Despite All My Rage
I am somehow still sorry I yelled at you.
"Calm down, your PMS is making you rage," says the dude who punched a hole in the wall because his girlfriend's ex sent her a text.
"She went all crazy girlfriend on him," says the dude who regularly sends out "gonna rape you, you fat psycho bitch" to women who don't like his unsolicited dick pics.
"He picked the fight, coming on all aggressive," says the dude who stabbed a black man 27 times for walking past their party.
I wish to God these words weren't ones that I had heard. That this article could have started with Serena Williams tame "meltdown" (in a sport where men frequently snap rackets and fracture umpire's skulls). That we could just jump straight to the privilege that Mr. Kavanaugh and his ilk enjoy.
But the double standard of acceptable anger isn't just unique to headlines. It permeates every day of our lives. Maybe it isn't noticeable for the rich white dudes who benefit from it. Everyone else, we live with it. It is the black man who has learned to slouch to appear smaller, or smile to appear friendlier; or the woman who apologizes when her coworker interrupts her; or the trans man who apologizes for inconveniencing their therapist.
Where white boys who shout slurs during their baseball games are just "getting into it," girls and people of color are reprimanded for asking for basic decency. It is a double standard that is pervasive, but especially highlighted at times when the white male rage is so out of control that there is spittle and slurs and threats shouted across public television.
It is so ingrained that many of us couldn't stop if we tried. That we rant to our girlfriends but then apologize to the men who didn't even hear us rant. That we would rather be stepped on than speak up. That we look at fake-videos of angry women dumping bleach on men on a subway and think they are champions: not for harming anyone; but for accepting and expressing their justifiable anger.
And, that is what it boils down to: Justifiable Anger.
No one cares if Kavanaugh's rage was "uncivil." It doesn't matter, because they think his anger is justified. After all, if he is an innocent man, doesn't it make sense for him to be enraged at the mere thought of being accused? (Yes, all those links are for people who were condemned for being angry or acting in violence even though their situation was often more dire than Mr. Kavanaugh's.)
Women's anger? Hysterics.
People of Color's anger? Overblown dredging up of the past.
LGBTQ+ folx anger? They are being too sensitive.
Let me be clear. When we excuse rants from the privileged and denounce the "incivility" of the disadvantaged, we send a message. That message is that their anger ISN'T justified. That their pain ISN'T valid. That their trauma means less than the inconvenience it causes.
Its a message that the privileged have fought hard to maintain.
It is time for that message to stop. So I'm done being polite. I'll be polite when the Kavanaughs are polite. I'll be polite when the George Zimmermans are polite. I'll be polite when the Samuel Woodwards and Michelle Carters and Dorothy Spourdalakis are polite.
Until then, you can expect to hear my rage. Because you can't silence my justifiable anger anymore.
Photo Courtesy of Morgan Basham CC