By Daryl Satcher
I will never watch the video of my brotha George Floyd being murdered. I stopped watching videos of domestic terrorists beating and killing my people a few years ago.
I have seen enough and read enough for a lifetime about what was and is being done to my people. That poison takes me to a dark and dangerous place. I am not at my best in that infected space. I do more harm to myself.
When I was in 6th grade, it was an abnormal day at school. My classmates and I were with Mr. Bell for two hours or so. He did not write on the board that day; no books were opened, and no notes were taken.
Mr. Bell went off script and started telling this mixed but mostly Caucasian crowd of students about how racism was the backbone of our current world; he was a griot that day.
I remember hearing in horror how there was a one drop rule: If you had one drop off African blood in you, then you were African and deemed as the beast, 3/5’s of half a man in ‘their’ eyes.
Hannibal was the great African warrior who is still studied today because of his brilliant strategies and prowess as an extraordinary warrior. Hannibal was white in our book. And Malcolm X apparently talked violently and was killed violently, the end.
When Mr. Bell told us the great warrior Hannibal looked like me, my spirit exploded into an undying pride in my people and thirst for more knowledge. I fell in love with history instantly, black history. If they lied about Hannibal, what else did they lie about?
“Who taught you to hate yourself? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin, to the extent that you bleach it to get it to look like the white man? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soul of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind; who taught you to hate the race that you belong to, so much, that you can’t stand to be around each other? Who taught you to hate what God gave you? He sells you the liquor and throws you in jail for drinking, sells you the dope and throws you in jail for using it to numb yourself from the hell he put you in.” – Malcolm X
Jane Elliot told a group of white people that if they were not racist after going through the American public school system, then they were not paying attention.
If white people are programmed to be racist, then my people are programmed to hate ourselves. My history books taught me my people had it too hard and had to struggle and grind and claw for the idea of freedom. I read this rerun again and again and again. Teaching this to melanated students programs them to struggle and grind and claw for the idea of freedom.
Systemic racism is the true virus that we need to defeat. You must first defeat this disease in your mind before you can defeat it in your world. Defeating systemic racism in your mind leads to a healthier lifestyle.
Emotions like anger and rage stings you several times before every stinging anyone else. If you never heal from being traumatized, you are living in the past. Dr. Dispenza brilliantly breaks down the power of the mind and how most of us live in the past.
“If feelings and emotions are the end product of past experiences and you are feeling the same way every single day, doesn’t that mean nothing new is happening in your life? And those feelings and emotions drive certain thoughts. And you can’t think greater than how you feel, because you had events in your life that have branded you emotionally, and you feel sadness or guilt or shame or unworthiness or insecurity. All of those emotions are created from past experiences.
“And when you feel those emotions, and those emotions drive certain thoughts, and then those thoughts make certain chemicals for you to feel the same emotions and those emotions drive certain thoughts, the repetition of that cycle then, conditions the body to memorize that emotional state better than the mind.
“And now your body is literally in the past. Because if you can’t think greater than how you feel, then you are thinking in the past. Most people spend the majority of their life talking about why they never arrived at their vision of the future, because of some past experience.”
So if you never heal from past traumas, then you are stuck in your personal purgatory. It is like the movie Groundhog Day: You relive the trauma every day in your mind and body.
That is why I stopped watching those videos. I know what happened, and I understand the impact deeply. I realized that watching those videos was like reliving the story of Emmitt Till.
When I watched the story of Emmitt on Eyez on the Prize, I was the age he was when he was lynched. I had nightmares for days after seeing what these white men did to this kid. Carol Bryant, the woman who accused Till of whistling at her, said in 2016 that he never whistled at her, adding salt to our emotional wounds.
I focus most of my time on envisioning the world that I want to live in, and then I open my eyes and go create it. I find people who see the world like I see it. Sure, we won’t agree on everything, but those disagreements help us grow. We collaborate and create this world.
What if you realized that everything you learned in school, watched, and listened to was based on an unspoken theme that Caucasian people were superior, God-like? What would you do?
Would you be willing to do the work to free your mind from this oppressive belief? Would you fire the director of the film in your head and hire the divine in you? Or would you stay asleep in a dream for the very few and a nightmare for the rest of us?
Anger, rage and hate must pierce you before it touches anyone else. That poison takes you to a dangerous and infected space.
Heal thyself from within.
In the words of the great Earth, Wind & Fire: “If you can’t find beauty, then make some beauty.”
I leave you with this:
Manifest heroic inner visions of your truest desires coming true.
Speak victorious vernacular to self.
Fall in love with self unconditionally.
And you will see love in the sunlight sprinkling through the trees.
You will hear love in your daughters’ laugh.
And you will feel love when the universe winks at you.
Everything is working out in divine order.
So open your first eye and go create your world.
Go create your world.
Go create your world.
Daryl Satcher has taught at Columbia College Chicago since 2003 and been a professional actor since 2002. He is a theatre artist/restorative storyteller, having produced, written, directed and acted in three plays. This past year, he became a yoga instructor and got certified in mental health first aid training.