Sunday, March 29, 2009

Willie Lynch Lives On

Had an unfortunate event happen this weekend at the etiquette school I work with. The school, The Development and Finishing Institute ( is Harlem, New York's premier etiquette school. We hold classes at Columbia University. In our 7 year history, we have never had to expell anyone. We've also never had to deal with a child fighting another child-until now.

Details of the incident are not necessary for this post. Suffice it to say, the young lady who started the fight was also disruptive in class 2 weeks ago. Because of this, DFI has no choice but to immediately dismiss this young lady from attending classes with us.

What does this have to do with Willie Lynch? You tell me. I recently learned that the Willie Lynch speech is not authentic. The article gave many facts about when someone named Willie Lynch lived, which apparently was many years after the speech was written. Article also talked about other great Black leaders who spoke out against the horrors of slavery and NEVER mentioned this speech.

The speech may be a fabrication but what are we as a people doing to live it down? Why do we treat each other the way we do? The mother of the young girl who started the fight was there at the school. If we (anyone) are the product of our environment, then what does that say about the young lady's home life. And what about her self-esteem? How bad do you feel about yourself that the only way you can get your point across is by fighting?

Why is it that things we do to each other we would never do to someone of another race? (Not talking about crime, etc.) DFI is constantly asked to make concessions that these same people would never ask for if the school were run by Whites. We hold classes at Columbia University but we are not a part of Columbia. If Columbia were running DFI, none of the mothers enrolling their children in DFI would approach the registrar asking for a discount in tuition other than whatever may already be offered. I've seen this in other areas too. Why is it that we would degrade another AA's product or service but would not consider doing that at a Macy's or Target's, etc? And if you (or your child) started a fight in one of those stores, you would find yourself in Central Booking. Why do we feel that because we both have Black faces, I have to "give you a break, give you a bigger discount, let you pay late, or let you otherwise break/bend the rules etc?" No I don't! Nothing personal but this is business.

And let's not forget about the crab mentality. Personally I am very happy when someone of color (which is just about everyone in the world) is successful. You would think I was a relative!!! Contrary to the media, there is enough to go around. I don't have to badmouth someone else's success. It does nothing for me. Lighting your candle does not put my candle out. It adds more light to the room.

Let's remember our greatness and stop repeating the ideas put forth in the Willie Lynch speech, whether it is authentic or not.

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