I wish I worked at WDBJ in Virginia.
Maybe I could have reached Vester Flanagan, the man who shot two members of the station live on the air. He was bitter, angry and felt as if the world were unfair to him.
He harbored black rage, something that seethes inside many black males. However, the world does not want to address this issue. Instead people only want to talk about making the mental health system better. It is a problem but not the main problem with Flanagan and some of the other powder kegs ready to explode. I’ve met men like Flanagan who believe whites are out to get them.
They believe they were passed over for promotions because they were black. They believe people are talking about them because they are black and in this case black and Gay. This aggression builds up and explosions follow. They are not usually this severe but they do happen. Sometimes they happen during a verbal eruption in the office.
Sometimes the rage happens over a drink at the bar. And sometimes they are tempered by another black colleague who tries to calm them down and get them focused on their job.
I’ve known men like Flanagan and talked them off the ledge. They blame everything on the system created by whites. They want to lash out at somebody but usually don’t.
My Uncle James was one of these men. He’d get drunk on beer and cheap liquor and go into rants about pecker woods, honkies and white MF’s. He struggled keeping a job. It had nothing to do with his lack of an education in his mind. He was convinced that his black skin kept him unemployed.
I was a kid and did not totally understand what he was going through. I was even more confused by the way his rage ended. He got drunk again and pointed a gun at his temple and pulled the trigger.