These days, it seems like everyone wants to be angry about something, but it’s never the right things. Beyonce sparked outrage from the families and friends of victims of the Challenger space shuttle disaster because she used a soundbite from that fateful day in a recently released song, even though upon explanation, she revealed that it was a tribute song. A few weeks ago, Seth MacFarlane was the target of ire when people around the country rallied against the death of a cartoon dog (Mind you, over 125,000 people signed a petition on change.org demanding the return of the dead pooch.). And in the black community, people are still deciding whether or not they should be pissed about the use of the dreaded word, nigger and its many variations.
Let’s put this in perspective. People are angrier about the death of a fictional character than they are about the injustices that occur on a daily basis in this country against people of color. They are more upset about some words in a song than about the increasing economic disparity between the rich and everyone else. People are becoming more and more angry over trivial issues rather than directing that anger towards the actual problems of this society – and THAT is something worth being angry about.
Why are we so upset about some anti-gay remarks from a redneck reality TV star? Everyone has an opinion, and he shared his. We can choose to agree or not with his remarks. But to feign outrage because he exercised his freedom of speech is ludicrous. People are talking about boycotts of the station, of the show and of his merchandise. Though it begs the question to me of how many people demanding boycotts actually watched the show or supported him in any other way prior to his remarks?
All of this makes me ask, do people really think that silencing someone for his or her beliefs is really going to change how that person (or others of similar belief) feels? It will do the exact same thing that has happened to racism since the 60s – sweep it under the carpet without addressing the core issues. It keeps people silent without having honest discussions about the problems in society. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it not exist as so many are deluded into thinking and being quick to anger simply makes people less interested in communicating. All the while, nothing gets accomplished except a half-assed apology issued for the quickly forgettable controversy that was sparked.
We need to talk about why we feel the way they do on issues. We need to understand why people are so involved in the lives of others. We need to address why people are so quick to oppress others and force their religious beliefs on society through legislation. We need to address communication and tolerance, not by being mad and shutting others up or by getting offended at every remark someone makes.
We are mad because we don’t know what we should really be mad about.
In our era of political correctness and extremism, people have become more sensitive and easily offended by triviality and silenced because of potential repercussions. Communication no longer occurs in healthy ways and people are just angry about everything (and most probably don’t know why). We are mad because we don’t know what we should really be mad about. We are mad because we feel like we have less and less control over what goes on in this country. We are mad because so many issues like gun control, racism, income disparity, and poverty go unnoticed or unchecked. We are mad because America fails to live up to its promises. We are mad because no matter how much time has lapsed, so little progress has been made. We are mad because we feel helpless to make major change anymore and that any victory, no matter how frivolous, gives us an undeserved sense of empowerment. And now, we don’t know what else to do except be mad.