Rage cannot be hidden, it can only be dissembled. This dissembling deludes the thoughtless, and strengthens rage and adds, to rage, contempt.- James Baldwin
When you are niggerized you’re unsafe, unprotected and subject random violence and hated for who you are. You become so scared that you defer to the powers that be and you are willing to consent to your own domination.- Cornel West
The fleeting moments of life often bring me to rage. Some would prefer despair but that is such odd word with such drudgery attached to it. Despair is the place where all hope appears to be gone and life has placed the proverbial noose around your next. Despair is hope soaked in blood left in shark infested waters. To live with such a feeling is an inner turmoil. The great essayist James Baldwin replies,
“I have never been in despair…, but I am in rage…I can’t afford despair.”
Despair relocates itself in the naiveté of a misunderstood faith that makes demands upon God. Despair is more representative of the misunderstanding of faith rather than a hopelessness in God. God will answer the prayers of the righteous; what is called into question –“Who is the righteous?”
If I am then the righteous (or the called) and my prayers are not answered, then is rage viable. Can my rage be the invisible voice of the imago dei (the image of God)? Baldwin would say no because in his estimation,
“Rage cannot be hidden.”
Rage as a viable, tangible characteristic of God is hard to digest for some. Drawing upon a bell hooks’ thought I define rage, theologically, as a black theological discourse in response to a racist power structure.
The greatest fear for many people may very well be the moment when they say, “I don’t give a damn.” That is a moment when life becomes an instantaneous reality beckoning upon mishap –we begin to make decisions that will have lifelong implications out of temporary circumstances. Or, maybe, that is the very issue in and of itself. The things that we thought were temporary circumstances were actually systems that have been put in place to keep us subjugated and fitted for marginalization.
We have learned how to “transcend our tiredness”-(bell hooks) in the face of the constant disregard of our sacred lives as they are overlooked with blatant disrespect. My black rage becomes an ode of beauty in the face of terror.