The term ‘angry black woman’ is something we are all familiar with; it is how women of color are portrayed in the media and regarded in the society. Whenever someone approaches me and we express our opinions on matters regarding gender or racial equality, the question is usually written on the person’s face; the question they never ask is “Why are you so bitter?” Some people would make comments like “You sound salty,” or “I sense so much anger.” None have been bold enough to ask why, because God forbid they see the wrath of an angry black woman. Therefore I have taken it upon myself to explain why I am an angry black woman, and hopefully dispel the belief that it is a natural habit.
Reasons Why I Am an Angry Black Woman.
Because I was born into a culture, society that determines my worth and capability based on my body.
It is hard to see how a person’s body is enough to determine their capability, value, interest and hobbies. I cannot explain this reason clearly because there are so many questions I need answered. What does the fact that I have two bumps on my chest have to do with my love for video games or my interest in fashion? How does the paint on my nails and the skirt on my waist make me weaker? Why does my sexual organ determine if I would rather work in a garden or learn to fix a car? Why does the fact that I am classified as a female mean I get lower pay when I do the same job as a male? These are questions that may never be answered, yet society enforces these ideas. You wonder why I sound salty.
Because my academic excellence is disregarded if I do not fulfill the role you think I should play in the kitchen.
This is more of an African belief, but I believe many females of other nationalities can relate to this. Growing up I lost count of how many times I have heard things like “No matter how much book you study, you will still end up in the kitchen…” and “Learn to cook, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…” I would often see ridiculous memes on social networks with sentences like “You have all that degrees but can you boil water.” A lot of people thought it was a good joke. The fact that it is the 21st century and I still have to mention that statements like these are not funny is the real joke.
Because the high school that was best for me was one that based my acting skills on whether or not I could talk with a British or American accent.
During my first three years in high school, I had a great teacher who helped to develop my acting and writing skills. During my senior year, I transferred to a school in Houston that was “a better school” than my previous. I was excited to audition for several plays. During an audition, I was stopped by the teacher and asked in front of everyone if I could speak with a more American or British accent. The question left me silent for a moment because I could not understand what my accent had to do with anything. I ended up being an extra in the play because, according to the theater teacher, my accent would be hard for the audience to understand. I remember being so bitter when I got home. It would make sense if I had been dismissed because I was not good enough for the part—but dismissing me because of my accent was unfair.
Because there is a perception that a girl my color or darker is ugly… Where?
The unfairness in the beauty standards today is not new information. The current mindset is that the lighter you are, the prettier. That mindset is one to which a lot of girls have grown accustomed. As a little girl, I was aware of the preference for girls with lighter skin. Since I was the darkest of my sisters, strangers and even family friends would make comments like “she is the prettiest because she is the fairest” or “Lola, you were prettier when you were younger, because then you were very light.” I am no psychologist but there is no way exposing a young girl to that idea will help her self-esteem. I grew up fighting the urge to see myself as ugly and encouraging girls like me to see the beauty they possess.
Because when I let that perception be a motivation to my confidence; I fit into what you call a bitch.
It is hard to fight off the opinions and beliefs of society, but I did. I learned to love the color of my skin, to love the way it glows, to love how strong it is… only to find out that there is a consequence for that too. I once read an original poem about my new-found confidence that cannot be shaken and I was told I sounded bitchy. Maybe that was a compliment or a joke or an insult—but how does any of this make sense? Because of my darker color I am given the option to either have a low self-esteem or be classified as female dog. Am I supposed to just deal with that?
Because I am supposed to see the things I cannot change about me as a flaw.
A person’s gender and color is not something they can just will to change or disappear. It’s weak, it’s ugly, it’s lazy, it’s a sex object, it’s this, it’s that… It’s the part of me I was born with, the part of me I have chosen to embrace. Why must you portray it as a flaw?
Because I cannot walk freely at night without the fear in my heart that someone out there thinks they have the right to the diamond between my thighs.
I cannot decide which is scarier—the fact that I could get sexually harassed if I decide to take a late night walk or the fact that the person could get away with the crime. After all, by walking at night, I must have been asking to be taken and violated.
Because even though I speak up to defend my brother’s honor, they have no problem disrespecting mine.
During the killings and shootings of my black brothers, I told the ones closer to me. “Do not fight the law, if he tells you to hop on one leg and moo like a cow, Do it! The color of your skin already portrays you as disobedient and dangerous, please be careful.” Not that my advice would make a lot of difference. Even if they mooed like a cow, bullets would still end up in their guts—ask Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice … See what I did here, how I speak of my brothers, this is how I look out for them and defend them. How do they treat me? Do I start with one who told me “no one gives a shit about your ‘feministic beliefs.’ It’s a turn-off honestly,” or the one who said “I see you find it difficult to reason with logic,” because I could not understand how being paid less as a female is fair. Better still, the one who tried to make me see reasons as to how girls could prevent being raped if they wore pants and covered up more.
Because when I scream justice for my fellow females that are done wrong by society, they in turn stand with society against me.
Feminist, a person who believes in the social, political, and economical equality of the sexes. It is really that simple. There are feminists who shoot for superiority rather than equality, but that does not change the true definition of feminism. How is it that many females stand up against feminism and disregard the fact that the reason they have a voice at all is because of feminism?
Because I experience twice the oppression since I am female and black.
If you did not get this yet, now would be the perfect time to scroll up and read this over again.
Because when I shared a few of these with a fellow brother he replied “this is why I date white girls, black girls stay asking for more and that’s word to my mother.”
Ladies and gentlemen, this is another brother who thinks this world evolves around him. Did he really think I would take my words back because of his relationship choice?
Because you listened to that last part thinking I was mad at the fact that he prefers to date a white girl, rather than the fact that he disrespected all females by thinking we are more of a female when we do not ask for what we deserve.
Maybe it is my "feministic" sense, but I catch misogynistic ideas faster than “911 in white neighborhoods.” (J. Cole.)
Because as females we let men, determine and be the standards we should meet.
The competition for their attention, the idea that since he is the head of the home, that he should make more money, the belief that he is better at everything since he is male, the notion that it’s a man’s world and a woman has no place … Break from it all. I am not suggesting here that every female must aim to better than the men in her life, although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I am simply saying that a male should not be the limit.
Because as a female you expect me to trim my body to the way you think it should look and as a black one, you make me feel like I can never be enough.
There is no winning for females. If you are plus size, you are curvy. However, if you are curvy, you are overweight and need to slim down more. If you are thin, you are hot but also bony and need to add a few pounds. If you happen to meet the impossible body size standard, then another flaw is focused on. For black girls, especially dark skinned girls, it’s best not to even try to meet any of these expectations because your color already writes you off.
Because when I proposed a notion that, many black girls lose their natural looks since it's hard to find beauty products meet their needs, someone replied "that's why we need mixed babies". . . what?
She pretty much meant that the only solution to the lack of love for black girls’ natural looks; the hair product, the right shade of powder, the right shade of nude products (tights, lipstick…) is to make everyone marry a person of a different race. How does that fix the lack of beauty supply products for black girls exactly? I don't get it and I don’t think I ever will.
Because my sister said to me “I will marry a white man because I do not have enough strength to teach another young girl to be confident in her skin neither do I have the strength to explain to my son why he might be gunned down for walking at night."
This hurt my heart! I am not bothered about who she chose to marry. The real problem is the reasoning behind why she chose who she wants to marry. It hurts to see my friends get hurt and think their color is ugly, and it hurts more that I could not get some of them to see themselves more positively. How much more would it hurt to feel this way about a daughter? It hurts my heart that I have to convince my black male friends not to go get snacks late at night as well as make them see reasons to get a colored hoodie instead of black one. How much more if I had a son? What hurt most was the fact that I had nothing positive to say to my sister about this.
Because you try to break me with all your rules, limits, stereotypes, expectations and get mad because I will not bend.
If I meet and adhere to your stereotypes and beliefs, I get judged. If I do not, I become a thorn in your shoes and I am supposed to be okay with that?
Because your opinions of me and who I should be has hurt me and made me bitter.
Because I have to give you reasons as to why you have no right to tell me what I should look like, what I should wear, what I should sound like, what I should walk like, when I should walk, what my worth is, what my goals should be limited to. . . MY CHOICE
Because even though I expressed all these, you will ignore my message and focus on the part of it you do not agree with.
This is not about your opinions. It is about the fact that many females can still relate to parts of this today, and the fact that this is the story a young girl has to tell.
I am an angry black female because every time I speak up, my words are echoed back to me and that ends how far it goes.
I complain and voice out these issues and all I hear is the echoes of my words because people are not actively listening and those who can relate have chosen to be silenced.
Looking at this from a bigger perspective, it makes no sense that I am perceived as an angry person when I speak up against the things that hurt me emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and in many more ways than I can let known. Nevertheless, if that is the only way I could be understood, an angry black woman I remain.