In a post awhile ago I used the term “dumb” to refer to those that did not acknowledge their homophobia. When a commenter rightfully pointed out that my language was ableist, my initial reaction was to become angry. I do believe I remarked to the unhusband, “geesh no one can even speak anymore.” As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I realized that I had engaged in an act of privilege. The instant you feel anger, that is a cue that an issue needs to be examined. Anger does not result in a vacuum; in instances like this it is often the manifestation of a desire to maintain a privilege. In that moment I knew that I had been ableist and I felt regret.This, I believe, is the usefulness of controlling these emotions and being able to think about them rationally. If one gets angry, it's a great and useful opportunity to step back and ask, "why does this create such a visceral reaction in me? What do I gain from this anger? Am I being productive in engaging?"
Anger is useful because it is a cue that something is up, something is going on, that we do not like, and we should stop to look at it, rather than plow on and ignore it, because it might be a problem that we should address - in this case, our privilege.