The cast and folks with Social HeArtistry did a wonderful job answering the question and redirecting, but after the show this person was having a conversation with my friend and seemed pretty upset at the idea of anger and how showcasing frustration at stereotypes can reinforce those stereotypes of being an angry person of color and even went so far as to ask how in its net cultural impact this anger was any different than the angry preachers spewing hate in the public square every spring.
I don't believe that's exactly the case here, but it is relevant to the larger discussion. Anger is a necessary starting point. But you have to do something with that anger that if you want to see change.
That's why TNTS had a discussion at the end of the event, to unpack the anger on stage and talk about next steps in creating and sustaining a community that won't allow these racialized aggressions to be normalized. That's part of what my opening quote is missing: you can be angry out of love (be it love for yourself or your community) and through those two feelings demand that oppression stop. But the anger and hate of racist and homophobic preachers is not the same as the anger of oppressed people. One is backed up by a fucked up society that has a longstanding history of voicing those same hatreds. The other is frustration with the effects those hatreds have on people's everyday lives.
That's one of the distinctions that makes discussions around power and privilege difficult, that makes this post difficult for me to write: often there's a disconnect between privileged folk and marginalized folk where the responsibility of learning is so disconnected from the content of the discussion that you could almost say there are two overlapping conversations happening at the same time. One being a dialogue within the strictures of the dominant social narrative and the other more a monologue resisting and criticizing the dominant narrative that's attempting to reframe the discussion and asking that you not respond, in privilege our voices don't matter.
On an academic, ideological level, I understand the resistance to this reframing. It's threatening and it closes off discussion in the traditional sense. Discussions not based in the rhetoric of logic and rational thought (i.e. those of the kind of passion/anger I talk about above) are often criticized for seeking to be above criticism because they refuse the voice of traditional ideas of argumentation. Undoubtedly in talks about race and feminist thought especially it will come up in comments. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's true, these discussions are not above criticism, but often times such criticisms based in rationalism are framed and worded in ways that invalidate lived experience.
While the larger theoretical discussion between privilege and oppression might create illogical and seemingly unfair asks when the oppressed push back, I think a lot of that theoretical thought loses some of its footing when the reality of lived experience (usually anecdotal, but so reoccurring that to deny it would be its own fallacy) is so overwhelming. It's hard to take criticism when it essentially says "the way you're describing reality is subjective and therefore wrong." I don't have a way to reconcile this, or even know if I'm describing what I'm trying to describe accurately because there's so much going on.
Thoughts, reflections, counterpoints, examples all welcome.