Monday, July 13, 2009

The Romance of Anger [450 Words]

Late last week, a colleague asked that I assist her with a project. She needed 450 words on how to quell the perceived anger among black youths. So, I dutifully sat down to complete my task.

I consulted a few articles written by this Ph.D. and that M.D., but after floundering about for a while, I still was no closer to being able to address the question. However, on Saturday, I caught a bit of a CNN program entitled “Taking Aim at Youth Violence.”

At some time during the program, it dawned on me. With all the programs designed to quell youth anger, none of them focus on the usefulness, the utility of anger.

Anger, or any other strong emotion, is not only natural, but is useful if harnessed and used in a productive manner.

And isn’t it only natural to be angry if the problems and hardships you are bound to face over the course of your lifetime eclipse those faced by the mainstream society and culture? Isn’t it only natural to be angry if in your entrance into the mainstream society and culture, you are greeted with prevailing assumptions of innate inferiority and fundamental deficiency?

Wouldn’t you too be angry if the mainstream society and culture reacted to you with a certain ingrained sense of fear and hostility? If you found the deck stacked against you even before you got started?

If you were born into poverty and could imagine no greater future? If in the midst of plenty, you found yourself possessing nothing? If you grew up not knowing or spending time with your father or any other positive role model? If daily you watched drug addiction ravage your family and community? If perhaps you stood a greater chance of going to prison than going to college. If you so desperately wanted to achieve, to overcome, but you did not possess the means or know how to do so? If you were locked in a perpetual prison house of ignorance.

It would only be natural for you to be angry. In fact, if you were not angry, I would go so far as to say, there is something fundamentally wrong with you.

So, then, the solution can be found not in quelling that anger, but in recognizing and knowing that anger. The solution can be found in discovering a positive outlet for that anger. The solution can be found in directing the natural energy and impetus to act inherent in that anger toward constructive pursuits as opposed to avenues to self-destruction.

There is a certain romance to be found in anger. There is a certain brilliance, a certain beauty, to be discovered in the redness of outrage.


UDEE said...

Nicely written, first off!!

Next. There is so much fear in our society today. And it is in this fear that we limit ourselves to truly understanding and empathising with the things that plague us. When they say, keep your enemies closer, it entails a form of befriending that is closer than friendship ... it sounds contradictory, but there's an art to it.

Now considering anger among young people (which we know extends to those of the darker hue and those of the lower class), it seems people (on a personal, community level) are uninterested in learning and understanding the 'anger'. To us anger = bad; ergo the angry person = evil, as if to say people simply wake up in a perpetual, unprovoked wrath cycle. Understanding a plague entails patience and time and nurture. No one has 'time' for that; or anything that really matters, by the way."

UDEE said...

"Oh. And I am particularly irked by the religious spin I often hear people place on anger, esp seeing as it is a strong emotion and has often lead people to violent activity.

But here's my thing: anger shows that there's still care; that something still hurts; that there is still feeling; that there is still desire to change something. What if the angry 15 yr old on the corner simply did not care and was indifferent? THEN we would certainly be faced with a totally different story, would we not?

Know thy enemy, if you will - and REALLY know.
And in my analogy, I am certainly not trying to say that young people are the enemy ... the violent result of anger is the enemy ... the tearing apart of communities and families is the enemy.

That's jus' my two cents' worth."

Prometheus 6 said...

There you go.

Even passive-aggressive types get angry. Even if someone sees that as a flaw, you don't amputate that part of grow until the flaw is relatively too small to notice, like the csab on your knee from when you fell at five years old.

And until you can do that, the anger can be used as fuel to pursue a rational response to what pised you off.

msladydeborah said...

Great post!

I firmly believe that it takes a negative energy to produce a positive outcome.

Channeling the energy that anger produces into ways to counter what caused that emotion to reach peak levels is so obvious. Which also makes it easy to over look. Especially as a way to solve problems.

Max Reddick said...

@ Udee

I concur. No one stops to examine the anger, to find the impetus behind the anger, they just wish to cure the anger. But the anger means that there is a soul inside in need of comfort, in need of care. And should that anger subside, should they stop caring all together, then we do have a problem.

@ Prometheus 6

Glad you stopped by. By all means, make it a habit. But you are so right. Never forget. Never forget what made you angry in the first place. But don't let that anger consume you. Nurse it. Nourish it. And let that anger be your incentive to move onward and upward.

@ msladydeborah

Hey, msladydeborah and welcome back. And thank you for the compliment. Every action is simply a reaction. But we limit our course of actions, when we limit the stimuli that forces us to react. We just have to choose the suitable reaction.

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