Volume 74: Black People Are Emotional Addicts

Posted on 09/12/2013

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morpheusHello friends, fans, and followers! You favorite (albeit random) blogger is back! And, since I’ve been gone for some time, I decided to come back with a bang! Now, as my previous readers have learned, my social observations are based predominantly on a collision of critical thinking and solutions-based idealism. In layman’s terms, I look outside my window to see what’s going on, then try to find a clever spin to encourage thought. Most of my mental musings come from personal experiences and my daily struggles with some of them. I feel that sharing them with my friends (and the random strangers that read this) is better than shelling out $125/hour for therapy or spending time and money conducting the proper research. No, I’d rather post here using my pseudo-psychology garnered in grad school. “They” said a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Well, if that’s true, then you don’t want to run across me in a dark alley, LOL!

With that being said, this misguided social diatribe is directed at my people: Black people. I’m going to take a parenthetical pause for a moment to say that I am intentionally using the antiquated moniker “Black”, versus the more PC one of “African-American”. There is no reason other than my title reads better by using the word Black versus African-American. I just continued to use it through the rest of this post for consistency’s sake. Anyway, I have noticed a disturbing, yet undeniable trend in our (Black people) behaviors. We have the tendency to let feelings drive our decisions more than any other ethnic group. Not profound enough for you? Well, it shouldn’t be. However, it wasn’t the first straw that broke the camel’s back. It was all of them. Let me explain…

If you are Black, have you ever made the following statements:
1) I didn’t go to work because I didn’t feel like it.
2) I didn’t do my assignment because I didn’t feel like it.
3) I didn’t get a good grade/assessment because my teacher/boss doesn’t like me.
4) I don’t like my teacher/boss so I’m not gonna to work for them.
5) I know I shouldn’t have done that, BUT I was mad.

The list can go on and on, but you get my point (I hope). Each of the above statements and decisions were based on a feeling, and not on logic and facts. And, those feeling decisions can be detrimental to our (Black people) success. I know I have said most, if not all, of the above statements at some point in my life. I’m not proud of it, but I did. And, in most cases, it hurt me more.

Ok, still not convinced? Let’s take it out to the macro level. Think about the issues that we have the tendency to get behind, or the shows that we like to watch. They are almost always emotionally charged. We “love” the ratchet behavior on “reality” TV, and I have the numbers to prove it. According to the 2012 Neilson research collected on the Black demographic, 5 of the top 10 programs watched during prime time were (you guessed it) “reality” shows. Honestly, I didn’t really need the research. All I need to do is watch Twitter or my Facebook timeline during an episode of Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta and my point would be made.

Or, think about the social issues we get behind. We were all up in arms about the George Zimmerman verdict, but nothing is being said or done to reduce the daily murders in Chicago. Why? Because race is an emotionally charged subject in this country, while homogenous genocide of Black youth barely registers on the Black social barometer. Again I ask, why? Are not the numerous lives lost in Chicago just as tragic as one in Florida? (Rhetorical) Of course they are; however, they are lacking one key ingredient to go viral: Emotion.

So what does all this mean? More importantly, why is being an emotional addict bad? Isn’t having feelings good? Yes, but to a point. Feelings, while important to our lives and interaction, have no significant rational basis. Rational thought is predominantly devoid of feelings (think Spock on Star Trek). Feelings and emotions can overwhelm us at times and therefore cloud (or replace) rational thoughts and decisions. Decisions made “in the moment” are typically not the best. I call it the Jerry Springer “it just happened” effect. You know, that standard answer as to why Lover A cheated on Lover B with Lover C? Typically, “it just happened”.

I’m not psychic, but I know what you’re thinking: Couldn’t all people of multiple ethnic backgrounds be emotional addicts? Good question, and the short answer is yes. However, as with anything, context is the key. For the majority of our existence in this country, Black people have had to hide our emotions behind a mask. Showing anger could be dangerous or fatal. Happiness was fleeting. Pride was undeserving, and so on. The only two emotions that were “allowed” were fear and suffering. The repressed emotions have starved us over the centuries and we seek it out whenever and wherever we can find it. Cold fries? I’m turning up. Co-worker slights you? Cuss them out. Girl turns you down for a dance? Call her a B—h! You get my point? If you don’t, I bet it’s because you don’t like me, LOL!

Conclusion

I’m going to wrap this up before you get mad and stop reading. I love clichés and stereotypes because they have a tendency to summarize an event or group with sobering clarity. I have said many times in my life “You know how your cousins (aka Black people) are,” to my friends and family. I usually made this statement in reference to a situation or scenario potentially becoming volatile. I understand feelings. In fact, I have made some very good decisions based on feelings (e.g. getting married). At the same time, feelings cannot be the driving force of my decision-making. Feelings come and go. You feel hot. You feel cold. You feel happy. You feel sad. You feel angry. And, we all enjoy the freedom to express our feelings. Yet, think about the characteristics of people that we believe are good leaders. We use words like practical, pragmatic, and level-headed more than words like emotional and sensitive. I point this out because I want us to be better as a people. I want us to grow and learn and succeed. But to this point, it seems our progress has slowed, and that just makes me mad.

That’s just my three cents…

Sillethoughts

“Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act…”

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