Why Black Folks Must Keep Their Rage Alive
It’s the love language of Black people and the only language that White people apparently understand.
Black rage is the only language White people understand from us. Most are incapable of making the connection to their beliefs of Black folks being subhuman. But White folks themselves are extremely violent, though data doesn’t capture their violence because White people are in charge of data collection and where they decide to look to collect the data.
America has built an entire system to watch, police, and control Black people. It’s why we feel smothered. It’s why we can’t see any way out of it. It’s the reason we’re angry. Black people are tired of trying to live peacefully only to have Whiteness come to disrupt it.
For Black people, expressions of rage are a love language. It’s our way of seeking relief from 400 years of systemic and institutional racism and oppression.
When Black people kneel for relief, White people tell us to shut up and play. When we pray for relief, but no God answers us. If Black people protest for relief, we’re complaining too much. Black folks should be satisfied. When we describe our lack and provide historical context, we’re dredging up the past. When we comply, the police still beat us. When Black people create hashtags and catch logos like “#SayHerName” and “#BlackLivesMatter,” White people create hashtags like “#AllLivesMatter” and “#BlueLivesMatter” to decenter us and distract from the issues.
Things are happening and at the same time, nothing keeps happening about it. With all the racism and injustices we’re exposed to daily in addition to the gaslighting about it all, there comes a breaking point. That breaking point for Black folks manifests itself in the form of rage. Black rage is justified rage. Those worried about property or destruction never worry about the problems leading up to the manifestations of Black rage.
When Black people rage, we’re showing the world how much we love ourselves. It’s an act of rebellion. Black rage is a form of Black resistance we expect to lead to Black liberation. America teaches the world to hate Black people. America even teaches Black people to hate themselves. Black rage counters America’s hate because our rage is love. White people need not concern themselves about the unpleasantness of our rage, because that concern is misplaced. Their apathy got us here. They should be only be concerned with their behavior which causes Black rage. Racism reduction will lead to rage reduction.
America doesn’t care about anything except property and money. America doesn't care about her house is clean, because if it did, she would’ve cleaned this raggedy shit up long ago.
“If he is not ready to clean his house up, he shouldn’t have a house. It should catch on fire, and burn down.”
America is an idea that’s impossible to make a reality because of its racism and baked in inequality. This nation was never created for Black people which is why it’s having tantrums because of the blackening of it. Back in 1962, Malcolm X gave a speech after a confrontation with the LAPD outside a mosque resulted in the death of a Nation of Islam member. He said, “If he is not ready to clean his house up, he shouldn’t have a house. It should catch on fire, and burn down.”
That “he” Brother Malcolm was referring to in the recorded speech was the idea of America. The house he was referring to was the physical nation itself. Malcolm X's belief at the time was that if someone can’t take care of their home, they don’t deserve to have one, especially if they have everything they need to take care of it.
That’s how I feel about America.
Every other day White folks are getting away with doing shit to us without repercussions. No police have been held accountable for all the unjust murders of Black people. No one has paid a price for the insurrection. All the White people getting away with breaching the capital, murder, and crimes against Black humanity still have their jobs, pensions, protection, and wealth. Black people are angry and tired of waiting for justice. Treasonous politicians still have their platforms and their power.
Black people are tired of waiting for White people to learn what they do to us and to understand the systems they benefit from daily.
We’re tired of teaching them about the harm they cause us.
We’re tired of our words being policed and tech discriminating against us.
We’re tired of being told we aren’t good enough, but everything about us being stolen and used by White folks; turned into either jokes or profits.
We’re tired of fairweather caring, so we rage.
We’re tired of our sons and daughters dying in streets at the hands of White men we don’t know, so we rage.
We’re tired of empty campaign promises, so we rage.
We’re tired of being last, so we rage.
We’re tired of being cheated, so we rage.
We’re tired of being told to wait when no one else has to, so we rage.
We’re tired of our children not being able to be children, so we rage.
We have so many reasons to be angry. We should be angry, and we should rage when provoked. Anger is a normal reaction, and Black people need to become accustomed to being angry. Our love language of rage puts White folks on notice. Rage helps us remember who we are and what our issues are.
Rage also helps us remember we’re not done fighting. It’s like waking sleeping giants from their slumber.
Black people need to keep their accrued collective rage and channel it into something positive for us. We need to turn our rage into a vehicle that will move us forward.
If we continue being nice, America will continue thinking we’re okay. If too many of us are nice, we end up giving Whiteness the impression we’re concerned more about their feelings than our own. I need Black people to feel outraged. I need you to speak outrage often.
When you share your outrage, the world remembers us, and the world knows we care about our collective suffering. Most importantly, if you rage, your loved ones never have to question your love for them or for our collective suffering.
I was recently introduced to a beautiful young poet recently named Kae King (@TheKaeKing on Twitter) who wrote a bone-chilling poem titled “In Case I’m Next,” which led to a short-film being on the poem published by @adolescentcontent on Instagram. King’s poem was written in response to decades of systemic attacks on Black people and systemic injustices she’s witnessed her short entire life. When I watched her film and heard her voice, I was speechless.
She said what so many Black people in America are feeling right now, in particular Black women. She inspired this piece.
If you enjoyed Amanda Gorman at the Biden-Harris Inauguration, she won’t disappoint. Watch her short film. Be angry our young children even have to write such harsh truths. Her words are an indictment of Whiteness and America. If we can’t be comfortable, no one should be comfortable.
Don’t you dare look away. Don’t you dare reach for comfort.
Kate King’s poetry is a gut-wrenching cry for justice, a justice that manages to intentionally escape us. Watch “In Case I’m Next,” by The Kae King.
Be angry. Then rage. Stay outraged. It’s Black folks’ love language. Black folks must keep their rage alive. It’s the only language White folks will understand. It’s the only way they will remember our names.
So stay outraged, and keep your rage alive.
Marley K., 2021. ©
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