No. Not you, necessarily. This post isn’t meant for White Men Who Are Angry. Not exactly. Not exclusively.
Anger is okay. There’s plenty going on, everywhere, to be angry about. So, if you just happen to be angry and white and male, I’m not necessarily talking to you when I say…
…I used to be one of you.
So…if you’re that other kind of angry white man…
When I tell you…
…this has got to fucking stop.
Let me clarify.
I have (thankfully) never been “crazy enough” with anger, or delusional enough, to believe so fully in my “righteousness” to think for a second that it was okay to hurt people en masse.
Let’s get that out of the way.
But. I have been, in the past, somewhat delusional. I have been so angry, in the sort of way wherein I thought that “everyone else was the problem”, that I hurt those close to me. Including myself.
Perhaps many of us do this, as a consequence of trying to make it through what is almost always, invariably, whoever you are — a complicated life. Still, historically, I’m not sure any one group has ever hurt quite so many people, quite as effectively, as the “victimized” Angry White Male. Especially not lately. Especially not here in America, lately.
The past version of me who felt this way, that everything and everyone else was wrong (and not him) — he was in a lot of pain. I’ve forgiven him whatever sins I felt I had to forgive him for, as he dealt however he could with that pain, because, in addition to taking responsibility for myself, I’ve learned that forgiveness is the right response.
Sometimes, though, these realizations — this progress — has only made it more difficult for me to continue to watch angry white men, of all ages and types, ignore their pain to such an extent that it eventually results in a tragic outburst of violence.
And I’m not just talking about young gunmen. There are angry white men in positions of great power in our society. And they kill too, remotely, via willful ignorance that they intentionally fire up and keep simmering. It’s about time we started calling a fact a fact, in that regard.
I don’t know why I’m writing this, other than to offer testimony in support of a point of view that should be easier to adopt — that it doesn’t have to be this way.
But, here I am, anyway. So.
Angry white men? You can stop. It’s possible.
It’s okay to be angry, especially if you’ve been hurt. It’s obviously, obviously, not okay to hurt others, just because you’re in pain. Under any circumstances.
There’s another way you can make an impact on the world, when you’re angry, when you’re hurt. You can ask for help. You can try to understand your anger. You can admit your pain. Channel it into something creative, or redemptive, or both. You can become an example of how things can get better.
It may not be — won’t be — easy. But it’s the right thing to do. Deep inside, beneath your fears, you know this. I know that you know it, because I always knew it, even when I pretended to be certain that my destructive anger was more righteous than admitting I was hurt and scared.
Give it a try. Now. Fast.
Because — guess what? Those of us who understand you, as much as something like this can be said? We’re still angry, too. It didn’t go away. This stuff doesn’t just go away. But, once we master it? We become friends and allies with all the “others” you pretend are responsible for your pain.
Speaking only for myself, I feel powerful with righteousness. Now. In every way that you feel compelled towards destruction, I feel compelled toward creation. I feel moved to do more and more to diffuse the sort of pain that’s destroying whole swaths of our country, that’s perforating the fabric of our society like so many discriminately fired bullets.
You are in the way. You’re dangerous. And despite my sometimes unbelievable empathy for you in your sickness, I am less and less on your side.
So, in your own parlance…
…be a man.
Be truly brave.
Help yourself. Ask for help. Whatever you have to do.
Just no more of this. Please, no more of this.