Saturday, April 13, 2024

TONI THORNE: Lynch still has some control


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Dear William Lynch,

Thank God someone sent me the speech you allegedly gave hundreds of years ago when you were sent for by the slave owners of the Southern region in United States in an attempt to assist them in some form of methodology to control their “ill-mannered” slaves.

Now, I know that I shall receive some level of backlash from my fellow Barbadians and readers having written this letter. However, I believe that a role of the media is to incite meaningful debate and to propel information that fosters intellectual discourse.

As a young black Barbadian I cannot help but laud you on the effectiveness of your strategy on one hand but be disappointed in my race on the other. You stated that this methodology would last at least three hundred years. Three hundred years after slavery, it is still relevant today. I also find it very interesting that many claim that you were a Barbadian but that is another debate.

“You must use the dark skinned slaves vs the light skinned slaves.”

William, the success of this application particularly saddens me. In this year of 2015, we exist in a community where corporate management views lighter skinned individuals as more attractive than darker skinned individuals in the promotion of their brands.

There are images of brands and media outlets highlighting a certain aesthetic as the ideal image. In 2015, after hearing a young, progressive light skinned entrepreneur speak about growing up in Kensington Lodge, a person watching her television interview exclaimed, “Wuh but she light skin. She ain look like she born in town. I thought she was from de Heights.”

William, the ignorance is real and even extends to persons with PhD and masters degrees. A university education can never purchase self-esteem. Many Blacks cannot understand that beauty is not determined by the amount of melanin one possesses.  As a result, they resort to saying things such as, “She pretty fuh a dark girl.”

I have also noticed that the colour black and blackness are more than often paired with expressions of negativity. “Enlighted” individuals make statements such as “black, nasty people” and “black, ugly people” as insults. Many in my community resort to highlighting a Prime Minister’s nose (of which he should be proud) in their disparagement of him.

It is unfortunate that the noses of Egyptian statues in the famous English museums have been destroyed – a classic case of an attempt to thwart the notion that black images can be associated with greatness. The ignorance and self-hate still exist today, Willie, I just thought you would be interested in knowing of the success of your methodology and its relevance to date.

“You must always have your servants and overseers distrust each other.”

In this post-slavery era, we refer to this behaviour as “crabs-in-the-barrel” mentality. I am sure other races have this issue as well. However, I have found that in my community black people seem less likely to support each other than any other race. I grew up hearing an older relative repeatedly stating, “When de las’ white man dead’ lemme dead wid he.”

Unfortunately, many people of my race seem more inclined to compete against each other rather than support each other. According to you, Mr Lynch, “distrust is stronger than trust and envy is stronger than adulation, respect or admiration.”

Willam, it is my hope that your strategy and methodology are phased out before I depart this world. Regrettably, your methodology still bears fruit today in spite of the fact that America (and its South) are led by its first President of African descent. The games of golf and tennis have been dominated by persons of African ancestry in recent times.

We now share the same bathrooms, restaurants and pools regardless of race.

I truly hope that as more people of African descent across the diaspora become aware of your strategy and the fact that it still has relevance today, we would collectively make a special effort to discontinue its usage. Perhaps one day we shall be able to opine that you were delusional in your predictions and certainly underestimated our potential and equality as a race. Perhaps, we may live to see your name expunged from history.

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email


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