Dear Hot 97: Yes, I Am An Angry Black Woman. Here’s Why.
The angry Black woman stereotype became popular in the 1930s via The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show. Sapphire, wife of George “Kingfish” Stevens, didn’t mind giving her husband a piece of her mind whenever she felt like it, complete with a loud tone, a pointed finger, and major attitude. The stereotype has followed us into the 21st century; it’s just that nowadays, the word woman is replaced with b***h. Black women are consistently battling this and other stereotypes everywhere we go, from the workplace to our churches and in every romantic and platonic relationship we develop. Too often, many Black women don’t want to be placed in this box and seek to prove that they can be docile and quaint, and get along just like anybody else.
I however, can’t conform. No matter how hard I try to suppress my inner Sapphire, she seeps through my pores when I have to deal with nonstop foolishness. So yes, I am an angry Black woman. And yes, Hot 97, I have a major attitude problem. Since we are living in a world where my attitude discredits me no matter what I do, I might as well lay my anger out on the table for you to see. I honestly couldn’t care less if you understand, but today you’re going to find out why I, along with many Black women, am pissed off:
The fact that we have been labeled as angry Black women for years simply for having an opinion and courageously speaking out about it loudly and boldly fuels my anger. If we were White women, you’d call us respectable feminists. While we are on the feminist subject, it is mind boggling and upsetting that even within a movement that allegedly fights for equality for all women, the Black woman is still alienated.
I’m pissed that when we’re characterized as angry, that automatically transitions into being thought of as unapproachable, rude, a lesbian, asexual, and/or sexually repressed. Why is it that every time a Black woman expresses her anger it is a result of not having enough sex? When has sex ever limited injustices, ended war and genocide, exposed the prison industrial complex, or stopped poverty that is rampant from the inner cities of the U.S. to villages in Africa? Go ahead, tell me when. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Stop patronizing us with this sexist rhetoric because we have chosen to let our voices be liberated.
I get infuriated by the fact that Sandra Bland, 28, in Texas to start a new job and begin a new chapter of life, is dead. She was pulled over for a traffic violation, slammed to the ground, and found dead in her jail cell three days later with the said cause of death being suicide. I am outraged that Bland is added to the list of more than 80 unarmed Black men and women who were killed by police and vigilantes alike, all for walking at night while Black, walking during the day while Black, playing in the park while Black, standing on the corner while Black, driving a car while Black, lying down at night while Black, riding a bike while Black, expressing their opinion while Black, whistling at a white woman while Black, wearing a hoodie while Black, having a car accident while Black, sitting in their house watching TV while Black, listening to loud music while Black, and fellowshipping at Bible study while Black. Outraged!
My blood boils at the blatant disregard and disrespect that President Obama has had to endure during his term as the President of the United States, something that no other President has had to endure. We have had presidents procreate with slaves and lie about it, cheat on their wives, start an unmerited war, form a secret army, provide financial kickbacks to federal officials, steal millions of dollars from VA hospitals, and let me not fail to mention Watergate. Yet, out of all of these scandalous “leaders of the free world,” President Obama, who is leading an honest administration, catches the most hell.
This September will mark the 52nd anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. where four little girls attending Sunday School were killed. All these years later, I’m angry because our Black churches are still being burned to the ground. Fifty-two years later, the Black church and congregations are still under violent attacks. The Black church, where women (and their children) outnumber men in attendance.
I’m angry at the audacity of White supremacy, which aims to keep Black and brown people as second-class citizens in the country we built against our free will. Every excuse in the world is used to legitimize slavery. The call for reparations is ignored. The damage and ramifications of the trans-Atlantic slave trade are conveniently swept under the rug and masked by programs that keep us systematically oppressed. White supremacy believes that because we are post-slavery, we have no right to be angry anymore. Well, I am! We were stripped of our identities, treated like animals, separated from our families and cultures and displaced throughout the world. Now we have to swab the inside of our cheeks and send the test off to a lab to find out where we come from.
And I am disgusted by the way some Black men treat Black women, the same as I am with the way some Black women treat themselves. Let’s be clear men. Just because you encounter women who choose to be rude, enjoy being called a bitch, or allow their bodies to be used freely for your pleasure, that doesn’t mean that all women conduct themselves that way. Quit placing us all in one category because of the types of women you have chosen to approach and/or be with. And women, although I would like to say that the way you lead your life has no effect on other people, it does. There is no way we can expect to be valued if we don’t value ourselves.
And you wonder why the hell Black women are mad? Yes, I am angry, and I will write about it, speak about it, march about it, and work through it just as Ella Baker, Dorothy Height, Daisy Bates, Mary McLeod Bethune, Elaine Brown, Shirley Chisholm, Septima Clark, Angela Davis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Claudia Jones, Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth did so that I could have the chance to live my life the way I see fit. Until something is done to stop this all out war against Black and brown peoples across the diaspora, I will be angry! Deal with it!