angry? nahhh

so i knew i couldn’t do that nanomobodo whatever it’s called where you blog everyday for a month deal, but i started writing pieces every day in my journal. not really as an exercise, more of an experiment.. anyways this is kind of a response to my last post re: woc and disabled people (although i got VERY much off topic last time) and a post by ironjawedangel about anger and whether it’s a good or bad thing: 

you call me a pessimist because i don’t believe in keeping silent
a wanna-be because i love music that speaks to my soul and my skin is just tooooo yellow for that
a person that angers too quickly
someone that just wants to create trouble
“your tone isn’t polite”
“this isn’t the appropriate time”
“why can’t you let that go?”
like racism magically fell off the planet after 1964
like my people aren’t kicked out or shamed out of places we deserve to be
like institutionalization is a far-away concept and not something waiting to take me away any second (yes i’m scared)
like the fact, the very fact,
that i could very well have a law degree at the age of 23 and still not be able to get a job
because some fucker doesn’t think i’m capable
isn’t real
i ask you
who WOULDN’T be angry?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “angry? nahhh

  1. “Anger is an energy.” Johnny Lydon

  2. I am so profoundly sick of the whole “watch your tone” school of thought. It kept coming up at a conference I went to last month – usually coming from older, white attorneys – and I just could not understand why they thought it was a valid argument.

    It was like, look, I know, you want me and my friends to shut up and stop bringing up uncomfortable things. But could you at least be up front about it and not pussyfoot around the issue with this whole “tone” business?!

  3. Tera

    What Rachel said.

    It seems like a lot of “watch your tone” stuff comes from people who don’t want to examine their own privilege(s), or are uncomfortable doing so. But the only way you can recognize the privilege(s) you have is for someone who doesn’t have them to point them out.

    As a white person who’s asexual-but-passes-for-straight, I have grown up with privileges that I don’t realize are privileges until someone else calls attention to them. (Unlike the privileges I *don’t* have as a disabled woman. Those are pretty obvious to me ;-)).

    I think that one mistake privileged people make is they think that discrimination (racism, sexism, classism, ableism, heterosexism, etc). is mostly done consciously by “bad” people. That may be why my white high school guidance counselor complained about black activists talking about slavery because “*I* didn’t enslave anybody.”

    But if you benefit from a system that values the kind of person you are over another kind of person, you have power, whether you wanted it or not.

    People who like to think of themselves as helping people don’t like to be reminded of the power they have. And when someone else reminds them of that power, it threatens their idea of themselves as “good people,” they feel attacked, and then accuse the person of being angry.

    But the things that sound “angry” are precisely what privileged people need to understand the privileges they have. Those privileges need to be articulated clearly (dare I say bluntly), and so do the consequences of not having them. Like Peggy McIntosh’s article “White Male Privilege.” Or Aaminah’s post I Am a Racist.

  4. Tera, glad to have you here—I definitely hear you! In addition to the the two resources you posted, I’m really excited because I just received a book called the Cost of Privilege that looks great.

  5. laura

    i had a good job in my field but i lost it. i went to voc rehab and they wanted me to get an entry level job that was too physically hard(i have severe scoliosis among other things) they eventually kicked me out saying i was employed. i had a job washing cages. now just a couple years later i am unable to work. i ended up having a problem that has caused severe arthritis in my spine. i did the work. i got the degree but i had no right to a decent job. where are the people who are supposed to help? i could not find them. and all the while high school grads are doing the job i did.

  6. hi laura, thank you for posting. i DEFINITELY know what you’re saying, i know too many disabled people who have college degrees and are still unemployed. i think that’s what makes it scary— you think “hey, if i get to this point, everything will be okay” but there is no security for us. any day you could get fired and the courts might say you’re not disabled “enough” to have rights under the ada. any day our programs could be cut (look at Tennessee). any day we could find ourselves in an abusive situation where no one believes us. any day.

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