Anger Therapy

anger-therapy_5x10Last month at Duke University the artist Pedro Lasch hosted an Anger Therapy session inspired by Organize Your Own. Here is the description:

Anger Therapy Session No. 1 / White People Especially Welcome: Organize Your Own
Mon, Nov. 21st, 10-11am. Ahmadieh Lecture Hall, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse, Duke University, Durham NC.

Looking forward to talking politics with family over Thanksgiving? Right.

Between children yelling ‘build the wall’ at their classmates, attacks across the country, screams of ‘lock her up’, and shouts of ‘not my President’, Americans are more divided and angry than ever. The aftermath of the most hate-filled electoral campaign in decades seems to include the normalization of the deliberate harnessing of anger into political power.

If you’d rather not fight with family, need a place to rehearse, or people to get back to after losing it, the FHI Social Practice Lab at Duke University invites you to join one or more of our upcoming Anger Therapy Sessions (A National Response). Each session has a unique set of creative rules and guidelines that will let those who attend share their anger, without getting violent. If you are angry, you are most certainly welcome, but you don’t have to be. We cannot, however, welcome anyone whose anger has led them to believe that hate of any social group on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation is an acceptable public expression. For such individuals, we hope there will be other forms of therapy available.

Our sessions are first and foremost an expressive, experimental and constructive tool to reinterpret and redirect the high levels of anger so many of us are feeling. This may involve some healing, but that is not their main goal. Neither is a sense of appeasement or conflict resolution.

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Anger Therapy Session No. 1 / White People Especially Welcome: Organize Your Own
Mon, Nov. 21st, 10-11am. Ahmadieh Lecture Hall, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse, Duke University, Durham.

Rules: All are welcome at this event, but anyone who thinks they are perceived as ‘white’ or self-identify as such is especially welcome. Why, you may ask, would we hold an event directly inviting white people at a university, with white nationalist figures like Steve Bannon rising to the highest levels of US government? We hope these two references will help explain, as they are also key to this session’s exploration of anger. More than fifty years ago, Stokely Carmichael (leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) said: “One of the most disturbing things about almost all white supporters of the movement has been that they are afraid to go into their own communities – which is where the racism exists – and work to get rid of it.” Taking up this direct call, artist and activist Daniel Tucker recently created a rich series of events in Chicago and Philadelphia, leading to a 2016 exhibition and final publication with the title of ‘Organize Your Own’. Using Tucker’s work, we hope our anger may be framed and redirected by Carmichael’s convocation to engage the contemporary ‘white rage’ we heard so much about throughout the election, whether we identify it only in rural and working class populations, or also amongst Wall Street and college educated folk. Like any other racial construct, we of course understand that being or feeling ‘white’ is a fluid and complicated thing, unlike recent election polls or marketing statistics would have us believe. Always excluding African-Americans and moving at painfully slow rates from its English-American roots to gradually accept German-Americans, Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, White-Hispanics, and other groups, the concept has shifted back-and-forth historically to both exclude and include specific minorities in the US saga of racial oppression and emancipation.

If you would like to organize similar Anger Therapy Sessions at other campuses or anywhere else, like or follow the FHI Social Practice Lab Facebook page and write to us there, or contact lab director Pedro Lasch. We would like to help make this a national effort.

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