By Darryl James
As an educated man who is clearly a thinking person, I confuse a great number of people.
To some, a thinking man should also be an extremely tolerant man.
To others, a thinking man who writes critical pieces, should be a sounding board for those who disagree, and even for those who disagree with acrimony.
But to the thinking man himself, perhaps his freedom dictates the order of the day and not the people taking in his opinion.
In the case of this particular thinking man, my freedom often dictates a response to detractors that elicits shock and amazement.
It also elicits a categorization—that I am “that” kind of man.
As a Black man, “that” kind of man typically refers to the age-old stereotype of the Angry Black Man.
In response to many of my articles, the confused and the stupid are quick to hurl: “he’s an angry man,” as though it will stimulate productive discussion and as though it is actually true.
Whites began using the label “Angry Black Man” to explain the behavior of Black men who raged against injustice.
Currently, that label is being made more perverse. Black men who are passionate and of conviction are still being labeled angry by whites, but now, also by ignorant Blacks.
Legendary Film maker Spike Lee has been garnering the label since his first major films, “Do The Right Thing,” and “School Daze.” Some have even mused erroneously that he hailed from an unhappy childhood that made him angry.
In his book, “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It,” Spike Lee explained who he really is and what his childhood was really like.
“I was not an angry child,” wrote Lee. “I was an obedient child, a happy child.”
The book continued: “But it was the more domineering aspect of his childhood character and the side that earned him his nickname that the media would later concentrate on, to such an extent that Spike Lee has grown accustomed and weary of issuing denials that he is an angry man by nature.”
When I hear people label Spike as “angry,” one question comes to mind. It is the same question I answer when assheads assign the same label to me: “Do you know the person who you are calling angry?” Typically, the answer is “No.”
Producer John Pierson, who has known Spike Lee since the eighties, said “People to this day…think that Spike is way too angry, but one thing that I want to convey is that he is really funny, but fundamentally very shy.”
While in college, I had the opportunity to work with Spike Lee’s publicity team. I spent some time with him during the release of “School Daze,” and I found him to be far less than the angry man he was accused of being. What I realized was that the accusers not only had little of Spike to judge from, but their accusations were borne of fear and confusion.
As with many Black men who garner the “Angry” label, Spike is a passionate man of convictions, who refuses to back down simply because his position intimidates or angers others.
Another Black man that people always characterized as “angry,” was the subject of a Spike Lee Joint featuring Denzel Washington as White America’s epitome of the Angry Black Man. People who didn’t know Malcolm X very well could only focus on the fury and the fire, but to friends and family, Brother Malcolm was much, much more.
El-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz was a doting father, who was playful and tender with his children, and a loving husband to his wife. The public only has one photo of Brother Malcolm smiling, but Sister Betty and their children held a much broader perspective of the real man and “angry” was certainly not his lump in life.
But in this nation, we are quick to assign limiting labels to that which we can not understand or that which we fear. Anytime a Black man stands strong and proud without flinching or failing, he is labeled as “Angry.”
A good example can be found in some of the weak-minded idiots who frequently disagree with what I write about in this column. It is not enough that they dissent, but they go to great lengths to get me to alter my position, even launching insults they expect to go unanswered. When I respond consistently with holding fast to my position and returning the insults, the inevitable result is to label me as an angry man.
Sadly, these morons are not basing their labeling on anything psychological, since they have no real foundation. It’s just the confusion and lack of understanding that leads idiots to mislabeling that which they have no capacity to understand. I won’t bow down, so I must be angry.
A quick sample of nearly any man’s life can reveal something to label him as angry. Take a sample of the lyrics from Prince and, even he could be mislabeled by fools who really don’t know the man at all.
In “I Count The Days,” Prince sings: “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, here’s a motherf–ker I’m about to blow away. Here’s my chance to cure the ills of the people, but not until I make this motherf–ker pay.”
Now, just because he is angry when expressing this thought doesn’t mean that his entire spectrum of expression is anger.
The Angry Black Man gets stereotyped from his public speech and demeanor, which is often misunderstood. Further, the label given to “Angry Black Men,” is typically a label borne out of fear.
No one who truly knows Darryl James would call me an angry man, even though ignorance and stupidity anger me. My anger is a temporary state, which I take action to resolve. You’re reading part of my resolution right now.
In the fashion of other so-called Angry Black Men, including Spike Lee and Malcolm X, I will never waver from what I believe to be the truth and I will never falter in the face of weak-minded people who have nothing solid to hold on to save the label “angry,” that they hurl at others while refusing to acknowledge the unresolved anger in their own tortured souls. I already realize that they are incapable of understanding anything new anyway.
I am a well-rounded individual with a full range of emotions and emotional states.
I’m not always angry. I’m just not always with you.
If you really knew me, you would know, I’m not “that” kind of man.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011and will be running throughout 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at email@example.com.