Typically narcissistic blogging.

Rage

So here’s the deal. I am angry. Furious. Enraged. Livid. The fact that it is 2015 and it is still possible for me or any of my black friends to have our lives destroyed by supposed servants of the people simply because we are black makes me truly, deeply, painfully angry. The fact that these careless murderers, these state-backed assassins rarely get punished for murdering black people makes me want to flip tables. All of the tables. I’m right there with the rioters in Baltimore, is what I am trying to say. I want to break the windows of cop cars. I want to set shit on fire. I want to flip tables, throw rocks, pound concrete, rage against this system that has perpetuated itself BECAUSE REMAINING QUIET ONLY FUELS THE ENGINE THAT MAKES OPPRESSION POSSIBLE.

Metropolis - Moloch Machine

So when you tell me that racism is shitty, but you’d really prefer if people could go back to reasoned arguments on Facebook instead of destroying property, all I hear is: “I have the privilege of waiting for you to receive justice, and your life means less to me than glass and concrete.” When you tell me that you don’t condone the actions of corrupt racist police forces across the country, but follow that up with, “but we need to find intelligent ways to fight,” all I hear is: “I’m avoiding using the word ‘thug’ because I’ve read somewhere that it is racist.” When you tell me, “I feel angry too, but you don’t see me smashing in small business windows,” I hear, “I will never have to worry about my children being shot by the police simply for the color of their skin, so I can afford to show my anger by sharing articles on social media.”

If you are white, and puzzled by the rage and pain of your black friends, family, lovers, partners, and children, then you are part of the problem. If you decry the destruction of cars with the same energy that you decry the destruction of lives and families, then you are part of the problem. If you think just talking about these issues is getting anybody but white people anywhere, then you are part of the problem. If you are wishing for the days when we could pretend to be color blind and the goal was to become a Bill Cosby-approved house negro, your time has passed. Evolve, or you are part of the problem.

If you are not already angry, now is the time to get angry. If you have not already found your rage about this situation—and I don’t mean self-righteous indignation, here, I mean that deep acid burn in the center of your being that threatens to overcome your very existence every time you hear of a new murder, every time you watch a cop walk free, every time George Zimmerman appears on the news, every time one of your fedora-wearing, libertarian-voting, ‪#‎notallwhatever‬ white friends brings up black on black crime or absentee fathers, then I simply do not understand. If, when another name floats to the surface of your awareness and becomes yet another hashtag (and they do every 28 hours—black men are being murdered by police practically daily and that number does not include women of color or trans people of color), you do not feel like buying a ticket to Baltimore to smash cars with your black brothers and sisters, then I do not understand. I. Don’t. Understand.

Jack-Nicholson

But you go ahead and keep telling me there are better ways for people to fight state-sponsored murder, that waiting quietly and voting the right people into office is going to work for us eventually. That white people will eventually just give up that upper hand and stop being racist. After all, we have a black president, right? More importantly, keep telling yourself all of that. In this instance, the lie you believe is far more powerful and damaging than the one I believe. And you can afford to believe it. 

You’re the problem. You.

don't tell me what to do

17 responses

  1. I hate that we live in a world that inspires such rage and anger through the horrible deeds of not just individuals, but an entire fucking system, against *people*.

    But holy shit you’re magnificent when you’re angry. And I hope people can fucking just sit back and listen to what you and others are saying. This rush to refute people’s lived experiences just to maintain the bubble of ignorance… burn that shit down, right along with the rest.

    April 29, 2015 at 7:37 am

  2. Reblogged this on lightandthunder and commented:
    I was writing my own rant, and may still post it, but this says it all better than I could.

    April 29, 2015 at 8:31 am

  3. interrobang

    So, I’m curious. The minimum amount of action to not be a part of the problem is to feel angry and want to break things? It isn’t actually breaking things?

    April 29, 2015 at 11:40 am

    • So, I’m curious–are you intentionally missing the point of this post, or is your reading comprehension really that bad?

      April 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      • interrobang

        Fair enough, that was a shitty way to ask a question I actually want to ask.

        You advocate anger as the appropriate reaction to these terrible injustices. You also make space for destructive protest as a legitimate tactic, but stop short of suggesting this is the appropriate way to direct this anger, only that is a reasonable one. What happens when people keep getting angry about these horrible tragedies and have no where to put that anger? Now that I’m angry, what’s next?

        April 29, 2015 at 8:55 pm

        • JohnW

          As a white guy, I can’t really give a good answer (I want to help, but it’ll never be my fight since I have the option to mostly walk away anytime) but I can mangle good one’s I’ve seen:

          Figuring out what’s next, what you can do is often hard. It can take a lot of work, time, energy, and can be quite frustrating. Or it could be easy but entail a lot of sacrifice and personal risk. If you want to help, well, figuring out what’s next is the first thing *you* can and should do.

          May 1, 2015 at 6:15 am

  4. Jill Greer

    Is it wrong to feel not rage, but sorrow, emptiness? How can one person, any person, have the audacity to tell everyone else how they should respond to evil? It is such a macho response to validate only destruction, only getting even, only violence. Part of the problem with ALL of our society is the lie that getting even makes things better. Violence begets more violence, and the cycle will never end. Can the rage not be channeled? Grief is a process – can we not MOURN the dead?

    I cannot imagine Dr. King, or Ghandi, or any other great leaders advocating for destruction. Not because it might not release some of the rage, but because the rage, like fire itself, will not stop, but consume all. Call a general strike – walk out on all your jobs, unite ALL the people in the city to come together and FORCE power to recognize it has met its match in LOVE. It is not the easy way, or the ‘natural’ way, but it is the ONLY way for positive change to take place. There have been riots again and again, and they accomplish nothing of lasting good.

    There needs to be a leader, for all colors, for real justice. That path of anger only leads to warfare, and the lie of war is that it will somehow bring peace. I only pray that someone could step in to bind up these bleeding wounds across the nation, and recognize that it is only overcoming the divide that can heal us.

    OF course we cannot expect things to change by Facebook philosophy, but do not judge all whites by our skin either. Somewhere, somehow, we must come together, truly united, in brotherhood and sisterhood. Rage is only a symptom of the disease to be overcome, like a fever to the infectious evil of racism.

    April 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    • Don’t #notallwhitepeople me. Until you can hear what I am trying to say here, and until you know better than to open your privileged, comfortable white mouth–until you really understand where I and so many others are coming from, you have nothing worth saying about this situation.

      April 30, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      • ChristianAnthroPacifiist

        I don’t tweet, so don’t lump me yet again. Of course I can’t understand in the same way, but if you don’t believe that people can grieve for someone other than their ‘own kind’, then you are blind to the history of every movement to help fight that ancient American injustice. Quakers and abolitionists joined Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass to end the abomination of slavery. SOme might have been a bit crazy, like John Brown, but they were allies, friends,
        Jane Addams was a colleague and friend of W.E.B. DuBois, both founding members of the NAACP. Outsiders (college students, mothers with families) were martyred in the 1960s for their belief in If as Audre Lorde said, you cannot use the Master’s tools to dismantle the Master’s house, then who will make the new tools?
        Humans have been doing these horrific things to each other for thousands of years, with the power of the state oppressing people all over the world, followed by uprisings which result in more violence and chaos again. Look at the ugly retreat of the British from India, then the massive atrocities between the Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims there.

        White privilege is real, but there are still class and language barriers within that vast sea of diverse people. It is was to forget that poverty exists in the forgotten rural fly-over zones where Native peoples and hillbillies suffer silently. Police have been shooting the mentally ill, Hispanics, the white homeless, too. That rarely makes the news, because there are too many stories to cover anymore. The war on drugs takes its toll on all the lower and working class. The gap between the upper 20% and the bottom 40% goes beyond any one ethnicity. Poor whites outnumber poor blacks, but they are not segregated into urban neighborhoods and visible, and since they are white, they fade into the background, just poor white trash according to the outsiders.

        How can shutting up help in any understanding? Fox News doesn’t represent an entire race. Just listening to those idiots fills any thinking person with anger. I did not criticize the rioters, nor the rage, simply the hubris for anyone to dictate to others their innermost response. Look at Nelson Mandela for an example of amazing leadership, or Archbishop TuTu. I think the public reconciliation process in South Africa has been a catharsis for their divided country. Perhaps we need a forum for confession, apology, reparations, and absolution?

        I do not fear destruction of the elite’s property – if it would bring back one life, then burn away. But EVERYONE needs to join together for change.

        April 30, 2015 at 9:28 pm

        • Oh, I love it when white people tell me how to approach racism. That’s always super welcome. You can keep writing these ridiculous and empty paragraphs excusing yourself and your race, you can keep derailing, and you can keep spewing pseudo-race conscious bullshit all you want. But until you can listen, until you get that I am not prescribing anything here, until you understand that this is about people like you getting with the fucking program and getting over your obnoxious need to tell people like me what to say and how to say it.

          April 30, 2015 at 9:33 pm

        • “so don’t lump me yet again. ” #notallwhitepeople

          You don’t have to tweet to understand the hashtag. But way to double down.

          April 30, 2015 at 9:37 pm

          • ChristianAnthroPacifiist

            Never mind. No doubt I am obnoxious, this is your space, your expression,. I apologize for not agreeing with you initially, when my gut does agree. You may think I’m crazy if I say I can imagine smashing in a cop car too, but in Ferguson, which was closer to home. I have friends who talk about what can we do? What the F is wrong with our country? I have struggling white students from tiny backwater towns who had the guts to drive 5 hours up to St.Louis and join in vigils and protests there. THere is the making of another real movement, right now, but we need to be united. Use white bodies for safety together – human links in a chain. Why not? Faith could be a rally cry again, just as it was in the 60’s.

            I am sorry for the history lesson, too, but I’ve read from black civil rights leaders of that 50’s/60’s generation that they do not want the young people to forget or ignore those individuals.
            As for apologizing for the race – it is not a single people, it never has been. Still there are no excuses. There is so much blood on the hands of WASPs around the world, it overwhelms the soul. Imagine trying to absorb that stain of guilt. It cries for absolution. Some may never face it, or rationalize it away.

            THen add in the destruction and pollution of the planet, the extinction of thousands of unique languages under the force of globalization, the bombs and wars, it’s hard to not sink into depression, despair, powerlessness . No wonder pop culture is filled with dystopian futures. Are we preparing for the aftermath of the conflict we sense beneath the surface? Or is it just the leftover fears of the Cold War? We fantasize about rebellion in the Hunger Games, or Insurgent…

            Cheers – we are worlds apart, Mr. WhiskyPants. Pardon the intrusion.

            April 30, 2015 at 10:21 pm

            • “As for apologizing for the race – it is not a single people, it never has been. ”

              #notallwhitepeople

              April 30, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    • Auros

      King didn’t “advocate destruction”, but neither did our host here. King certainly DID advocate listening to, understanding, and internalizing the anger of the rioters.

      http://www.gphistorical.org/mlk/mlkspeech/

      Now I wanted to say something about the fact that we have lived over these last two or three summers with agony and we have seen our cities going up in flames. And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non­-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

      April 30, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    • Kris

      All the the “riots are no answer” talk, at least from white people, ends up sounding like “calm down, your anger is unreasonable, just take a deep breath and count to four”. But this isn’t a minor affront to be shaken off; this is murder by the state, and the anger is justified and reasonable.

      As a white person, I think the first step in being united is understanding this anger; the first step in empathy is in imagining that its our son picked up for looking suspicious and then beaten to death, and then the authorities trying to cover it up.

      Also, in a practical sense, I’m not sure the riots were useless. Certainly, the businesses affected suffered, almost surely more than they deserved. But Freddie Gray is one death among many; with the protests, riots, and publicity, he’ll have more chance of justice than most did. With every case that ends up in the public eye, the chance of people changing the unjust policing practices grows.

      May 6, 2015 at 7:11 am

  5. Restless Hands

    Amen.

    April 30, 2015 at 9:09 pm

  6. ChristianAnthroPacifiist

    Maybe it’s an age thing? 10 second sound bytes replaced by quotations without context, and yet another hashtag reference. – which apparently trumps everything, perhaps with good reason, but it looks like a kind of fad of its own.

    Social media lets us talk past each other to score points for an audience? Strange new world, the blogosphere and Tweetsville. A friend liked the blog on Facebook, I read it, and it moved me to respond.

    April 30, 2015 at 11:28 pm

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