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Jab II's "Angry Black Man" Talk

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By Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D.

As a panelist (3/30/12) on the "State of the Black Male Symposium" (by Great Beginnings for Black Babies, Inc in Los Angeles--www.gbbb.org)--my focus was to address the "Why So" of the Angry Black Man. I began by saying the 1960s terms "Black Rage" and "Angry Black Man" do not clearly convey in today's descendants the proper intensity or scope of what I see. Rather, my preferred characterization embraces features of both Rage (originally meaning “rabies” or madness) and Anger so as to make the combination different from either. The Ancient African meaning of "Anger" was distress that narrowed ones oxygen supply--i.e. breath of life (spirit)--and perhaps explaning why, after they invented Martial Arts in 20,000 BC, deep breathing exercises were essential. However, I use "Rage/Anger" to imply the chronic accumulation of layers of moderate or extreme anger. An analogy would be a head of lettuce, with each leaf representing extreme anger. Chronic Rage/Anger has resulted in the following time periods from Black males' brain anger "centers" being constantly and excessively stimulated by all they went through and are now going through.

SLAVERY Rage/Anger came from: being Enslaved and Treated Inhumanely; Disconnections from the Motherland, relatives, customs, comforts, philosophy; Manhood taken away and replaced with Dependency on White males; Helpless in watching White males rape mothers/wives/daughters/sons/self. POST-SLAVERY (building on Slavery Rage): Jobs Unavailable; Black Females dominating Black Males; poor living conditions; constant Self-Esteem attacks--e.g. subhumanness, bad name calling and stereotypes; and unfulfilled Needy Wants (e.g. not feeling loved, not receiving compliments). TODAY (building on Slavery/Post-Slavery Rage): Chronic Juggling out of constant Desperation; dominated by those deemed Inferior; being unfairly Imprisoned; Health Problems; Nobody Helping or even caring; Knowing what to do and cannot get it done; and adopting the White man's values without the benefits.

As a result of the Brain Switch and forming lifestyle patterns around Omnibus Brain/Right Brain (OB/RB) thinking, there are: first, culturally transmitted (derived out of despair) patterns causing anger; and second, anger created out of failures from the application of those patterns. Together, depending upon the situation, Rage/Anger recurringly generates and enhances a "Fight or Flight or Fright" (FFF) mindset superimposed on existing Rage/Anger. Hence, the FFF Mindset increasingly hampers sharp decision/solution making because a feature of the OB/RB is dealing only with the "Here and Now." This means there is failure to develop system thought structures in a reasonable sequence and the thought tools to manipulate and maneuver whatever is pertinent for the solution. Thus, little attention is paid to long-term goal Reasoning designed for Thriving or, if so, flawed thinking skills make success unlikely. Since most struggling males have not been brought up by elders, they have little respect for the opinions of elders. By failing to self-discover the seed of the problem (i.e. the OB/RB), their vision is limited to only a "branch" out of that seed and thereby believe their opinion is better than anyone elses. By being angry they have a need for power and thereby to be the leader, despite being unprepared. This pattern is typically seen in late teen age and early 40-year-old males who think they know everything--an attitude keeping them in the status quo or in big trouble. Chronic "Fright" keeps many staying with the in-group and rejecting outsiders. The "Fright" portion of the FFF mindset is particularly significant since often underlying it is Hopelessness" + mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion. Its effects can paralyze all desires to better ones situation. That paralysis prevents one from pursing ones dreams and cultivating ones talents. It also keeps one in the Status Quo--doing the same self-defeating or juggling things over and over--while hoping things will get better.

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