The end of -ism.

A funny thing can happen when someone hurts you. You begin to see everything through the lens of injury. The pain of the thing becomes a window through which you see the world.

Most people have little hurts they nurse through life. Your dad said you were clumsy. Someone called you fat. You farted once.

But what if there were something so abstract, so impossibly huge, that could never really be eradicated-? That would be really, really annoying.

Yeah. well. There is. Now imagine that happened over centuries. It infected so much of your thought process, that even saying - why yes, I'll wear Madras today, was like - what you talking about-? You being uppity-? And you'd be thinking, I'm such an arse, I wanted to wear Madras. How dare I?

And this sense of shame and anger get intertwined. The black mind is instantly taught/told to conform to a reality against it. It makes some people mad, like insane. Like totally bonkers.

Even the sane are the craziest. Because everyone is in survival mode. Look at the celebrities, do they seem like balanced people to you-? Look at the sports commentators, athletes, politicians, they're all just hanging in there. Managing this thing.

The insanity got in there years ago, of course. It has grooves and corners. Toe jam, all up in there. Juicy. Expounding pus. Layers and yellow and green. Solid, sh&t crusty buff till it shine brown. Hard, baked in caked on.

The depravity, the thoughtlessness, the sheer agony of what people do to each other, it's truly amazing. This is what drives people mad.

It's why Christianity has had such a life in the black community - because there's so much pain. You can see why people went for it. Drug abuse, also no shocker. Checking-out of the system, no big surprise - why buy-in to something that's oppressive, the rationale would go.

Some of us are sharpened like steel, we feel nothing at all. Or, we've made ourselves into little personal idols, hidden away in mansions, flying on planes, tweeting away. We become craven.

Or driven. The Greatest this or that. The Leader. The Prima. The Boss. We take our situation and we use it to drive. And drive. And drive. Evil loves this version of us because it'll do anything to preserve itself. It worships itself. Think of any pop star, do you really think they are calling you to do anything but worship them-? Everything is about SELF.

But the cost for all this driving is loss of the very self one wanted to be appreciated and valued. The true value of our lives is not measured in Selfies, but in service and humility.

The horror of the black mind is profound. The larger culture makes up fables to try to explain it - The Hills Have Eyes, American Horror Story, the Walking Dead, these are all dysfunctional ways our nation is trying to come to terms with a mind that could barter human flesh for sex, profit, land.

This is the pain behind the drama of black life, if I may be so categorial. Born with pain. Know it in the bones, like the echoes of lost dreams. What could have been, had none of this happened.

~
My aunt died a few weeks ago. I don't know the technical term, but she literally died of a broken heart, some part of it just exploded, gave out. And all of this was made worse because she was in Uganda, and we think she may have died alone. She had wandered off, and no one knew where she was, and then someone found her, took her to the hospital, where she later passed.

I feel sad about this. I think I'm telling you because I know that she died not wholly because of a physical situation, she died from a situation.

A lot of us have situations. Difficult circumstances that we must transcend. I feel somehow like I need to tell you what I'm about to tell you because if I don't say it, who will-?

This -ism, is real, as real as what killed my aunt, meaning, a systemic set of circumstances conspiring to make her life very difficult. But, and this is the big but - anyone who wants to elucidate to you all the different ways your life is hard (and this includes yourself) is doing you no favors.

My argument:

The only way out is through personal accountability, namely through your pain.

Here's what that looks like:

1. Stop defining yourself in reference to what someone is doing to you.

It's kind of like when you were little and some douche-bag kid threw sand in your hair for like the 20th time (and this is applying 1970's parenting, not that bitch-ass millenial sh*t): the teacher or authority in your life probably just told said person to stop it, right-? S/He didn't prevent that kid from ever throwing sand in your hair again. That was a valuable life lesson.

2. The truth is someone is doing something to you.

What is desired, I think, is for you to not see all that you have in common, black person, with your countrymen/women, particularly the working poor.

If the poor of any country fight amongst themselves, if they are consumed with identity politics, they will not challenge those who exploit them all.

And for goodness sakes, look up controlled opposition.

The media does not care about you. It is exploiting you for its own reasons. More on that here. And that goes for the largely useless academics and "thought leaders" in this area; they couldn't find themselves out of a paper bag.

3. Stop blaming the system.

Systems are flawed because people are flawed. Systems are inescapable because humans by nature want order, so they design systems ... Don't get caught up in changing something that most people innately create in an effort to have what we call civilization. Recipe for failure. Here's a typical example of someone explaining the errors of the system, however heartfelt, it helps you not.

4. Focus on healing what's wrong with you, your family, your community.

I mean the real ways, not the destructive "no-snitching," "get mine," drug-inspired, devilish culture that razed the black community.

When I lived in Brooklyn, before its massive gentrification, I was weary of the police, but I was terrified of black on black crime. Even little things, like going to the salon were fraught with stress. Hooligans broke the window of the Dominican salon I went to; it was a small thing, but a salon is supposed to be a refuge, a place to relax. And the shootings, how many times did I see random fresh blood in the street, or hear sirens, or someone say, you just missed ... that's not normal. People should not live like that, or tolerate it.

One energy creates another. You can't tell me that tolerating low-level crime, drugs, prostitution does not have an impact. It does.

And yes, feel free to say that the drug laws, public housing, and the welfare system helped create and foster this problem. But at some point you have to say enough with blaming massa. Enough. That dude is dead. And his son is probably dirt poor, or living paycheck to paycheck. Or, maybe he's a rich one, who carries the weight of what his ancestors did like an anchor, a stain he cannot wash away without asking for forgiveness. And maybe you carry his blood and that is, in a way, a kind of peace we must make with our connectedness to each other.

5. Blacks must turn the psychology of personal success on its head.

Individual, personal success is not good enough. If it were, then the astonishing attainments of so many wealthy blacks would have been enough to lift us all out of this mess. But it's not - because that is a shallow pursuit, an imitation of the American dream.

The real American dream was paved by immigrants who helped each other, who sacrificed for each other in positive ways. Hey, it was a dream. That's what we're supposed to be reaching for. Creating, for example, dispiriting music infused with corrupt messages, or selling each other drugs, or flashing gang signs is not the stuff of uplift. You can have all the money and trophies and cars and houses in the world, but if you sold your soul to get there, it is nothing. And you can help no one, until you repent from this terrible thing. I'm not saying "other people" don't do this, but if we want to talk about healing, let's be real here.

6. We cannot lie to ourselves.
Chin up black folks, the sooner we accept that everyone, every group, every single person on this planet, has problems (and yes, ours may be just a tad more special) we can stop using race as a crutch. And stop allowing others to use how we feel about 'our situation' to divide us in ways beneficial to not-us.

This essay is one of 3 related essays, published at The Huffington Post: How to Win at Racism; Our Brand is Crisis; and now, The end of -ism. See the whole multimedia art show at: findcreatejoy.com