I am an angry woman. My anger fills my words and opinions. It spills out on the floor of my sentences and floods up my paragraphs. I feel it when I sit quietly on my porch sipping whiskey. Or loud nights out with friends. My anger is my constant and closest friend.
For so many years my anger was considered a disqualifier. A sign of bad judgment or character. After all, we like our women quiet, we like them with hair curled, #blessed, filtered and polished. We like them best when they are the supporting role. Better with babies. Better in the kitchen. Better listening. Better not president. Better than the alternative, that voice in your ear.
I regret to inform you, I am the voice in your ear.
This past week, America saw two more mass shootings within hours of each other in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. And we will see more. Mass shootings have been a way of life for me since I was a teenager in high school watching Columbine unfold, silent in study hall. My children are in school now and are learning to duck under their desks while the teacher bars the doors. It’s a fun game they play: Learn how not to get shot.
After each of these moments of domestic terror, we’ve had a discussion about the sad and isolated angry men who do this. They are disenfranchised, I am told. They are lonely, I am told. The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed arguing that we need institutions and efforts to enfranchise these men, whose anger is killing us. But what institution can we give them, when literally all government, leadership, and power, is the area where they are still represented.
Angry men have a firm hold of the White House. Angry men roam our Walmarts and our schools. They are in our music. They are red-faced voting in Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. We give them free license in our culture.
Despite the talk of liberal media bias, the actual numbers show that opinion pages in America are dominated by white men. People of color and white women are voices not often represented. It’s a truth reflected across all of media as a recent study showed that the percentage of employees of color in America’s newspapers hasn’t changed in 15 years.
To be fair and to be balanced is to allow all people to be on these pages, angry and searching for the answers to the problems that face our communities.
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I am the new columnist here and I hope to listen to you all, to write and to share, and to think critically about the issues that face our city, state and country. But I also will question power, institutions and ideologies. I also will be mad and loud, and it’s not a disqualifier, it’s my greatest asset. Silence, after all, is how the status quo remains.
l Comments: (319) 398-8513; firstname.lastname@example.org