Greed, Power and Control
Hatred is a spirit, capable of wickedness beyond repentance. -Sonya Ward
Slavery, historically was common among ancient people and known as an ‘established institution’ which can be traced back to the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1860 BC). Before the Civil War (1861-1865), slaves and indentured servants, their descendants included, were considered personal property and could be sold or inherited at the will of their slave masters. Like other assets, human chattel was governed primarily by laws of individual states. At large slavery was first implemented in America in the year, 1619 during which many African’s were apprehended from Africa and transported to Jamestown, Virginia. Decades later, Virginia was one of the first states to acknowledge slavery in its laws, initially enacting such a law in 1661. The law recognized the state in which black slaves were assumed to serve their owners for life (Rodriguez, 2007)
And while America prides itself in all men being created equal, the black man was by no means, considered a man in the same terms as a white man. According to those laws, black people were “persons incapable of making satisfaction by addition of time” (Rodriguez, 2007) Thus, the law was not written with blacks in mind, and it did not apply to blacks because the black man enslaved or otherwise, had no rights in America. The notion of slavery for free labor was initiated at the hands of the Portuguese who saw Africans as a solution to the problem of required labor on sugar cane plantations. The Spanish eagerly adopted similar African slave systems in the Caribbean colonies, and the British followed accordingly in Barbados and Jamaica. North America jumped on the band wagon seeing the value in purchasing cheap African slaves. African slaves became a lifeline to economic growth. 150 years after the Portuguese bought the slaves on the African coast, a million Africans had been transported on European ships to plantations across the America’s. So, it is evident; it’s always been about gain, about money and mind control through fear and punishment by any means necessary to enforce a system that deprived blacks of any quality life. Over time, as larger boats availed, African’s proved to be the labor force of reward. And since the law did not acknowledge blacks, such laws had no concern nor desire to protect the very people that turned sugar, tobacco, cotton and beyond, into extraordinary wealth.
The slave population grew larger as the need for slaves increased notably in the white cotton and tobacco plantations. This brought the fear of uprisings and slave resistance. To ensure that the slaves wouldn’t resist, white men formed organized groups to enforce discipline and monitor the black slaves in the southern states. The people who formed these groups were chosen from the local militia, by captains of militia districts (Rodriguez, 2007). One can imagine the importance of controlling the enslaved to protect the interest of the slave masters and that too was done utilizing the law or an organized policing system, which was law. The organization of these watchmen was first established in the South in 1704. Patrollers were the term used to refer to those who monitored the slaves. Their function was to form river patrols to prevent escape by boat and to police the slaves which included the obedient, wayward, runaways and defiant. With the corporate interest of those who invested in slaves, between the 17th and 18th century, African-American slaves assisted in building the economic strongholds of the new nation, justifying the central importance of slavery which was law, for no personal benefit other than to live long enough to die old.
Not everyone agreed that slavery was just and by the 19th century there was a festering abolition movement in addition to America’s westward expansion that instigated an upheaval over slavery. During this time, the North and South had various issues that separated them; however, the issue of slavery inflamed the passions of both sides (Ollhoff, 2012). This revolt divided the nation which resulted in the Civil War (1861-1865) While the Emancipation Proclamation did not free even one slave, it was an important turning point in the war, transforming the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom. Eventually, 4 million slaves were freed. This was long after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Congress passed the 13th amendment on January 31, 1865, and sanctioned it on December 6, 1865. The 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime of which the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” Yet, even with freedom of law, the footprints of slavery continued to influence American history from the tumultuous years of reconstruction, (1865-1877) through civil rights movement which emerged in the 1960s.
Fast forwarding in time we find that common law was first implemented in England and later in the United States. Though before the birthing of the common law, other systems of law existed as mentioned in prior paragraphs, they were eventually succumbed to the statues within the common law according to the United States. The origin of common law within the U.S. began in the middle ages in the Kings Court later forming several viable ethics by which they continue to stand upon today. Following the American Revolution along with the national government, each state within the United States adopted this common law. Policy development in the United States closely followed policy development in England. Policing took two forms in the early colonies. It was both communal and informal, which is referred to as private-for-profit policing, or “Watch,” or “The Big Stick” (Spitzer, 1979).
The watch system was represented by a community volunteers whose primary duty was to sound the alarm when danger presented. A night watch was initiated in Boston during 1636, another in New York in 1658 and then Philadelphia in 1700. The night watch was not a very efficient approach to controlling crime. Watchmen were either volunteers or those who were ordered to duty as a method of punishment or those evading military assignment. Thus, most were not interested or passionate about doing the work and were frequently lackadaisical. Many of them often slept or drank while on watch. By 1833 Philadelphia created the first-day watch and in 1844 New York instituted a day watch to fortify its new municipal police force (Gaines, Kappeler, and Vaughn 1999).
This paper purposes to imply how a continuum of organized corruption in the legal system or among the powers that be rather political, legal, social or otherwise, not only poses a threat to black America at large but to the perceived black women in general, her image of self and her life outcome despite her socio-economic status. While this issue has impacted blacks in and outside of America, innumerable white Americans and abroad have been scarred and damaged from the existence of ancient laws in support of violence, disfigurement, murder, and molestation against the black race from slavery and even the state of freedom disregarded by racism, hatred and prejudice expressed through modern day police brutality. And to that point, I will draw from the life and experiences of Sarah Baartman to both narrow this discussion and memorialize her life. She was born in the 1770’s, and her death was on December 29, 1815. Her exact age of death is, therefore, unknown but speculated between 25 and 39 years of age. Let us ponder how the law notionally played a part in her life outcomes, as well as the demise of Sarah Baartman, a young, indigenous Khoisan slave that was taken from South Africa and shipped to Europe under false pretense. It is important to add that Sarah gained increasing popularity due to her astonishingly large buttocks, small waistline large breast, and full lips. Because of the enormity of her anatomy and genitalia, she was surmised as nothing more than an anomaly displayed in the nude for all to actively grope and condemn. She was the ‘paradoxical freak’ of sexuality and race, both primitive and alluring (Crais, Scully, 2011). Considering the case, I can’t help but wonder, what about her soul. This took place in Europe, where she was promoted under the show name, Hottentot Venus. Hottentot was an offensive term given to Khoi people because of their abnormally large buttocks, breasts, and features, like Sarah’s. Sarah and another woman were both discovered because they’re body structure far exceeded other Khoi women. Venus, the second part of her show name referred to the Roman Goddess of Love. At any rate, her life’s work was nothing short of a freak show that displayed Sarah in the nude before a crowd of spectators that paid to observe, examine through touching and pervert her anatomy. Furthermore, it is on record that onlookers also paid to repeatedly have sex with her, against her will.
Sarah was chosen because of her framework (body dimensions) which at the time was lusted after, yet publicly ridiculed and debauched. Though my philosophy may be challenging to conceptualize, my intent is to highlight how women today mimic her body type and it is essentially being celebrated and to a strange degree both craved and worshipped, as evidenced by the overwhelming number of women from all races, black included, who are surgically enhancing their bodies with oversized glut matter to acquire the dramatic curvaceous appeal Sarah naturally possessed. Sarah drew men across the world, who paid to see her body. Today women in entertainment once gone nude increase, their net worth. So, as it was encouraged then, it is also now. It’s probably not far-fetched to infer that there is a ‘fake butt’ phenomenon spreading worldwide, despite the health risks associated with the medical procedures.
Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman was brought up on a colonist’s farm in Camdeboo. Sarah spent years on stage in England working for a “free black man” by the name of Hendrik Cesars and a doctor named William Dunlop. Together they used Baartman to draw a crowd and to make money in exchange for being able to see and use her body as they so pleased. However, Cesars’ eventually left the show and in 1814 Dunlop died leaving Sarah unemployed. Later, Henry Taylor brought Baartman to Paris where he sold her to an animal trainer by the name of S. Reaux who forced her to entertain onlookers that frequented the Palais-Royal. It was the founder and professor of a comparative animal Museum who studied Baartman in hopes to prove a correlation between animals and human being. His name was Georges Cuvier. Mostly Baartman’s composition became the foundation for racist science. Despite parading around in the nude to be abused and used for financial gain, to no surprise, she never escaped poverty a day in her life. She died in Paris penniless, of an illness that was not apprised on record. After her death, her body was completely dismembered and dissected by Cuvier. Her remains were displayed in a public Museum in Paris for more than a century and a half. For general observation, the Museum exhibited a plaster cast of her body. Her brain, skeleton, and genitalia were also viewable to the public at large. It wasn’t until 2002 that her body was released and returned to South Africa. Her final resting place is in the Eastern Cape. They chose South Africa’s National Women’s Day to bury her remains.
Modern Day Relevance
Everyone suffers. While it is inconceivable for some people to believe, the pain that is birthed from the occurrences and aftermath of organized crime around slavery, freedom, rights and equal opportunity has an undying sting. Police brutality as we know and condemn it today, in the simplest terms, is an extension of ancient enslavement fortified by the law of the land. The act of police brutality is no more wrong than the act of attacking innocent cops at the hands of angered civilians. Frankly, the anguish is felt on both sides. Since the beginning of time, African-Americans has suffered hatred, antagonism, and assault simply because of the color of their skin. This hatred is hurtful to both races because while many are closed minded, far more are lovers of humanity in all forms sharing, the hope that one day all will be judged by the content of their character, instead of the color of their skin (Martin Luther King). Even still the damage is deeply entrenched in our society and continues to present itself today. Police brutality is evident, just as genocide is. But the hidden damage plays out in the way black women although not exclusive, are manipulated into exploiting their bodies for public display in exchange for money and power.
What’s it worth?
The question is why are women today so comfortable with conforming to nudity to increase their worth, when men don’t have to? And how did they get there? Is dignity of no value? Are there any Christian values left or did they fade in the face of acceptance? These questions are thought provoking and valid and very well may rest on the shoulders of a society driven by the lifestyles of the rich and dangerous. But this would not be possible without the groundwork of total control and chaos. People of color were blocked from learning, thinking and expressing beyond obedience and submission. But history narrates a battery of violent wrongdoings since ancient times that indoctrinated strong-holds like; self-hate, low self-esteem, and worthlessness just to name a few. Seeds of destruction that were invested into people of color (specifically black women) as a direct result of public humiliation and private perversion that distorted any fragment of positive realization. Women held their head down, avoided eye contact and responded in complete submission when speaking with whites. The physical abuse and molestation had overwhelming influence over the way that black women were perceived as no more than disposable sex slaves, used to work, submit to random sex acts regardless if married or single and get thrown away like cattle. To complicate things even further, Black men were immobilized and left powerless respective to protecting their black women and as a result acquired a resentment toward themselves and their women. This played a significant role in black men pursuing women outside of their race to feel special and worthy and perhaps powerful. This, in turn, fortified the concept of inferior beauty among women of color who were losing their men to other races, genders, prison systems, violence and beyond. So, what did she do? She climbed the corporate infrastructure which created an imbalance in black on black households causing a rift between the two. This whole thing plays out leaving many women of color single, insecure, feeling inferior and chasing self-esteem in all the wrong places.
Without clearly knowing what beauty is or where it comes from, beautiful is something every little girl aspires to be and every young man hopes to conquer. Because the concept of beauty is directly associated with acquiring interest, opportunity and above all else love. So, what exactly is beauty? Some would surmise it to be power but it is said that beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. That being the case, it is fair to say that beauty is defined as something that pleases the senses. Since it pleases the senses, it is therefore obvious that the concept of beauty is subject to opinion, which makes immeasurable. The question then becomes who defines that standard? The nature of beauty is one of the most fascinating riddles of philosophy and so much more, than what the average mind considers. Perceptions surrounding beauty not only vary by culture, but have greatly evolved over the span of time. However, to be deemed beautiful, your skin had to be fair, your hair had to be blonde and your eyes, as the oceans deepest blue. This is what was projected by society and adored. For years, dating back to enslavement, this standard is also what stripped many women of color of feeling any sense of beauty based on the standard set before her. This by no means defines the psyche of every woman of color but for those that it did impact, it altered her sense of worth and beyond.
For centuries, the beauty and self-worth of black women has been enslaved by a history of hurts. The way she saw herself and her fellow black sisters was seldom perceived on the level of women that fit into the standards driven by society. White beauty was epitomized then and it is now. To support this theory, black achievement in the television and film industry, suffered so long, a dedicated award show was created to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments. Actors Will and Jada Smith boycotted the Grammy’s in response to lack of balance amongst the acting community. Although black women are diverse creatures, possessing an array of skin tones, facial features and body types, commonly black women have broad noses, full lips, curvaceous bodies and curly hair. Features that were used to make fun of and demean. Such condemnation was the center of ridicule within the race and outside of the race. African-Americans in general were teased and tormented for centuries. My personal experience as a darker skinned African-American was nothing short of cruelty. Kids teased me for being dark and often called me darkie and tar baby, names that have survived decades of ignorance sown from the period of enslavement until modern times. As years went by, people began to appreciate me, beyond my skin tone. I used to get complements like “you’re so pretty to be dark-skinned” and “you don’t have black features.” I never saw either statement as a complement, rathe an insult, spewed from a shallow mindset.
Confusion was seeded during slavery, as black women became the desire of her slave master. For some, it was about power and control and for others, it became a true love affair. Thus, the very same features that became the private desire of her slave master, was contradicted in public through acts of abuse and humiliation. Visualize how stuck and worthless this made the slave girl feel being regularly seduced by the same person that detests the color of her skin Picture her mindset as he publicly referred to her as heifer, hussy nygra, bitch and so forth. Could this have broken not only the victims being the female slaves, but also the wives of these men, also victims in the process? Might these events then and the act of infidelity and betrayal in as we experience it today be the driving force behind women that pay to enhance their facial features and bodies. White women filling their lips, black women straightening their hair, dark women, bleaching their skin, fair women spending quality time in sun tanning salons. Might they all be damaged goods chasing superficial beauty to become the apple of someone’s eye? Possibly. Because without a healthy perspective and confidence, most are subject to superficiality. Addressing these philosophies, we turn to time which has a way of exposing truth, where we witness the evolution of beauty. Case by case women began to address their lack of confidence and self-esteem with scientific break throughs that would promise to make them the crave of the times. Women from all walks of life have tapped into beauty by choice through plastic surgery. All in the name of acquiring power. Profoundly many women purchase the physique of Sarah Baartman. In my humble opinion, an act of desperation pursued to escape the shadows of misfortune our enslaved ancestors and innocent victims, bravely weathered.
To date, subconsciously women of color make drastic changes to their bodies, even risking their very lives, to please their masters. Modern day masters are low self-esteem, vanity, the men in their lives, or perhaps the media. The common practice of butt augmentations, fillers, lip injections, and breast implants have become a phenomenon. In some cultures, women are mocked and seem as poor in character for not investing in body perfection. Needless to say, these choices represent their unspoken response to the notion of not being good enough or pretty-enough. Therefore, they take drastic measures to be liked, loved or even worshipped like the iconic images of celebrities that lead millions of women to distant meaningless paths just to feel beautiful. Beauty is power and without one, the other does not exist in today’s whirlwind around self-acceptance. The cosmetic industry is increasingly being fattened from the explosion of consumer demands in the cosmetic world. Products and procedures that promise to deliver fair or deepened skin, ginormous boobs and butts, suddenly long hair, as well as lip injections to have lips appearing plump and full are at the top of the list for too many women to number. It appears to be the century for self-hate and have it your way. My argument is that the underlining problem began with hate. Hate inwardly and outwardly because it takes hate to establish and fuel hate. There is no God in hatred. The bible teaches us that God is not present in the midst of confusion. The absence of God, delivers the presence of evil. Evil tormented a multitude of souls then and it does so now. Today many might agree that the misguided and unconsciousness of Sara Baartman can be found in extreme changes our women thirst for. Sarah had no choice, we do, yet we exploit ourselves making her tragic death a mockery. Its established that people model themselves after their favorite celebrities. Sadly, this enslavement haunts some of our most famed celebrities. For example, Kim Kardashian, Iggy Azalea, Little Kim, K. Michelle and Nicki Minaj, each of them celebrities, deemed the most beautiful women in the world and yet they stop at nothing to win over their master, be it money, power or respect. Is it far-fetched, to entertain the idea that women that chase to opportunity to become someone else are also enslaved in their reasoning? And are products of eons of lies, miseducation and stolen identity. That they too are victims of Willie Lynch’s diabolical syndrome? That the probability of such hatred and manipulation, much like the purpose of genocide is what has captured all women, although intended for women of color. These notions are subjective and by consideration, conjured from a very personal perspective. But there is a theory that brings relevance to this hypothesis. The Willie Lynch syndrome. In theory, slave master lynch proved that by dividing and conquering slaves, you could enslave their blood line for 300 plus years. Lynch guaranteed his method. Implying that if the method were properly carried out, without failure it would control slaves for generations to come even in freedom.
“My method is simple and members of your family and any Overseer can use it,” says a document of the speech, although some question its authenticity. “I have outlined a number of difference(s) among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. I make them hate themselves and destroy each other.”
Under the theme “United We Stand, Divided We Fall,” the WLS (Willie Lynch Syndrome) pervades present day society by creating a divide in the African-American community. This has proven to be responsible for the Black-on-Black violence because it creates conflicts between different neighborhoods.
“This is a direct result of the WLS when it states, ‘whether the slaves live in a valley, on a hill, east, west, north, or south.’ Where is the logic in this? First, we were being killed off by other races, now we’ve taken it into our own hands with gun violence,” “What does this say about us as people? More importantly, are we too far gone to save our race or even willing to try?”
Respective to the validity of the WLS, damn is all that comes to mind. -Sonya Ward
In theory, many believe that although blacks are no longer enslaved, the damaging effects have had a profound and lasting impact on the way innumerable African-Americans think. And it is categorized by the conscious and unconscious mind. While the conscious have received healing, and are now free of the rippling effects of the WLS, those that sleep, suffer blindly. It’s a hard pill to swallow knowing that mind control imparted during slavery has enslaved the mentality of a people. Its results, self-hate, fear, low self-esteem, lack of interest and underachievement. Traits that have been demonstrated in the inability to relax, embrace their culture comfortably, without judgement and question. Free to be themselves safely, securely and soundly in a world that has found strength in diversity and cultural difference. Essentially, the speech that Willie Lynch delivered in 1712 exposing methods of control is as a poison, alive and at work to destroy the feeble, but it doesn’t have to be. In conclusion with this knowledge, and through self-observation and honesty, the behavioral progression and outcome of women of color as well as men of color, can no longer be bound to the gripping effects of organized witchcraft and legalized violence exercised against them. With confidence, it is not impossible for suppressed people to rise above the strongholds that condemned their right to holistic, peace, happiness and self-realization. It won’t be an easy quest and it certainly cannot birth overcomers operating out of an unconscious framework. One must desire illumination avoiding rejection of truth even when it disrupts comfort zones. It would be pure folly to imply ease of change in light of, deeply embedded moving parts. Admittedly, while I am to empower, mere words often frustrate me, in that they often over simplify complexities extreme in nature. But words that do possess, the power of life and death. Applicable to all life matters. Being powerful does not require illegal activities or returning evil for evil. Just like being beautiful is not something you can achieve by people pleasing. Beauty is a knowing and a reflection of something far deeper than fads that expire over time. We must all inquire of ourselves why we think as we do and challenge ourselves to think on a higher critical scale. The worth of humanity has never been planted in his or her image but in the heart which is the driving force that ignites world change and the measure by which his maker surmises his life’s meaning. Knowing is half the battle and rebelling against behaviors that suppress us buries the poison and the witch.
Crais, C. C., & Scully, P. (2011). Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A ghost story and a biography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Gaines, L. K., Kappeler, V. E., & Vaughn, J. B. (1999). Policing in America. Cincinnati: Anderson Pub.
Ollhoff, J. (2012). The Civil War: Slavery. Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Pub. Co.
Rodriguez, J. P. (2007). Slavery in the United States: A social, political, and historical encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Spitzer, & Stephen. (1979). The Rationalization of Crime Control in Capitalist Society. Contemporary Crisis 3, no. 1.
Ward & Ward (2017). MP3 Production & Spoken Word: The Behavioral Progression of Legalized Brutality Among Women of Color
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by Sonya R Ward