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Change Starts Within: Channel Your Anger and Stop the Hate

Updated on October 17, 2016
shanmarie profile image

Shannon tends to ponder things a little more than in passing. Sometimes things are worth writing about in case others find interest as well.

"Do you tickle your enemy with a feather while he cuts you with a sword? No, you stab them in the heart with your sword. I work with the police as part of my job and will have to say that the majority are out of control or are there because they have a mental disorder and need to control everyone around them with hyper-aggression."

Those are the foolish words someone commented to me when I posted a news link to the Dallas police shootings. I said that I had no words for the horror that was unfolding there on my local news station, so this person took it upon himself to supply them for me. Only, those are remarks that make me almost physically sick. These violent acts are not a matter of self-defense. Everywhere I turn, it seems someone is casting blame upon someone else. Each side wants to support their cause with hateful things to say about the other side. Angry protests erupt in the streets, angry gunmen walk into wherever they feel like committing a mass murder, angry ex-spouses kill to rid themselves of the other, and the list goes on.

All of the name calling and mudslinging politicians do is senseless. It is just as foolish for everyday citizens to throw insults around at those who think differently than they do. How can we criticize one group for doing something and then do the exact same thing to them? To me, it is not that different from people criticizing the police for senseless deaths and then shooting them needlessly in return. Of course, people want this reign of violence to end, but in the meantime, what is all the anger and aggression accomplishing? Anger may be a natural human emotion, but it only accomplishes one thing: division. Okay, all right - if dividing is the goal. However, if curbing the amount of meaningless violence happening in the world around us is the common goal, anger is not the answer.

An Angry Man Opens His Mouth and Shuts His Eyes - Cato the Elder

My question to you is why is change so politicized? Moreover, because it is politicized, does that mean it has to be all or nothing? Is there truly such a thing as a bipartisan government? If not, maybe there should be. Because, if you take the time to consider all of the opinions carefully, both sides tend to have valid points. Gun control, for instance, does not have to be as complicated as people make it out to be. Of course, I live in a state where guns are common, especially now that it is an open carry state. I am not afraid of them. I have seen them used to kill those Texas sized snakes that terrify me. Trust me; you do not want snakes in your yard that big. I still shiver at the thought of it. I know people raised around guns that are taught the sanctity of life as they learn how to use them. That said, I do not think that longer wait periods and psych evaluations before buying a gun is a bad idea. After all, those people capable of murderous intent scare me at least as much as big-ass snakes do, probably much more. No doubt about it, this world can be a scary place.

Have you ever awakened to the sound of a neighbor's door being kicked in by some man with obvious violent intent, yelling and screaming as he relentlessly pounds and kicks? I have. Too bad the security guard is not in yet, and the front desk does not seem to care that the man is destroying their property as I speak. Have you ever had strangers knocking on your door at odd hours of the night looking for the previous tenant? I have. It did not take long to figure out that the person they were looking for was not good news. Have you ever tried not to think about what would happen if someone pulled out a gun and a stray bullet found its way through your wall or window? I have. Have you ever watched helplessly as people who smoke weed take advantage of a man with children who cannot afford to pay for their motel room just so that they can spend his food stamps when they give him a ride to the store? I have. You find that the only thing you can say to these three children crowded with your three children in a small hotel room is not to let anyone ever tell you that you cannot do something good with your life. You hope and pray that if they take anything away from that horrific experience, they remember your words.

When you experience just a taste of the reality some of the less privileged demographics face, you understand better than you ever wanted to. If you ask me, when people speak of white privilege, most of what they actually mean is social and economic class privilege. That is something anger and hatred toward other races is not going to solve. In fact, I think there is a reason most change happens when it is not a political agenda. It happens when people who have been there, who understand step up to the plate to help make a difference. That cannot happen when people are too busy clinging to the anger to open up their eyes wide enough to see that it is not hopeless, but it is not without genuine caring either. See the right. See the potential. Be positive in a negative situation.

Amazon Book Summary

Once Carl Upchurch was an elementary school dropout fighting for survival on the streets of South Philadelphia, a gang member wedded to a life of violence, a bank robber facing a future in federal penitentiaries. Now he is a respected community organizer and one of the most compelling and visionary leaders of the civil rights movement. Catapulted into the national spotlight following his organization of a summit that brought together the country's most notorious gangs. Carl Upchurch has found himself in direct conflict with other African American civil right leaders. This is his scathing critique of t he established civil rights movement and his bold manifesto for solving the critical problems facing today's urban American. And this is his own unforgettable story-reality of urban crime gang warfare and racial injustice from one who knows firsthand what it's like to be Convicted in the Womb.

Nothing Can Bring You Peace But Yourself - Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was in college, I was fortunate enough to have professors who worked with poor school districts. Charter schools in Dallas where children from broken homes and poverty attended. The students were full of depression, anger, and aggression. However, these teachers were full of understanding, compassion, and encouragement. They taught the students in the charter school, armed with the knowledge that the self-image of these children needed to be nurtured for them to break the cycle. The teachers also wanted future educators to understand the realities of poverty so that they could make a difference in the lives of future students facing it.

One of those professors came from poverty herself. She knew firsthand what it means to live in poverty. She taught us that it is easy to make assumptions about what we would do in that situation or about what they should do. If given a gift of cash, for instance, many would say they would use it to catch up on a bill or save it. What many fail to remember is that it is more complicated than that. Why? Because the quality of life also matters. Yes, it would make sense to pay next month's bills so that you are a month ahead and do not have to struggle as hard the following month, but these people do not see a way out anytime soon. All they see is that after that month, they will be right back where they started. Might as well spend that cash on something that provides a little bit of pleasure because it so rarely happens they have any extra money to spend on something fun. Did you catch that? Quality of life matters. Part of that quality of life is nurturing self-worth. It was also this professor who required us to read a book with a message that not only struck me as I was reading it but sticks with me to this day. To change something, you have to understand it first just as it is.

The book, entitled Convicted in the Womb, is the autobiography of Carl Upchurch. With several prison stints, this man was a hard core felon, always returning to the same neighborhoods and the same crowds that kept dragging him back into a life of violence, drugs, and gangs. During one of those prison stays, he began having a spiritual awakening. When he was released, he went to stay with some Quakers that made him believe in his value as a person. They taught him that if he wanted change, he had to change himself. Instead of going back to the old life he embarked on a new one, becoming an advocate for peace. His efforts gained national attention when in 1993 he organized a gang summit that brought together leaders from some of the nation's most notorious gangs. The purpose of the summit was not to fight, but mediation.

Upchurch also became a prominent civil rights activist who worked to strengthen the quality of education young children, particularly from underprivileged neighborhoods received. He was not shy about pointing out that a significant part of the problem in those communities is the message sent to children. They are raised in survival mode, believing that the anger, the violence, the street smarts is what is keeping them alive. The nurturing environment that says things like "you can," "you will," "you are worthy," and "you can be anything you want" is lacking. They struggle, they give up, and they drop out of school believing that they are not capable or deserving of achieving things that the rest of society does.

There is something terribly wrong with that picture, yet if you stop to think about it, there is also so much truth in it. The images these young people receive of themselves not only from the rest of society in general but their own culture as well is self-destructive. It is just another form of hate, and the blame is placed elsewhere, such as on police departments. People need first to respect themselves before they can respect others around them. People have to appreciate their good qualities before they can appreciate the differences between others around them. They have to believe they can change themselves before they think others will change. Moreover, they have to accept their own responsibility before they can stop blaming an entire group of people for the misdeeds of a few individuals within another group.

Become Part of the Solution

"Become a part of the solution. Serve your communities. Don’t be a part of the problem. We’re hiring. We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in, and we’ll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about."

- Dallas Police Chief David Brown

How Can You Bring About Change?

Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger.
Learn the wisdom of compromise for it is better to bend than to break.
Believe the best, rather than the worst, for people have a way of
living up, or down to your own opinion of them.
-Jane Wells

This quote is an excerpt from wedding advice given in 1869 by Jane Wells. Obviously, we are not talking marriage here. However, read those words. Those lines above ring true across all walks of life and between most human interaction, do they not?

It is complicated, yet simple. While you may not quickly change the big picture, you can start by being the change you want to see. If anger divides, love unifies. You have the power within yourself to make the world a little bit better. To do this, do not let anger win or hatred will take over. Continue to build your lasting friendships with whomever you want. However, try not to choose according to previous biases, but rather choose your friends according to common interests and learn to appreciate the differences. Get involved in your communities in constructive ways that bring about positive changes. Lead by example. Most of all, do not turn the differences in perspective into a bad thing. They can be just as enriching as the things people have in common. Compromise is not a bad thing when it brings people to the common ground. Bend a little if you have to - before you break.


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    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 16 months ago

      Hello, word55. I do believe that God is the reason most people change when needed. As for the political candidates themselves, I think they have both shown their fair share of bad character. But that's just my opinion. I can't even fully judge them because I don't know either one of them directly and couldn't be their ultimate judge of what's in their hearts even if I did know them.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 16 months ago from Chicago

      Unfortunately, Shanon, there will be no good, solid change resolutions until God is recognized and chosen as the true changer of both parties and all individuals. If people haven't learned by now, that Jesus is the author of people becoming new creatures for the betterment of life then there is no hope of optimism in life. Trump needs to repent before becoming anything. I have nothing to say about Hillary. At least she doesn't show bad character. Lastly, no one can change completely, without the involvement of Jesus and God.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      Thanks, Shryron. I agree with you that both parties need to balance each other. But the concept of hate breeding hate has been preached by the best of the best from every walk of life for how long now? And still people do not heed that warning. The best we can do is look for the ways to improve the situation without adding more fuel to the fire.

      A book review from Paula on that book would no doubt be an interesting read.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 18 months ago from Texas

      Shan, this is a fantastic hub, I wish everyone would read it. Hate breeds more hate and it is passed on and on and until we can break that link, it will keep on building.

      Until both political parties can start working in unison instead of trying to dig up dirt on the opposing party. But we need both parties to keep balance, without name calling or insults hurled at each other.

      Thank you so much for writing this.


      *Note to Dear Paula (fpherj48 ) I do hope that you write a book review on Mr. Upchurch's book. I would look forward to reading it.

      Blessings and hugs Dear Paula.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      I remember talking to you about it a few months or so ago, Theresa. I'll send you a copy, but I probably lost your address. I still haven't sent the rest of the things I have gathered for you! I'm the world's worst procrastinator sometimes.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      Thanks for stopping by to share that, Paula! I thought it was a worthwhile read all those years ago. .. about 16 now. . .and I still remember much of it. I

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      Thanks, Theresa! Funny how I hear that so often here on HP and sometimes offline as well, but I'm certainly not so sure I'm so wise.

      No worries about not coming back to comment. I know how busy you've been lately.

      You sound like my dad. He made a similar comment about the unrest and expecting it on that same FB post where that opening comment was left. I remember that because I made a comment about how that didn't make it alright and then another friend of mine got kind of nasty and sarcastic about his comment. I had to explain that he didn't mean it that way. I would say that people are way too defensive. . .but Paula already called me out on being too defensive so I'd be insulting myself. Hahaha ;)

      It's crazy that now we have to have mass shooter awareness training in the workplace and in the schools as if it was a bad weather event or fire training. Although. . . if you work with the public long enough, things people do don't really surprise you much anymore.

      Thanks for reading and sharing. Hugs.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

      Thank you, Paula! I was thinking it would be a powerful read too...thanks for confirming!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 18 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Just a message for Shan's readers" The sweetie was nice enough to send me a copy of Upchurch's book. I started it this morning and am nearly finished. Highly recommended reading! Especially if you're into some gut wrenching honesty and the miracles of transformation! Looking at who has commented here, I believe you would all enjoy this book and be seriously moved! Paula

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

      Dear Shan, You are wise beyond your years. This is such a well-written and mature piece here.

      I read this after you published it, as you know through our email correspondence, and just realized I never returned to comment! I apologize.

      Yes, the violence and anger are out of control and it seems to all stem from fear that is being planted in our minds by so much media, etc.

      As far as the Black Lives Matter group ...they are a hate group in my mind for if black lives truly matter to them so much, why aren't they out in their neighborhoods where black-on-black crime is out of control and they are killing off their own race? All lives matter, of course.

      The answer to all of these problems is not anger and violence. Some states are enacting legislation which makes it a hate crime to attack a law enforcement officer. Having said all of that, however, we do know these things were to come and that there will be lawlessness in the streets just as we are seeing today.

      Certainly there should be more in-depth requirements before giving a person a gun permit, but it's not the law abiding or of sound mind persons who are killing innocent people.

      Sharing ...good job!

      Martina is my favorite.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      Thanks, Ruby. I would have responded sooner, but I don't recall receiving notification from HP that you'd left a comment. The nightly news is something I find myself watching less and less of lately. Unless I want to hear a particular story or watch the weather, I don't even bother to turn it on. The kids usually have the TV on watching something or left on a channel they were previously watching and that's fine by me. Kid shows are by far less depressing.

      Paula shared a link above for a Collin Raye song and mentioned him. Your comment just reminded me of another one of his songs. I think I may have used it on another hub. . ."Not That Different". . .

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 19 months ago from Southern Illinois

      The nightly news scares me and I see and hear hateful words spewed toward races. How did we ever reach this kind of inhuman thinking? We are all one, different colors, different religions, different lifestyles but the same in so many ways. We all want love. We must learn to spread it around. Interesting topic and well presented.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      That's one my favorites and one I believe I used here somewhere. Thanks for putting it in my head. LOL

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 19 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      Thank you Paula. Now you even sound like a professor. ;) Martina is one of my favorites too, next to Reba. Collin Raye might be my favorite male artist. I've used his songs in other hubs. "What If Jesus Comes Back Like That" might be appropriate in this hub, actually. Not sure that's the title, but it's one of his.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 19 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Interesting, informative & enlightening. Bravo, Shan. I see a lot of thought & conviction went into this work. Nicely written.

      Thank you for the brief bio of Upchurch & mention of his book. Definitely sounds like a book I want to read.

      Martina's my favorite female C&W singer~~with Colin Raye being in the male category.

      Good work Shan!....Have a great day. Paula

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      Thanks, Larry.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 19 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting perspective.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      Hi MzB,

      It doesn't surprise me that BLM is considered a terrorist organization. But that's my point. It's spreading. As far as I'm concerned, much of it is propaganda. Negative propaganda that is spreading fear and hate. Love may not fix everything, but if I focus on what I can do and others do the same at least I am not part of the negativity.

      Thanks for your input.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 19 months ago

      Some people just want to blame the government because they are of the opposing political party or they hate President Obama. However, the Black Lives Matter movement has been taken over by Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood, and since the president supports the Muslim Brotherhood, maybe he should shoulder some of the blame, but not the whole government. But would all the love in the world stop these people, or will it take something else?

      Russia has put BLM on its official terror watch. Here’s a quote:

      “The initiating document issued by Chairperson Matviyenko advocating that Black Lives Matter, its founders, and its funders, be listed as a terrorist organization … relates to this “racial-hatred” groups advocating the killing of American law enforcement officers in order to “incite/inflame” “racial passions” in the United States—and whose “tactics/rhetoric”, if transferred to Europe, would pose a grave threat not only to the Federation, but, indeed, all of the continent.”

      So, it's going to take a lot of lovefests to overcome this.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      GReat message, Bill, and I agree. Have a blessed day!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, I love your message, and here's mine: I can't change the nation. All I can change is myself and the way I treat those around me, and I do that by treating others with love. For me it begins with family and then community....those are things I have control over....

      Better days are coming, Shannon....slowly

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      I honestly don't know what to think half the time, Jackie. I wasn't alive when Martin Luther King Jr. was, but I know enough to know that even he preached about non-violence. This guy in Dallas wanted to kill as many white cops as he could, or so the press release statements declared. These men were there protecting everyone's right to protest and to protect everyone else as well. One witness interview I was watching....he had his four or five-year-old son with him. Can you imagine? Children had to witness all of that. And all this father wanted to do was teach his children about one of the rights Americans have: to protest peacefully. When asked what message the man would have for his children and the cops, he said that he wants his children not to fear the police, and he wants the police not to fear black men. He's right on point there. All this is doing is creating a perpetual cycle of fear. Domestic terrorism. It's horrific. But it does not have to be that way.

      The government certainly isn't helping, though. All they do is pass the blame back and forth between parties it seems. I think I'd pull all my hair out and go stark-raving mad if I ever tried to join congress or the senate.

      As for the protests themselves, I just don't see what any of them are actually accomplishing. Especially the people who are blocking roadways to major hospitals and shutting down freeways. I'd rather see more people taking the Dallas police chief up on his offer. Go apply to work in your own neighborhoods as a police officer and help bring about the desired change. Teach others how to help kids break that thought process. Why do we make it so hard to end the cycle and choose to keep on perpetuating it?

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 19 months ago from The Beautiful South

      It is scary. How can anyone think because of a few bad cops all should die? If they want to play God they should at least go for the bad ones, not the good innocent fathers and husbands who only are protecting us all the best they know how.

      Honestly though I blame the government. They are stirring up a hornets nest just to get martial law and control of everyone and if hundreds die in the meantime what do they care? Hate, as you say is already in so many and it just takes an excuse or nudge to get them going, not thinking twice about what they are really doing and where it will really get them.

      I did see some good in one of these protests, yes, but I am pretty sure that is going to be the exception, not the rule.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      Hi Flourish,

      I was just commenting to someone earlier that for all the senselessness of it, at least some good comes of it, too. I think it is good that people are more kind to one another. Kindness goes a long way. Thank you for reading. It ended up being much longer than I intended it to be when I started writing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 19 months ago from USA

      Very well written and from the heart. The unrest that we are seeing is very disturbing but the other side of it is that I notice in my own community strangers are kinder to one another. There are some who are trying harder.