Facing the Shadow of America’s Racial Trauma
Individualism is a lie.
There, I said it. That is my core message. Only a few will be able to accept it. I do not imagine my message will be popular, however, I will still say it!
Individualism is a lie. We are all connected and interconnected.
Unfortunately, the collective thoughts and actions of 330 million Americans do not yet reflect how connected we are in reality.
Looking at the chaos in the street, I feel like that old Greek philosopher named Plato standing outside of his famous cave.
There are people inside the cave, who are looking at the shadows being cast by a fire. They cannot see the source of light because they are chained to always look forward, out of fear, and to not look backwards, lest they remember how they got into the cave in the first place.
The people in the cave think they are whole. They think the cave is the entire world. They have a limited set of ideas — all confined to their lived experience — to work from. They do not know they are mentally enslaved to the shadows projected onto a wall.
Like Plato, I am pleading to the enslaved, “I have knowledge, wisdom and understanding for you! I have a new paradigm, that will free you from the shackles that you are so used to. Right now, you do not see the condition you are in.”
B.u.t. They shout at me, like they shouted at Plato. The pictures in the heads of those living in the cave, do not match the knowledge, wisdom and understanding I seek to use, replacing the projections onto the cave wall with.
The paradigm shift gets rejected.
What I am saying cannot be true, because, it would mean, they are more powerful than what the dancing shadows tell them.
They would rather debate me. They would rather make up a lie that fits the shadow thinking than take their chains off, because they would have to learn why they chose to walk into that cave: what temporary safety was found in the cave that no longer serves them.
The memory of walking into the cave causes so much internal agitation, the people of the cave lash out at me. I am yelled at. It is I, the one bringing up these bad memories, who is the problem; not their low self-esteem.
I am the one attempting to shame them.
I am attempting to make them feel bad about themselves.
I am arrogant, thinking I am more educated than them.
They are wrong. No, I am not more educated than them, I am just more aware of the trauma I am walking in. I am not in denial of my true condition.
I am a Black man living in America. I have survived the shadow thinking of America for 46 years. I am proud of that accomplishment. My name is Kokayi Nosakhere. I do not have an English sounding name — on purpose. I removed the shackles from my mind on October 16, 1995.
Unlike you, I know I am not an individual. In the minds of at least 198 million fellow human beings, I am a shadow — from the past — being projected onto their minds in a manner which makes sense to the cave dweller, b.u.t. Not to Plato and me.
The shadow of Tucker Carlson, tells the people of the cave, when Black people use the word: “justice,” what they really mean is “revenge.”
That is the shadow of trauma, the lost memory to the people of the cave how they got into the cave.
The shadow of Hollywood movies, the shadow of the NBA and NFL, the shadow of a childhood memory of a parent acting racist — all these stereotypes; stereotypes, which do not possess “individuality.” Stereotypes are shadows being cast against the wall.
Unlike the stereotype, I helped to successfully raise the minimum wage in the State of Alaska three times.
Unlike the stereotype, I earned two Alaska Press awards for journalism.
Unlike the stereotype, I earned a Community leadership award from the Alaska branch of the FBI.
Yet, the shadows of the cave inspires fear to flow through your system when my six foot, 240 pound person enters the room. Individualism is a lie. Because of my lived experiences outside of the cave, I have a stereotype of you, too.
I am taught, “other” white people let you live without being a symbol of whiteness.
I am taught, “other” white people let you enjoy second chances, instead of a school detention slip or prison sentence.
I am taught “other” white people let you feel depression, insecurity, trauma and adverse childhood experiences.
I am taught “other” white people do not tie you to American history, unless it is an inspirational story meant to empower you.
As a Black man living in America, I have a vested interest in turning our collective attention away from the shadows dancing across the cave, towards greater humanity.
What do I mean by greater humanity? To receive the answer to that question: I am going to need something intangible from you called: a commitment to your own growth. I am going to ask you to look at the shackles around your wrist and your feet and your mind. It is going to be painful to look at how programmed you are and to break free from that programming.
Yet, I possess a tremendous amount of faith you can do it. In fact, I am banking the lives of 38 million Americans on it.