• Charles A. Smith

Anger and injustice



Consider the following exerpt from my new book Anger! A Guide to Our Fiery Landscape:

Having someone display anger when we are being mistreated is a sign of their allegiance to us. Being bullied is a terrible experience that can be soul crushing. What makes bullying worse, though, is the indifference of onlookers....Passivity among onlookers during a verbal or physical attack undermines our faith in others and diminishes our sense of safety....When we use our anger righteously, in self-defense and in the defense of others, we strengthen the social fabric of our families and our communities by demonstrating care and conscience. Anger which stops injustice, provides an intended victim with allies, or reminds others that their bad behavior is not socially tolerable and will not be brooked by onlookers - that is the form of anger that protects us all. Without it, villains are fearless, bullies are unchecked, and we come to fear just as much for our safety in public places as we do in dark alleys. Without trust in others to defend and protect us if needed, we always stand alone. Expressing your anger on behalf of others is an affirmation of caring, social responsibility, and moral conscience.

I think linking anger to caring may seem odd to some. There is a full chapter in the book on the challenges of anger called The Dark Side of Anger. Genuine anger, though, is a core emotion that is part of our humanity. But righteous anger has to be enlightened by mindfulness and reason. Anger that is the consequence of emotional highjacking is dangerous. We need to remind our politicians and the protesters that follow them around of that.

#violence #social #caring #community #anger #mindfulness

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My email:

casmith@ksu.edu

My location: 

Olathe, Kansas