Listen, I know we have all heard of the angry black women stereotype. The stereotype that characterizes black women as “aggressive, ill tempered, illogical, overbearing, hostile, and ignorant without provocation.” In today’s media, there is always a depiction of an angry black woman. From reality shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta to movies like Little. After watching these stereotypes in the media, people believe it to be true.
For many black women, knowing when and how to express anger can be a tricky political decision that some women avoid altogether. Black women do not have the privilege of being angry. They are often taught to bottle up their emotions for the sake of white fragility and for the fear of being stereotyped. Well, I can no longer run from this stereotype. I need to release my justified anger.
Today I was in class with a white male who feels like all black women do is yell at him when he speaks. Not once did he take accountability for what may have triggered these black women to be upset with him. Instead, he depicted his story as black women are angry and yell at people when they do not agree with something. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most black women are so afraid of being stereotyped they are very timid about when to release their anger. I am so sick and tired of white people feeling attacked by black women and never taking responsibility for their role. Never do they think, well what did I say to elicit this kind of reaction? Hint hint: you probably said something very offensive. Word of advice: stop saying offensive comments.
Today was another rough day being a black woman. In class, I was sharing how my experience at a PWI is often frustrating. I explained that the need to assimilate and navigate is often stressful for me. When explaining my experience to a White Trump supporter, my white professor added in and said, “yeah she has a very different experience than you and sometimes that can be frustrating for her. So when she is having a bad day, she may just go off on the first white person she sees.” This professor’s ignorance completely undermined my experience as a black woman. I do not just go off on random white people when I am upset. This professor’s ignorant comment further reveals her prejudice against black women. Her ability to speak without thinking hurt me more than she will ever know. She does not understand my experience so she has no right to try and incorrectly explain it to someone else. Word of advice: next time shut-up.
Today, I was in the car with my friend and her roommate. We were talking about how sometimes people ignore me or don’t speak to me if they know me. She then said, “well I mean you are VERY intimidating.” I racked my brain for instances where she could have seen me seem remotely intimidating. All she had ever seen me do is bring food for her roommate when she was going through a breakup, dance the night away at parties, and laugh about funny moments with her roommate. I truly couldn’t find any instance where I could have come across as intimidating. Then I realized it’s because I am a confident black woman. My confidence in who I am, made me seem intimidating. This is nothing new to me. All of my life, black people have found me to be nice and sure of myself while white people have found me to be intimidating. This juxtaposition further illustrates my anger. Even when I am being as nice as I can, it is still not enough. The angry black woman stereotype is so ingrained in people’s minds that it becomes difficult to erase. Word of advice o this girl: stop being so insecure.
Today one of my white friends told me about her experience at a tailgate during homecoming weekend. When she was at the tailgate, white alumni said to her, “you see there’s a lot of colored folk around here. Pretty soon they will be taking over.” My friend was confused and asked her, “why is that a problem?” The whit alumni said, “well you know because a lot of them aren’t too smart.” It is statements like these that make me an angry black woman. People on this campus love to pretend that people at JMU are welcoming, but they are not. There are people from the past and current that think that we do not belong. However, JMU fails to recognize this and fails to do anything to change it. Word of advice: I probably have a higher GPA than you had in college.
To everyone who has made me angry. You have made me stronger. You have shown me your true colors through your ignorance and prejudice. You have shown me that my skin is what intimidates you and make me seem angry. No matter how nice I am I will always just be an angry black woman to you. That’s okay because no matter what, I will now always see you as an ignorant white person.