Anger Privilege

If you want to know who has privilege in a society and who doesn’t, follow the anger.

There are people in this country who can safely express their anger. And those who can’t. If you’re
angry that Trump won, your anger is socially acceptable. If you were angry that Obama won, it wasn’t. If you’re black and angry about the police, your anger is celebrated. If you’re white and angry about , or any leftist cause, you’re on the side of the angry angels.

But if you’re angry that your job is going to China or that you just missed being killed in a Muslim suicide bombing, your anger is unacceptable.

Not all anger is created equal. Some anger is privileged rage.

If you hang up an effigy of a Democrat governor while protesting the lockdowns, you will lose your job. But if you topple statues, loot stores, or throw bricks at police, celebrities funded by corporations will help bail you out. Violence, like anger, is also a matter of privilege. Only some get to do it.

Public acts of violence are not a symptom of oppression, but of privilege.

Good anger gets you a gig as a CNN commentator. Bad anger gets you hounded out of your job. Good anger isn’t described as anger at all. Instead it’s linguistically whitewashed as “passionate” or “courageous”. Bad anger however is “worrying” or “dangerous”. Angry left-wing protesters “call out”, angry right-wing protesters “threaten”. Good anger is left-wing. Bad anger is right-wing.

Socially acceptable displays of anger, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter riots to the anti-Trump marches to the furious campus protests, are invariably left-wing. They’re never described as dangerous even when they trash, loot, kill, and burn cities to the ground. That’s privilege.

Why were chants of “Lock her up” immoderate, but not Bush era cries of “Jail to the chief”? Why were Tea Party rallies “ominous” but throwing Molotov cocktails at cops is “courageous”? Why is killing Trump on stage the hottest thing to hit Shakespeare while a rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask was hounded by everyone from the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri to the NAACP?

Not all anger is equal. Anger, like everything else, is ideologically coded. Left-wing anger is good because its ideological foundations are good. Right-wing anger is bad because its ideology is bad.

It’s not the level of anger, its intensity or its threatening nature that makes it good or bad.

And that is why the left so easily slips into violence. All its ideological ends are good. Therefore its means, from mass starvation to gulags to riots and tyranny, must be good. If I slash your tires because of your Obama bumper sticker”, I’m a monster. But if you key my car because of my Trump bumper sticker, you’re fighting racism and fascism. Your tactics might be in error, but your viewpoint isn’t.

There are no universal standards of behavior. Civility, like everything else, is ideologically limited.

Intersectionality frowns on expecting civil behavior from “oppressed” protesters. Asking that shrieking campus crybully not to scream threats in your face is “tone policing”. A black millionaire’s child at Yale is fighting for her “existence”, unlike the Pennsylvania coal miner, the Baltimore police officer and the Christian florist whose existences really are threatened.

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