The Paradox of the Angry Black Person™
December 22, 2014 Leave a comment
Don’t call them angry:
A BOOK by a New York Times journalist packed with anecdotes about a short-tempered and insecure First Lady has been dismissed by Michelle Obama as just the latest attempt to paint her as “some kind of angry black woman.”
Mrs Obama used an interview on CBS to deny the allegations made in The Obamas, an unauthorised biography of the First Couple by reporter Jodi Kantor said to be based on interviews with 33 White House staffers….
Referring to Kantor’s book, she said: “I guess it’s just more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here. That’s been an image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’m some kind of angry black woman.”
In fact, I would argue that the “angry black woman” does not exist at all. Sure, there may be women of color that express feelings of anger, but the “angry black woman” is a stereotype, an urban legend so flimsily fabricated that she cannot exist anywhere besides on paper or in the minds of the uneducated. The “angry black woman” is a two-dimensional and incomplete story….
The stereotype of the “angry black woman” is just another way of stripping black women of their full humanity….
Black women, and black women characters, can be strong. They can be authoritative. They can even be mad as hell. But they’ll never be the angry black woman.
What it means to be black in America typically depends on the person being asked, but there are certain experiences many black women share. The anger that is often associated with black women stems from these experiences….
The thing is, black women are angry for a reason….
I am not alone in my experiences. Shared experiences like mine are the reason why black women often wear their anger like armor. Once the soul has been tainted with enough negative experiences, anger can be a good tool to keep more negativity from worming its way in.
The angry black man stereotype persisted after the end of slavery, Spencer said. Black militants in the civil rights movement; today’s black male rap artists — all are equated with some variation of the angry black man, Spencer said….
Yet some black readers of the CNN article said the stereotype still stings and shapes their lives.
“That’s what white America fears the most, ‘An Angry Black Man,'” one reader said. “As a black man in America you learn to internalize, because no matter how far you go, you’re always thought of as black first (or inferior).”
Acknowledge (indeed, indulge) their anger:
Obama ended up at an obvious point: can’t we all just get along and “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” But the path he took was not without some courage. He dared to explain—and somewhat justify—black anger that can lead to comments that upset whites, while calling for blacks to move past such anger. And he did not dump Wright. He also dared to understand white resentment, but he chided whites (without castigating them) for dismissing or ignoring black anger.
Obama has also placed the highest priority on remaining calm. While this may seem reasonable on its face, particularly against the backdrop of rioting and looting, his words failed to acknowledge the legitimacy of black anger. Black people die violent deaths way out of proportion to their numbers, sometimes killed by rogue cops and even more often each other. Why would we not be angry?
Anger is a perfectly reasonable response. So is rage.
We are talking about justifiable outrage. Outrage over the unjust taking of the lives of people who look like us. How dare people preach and condescend to these people and tell them not to loot, not to riot? Yes, those are destructive forms of anger, but frankly I would rather these people take their anger out on property and products rather than on other people.
Blacks are angry, in part, because whites ignore black anger; it is racist for whites to take note of black anger.