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  • Deric Hollings

Why You Mad?

[DISCLAIMER]


Why?


Early in my social work education I was told, “We never ask the client ‘Why?’ because it’s a question implying judgment,” or words to that effect. Asking someone why the person thought, felt, or behaved in a particular manner was thought to be stigmatizing.


For example, if I asked John Doe why he thought it was appropriate to physically assault another motorist when angry during a road rage incident, my question could be perceived as though I was judging John for his experience.


Social workers were supposed to be nonjudgmental, as though any rationally-thinking or emotively-driven human being on earth could be capable of zero judgment. As one may gather at this point, I reject to refrain from asking why.


Still, regarding use of “why” in therapy, I invite clients to consider that they may never receive a suitable answer to the question. For instance, demanding to know why someone sexually assaulted you may result in a chaotic cycle of disturbance, because no answer may ever justify the assault.


I acknowledge that asking “how” and “to what extent” can be useful when assessing issues a client brings to session. Specifically, one may determine the frequency and severity of a recurring matter.


Additionally, the so-called five Ws—“who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why”—allow information gathering in order to address a problem. This approach proved quite useful when I was a military policeman (MP).


What crime was committed? When did it occur? Where did it happen? Who was the suspected party? Why was the crime carried out, if known? How was the crime committed? To what extent was any party impacted?


Likewise, when practicing as a psychotherapist, I find utility in this method. Asking why is a core component of my practice. Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I ask many questions of my clients.


What issue is the client experiencing? When did it begin? Where was the client when the matter was considered most stressful (especially useful for trauma)? Who else is involved?


How has the client approached similar situations? To what extent is the client capable of tolerating discomfort? Why is the client’s belief about the event meaningful enough to lead to an unpleasant consequence?


As an MP, I used fact-finding that could’ve resulted in charges which may’ve led to the conviction of a crime. Now, I use fact-finding to help free people from the ensnarement of their minds.


Asking why is a crucial part of this process. It is with this understanding that I have no problem asking the reader, “Why you mad?


Kanye West


Recently, Kanye “Ye” West has occupied significant news coverage regarding a series of peculiar events. The rapper’s behavior is said to have sparked “outrage” from various people.


For those unfamiliar with the matter, I’ll post the link to many controversial comments from the entertainer’s interview on InfoWars. Unlike those who claim, “Hate speech should never have an audience,” I disagree.


While I recognize that hate speech may be defined as “speech that is intended to insult, offend, or intimidate a person because of some trait (as race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability),” this broad description is not based on United States legal principles.


Additionally, the subjectivity of one’s moral code that influences ethical foundations is unique to an individual or group, though cannot be fully applied to everyone else. I may disagree with what you and your group has determined is helpful or harmful.


Likewise, as one source claims, “hate speech’ isn’t just a term with contested meanings, but rather, it is ‘systematically ambiguous; which is to say, it carries a multiplicity of different meanings.” If hate speech can be anything or everything, who could ever say a single thing?


Moreover, as I stated in a separate blog entry relating to West, entitled Yay and regarding free speech, “I, too, would rather know where people stood. This includes when they espouse viewpoints with which I disagree. This includes rappers. This includes West.”


Rather than allowing corporate, legacy, mainstream, or social media sites to dictate West’s words, I’d rather review the rapper’s statements for myself. These things stated, during a recent interview with Alex Jones, among other statements, West expressed the following:


“That’s the thing that the Zionists control […] the media, in control of the government.” (Starting at around minute 13:16)


“I see good things about Hitler, also. […] I love everyone […] Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.” (Starting at around minute 16:52)


“I’ve been messed over enough by Jewish businessmen to get to the point to say, ‘I’m not gonna’ take it anymore.” (Starting at around minute 26:45)


“I like Hitler.” (Starting at around minute 27:48)


“But they did good things, too. We’re gonna’ stop dissin’ the Nazis all the time. (Starting at around minute 32:01)


“I was just thinking about Satan, that whether it’s the Zionists or Hitler—it’s not the person, it’s Satan using the people…are controlled by demonic forces. But what I’m gonna’ say is the Jewish media has made us feel like the Nazis and Hitler have never offered anything of value to the world.” (Starting at around minute 33:35)


“I don’t like the word evil next to Nazis […] I love Jewish people but I also love Nazis.” (Starting at around minute 1:19:51)


“It’s Satan that gets inside of the Zionists and makes them do evil things.” (Starting at around minute 1:34:34)


“God says love everyone. So if I say I love the Zionists that, that canceled my account, then I can say I love…I did not…I do love Hitler. I do love the Zionists. I love everyone. The Zionists cannot tell me who I can love and cannot love. I don’t think like that.” (Starting at around minute 1:56:56)


“I just exercise rights that are only given to whites. A white person can wear a t-shirt that says Black Lives Matter, but for a black person to wear a t-shirt that says White Lives Matter, that somehow makes me racist. So I just love goin’ up and sayin’, ‘Hey, what do you think about this? What about that?” (Starting at around minute 2:01:43)


“There were a lot of good Nazis that were just fighting for their country […] Every Nazi’s bad?” (Starting at around minute 2:15:19)


“There’s a loooot of things that I looooovee about Hiitllleeeerrr. A loooooott of things.” (Starting at around minute 2:16:04)


“Germans had a really cool leader at one time.” (Starting at around minute 2:18:15)


“If I say death con 3 and then you cancel all of my deals, you proved exactly why I needed to go death con.” (Starting at around minute 2:20:28)


“It doesn’t matter how on the spectrum you think I am; I have a right to speak out loud. That is or First Amendment and it’s a shame that you have to be considered to be on the spectrum to have enough courage to speak out loud.” (Starting at around minute 2:21:24)


“I don’t really care that much about Hitler. I love him. Seems like…he seems like a cool guy […] And he didn’t kill six million Jews. That’s just, like, factually incorrect.” (Starting at around minute 2:22:38)


“I’m a Nazi.” (Starting at around minute 2:23:39)


“I like Hitler. I’m not trying to be shocking. I like Hitler. I do not…the Holocaust is not what happened. Let’s look at the facts of that. And Hitler has a lot of redeeming qualities.” (Starting at around minute 2:42:49)


“Nazis are, like, kinda’ cool […] These are people […] I love all people.” (Starting at around minute 2:44:22)


Some people may consider West’s perspective as hateful or repugnant, and demand to know why I’d dare to platform his comments. I’m not here to say what is good, bad, right, wrong, righteous, evil, loving, hateful, or otherwise.


Instead, I’d like to examine the emotive response many apparently experience regarding the entertainer’s words. More specifically, I want to demonstrate how one may resolve unpleasant emotions when hearing about content with which they disagree.


Before I move forward, I think it’s worth stating that herein I’ll refer to “helpful” and “healthy” elements of one’s life. These, too, are subjective qualifiers and I’m not asserting what is fundamentally helpful or healthy for everyone. That’s up to the individual to determine.


Why you mad?


Before I demonstrate the Epictetian notion, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters,” it may be worth addressing how West has a relatively long history of declaring his indifference to the opinions of others.


On his 2004 album The College Dropout, West dropped a track called “We Don’t Care.” Lyrics included, “Throw your hands up in the sky and say, ‘We don’t care what people say.” Just under two decades ago the entertainer declared his apathy to what others have to say, so why you mad?


On his 2005 album Late Registration, West featured a prophetic message on his song “Bring Me Down.” West began the track by saying:


“I always knew that one day they’d try to bring me down, way down, way down. One day, they tried to bring me down. Always knew that one day they’d try to bring me down, way down, they’d try to bring me down.”


Many years ago, the rapper expressed the belief that others would persecute him. Without demand to meet the supply of one’s perspective, one presumes the manufacture of provocative content could feasibly create demand. If true, why you mad?


On his 2007 album Graduation, West featured a song entitled “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” The chorus of the song states:


“La, la, la la (Ayy!). Wait ‘til I get my money right. La, la, la la (Yeah!). Then you can’t tell me nothing, right? Excuse me, was you saying something? Uh-uh, you can’t tell me nothing (Yeah! Haha!). You can’t tell me nothing (Yeah! Yeah!). Uh-uh, you can’t tell me nothing (Yeah!).”


The rapper openly stated that once he had enough money people couldn’t correct him—they couldn’t tell him anything. Why you mad now that he’s saying things with which you disagree?


In 2008, West released an album entitled 808s & Heartbreaks that featured a hidden track called “Pinocchio Story.” West states:


“I just wanna’ be a real boy. They always say, ‘Kanye, he keeps it real, boy.’ Pinocchio’s story is, ‘I just wanna’ be a real boy.’ Pinocchio’s story goes, to be a real boy.”


West lets the audience know that he keeps it “real.” The rapper has an ethical code—even if you disagree with it. To become a man—transitioning from a faux boy and then to a real boy—West holds himself responsible for keeping it real.


Per one source, to “keep it real” relates to “[w]hen someone does not change who they are or what they believe due to societal pressures. Especially true with regards to someone who has attained some financial success but does not change their behavior.”


Even with the loss of his billionaire status West reportedly retains a $400 million net worth, qualifying as fuck you money. If this is the case, why you mad when West is living by his preferred code?


Regarding his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West dropped a track entitled “Runaway.” The hook states:


“Let’s have a toast for the douche bags. Let’s have a toast for the assholes. Let’s have a toast for the scumbags, every one of them that I know. Let’s have a toast for the jerk offs that’ll never take work off. Baby, I got a plan, run away fast as you can.”


One may speculate as to whether or not West refers to himself by the aforementioned labels. Suppose he doesn’t. His hook clearly salutes those to whom members of society are averse, such as Nazis and Hitler.


What’s apparently clear is that he warns others to distance themselves from him. To those who stick around or pay him attention, why you mad?


Though West released additional albums beyond his 2010 submission, I stopped paying him any attention beyond that period. I prefer his earlier work—even if he currently loves historical people I dislike.


One imagines it wouldn’t be difficult to perform a search for evidence of West proclaiming who he is and what he stands for in his music post-2010. Given his history of letting others know the inner workings of his mind, why you mad now that you don’t like his current views?


Exploring Why You Mad through REBT


I imagine someone encountering West’s words and thinking, “How awful! No one should ever say such things. I can’t stand this outrage!”


If one maintains this narrative and is able to simply carry on without an impact on physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of life, the belief wouldn’t likely be considered dysfunctional. Questionable, perhaps, though not debilitating.


On the other hand, if you’re exposed to West’s sentiment, use a self-disturbing belief, and experience significant impairment in your ability to function in a helpful or healthy manner, I suspect an REBT lens can demonstrate why you mad.


REBT uses the ABC Model to illustrate how our beliefs lead to unpleasant consequences (e.g., anger); as it isn’t the experience of hearing West’s words that results in our reactions. Here’s how it works:


(A)ction – What occurred


(B)elief – What you told yourself about (A) that resulted in (C)


(C)onsequence – What you felt (emotion or bodily sensation) about what happened and what you did (behavior)


(D)isputation – How you might challenge (D) what you told yourself (B), which led to (C)


(E)ffective new belief – What (E)ffective new beliefs you can tell yourself rather than using unhelpful or unhealthy narratives (B).


Using one of West’s above comments, allow me to demonstrate how this may apply to you.


(A) – You listen to an interview in which West states, “There’s a loooot of things that I looooovee about Hiitllleeeerrr. A loooooott of things.”


(B) – You think to yourself, “How awful! No one should ever say such things. I can’t stand this outrage!”


(C) – You then experience shallow breathing, a rapid heartrate, and your head begins tingling. Your thoughts race and your become angrier with each passing moment. Disturbed into rage, you punch a wall.


Why you mad?


Is it because of what West said or is it what you told yourself about what he said? Some may claim I’ve given a false dilemma, stating that the (A) and (B) aren’t’ mutually exclusive.


If this were true, West could sit in a room without any communication with the outside world, talk to himself about how much he loves Hitler, and you’d not be upset. The same action wouldn’t produce equal consequences.


You may say “Ha! The (A)ction isn’t related to West’s statement though it involves me hearing it. Hearing West’s rhetoric and (B)elieving whatever about it is what leads to the (C)onsequence.”


This is a distinction without a difference. Suppose West stood right next to you and muttered under his breath something about loving Hitler, though you couldn’t quite understand what was being said.


You hear something and don’t become upset. You may even think, “What’d he say? Take off the mask, Ye, so I can hear what you said.”


Likewise, let’s say West whispered in your ear, “I love Nazis.” You heard and fully understood the message. Your belief about what was whispered, and not the phrase itself, if what leads to a consequence.


Ergo, it isn’t the act of hearing West’s voice—or even reading the artist’s statements herein—that leads to a consequence. Rather, the (B)-(C) connection is the cause, not an (A)-(C) connection.


That’s why you mad.


Conclusion


In client sessions, I don’t avoid use of asking why. I sometimes find value in exploring answers to this question, because responses to this fact-finding query can free a person from the unhelpful or unhealthy consequences of self-disturbing beliefs.


Given the recent controversy surrounding Kanye “Ye” West, I invited the reader to consider why anger (or any reaction, honestly) may have resulted from reading the entertainer’s interview statements. For context, I included narratives from the artist’s body of musical content.


Understanding why one is disturbed was then assessed through an REBT perspective. It is my hope that the reader now has knowledge about how one’s beliefs about a statement—and not the statement itself—is what results in bodily, belief-based, feelings-led, and action-related consequences.


Though this blog entry isn’t intended to describe how disputation of irrational and extreme attitudes can lead to an effective new belief, I’m pleased to help people learn more about this process. Would you like to know how to stop upsetting yourself?


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As a psychotherapist, and hip hop head from the old school, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


Photo credit, fair use


References:

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