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 being 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. From Saartjie 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.

I am CaShawn's Righteous Anger.

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.

 

~pbg

 

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  • Yani

    OMG. I love you. BEST BLOG EVER!!!! Hell, I think you just erased all of my residual anger. Could it be??! *Turns on the tv* Ooops! Never mind. Its back.

  • http://omidele.blogspot.com omi

    yes, yes, and yes again.

    thank you for this offering.

  • huny

    THIS. perfect.

  • http://moury.tumblr.com Moury

    Maybe because I had a long day, maybe I am just mentally and physically exhausted, but this almost moved me to tears. Thank you for writing this. I am not a black woman but I am a woman of color. I understand and whole heartedly support you, because I can relate in many ways.
    Thank you again.

    Sincerely,

    M.

  • Britt

    Thank You!

  • Mounia

    This was amazing. Everything I’ve been feeling you’ve beautifully put into words.

  • Karyn

    Thank you!

  • LeSigh

    Yep.

  • Obaro

    I believe you because I see it too. I love you and I support you.

  • Demeter

    Thank you for such wonderful depth and insight. I shall certainly be passing this article on. WELL SAID!!! PLEASE KEEP IT UP!!

  • Karen

    When I first read your post, my soul cried out. Yes, someone giving voice to my inner pain. I even pushed it up to Facebook. I let it stew in my brain for a little while. And now I’d like to offer you this. To accept the role of victim is to concede that they have won. We know our worth. God made us, beautifully. Pity the fool who cannot see this. Has it been easy? No. But it is ot easy for the child born with a birth defect. Or the child foraging for food in the city dump. So, we are not alone as sufferers. But He giveth more grace as the battle gets harder. Don’t look to others for approval. You are a child of God. That is not the bottom. That is the top. If you meditate on evil, you rob yourself. Choose life! With love and respect, my sister. You are gifted with language girl. Be glad. The devil can’t win!

    • Freeme

      Being angry is the first step away from victim hood. It means that you are sensate to your pain and refused to be stifled, shut up, clamped down or clamped up.
      Most black women are not victims. However, what do you do when the mudslinging starts? When the characterizations and labeling begin? Sidestepping it is a choice, but standing up to it and staring it down is also a choice. Victims hold it in, let the bile become a disease and refuse to be counted. Heroines call it out by its name and tell it like it is. And then we just keep. On. Steppin’.

      • ThePBG

        “Victims hold it in, let the bile become a disease and refuse to be counted. Heroines call it out by its name and tell it like it is. And then we just keep. On. Steppin’.”

        Exactly this.

    • Just

      Thank you, Karen. Well stated. After all the energy reinforcing anger, time to redirect.”If you meditate on evil, you rob yourself.” Anger, “righteous” or otherwise is still a choice. Love is the most powerful choice of all.

    • ThePBG

      Oh. Is that what I’m doing? Accepting the role of victim?

      I’m down to play “Oppression Olympics” here, but I would say that the fact that I even recognize what’s going on here and acknowledge that ignoring the causes of it all will worsen it, makes me a survivor. Not a victim.

      Thanks.

  • http://www.cocojams.com Azizi

    I found your blog through this racialicious post: http://www.racialicious.com/2011/05/18/quoted-yes-black-women-have-a-right-to-be-angry/

    I hear what you said so well and I agree. Tell it!

    As a result of your post more sistas (and brothas and other folks) will understand why we have a righteous anger.

    It seems to me that what’s important is how and when we express that anger and what we do with the energy it produces.

    Sometimes this anger can be so draining…but knowing that there are people who have our back can help, even if it’s partly through online communities like this one.

  • Mina

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • C

    “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.’”

    Just so you know, I am at least one white woman who will be taking this advice to heart.

  • http://www.theflashynista.com/ Flashynista

    Guuuuuuuuuuuuurl you BET.TA Preach it word for word, line by line!!!

  • Lil’T aka Teflon

    What’s up girl, it’s been awhile and I see you that your writing just continues to blossom. I could slap you right now! This right here is the truth. And so many don’t get it. I frequent mom blogs now and some of those women can get very nasty if you even mention the word “Black”. Like Whitney said, “It’s not right, but it’s ok.” I have to get mine no matter what. And really, at the end of the day when I lay my head down I’m happier, healthier and stronger than some of the folks that want to put a foot in my neck during the day.

  • http://bpytsspot.blogspot.com/ The78Ms.J

    brilliant.

  • http://bhaichod.tumblr.com Bhai Chod

    “Black women you are not a bitch you’re a Goddess
    Let it be known, you can lean on KRS-One”

    I am brown, and brown is the new black. Which is why I completely relate. Men need to stop playing out their politics on our bodies because of our colour. From accusing black women of reverse racism to telling us not to cover our heads and dress how they want us to.

    Love your post.

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  • Miko

    Thank you very much for articulating my feelings. (Of course, I feel like I should charge you rent for moving through my thoughts so indiscriminately! LOL) Awesome!

  • Monica

    ****B R A V O***

    Case Closed-No further discussion needed! EXCELLENTE!

  • http://www.AfreekaLIVE.com Abena

    “Anger” is the feeling that is triggered when ACTS OF INJUSTICE takes place. It is our physical bodies BUILT-IN B.S. radar.

    When expressed, it supports the externalization or elimination of B.S. or ACTS OF INJUSTICE. Women of Afreekan Descent have been the primary targets of ACTS OF INJUSTICE in this shystem of racism/white supremacy. We have and contiue to experience TRAUMATIC STRESS and the pathway to HEALING IS remembering and telling the truth about terrible events.

    I applaud the Sistren for SPEAKING TRUTH of OUR experiences here…

    M.E.
    [Mama Earth]

  • Alex

    I believe you because I see it too. I love you and I support you.

  • AI

    Well, well! *in church voice* *waves hands* Yea, Lawd!

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