When an atrocity against our Blackness (we know when they shoot a Black
person it’s not just the individual that they target and seek to destroy
in this System) we become drunk with emotions, from rage to despair.
I think Africans are fully justified in becoming drunk with emotion, we
have recent, historical, and even genetic memories and traumas that
come to surface, emotions that we haven’t been given the proper time or
resources to deal with; so becoming drunk with emotions in the face of
atrocity is understandable and justified.
The problem is, we
don’t wait to sober up before we develop a response. We use emotion to
drive our reposes, to connect us, to dictate our every move, to appeal
to our oppressors, and to construct our list of demands. This is a
The problem is, no matter how strong, emotions are
always transient. When any single state of emotion is held over a long
period of time it becomes a pathology, a mental illness, no matter if
it’s a “negative” or “positive” emotion. Delusion of grandeur is as much a mental pathology as Chronic depression.
Healthy people experience emotions, strong and deep emotions, they go
though the emotions, and they allow them to pass as they use the
experience to aid their cognitive development and to help them navigate
current and upcoming experiences and challenges.
So, when their
is an atrocity, we take time to feel, to wail, to morn, to lash out in
rage and anger; but then we need to sober up, sit down, and apply our
intellect, our rational minds, our studied and proven methods need to
come to the fore. When the emotions flare up again, we step away from
the planning and do some burning, crying, rioting, meditation, then we
return to planning with centered minds and calm hearts.
tried to work with the outraged, the angry, the emotionally stimulated;
who wanted to join the Struggle after some atrocity was made public
(because atrocities go on all the time, but most are not made public, so
we don’t get emotionally drunk off of all of them); and those
individuals have no staying power, they are unable to carry out
systematic and long-term agendas; they are often a hindrance to securing
justice and liberation.
Then you have those who are able to
sustain their emotional intoxication over long periods of time, and
these individuals are well-meaning, but mentally unstable. These are
the hyper militants, the perpetually “angry” Black Nationalist,
Religious Zealots; those who can’t form human bonds unless you totally
agree with them on all points. They show up at our gatherings and
collective actions and yell people down, or tear down what we are trying
to do because it’s not militant enough. They seem like the most
committed to the struggle, but they make more noise than progress
because emotions are good for starting an engine, but only rationality
can drive you forward.
So, don’t lose the African Heart, the
emotionalism that we feed on, but we have to keep it in its proper
place, and deal with it in the right context; it must be balanced by
African Intellect, Rationality, and the larger African Mentality.
Stop listening to the myths that “we are a Spiritual” people, or that
we are “overly emotional,” our emotions are healthy, we just have to
apply them in the correct arenas and planning and system development is
not the place for emotions to dominate or come to the fore. We are not a
“Spiritual” people we are a whole people able to engage on all planes
of existence fully and value them all fully.