30
Mar
10

Pass the Mic to the ‘Angry’ Black Woman

Something dawned on me today when I was driving into work and listening to a morning radio show. The DJ, a SIS, was defending black womanhood against a brother – and I use that term loosely – who suggested that 60% of all black women are angry.

I can’t deny that I have met one or two sufferers of Angry Black Woman Syndrome in my day; but, there are far more well-adjusted, peaceful, happy sisters out here. However, as the DJ tried to defend our often-attacked demographic on air, her voice was a bit agitated, and I realized that her passion might be misconstrued as anger. I wanted her to speak more calmly before the caller snapped back that she’d proven his point.

So, that’s when this question caused me to slam on the brakes, figuratively: Is the whole ABW theory just a way to keep sisters quiet about all the negative stereotypes and criticism we get from society?

Think about it. If someone accused you of being disagreeable, you might not protest because doing so would just be handing over more ammunition.

So, when a SIS is attacked for being angry and having attitude, her initial reaction to passionately defend herself – which I think is natural – may do more harm than good. Is keeping silent the answer? Is silencing us “the plan”?

As I pondered this, I thought about the caller using a black woman’s anger to justify his decision to date outside the race. Of course, this is poppycock, but I did start to wonder whether women of other races have to deal with the negative stereotypes that black women have to.

Are they being perceived as irrational, materialistic, inherently unattractive, angry and undesirable by society? More importantly, are women of other races getting this from their brothers?

Maybe these women are being hated on by the men in their communities, and I just don’t know about it, since I’m on the outskirts. However, that’s really irrelevant.

The point is that if someone is bold enough to look you in your face and slander the majority of your demographic, then he or she shouldn’t be surprised if you choose to respond with equal conviction … even if that means throwing in a neck roll.

I don’t consider that anger. That’s just human nature. I mean, what type of person allows such disparaging remarks to go unchecked? I wouldn’t expect any dude to keep silent as someone questioned his manhood. So, of course many black women respond when we’re confronted with negative stereotypes. If that labels us as angry, then so be it.

My take: I’d rather we be a bunch of “angry” sistahs who stick up for ourselves and combat society’s negative images of us than silent women who let others define and openly insult us. Besides, who else is gonna stand up for us?

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9 Responses to “Pass the Mic to the ‘Angry’ Black Woman”


  1. March 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I completely agree with you. I think the stereotypes black women have to put up with are ridiculous. In my own interactions with others, I have encountered far too many people who expect black women to be neck-rolling, emasculating jezebels. When you fail to fit that stereotype, you’re considered an exception. It is truly insulting.

    I certainly see nothing wrong with a black woman becoming “angry” when she’s hitting back at slander. Fight fire with fire as I say.

    There are some individuals on youtube who spend every waking moment making videos bashing black women. The garbage that is in these videos is unbelievable.

  2. 2 TMJohnson
    March 30, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Another great post! I totally agree that any stereotype, in this case the “Angry Black Woman”, is used to control the group of people it’s referring to.

  3. 3 Machelle Thomas
    March 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Black women do get sterotype for a lot of things that they are either doing or not doing to please there man.When it should be a two-way street.I just want our black men to get it together or leave it alone.I’m just saying!

  4. March 31, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I too co-sign. Great post!

  5. April 5, 2010 at 8:35 am

    This is a wonderful post and a very thought provoking topic. It’s fine for black women to express angry feelings; how we express those feelings is more important. In terse encounters, I always consider the source before responding. Is this person worth responding to? Or even worth my time? If I choose to respond, it’s always with a bit of reverse psychology and never with outward anger; an angry response is exactly what the individual wants and I always relish in denying them that pleasure. A few well chosen words make the “deepest cuts” and serve to make the other person look very foolish.

  6. 6 d.parker
    April 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    The sisters that are content aren’t the ones making all the noise.

    So when you see a sister giving her opinion somewhere it’s usually that angry sister … lol. They have every right to express their dissatisfaction, but if they do so passionately that is practically the very definition of anger.

    I checked thesaurus.com and passion is actually listed as a synonym for anger.

  7. April 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    missing your wonderful thoughts!

  8. 8 Amy
    April 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I found this post while pondering the difference between two nineteenth-century black women, Sojourner Truth and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Truth’s humor and faith enabled her to say very hard things about slavery to white and black people, without a backlash against her. Wells-Barnett was more driven by “righteous anger” and when she said hard things, white and black people often didn’t want to hear it. She also had faith, but she was worried about her “besetting sin” (that’s what she called it) of anger.

    It seems there have always been a variety of ways that black women have responded to the unfairness in society. Truth had a forgiving spirit, but it did not blind her to injustice. Wells-Barnett was more outwardly angry, and although people used that against her, it was very understandable. Anyhow, thinking about the historical background of this makes me reflect on the situation today.

    The biographies that made me ponder this are Margaret Washington’s new (2009) biography of Truth, which is VERY good, and Patricia Schechter’s 2001 biography of Wells-Barnett.

  9. 9 Terri
    July 11, 2010 at 12:19 am

    You all made some very good points here.

    I will say that as a biracial woman with one white parent, I’m still on the receiving end of stereotypes about Black women.

    Many Black women are angry…but in a society where they are often devalued, I can see where it comes from.

    I’m shy, reserved, and quiet but I encounter people who are quick to make assumptions about me.

    I’ve been called a “bitch” for no reason and people have accused me of having an “attitude” when I did not.

    Last year, a racist property manager refused to allow me into the apartment complex where I live with my husband. He accused me of having an “attitude” and harassed me for no reason at all.

    After a while, I DID develop an “attitude”. I became loud and very emotional because I was hurt by the way this person treated me. I called him a few names, which wasn’t very lady-like, but he pushed me to that point. I lost my cool.

    Not all Black women are angry, but I believe that many are indeed angry and defensive because of injustice. Some don’t know when to turn it off and they show it at inappropriate times.

    But there are times when it’s OK to be a little bit angry, especially if somebody intentionally disrespects you or treats you unfairly.


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