A State of Conscious Rage in 2016

A State of Conscious Rage in 2016

James Baldwin

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African-American novelist and playwright James Baldwin said it best: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

The only way to appreciate this famous quote by James Baldwin is to listen and learn. If you are truly interested, you should try to see how it plays into my daily activities, and how it leads to the state of rage Baldwin speaks about. At least I can control it; many cannot. What is this rage? It refers to the constant and endless bombardment of the outside world telling us that we are inferior just because of the color of our skin. It is also because we are repeatedly told we should just get over “it.” We have no right to feel the way we do about injustices against us, both real and imagined, even though they continue to happen right before our eyes.

We recently heard stories that John Ehrlichman, former aide to then President Nixon, said that the war on drugs was really an affront to go after black people and anti-war protestors. This is a damning revelation, but are we really surprised about it? While this admission is really old news, it both confirms and reinforces the stories of countless African-Americans who believe the “system” is rigged against us. It is simply confirmation that we didn’t need. It is one of many reasons for my rage.

Why am I in a rage almost all the time?

  • The Oscars celebrate the best work in films and entertainment, but not one of the major categories has a single black nominee…
  • The Sportsperson of the Year Award given to Serena Williams is questioned because a horse had a good year too…
  • Some states are limiting the hours for voting, while others are insisting on various forms of ID that will disenfranchise many poor and elderly people…
  • The Flint Water Crisis and all the effects of drinking lead tainted water will ultimately produce…
  • President Obama is criticized for every move he makes, from visiting Cuba, to speaking briefly about police misconduct, to nominating a Supreme Court Justice…
  • The Black Lives Matter movement is labelled as a hate group, but its objective is to raise awareness about issues far too often ignored in our society…

These are things happening on a macro level, so how do they psychologically affect my personal life? Why am in a rage almost all the time? In 2016…

  • I was recently stopped by the police and one false move could have ended in jail time or worse…
  • My neighbors still give me with a less then friendly greeting even though I am always first to acknowledge their presence…
  • My son was labelled as a problem because he was in the wrong school at the wrong time of his academic journey…
  • I was alive while black when a store clerk, who handed the person right in front of me his change and thanked him, dropped my change in the palm of my hand without saying a word…

I could go on and on, but doing so will only overstate the obvious:

“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”- James Baldwin

 

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2 thoughts on “A State of Conscious Rage in 2016

  1. canadianrainbow

    I read this over and over again. This is 2016. I experience the same things, and on the macro level, I am deeply implored by labelling the BLM as a hate group. I am in a state of conscious rage as I am learning and empowering myself with knowledge from Memphis and Crete, to Egypt and Nubia, from Sojourner Truth and bell hooks, to racial Apartheid and international laws that keep the motherland in poverty (like keeping Africa out of cotton farming).
    But I will not despair in futility. Like you, I have a son. He will not know systemic oppression as I have. I don’t know know how, but somehow we as a people shall overcome. Once and for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Tearing Down Barack Obama: Who Will Finish The Job of Erasing His Legacy? | Wake Up/Rise Up! Black America

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