"Slavery was a system that depended on the creation of deep levels of fear." - Frederick Douglas
"...I have a fool proof method for controlling your slaves... I use FEAR..." - Willie Lynch Letter
Many Black Americans are driven by fear. We live our lives in fear. Fear of "the man", fear of ourselves. Every aspect of our lives is dictated by fear. Over the years I have heard many excuses regarding the plight of Black America, but the one thing I have yet to hear is the truth; Black Americans are driven by fear.
When I ask people how Black Americans got in this position of fear, I often hear the Willie Lynch Letter and the method he presented is the reason we continue to live in fear and have been controlled for over 300 years. Credit has been given to one man for writing the method to control an entire race of individuals. I disagree with the Willie Lynch letter for various reasons, but this post is not meant to debunk that myth.
Weather it was a method to control, dictated by a letter over 300 years ago, fear has been ingrained in the minds, body, and souls of Black America. At any level we can see the fear of our people as we navigate through this world. Fear that we can never break racial barriers or glass ceilings, we retreat to comfort zones. Fear that we won't get the job if we are our "true" selves so we retreat to certain beauty standards. Fear that we may be everything "they" say we aren't.
As most of the elements plaguing Blacks in America, we have begun to self perpetuate these theories into our own culture. Threading fear into our children and then blaming the opposition on someone else "holding us down." The truth is the only person holding us down is ourselves. We have to relinquish the fear that we have instilled in our community and uplift each other back to our fearless positions.
We are afraid of our highest potential. Parents tell their children all the things they can't do as they grow older, blaming their warped mindset on someone who the child has yet to be in contact with. We have read society's manual and mapped out a smaller piece of the pie than the American Dream laid for us. Rather, we have begun to learn "their" recipe instead of creating our own.
The key to overcoming fear is knowledge. Knowledge of what and why we are afraid. The knowledge to understand that all our fears are manifested in our minds; we have been conditioned to not be free within ourselves. It is time to dive into the deepest corners and emerge with our fears. It is time to relinquish ourselves from lowering ourselves and our standards to less than.
It is time to be fearless. Of course, let's not be fearless to the point of stupidity. Logic is still involved when you have a fearless heart. You must continue to be boastful, but understand when situations are not for you. Being fearless in a gunfight while you aren't holding a weapon is not the objective here. Being fearless enough to prepare you for such a fight is.
I know that I no longer want to live in fear. I have examined all the things that I have yet to do and it has been fear that has been holding me back. Fear of rejection in relationships, fear of labeling in my friendships, fear of resistance in my workplace, fear of freedom in pursuing my dreams. I have finally reached a place where I am equipped to know that I have nothing to be fearful of.
I hope you will join me on this fearless journey.