I can’t afford to be angry any more. I would like to be angry, to be enraged… and it can come so quickly, but I have been down a path of anger and it almost destroyed me. I’d like to think that anger is just boring now. It’s not quite creative enough, is it? But it does have power. Anger can sustain entire movements of social change.
I am connected to an entire community of social activists and scholars whose fb posts continually update the unfolding events tied to Mike Brown’s and Eric Garner’s death by the police. There is to be a “Day of Anger” march in a few days in New York and San Fransisco – cities all around the nation. Actually, Anonymous is calling it a “Day of Anger,” but there are other names; Popular Resistance, is calling this Saturday a “Day of National Action: Wave of Indignation,” and a “Day of Resistance.”
Its a movement for a community of color and all their allies to be heard, felt, seen… for what is a deep need to express the pain that comes from multi-generational violence and injustice. Life is valid. The raced momentum calling for justice is absolutely valid. This is a cultural movement seeking liberation for the oppressed, disenfranchised, the marginalized of these United Stations. Paulo Freire writes beautifully about the oppressed. Freire’s book is entitled, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Listen to the spirit of his voice:
“[T]he more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”
“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
“This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.”
Change is built. Freedom is not a gift it is forged through tears, gas, blood, bodies, broken walls, shouts; It’s work. It should be paid, but its the driving faith of internal conditions – will, love, heart, hope, courage, anger, rage – that constitute its becoming.
Perhaps, all I can be to a movement is an author. I touch these fb posts, and I feel deep seeded rage begin to boil. It’s not cowardliness that causes me to recoil from angered engagement; It’s the knowledge of that path in my personal journey. In my past I become self-consumed with enacting misplaced justice. Anger is shared so easily. You can pick it up on the street like a damn cold. I’m called to pray. Praying is one of the most courageous practices I can offer the world. My prayer life is built from the hospitality I offer myself… as I love myself…others in my presence are unconsciously given permission to love themselves. This is what I would ask of a movement. Learn to love yourself. Discover what compassion has to offer the world. As for judgments about others or movements (raced or classed) I can’t afford to be angry.