The Upside of Anger

I think a lot about what it means to be an activist. Of course, I believe one of the most essential traits of an activist is passion. Activism is a lifetime commitment and I know it takes a lot of dedication to stick with it even when things aren’t always looking up. That’s what I admire about activists.

However, there is something else I really admire about activists. I think passion is only one part of activism. I believe there also has to be a healthy degree of anger. I honestly believe that you have to get angry enough about something to actually do something about it.

This is why I don’t consider myself an activist. I don’t get angry enough about anything anymore, so I feel I won’t make any difference. It’s kind of ironic since I was once told that I need to harness my anger, but that’s part of a different post. However, in my mid-30s, I feel like I’ve mellowed out and have probably grown a bit passive. I felt a lot of this passivity coming on when I was still a grad student, so perhaps it’s good that I left that world.

I still care about so many things. Tumblr keeps me up to speed on so many things and I am well aware of so many injustices that have gone on and continue to go on in every part of the world. The thing is I sometimes don’t feel that I have any way to do anything about it. It’s not necessarily a feeling of helplessness but more like the feeling that my voice and my words just don’t carry that much weight.

Part of the reason for this is because perhaps I don’t shout loudly enough. But then again, when a black woman speaks too loudly and tries to make herself heard, everyone wants to tone police her and tell her that she’s feeding into the Angry Black Woman(TM) stereotype. But face it. The “angry” black women are the ones who get isht done. They don’t give a damn about anyone calling them angry (some even embrace it) and they let it known that they will not back down without some results.

I admire the hell out of those women, but I also see how tired and exhausted they get shouting the same message and everyone trying their best to shout them down while denying their humanity. I also watch others steal their work and ideas without giving them credit and getting wealthy in the process. I just don’t know if I would personally have that type of fight in me when I already see a lost cause.

I also think this is why I’m such a cheerleader. Most people who follow me on Twitter or Tumblr know that the majority of my feed consists of retweets and reblogs and my own original thoughts only started to come more to the forefront since I tried again with the WordPress blog. I can only hope that I do my part to help bring awareness to whatever has caught my eye at the time and maybe someone with a little more strength and passion will know how to get something done.

Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll find that fire that I need again. Yes, I deal with the stress of my life situation and a whole lot of worry but so do so many remarkable black women who still manage to get isht done. These women are my heroes, but I don’t simply want to emulate them. I want to find my own passions and fight for something that means a lot to me. My passion has always been pop culture, but that seems very frivolous and insignificant next to those who fight for tangible things like an end to violence against women and fair housing. But perhaps that’s all I can do.