The Grief that has caused the Anger
Anger is a dangerous emotion. It is the reason why many of our brothers are in prison. They just snapped one day and could not settle back down to a calm state, so now they are in prison having to serve out a prison sentence that could have been prevented if only they learned how to channel that negativity. A negativity that often times leads to the murder of another black person. We commonly call this black on black crime when in fact the most accurate description should be The Detrimental Inability to Handle Stress.
I have mentioned numerous times that for some people handling stress can be complicated. Too many of us find ourselves in predicaments that require restraint all the time. Like when our children challenge us. A teenager can make you wanna go up side their head! All of you with teenagers or who have raised a teenager understands what I am talking about. I, myself, have not had the unfortunate opportunity to go up side the head of a rebellious and know it all teen. I don’t look forward to the act either. The act is the action that takes place: the physical violence. The impetus of the act stems from our inability at times to handle that dangerous emotion we are all capable of expressing and/or displaying.
Recently, a young lady asked me, “Why is it that men only show one emotion?” Not knowing the purpose of the question. I asked, “What emotion is that?” She immediately said, “Anger.” As I thought about her question briefly I began to remember the sport highlights from this past weekend: T.O. spit in DeAngelo Hall’s face and the Knicks and Nuggets fight. In both incidents black men where unsuccessful at maintaining composure. They lost it. T.O. even admitted he was frustrated and it was obvious by the way the so called professional basketball players responded to each other that frustration was the culprit. No matter how stressed and frustrated we get there is no reason to sucker punch or spit saliva in the face of another human being.
So, what do we do as men with this emotion? How do we release it without physical brutality? Well, ride with me as I attempt to breakdown this down by using my sophomore year of Psychology 101.
I am of the belief that black men are grieving. We are in or were in the stages of grief at different times. This grief could stem from neglect from our fathers, rejection from a woman, embarrassment as a result of sharing our feelings, constant discredit from “the man” at work, and/or our failures. This grief can last all of our lives and some times go undetected until we finally take stock of our lives. All the time we spend avoiding that moment to assess our lives we are literally living in denial. We deny that there is a problem by tossing our issues up as life situations. As life situations continue to haunt us we eventually become angry with life which leads to displays of anger that’s usually directed at the people who are truly in our corner: our girlfriends and wives. For years we can demean our partners without ever getting to the point of bargaining. Bargaining is the place we need to be in because the bargaining phase typically helps us understand that we have a problem. The problem is the inability to deal with the grief. After the bargaining is over we are moving toward our freedom, but the freedom is at a cost. The cost is depression. We have to go through it to come out on top. The depression can be deadly, however. Many of us men address depression via the bottle, with unlimited sex partners, and by participating in other reckless behavior. If we make it through the depression without crashing a car while intoxicated or without contracting HIV we are home free. Crossing the threshold of freedom means we are in the acceptance mode now. We have accepted whatever caused the grief. The neglect, rejection, embarrassment, and discredit are no longer barriers.
This is my lengthy response to the young lady who asked me the question. It is a question I will always think about because many of us (men) are plagued by this emotion. Even myself. As anger consumed me over the years I disrespected women, alienated myself, and dabbled in dangerous behavior. One day I woke up and discovered I was alone. There was no one to share my good life with. Yes, it was still good because I was successful and at the time acquired all the things I wanted out of life. However, like numerous men I was still alone. Confined to myself. Consumed by rage, and full of self hatred.
Those fellas on the basketball court where in a rage. All ten of them. Stress and frustration from the game consumed them. Terrell Owens is a prisoner. He is in jail with a mirror to face every single day. He does not see what all these women see. They see his dark skin, athletic framed body, shiny white teeth, and dimples. Unfortunately, Terrell sees what he hates: The Grief that has caused the Anger.
Written by Muata. Inspired by Carmelo Anthony’s sucker punch (did you notice that Carmelo ran after he threw the punch? What a Punk!). Inspired by that reflection in the mirror.