Listen Siblings, I come in peace,
“Dismiss Willie Lynch” — Onitaset Kumat
Here we dismiss the Willie Lynch Letter. Not ironically, in 2012, it expired. So it is time to unite. Still, the myth circulates. Let’s handle that. Promote the organization of African people, the African Blood Siblings! Write us to help build African Blood Siblings Community Centers which transform your community into a Prosperous, Independent African Community.
Of Dismissing the “Willie Lynch Letter”
By Onitaset Kumat
Ever inspired to inspire our original philosophies within our people, I recently sought to share my website by reading and writing different blogs, hoping to rally more readers. Luckily, our people, of such unlimited talent, have a profound ability in inspiring my African spirit to write on the most necessary topics; therefore I write on the fabricated “Willie Lynch letter.” The inspiration came from a blog concerning the new documentary named “Dark Girls” where darker shaded women speak on shadeism, the belief that people of darker complexions are inferior to people of lighter complexions. The blogger wrote how Willie Lynch, a European Caribbean plantation owner, likely, in 1712, gave a speech to Europeans in America concerning how to control Africans: pit genders, shades and ages against one another; therefore, this speech explains the shadeism of today. People within the documentary’s trailer, as seen here, similarly blame slavery for America’s shadeism: in fact, Malcolm El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz gives us an allegory of house and field Africans–we tend to add shadeism there too. However, like attributing shadeism to Malcolm El-Hajj Mailk El-Shabazz’s allegory, despite the seeming authenticity of the Willie Lynch letter, it is false and like every false thing, impossible. Even the idea of shadeism by Africans in slavery days may be unfounded.
To wit, I had not understood the falseness of the Willie Lynch letter until I came across Jelani Cobb’s “Willie Lynch is Dead” essay, also here, where he identifies the diction of the letter and shows that it had to be written by a modern source: for instance, “outline,” “indoctrination” and “self-refueling” were each terms, as they were used in the letter, that weren’t around in 1712. But beside from this, I have come to learn that in “Lynch Laws” Ida B. Wells explains that it is the “Willie Lynch” of 1780 for which lynching is named. So to speak, a real William Lynch had invented lynching, not a Caribbean planter who claimed a mastery of mind control. Finally, there’s the whole notion of shadeism in American slavery: it would have had to have been picked up by slave narratives. But from what I read, it’s not apparent [Edit: I’ve seen a little]. Frederick Douglass, for instance, doesn’t appear to mention any shadeism–there is racism but no shadeism; though, for what it’s worth, shadeism likely had a place in the era of abolitionist writings where White sympathy was being requested by White authors and publishers–still, that’s one-hundred years after this so-called Willie Lynch letter. Finally, to drive a point home, shadeism is ancient! The Hindu religion is a shadeist religion. It’s beneath Africans to claim shadeism originating with some fictional White planter, when there’s a billion people in India today living with a shadeism that they had in their culture for over three-thousand years.
This brings us to the flaws in evoking this “Willie Lynch letter:” it spits at our history. It mocks our problems with a simplistic, false view that ultimately harms and dismisses our understanding of ourselves for some ridiculous idea that we individually are to blame for shadeism rather than the people whom have either imposed shadeism for three-hundred or three-thousand years. There is a reality in this whole shadeist debate that’s being ignored; W. E. B. Du Bois promoted the West Indian Solution to the race problem, a shadeist solution (also available on the website). W. E. B. Du Bois was not enslaved. It’s his promotion, among other things, which better explains modern shadeism, and frankly the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, emphasis on “colored” which pretty much meant “Not Negro,” still actively promotes shadeism to this day. So truly opponents of “shadeism” should be opponents of the NAACP and not a mythical person named Willie Lynch. These people also shouldn’t pin shadeism on our enslavement. Enslaved Africans in America weren’t shadeist against one another, and what shadeism that first developed wasn’t geared against dark-skinned Africans but ‘high yellows,’ those ‘Colored’ if you will. It is despicable to teach that enslaved Africans were not only shadeist, when they weren’t, but also to teach that they were shadeist against their darkest elements. Not even Malcolm’s allegory claimed that! That’s why it’s worth repeating that we should look at Du Bois and the West Indian Solution to Race. Why? Brazil has recently released that only 7.6% of its population is Black–though Brazil has the “most” Africans outside of Africa. I provide on the website more details on this genocidal program that was honestly, actually advocated by the revered W. E. B. Du Bois!
In order to elevate our people from this rut, we must first reject all false reasoning for our condition. Meaning, we mustn’t buy that we are not people, we mustn’t buy that we are not superior, we mustn’t buy that we are not philosopher-warriors, and we mustn’t buy that we are not oppressed. These are four things that we are sold and that we regularly buy, but we must stop buying in order to start rising. It’s not remnants of slavery which impose shadeism in our culture, but the NAACP. Remember the story of Rosa Parks? Other, darker women and men had refused to give up their seats on buses, but the NAACP sized up each and rejected them finally choosing Rosa Parks, a light-skinned African. Or even listen to Michelle Alexander speak. She, bless her heart, would tell of how clients are sized up, maybe not talking on the shade of rejected clients, but from the NAACP school of thought, shade is important.
We need to dismiss the Willie Lynch letter everywhere in order to attack the NAACP in those vacuums. The Willie Lynch letter covers up the real writings of Du Bois and the effects on American policy. Du Bois openly advocated shadeism in America and his European ilk openly advocates the genocide of Africans though interracial relationships (see video). African people can be unified stronger when and if we realize that our enemies are in plain sight and must be attacked now and now. First, we must dismiss the myths. Dismiss Willie Lynch. Promote the African Blood Siblings.
Grievances — Our Grievances
“The West Indian Solution of the Negro Problem” – Shadeism’s Origin
Jelani Cobb’s “Willie Lynch is Dead” — Debunking Myths
Dark Girls: Official Preview — Shadeism Film
Brazil 2010 census shows changing race balance — Brazil’s Self-Hatred