!

"First of all you should think more of black folk than that. Our problems are really no different than any other ethnic group, even though every new thing that happens seems to exacerbate them. Other people have many of the same identity problems. For example, if Willie Lynch taught us to hate each other based on the lightness or darkness of our skin, then why do South Asians (i.e. Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis) have the same issue with light and dark skin as we do? Willie Lynch has nothing to do with their history.

Our identity problems cannot be summed up with a letter that has no authenticity. Notions of nationalistic and racial superiority and inferiority can be traced back to Biblical times. Conquering nations have always thought of their subjects as inferior and imbued those notions into their psyches in order to make their conquests easier, for example the Japanese conquest of Manchuria in the early 30s."

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