Before we dive into this topic, I want to make clear I am not a therapist or psychologist. However, I have studied mental health for years, am a trained crisis counselor, studied, researched & teach journaling and I am a person who has overcome living with depression for 20 years. So, I have some insight, knowledge and experience with mental health.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this so-called mental illness sweeping through the country but only 1 gender and ethnicity is getting attention to receive “treatment” for it.
I recently read an article talking about mental illness does not lead to violence but anger does. You can read it here. This blog post is a response to that article.
After I posted the article on Facebook, a Facebook friend inboxed me. We chatted about the article and what we thought about it. During that conversation is where I realized anger is the mental illness of entitled white men.
A few days before I was talking to one of the co-hosts of ‘You Think It We Say It’ and we were discussing the #metoo movement and how men in general feel entitled to a woman whether the woman has given that man permission to enter her space or not.
Again, entitlement came up. After these 2 conversations is when it hit me. Entitlement has lead to anger because people aren’t getting what they want whether the person or persons they want it from is willing to give it to them or not.
Now what does this have to do with anger? A lot actually.
When people are stressed, depressed, frustrated, etc and it goes unchecked or untreated that can lead to anger. How you might ask? People don’t want to feel that way. They don’t want to always have that draining, negative feeling weighing heavy on them. And that’s how it leads to anger. They haven’t figured out how to process, deal or let go of those negative emotions. And that leads to annoyance then anger.
Anger is a normal emotion. It’s okay to feel that way from time to time. However, how we express that anger is what I want to focus on. The way white men have been expressing their anger in this country since the beginning has been through violence. After 400 years, it has become so natural that it’s literally shrugged off. Unless you are a white woman or any person of color. Then it’s a problem.
But for white men it’s something we should show empathy towards them. They are dealing with so much and we are to give them pass after pass after pass. Because life hasn’t been fair to them and they need a little time and encouragement to get back on track. Or they are considered a kid but in their 30s. Isn’t that how the media frames it?
Let a black man express his anger violently and he’s pretty much locked up for life. Taken away from his family either through jail time or death. Then he is vilified in the media for the smallest infraction. He gets no sympathy. He gets no pass. He gets no time to learn how to express his anger in a healthy way.
Oh, don’t let a black woman show any signs of anger. Then we are immediately labeled ‘An Angry Black Woman’. That label will pretty much stay with us for the rest of our lives. We are then ostracized from society and made to feel less than because we expressed a normal emotion.
Back to white men. They are allowed to express the full range of emotions whether it’s in a healthy manner or not. Then they are given support to overcome this “challenge” they are facing.
As a nation, we can’t afford to continue to allow white men the opportunity to express their anger in a violent way with no consequences. And then turn our back on everyone else when they need to express themselves to rid themselves of the anger or rage they feel towards a particular situation.
Interesting side note: When I went to a photo site I use for stock photos and typed “angry white men” in the search bar, women and black men popped up. That says a lot.