By Contributor aimee josiane
Call me harsh, but in this world of questionable “truths” and fading histories, you are either with me or against me. There is no in between and there is no neutral. I haven’t been neutral about much since I was 16 years old and while I may come off as too rash to those who’ve seen how crunk I can get about an offensive situation, I’ve learned to embrace my non-neutral disposition and the glorious anger that comes with it.
I first connected to anger as a teen in my World History class, but I learned to embrace and understand it through readings like Audre Lorde’s The Uses of Anger. She explained it perfectly: Anger is my response to racism, exclusion, unquestioned privilege, silence, betrayal and everything else that comes with being a Black, African, immigrant, queer, working-class woman trying to get an education in this country’s messed up university systems.
What makes rage valuable to me is its ability to interrupt the silence expected of us when we’re faced with the realities of our world’s terrifying history and present. Case and point, my experience watching the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony held in London. The skits were a little bizarre, I mean, Mr. Bean running down a beach? Really? I laughed it off, but something I couldn’t laugh off was the visible colonial history that many Olympic athletes bore on their faces, flags and country names. Something about hearing “British territory” just puts me in a certain kind of mood. It was extremely frustrating seeing country after country stamped with the stripes or stars signifying their conquest and enslavement by European empires.
And sure those events did take place centuries ago, but when you consider the fact that 34 territories/nations in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia/South Pacific remain under the governments of 6 European countries, well…you tell me. Just thinking about 14 British territories made up of majority Black and Indigenous peoples who have to answer to a white Queen, put into power by a bloodline supposedly chosen by the Gods and backed up by an army that has and will kill to affirm her authority, now that really gets me raging. And I did rage.
Basically, I really connected to my anger watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony, but I also intended to make those feelings useful in the grand scheme of things. So I used my anger on Twitter, I argued with those around me, and then I went to bed. But the next morning I felt energized enough to write this blog so that my thoughts would not only be heard, but also felt. And I encourage you to do the same by first having an opinion about things that are happening around you. And once you unlearn how to be “neutral” please speak, shout, kick and Tweet! Because the leaders, laws and ignorant people who use and abuse us are relying on it being a smooth and SILENT oppressive world… luckily my mouthpiece is quite large and knows very little limits.
Unleash your anger.
aimee josiane is a Rwandese student-artist-activist currently living in Atlanta. You can follow her on Twitter @Rwandalicious.