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Dr. Joyce Watford, an Educator and a Descendant of America’s Slaves

September 22, 2016

Rage is violent, uncontrolled anger.  Outrage is a feeling of injury or offense at something that goes beyond our standards of decency and/or morality.  We should feel outrage toward something, but not rage toward it, because rage is uncontrolled anger, and nothing good ever comes out of anything that is out of control.  Rage is an uncontrolled act; outrage is a controlled feeling.

Therefore, the proper response to something that offends us is not to respond or act with rage, but instead with a feeling of outrage which allows us to still be in charge of our emotions and senses.  Rage accomplishes just the opposite.  For example, when we commit more crime against crime that outrages us (as in the shootings of unarmed black men), we are using rage/anger uncontrollably to endanger ourselves and our communities in ways that can have deleterious, long-term consequences that will go on for decades and/or generations—long after the rage.  Rage begets senseless acts of violence, which are repaid with more senseless acts of violence.  Rage and/or senseless acts of violence are  not the solutions we are after when we are already disadvantaged. 

Violent riots, lawless looting of businesses, and destruction of properties are counter-productive behaviors that always come back to bite us.  It is understandable to go after whatever represents economic successes and advantages that we do not have, but by destroying the pillars of economic stability around us only makes us more economically vulnerable, depressed, and disadvantaged.  What we are destroying are jobs, basic amenities, and property values that affect all of us—the haves as well as the have nots—and we all are going to pay for the losses we have caused for generations, but we always pay more heavily than others do.  Furthermore, the targets chosen to vent our rage or outrage against are not the originators—the real culprits—of our socio-economic frustrations. They unfairly and unfortunately are victims for displaced rage and outrage which really should be directed at the systems which have created and sustained the social wrongs that have enraged, injured, and offended us for centuries. It is the systems which have created the haves and the have-nots, but when we vent rage against the haves, we only dig ourselves into a deeper socio-economic hole. The systems are going to make us pay in a thousand different ways.  

Nothing is ever free, but when you are enraged and act with rage, your better senses are unable to guide your thinking and ability to see clearly ahead—beyond the moment—because of uncontrolled anger.  Uncontrolled anger is uncontrollable anger and is never good.  It is like trying to steer a speeding car at 200mph around an unexpected winding curve.  The result will be loss of control of the car, resulting in a crash that will get you killed or crippled for life. 

Rioting, looting, and destroying property are not proper outlets against which to vent our rage because we are then uncontrollably attacking things that represent something that outrages us.  What really outrages us is our unequal economic status among prosperity and materialism which we desire for ourselves too; but, because of historic, systemic economic inequalities, we are denied and/or deprived of accessing equal economic opportunities and the economic prosperity those opportunities could get us.  Our economic status requires us to be outraged, and that outrage should make us want to attack the systems of injustices and inequalities with all of our senses and  emotions intact. To do that requires a deliberate well-planned, thought-out course of action that will permanently get us what we want by changing the systems that keep us oppressed and deprived. 

If rioters, looters, and property destroyers would only redirect their anger and ban together, with their heads in charge, they could accomplish what they want without long-term injuries/damages to themselves and their communities that will long outlive them for generations.

© 2016



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