In this post, I will be sharing a story that reinforces my argument from a previous post on why anger is a useless emotion. Once upon time, I was a soldier stationed in Bagram Afghanistan. Once on a mission outside the wire, the convey experienced a scare. We encountered a traffic jam, followed by what sounded like a small explosion. Following protocol, we immediately dismounted our vehicles and took our assigned combative positions. It was later discovered that the sound we heard came from an over inflated car tire that gave out. However, that’s not the story I am trying to tell, the true story is of a fellow non commissioned officer (NCO) who I discovered was cowered in the back seat of the Humvee during the commotion.
This guy was the most loud mouthed and arrogant human being in the company. He always had on a scowl on his face, he could be heard openly berating soldiers under his command, mocking his peers and cursing his superiors under his breath. Had it been any other person, I would have had some compassion for what appeared to be an episode of panic under a stressful situation. However with this guy, I couldn’t help but experience some feelings of irritation and disappointment.
In my life experiences, this is one of many stories which reinforced the meaning of one of my mother’s favorite quotes, “empty bottles make the loudest noise”, and the story of the Richard Sherman’s interview with Erin Andrews is no different.
I don’t enjoy criticizing Black public figures or celebrities, for the simple fact that bigots are usually first on the scene, seizing the moment to reinforce prejudice stereotypes in the public consciousness, however today I am making another of my few exceptions. I read a post which I found irritating where the author took up for Richard Sherman’s childish antics and seemed to refer to Black men who carry themselves in a calm demeanor as tokens acting White to fit in.
Really? When I listen to people utter such nonsense I feel tempted to ask them if they believe that people of European decent should be the only people who have exclusive rights towards carrying themselves in a calm demeanor.
When I looked further for clues regarding what could have triggered Richard Sherman’s unprofessional outburst, it turns out to be worse than I thought. All the while I suspected that Sherman got his feelings hurt by his identified nemesis, Michael Crabtree, instead it turns about that he provoked Crabtree by making taunting gestures, which resulted in Crabtree pushing him in the face. I suppose this is what lead to his outburst during the interview.
Please stop the madness. Specifically stop misleading boys and young men towards thinking that coping up an attitude is the route to take towards resolving grievances with others. It’s dangerous! You may get away with pushing others away and intimidating a few people until you stumble upon someone who is truly dangerous and properly trained in the use of violence.
Anyone trained in any measure of violence will readily acknowledge that in this world there is always someone more dangerous than you are. If you keep asking for trouble, you are going to get it. The most effective and sustainable way of resolving conflicts with others is the practice of compassion and assertiveness in your interactions with others.
In other words, do stand up for stand for yourself, but regard your fellow human being with the dignity you want others to regard you with at all times.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.