“Black Rage” and “Self-Restraint”

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About Crommunist

Crommunist is a scientist, musician, skeptic, and long-time observer of race and race issues. His interests, at least blog-wise, focus on bringing anti-racism into the fold of skeptic thought, and promoting critical thinking about even those topics that make us uncomfortable. More about Crommunist here.

Comments

  1. “it’s exhausting when you have to shout all the time just to be heard at all, and to then have your shouting dismissed as ‘irrational anger’.” – this is spot-on. Co-sign on a great piece.

  2. This post is so full of generalizations that it is difficult to view it as a “starting point” for dialogue.

    For example, look at this:

    “An occurrence so common as to be more or less mainstream is this attack used to discredit women, particularly (but certainly not exclusively) feminists when speaking up about misogyny and gender-based discrimination.”

    Here the author is claiming to have observed a particular bad behavior to be so universal as to implicate society at large (hence the use of the term “mainstream”).

    However, there is no evidence offered that this is actually a mainstream argument, we’re left with an anecdote from a single author and told that we can draw a society-wide conclusion from it. The reality, as always, is quite different. The reality is that many of us have spent a large degree of time with “theists” who have never ever brought up this sort of argument. Instead we’re told that a set of arguments most likely used by an evangelical fringe should be ascribed wholesale to anyone with any degree of spirituality. This is misguided at best and completely dishonest at worst.

    The major thrust of the argument is little different.

    Somehow I’ve managed to make it through decades of my life, a great deal of it engaged in debates about race, without ever having heard the “Angry Black Man” argument brought up. Indeed, this article is the first time I’ve actually seen it laid bare – I had previously assumed that the term was just based upon similarities in behavior between someone like Jesse Jackson and someone like Rush Limbaugh, the latter often provided as an example of the “Angry White Man.”

    In a few moments of internet research I was able to discover something that explained a great deal: this argument was in “vogue” among racists in the 1980s. There is no question that publications from that decade definitely used the argument. A few minutes in Google and I could see this.

    But this is 2012 and we’re complaining about an argument that probably died in 1989 because it was brought up by a single individual, over the internet, from a Men’s Rights billboard?

    I’m sorry but this piece seems to have a “loose grasp” of what is actually “mainstream” if it’s going to look at fringe members of society and assume that they speak for all of us. It’s entirely possible to disagree with progressive thought (particularly about a lot of terms bandied about here including “high status” and “low status”) without subscribing to dead arguments from 3 decades ago. That you found someone on the internet still willing to advance the argument is hardly proof that it holds water in modern conscious thought.

    Finally, there just seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding on how Americans actually respond to race. Just this week California signed into law a controversial bill that would prevent exactly the kind of “armed Tea Party Patriot” convention that the author is concerned about. It’s folly to claim that America is tolerant of this kind of behavior when we can point to concrete evidence that it is not.

  3. Damned if you do and cursed if you don’t. If you grin and bear an injustice, it keeps growing, if you fight against it, your ‘anger’ makes you irrational. This is the power of ‘soft’ discrimination whether it be racism or otherwise.

    A well-written piece.

  4. Not sure why GMP chopped off my footnoted comments, but they’re as follows:

    *A name that reminds me of nothing more than the “White Rights” movement, which is simply the more civil (and whiny) face of various white supremacist groups.

    **There is indeed a meme about the angry black woman, one that seeks to minimize and trivialize legitimate complaints and stigmatize ordinary behaviour as “angry”. More on this later.

    ***The New Black Panther Party is a handful of nuts who bear no resemblance whatsoever to the Black Panther Party of the 1960s and 70s, but made for a convenient bogeyman for racist conservatives to hold up as a national menace.

  5. AnonymousDog says:

    Well, how do you dismiss the arguments of a white person?
    Answer: Call him/her an “extremist”. (Seems to work whether their arguments are actually extreme or not)

  6. Wildstation says:

    On November 11, 2005, my brother Thomas Charles “T.C.) Armstrong, Sr. was beaten for over 2 hours by 43 officers from the Denver and Aurora Police Departments without committing a crime. He was placed in a body bag alive for over 5 hours and in the morgue on ice with a John Doe toe-tag praying to Jesus for his family to come and find him, and awaiting his official murder to be triumphed by the Father. Suddenly, his longtime woman and now mother of two children seen a crime scene and said a “Voice” told her to go check and see if the crime scene was due to TC, since he had not come home the night before from a trip to the local 7-11 on 11th and Yosemite. Sure enough T.C.’s prayers had been answered and a sinister and evil deed would be revealed to the world. The homicide Detectives from the Denver Police Department, and Denver public officials at that time immediately whisked T.C.’s girlfriend in for questioning and pulled T.C. out of the morgue and shipped him to Colorado University where they placed him in a medicated coma for 18 days because he could not have possibly beared the 1st and 2nd degree burns he had suffered from being tased all over his head, body, genitals, and legs, and his lungs and vital organs were collapsing from a lack of oxygen causing the need for a respirator to breath. Afterwards many federal, state, and local public officials conspired to deny TC justice for his atrocious experience and his case was kicked out of federal courts based on a technicality and the inactivity and disappearance of his lawyer Wazir Al Haqq who had not filed one motion or responded to anything with the courts. Maybe TC did not get Justice from this city, state, and federal government as he deserves, my father deserves, and my grand father deserves who were both killed by the Colorado and Florida State Patrols at the ages of 35 and 33 respectively. However, my Lord and Savior has given TC justice as He answered them prayers from a body bag for life. TC has life, and he is living it as the man he best can for the Lord today and we are all grateful and thankful for the Lord’s brand of justice. I love you TC We Remain Unvanquishable as Armstrongs because Our Father, GrandFather, and Lord and Savior and Big Father has given us a covenant of JUSTICE.
    My brother Earl hit me with this, this morning. Check out the link and help bring justice for T.C.
    http://www.workers.org/2005/us/denver-1201/#.UKAKvks6njk.facebook

  7. Adam Blanch says:

    This is a confused article.

    The author makes the legitimate point that those who hold power tend to dismiss the legitimate anger of the those who feel powerless by using pejorative labels that cast them in the light of ‘unreasonable’. On the other hand he uses exactly this tactic to marginalise those who’s opinions he disagrees with.

    Is this sort of behaviour abusing power or isn’t it? Or does the author think it only wrong when used against his particular social group and his particular opinions? If so, what moral superiority does he posses that makes it right when he does it, but wrong when others do?

    Did I say confused? more like Hypocrisy I think.

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