The Matriarchal Legacy of The Black Woman’s Righteous Anger
Stop acting like we don’t have a right to this collective anger. Anybody with a brain that thinks and eyes that see and nose that knows KNOWS that we have a right to this anger. The “Angry Black Woman” is angry for a multitude of reasons. We’ve been America’s favorite Whipping Girl since the first African woman set her foot in Virginia in the 1600’s.
When we embrace our curvy bodies, we’re told we’re fat. When we accept our thin frames, we’re accused of lazy or bad cooks. We’ve been charged with nursing and caring for the children of our white employers from Antebellum times through today, but we’re constantly being portrayed as bad mothers. We put a weave in our hair trying conform to a beauty standard that has nothing to do with us and we’re still called “nappy-headed hoes”. When we go to school, get degrees and a career, we’re “un-marry-able”. If we work and have kids early instead of going to school, same thing happens. When we or others decide to celebrate us, white women scream out “REVERSE RACISM” but we have to comb through 50-11 magazines with white women on every page to find ONE with a Black woman on the cover. We bare it all in a video or keep condoms in our nightstands and we’re called sluts. We dedicate ourselves to The Church or are decidedly single and we’re prudes or “bitter”. All too often, we are forced to choose our race over our gender or risk feeling the wrath of our Brothers, despite having to live with the realities of both. FromSaartjie Baartman aka “Venus Hottentot” to Satoshi Kanazawa’s “scientific” study claiming Black women being less physically attractive than EVERYBODY else, we’ve been studied like freaks of nature instead of just regarded as human beings with the same value as all others.
We’re pretty much damned if we do, damned if we don’t. So, the stereotype of “The Angry Black Woman” is rooted in a very visceral truth. We’re tired of this shyt. Stop telling us to stop getting upset. Stop telling us to not be mad despite having to deal with this crap ALL THE TIME. Why are we supposed to put up with this reckless disregard for our humanity with a smile on our face? Because we’re women? Because we’re Black? Please, miss me with that bull. We are HUMAN first. This anger is righteous and all ignoring it and the causes of it will do is create a dyspeptic breeding ground for spiritual, psychological, social and physical dis-ease.
Don’t equate my anger with the ignorant outbursts of the Black women on your favorite [un] reality show. They aren’t the same. That’s not the anger passed down to me by hundreds of years of indignities. I carry the anger of Dorothy Dandridge when she had to enter through the kitchen to perform for white audiences. I carry the anger of Dr.Jocelyn Elders when she was fired from her job as Surgeon General by President Clinton for teaching about condom use and masturbation to keep our children alive. I carry the anger of my own mother when the all-white teaching team at her school is awarded monetary incentives despite their students missing the mark for testing standards when her all-black teaching team’s students did and they got nothing. I carry my own anger when I am subjected to the itemization and commodifaction of my femaleness just by walking down the street.
Listen when we say what we say and don’t dismiss our realities. Don’t dismiss our histories. Don’t dismiss our present by telling us to “calm down”, “brush it off” or even worse “just get over it”. Don’t derail us with snide comments or claims of divisiveness when we decide to show ourselves some love. That’s just another way of telling us that we don’t count and we don’t matter.
What would be nice and appreciated is if you, whoever you are, just simply said “I believe you because I see it too. I love you and I support you.” That would help to make dealing with this righteous anger that seems to be our matriarchal legacy, a lot easier.
Thank you for writing this Peebz.