“What Would You Do?” – The Angry Black Woman Edition

So, there’s this video floating around my social media streams from the popular TV Show “What Would You Do?” This show sets up scenarios to see how regular everyday folks react to scenarios in which you would be called to help, protect or speak up for someone in need. Usually, that someone is from a marginalized group. I’ve seen clips from the show involving a drunk girl in a bar with strange men, a small child separated from their parents, and a bike being stolen.  All real life scenarios in which the kindness and decency of strangers could make or break the situation, right?

But this most recent video I’ve seen rubbed me the wrong way. And after watching it a couple of times and firing off a few tweets about it, I realized why: IT IS SOME HOT BUTTERED GARBAGE. That’s why it ain’t curl all the way over for me…it’s some mess.

In this particular WWYD scenario, a Black Man has his White Girlfriend meet him at a Black barbershop up in Harlem. When she arrives, she is met with some not-so-nice words from a Black Woman working as a stylist in the shop.  Mind you, they are all actors:

 

In the video, there are people who rush to speak up for and defend the White Girlfriend. They tell the Black Woman how much of a “hater” she is and waste no time informing her of her “ignorance.” There are others that sit idly by and say nothing. There’s even a guy that ALMOST gets up to…do something I don’t know. It doesn’t matter since Brandy taught us that almost doesn’t count. Some people I’ve seen commenting on the video have said it’s “powerful” and quite moving. I was just like “Meh.” Something about it didn’t sit well with me! I mean, I get it…the Black Woman was very rude to the White Girlfriend.  Unnecessarily so. It was almost embarrassing to see a Black woman behave like that.

But then it hit me: I’ve NEVER seen a Black woman react like that to seeing a Black Man with a white/”Other” woman. Not once in all my days. I’ve never reacted like that, none of my friends have in my company and I’ve never seen a random scenario play out like that anywhere. And I live in Washington, D.C. where is there NO SHORTAGE on Black men out n’ about with non-Black women on their arms. I wondered to myself “Where They Do That At??”

ConfusedPortiaFace GIF

Nowhere, that’s where. And this video is trash. Let me give you a few reasons why:

 

This scenario of Black Women “going off” in this manner when they see a Black man with a non-Black woman RARELY happens. We are not shocked or appalled by it. We’ve seen it so much over time that we can’t even be bothered to make that much of a big deal about it. #Unbothered #IDGAF

WhoCares GIF

 

I feel like this scenario is set up to lend credence to the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype in which so many people of all ethnicities tend to take comfort. I mean, people believe the narrative that supports their bullshit. This “proves” that Black women are “angry”, “bitter” and all that other crap that explains why we ain’t even got a man in the first place. Black Girls stay mad, right?

 

No, actually we're pretty damn care-free in this instance.

No, actually we’re pretty damn care-free in this instance.

 

This particular scenario also places the Delicate Flower of White Womanhood in the Scary Dark Black location of a Harlem barbershop, unable to speak up for herself when “attacked” by the Mean Angry Black Girl. She also has a Sorry Ass Black Boyfriend that doesn’t bother to defend her from the Mean Angry Black Girl. OH DEAR, OH DEAR…WHATEVER IS SHE TO DO???

White Girl Tears GIF

 

 

Stereotypical?? Yes indeed. If I were a white woman, I’d be offended.

Lastly, I feel like a lot of the overflowing sympathy and “OMG SO MUCH POWERFUL VERY MOVED TO TEARS WE’RE ALL HUMAN DOT COM” commentary I’m seeing in response to this video is because the “victim” here is a white woman.  And we know how much protection and sympathy they need because #AngryBlackWoman.

We know it’s all fake anyway, but this right here is EXTRA fake. It’s something that never really happens staged to paint Black women as Eviliene from The Wiz. It’s so late and so tired.  This WWYD show is so wiggity-wiggity wack for this. I’m over this kind of anti-Black woman propaganda.

The sad thing about this entire episode is that the TRUTH of who Black women are is displayed in the reactions of the women who stood up for the maligned White Girlfriend and NOT in the actor’s scripted reaction to her being with the Black Man. But that will be lost on those dedicated to seeing us in a certain way.

~pbg

 

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  • Petranilla14

    ALL OF THIS…. ALL. OF . IT!!!!!!!!!

  • WisdomSeed

    That wasn’t my takeaway from the video, contrived as it was. Black people accepting or protecting white folk in their midst is nothing new. But were the situation skewed a bit differently things would have been a lot different. For instance, if there were a black man with a white woman in a predominantly white male situation, totally different story. Black people are not as racist as white men like to think. White men are not as racist as they were in the past, but they are still the most racist group of persons in America.

  • Krishnabrodhi

    Hmmm… where do I start.

    1. “I’ve NEVER seen a Black woman react like that to seeing a Black Man with a white/”Other” woman.”

    So if you’ve never seen it, it must not exist. Unfortunately that would invalidate some experiences to the contrary that I have personally had. And even I didn’t take those experience to mean that all black women would react that way.

    2. “I feel like this scenario is set up to lend credence to the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype in which so many people of all ethnicities tend to take comfort.” I think you are missing the point in a classic way that is quite sad. By that I mean people seeing expressions and assigning meaning to them that have no bearing on what the person doing the expressing had intended. The actor was put there to be a catalyst and a trigger for responses. Not as a statement that all black women would behave that way. Also her behavior is not outside the realm of possibility. (ie my personal experience) For me its like when people of larger size say that when a designer doesn’t create an article of clothing in their size… they are saying all women SHOULD be super model size. Instead of dropping their entitled point of view and seeing the designer as an individual artist that had a vision they wanted to express. They don’t have an agenda against women and they are under no obligation to design clothes for people of all body sizes. Also not seeing big people mannequins is no more sinister than the fact that clothes hangers are generally the same size. Clothes hangers being a usual size isn’t saying people’s clothes should be a certain usual size. And neither does a mannequin. Regardless of what the “what about me?” people think. To bring it back to this story. This was not put out there to make a “angry black woman” statement, but as an experiment that is hoping to find examples of benevolent behavior.

    3. “This particular scenario also places the Delicate Flower of White Womanhood in the Scary Dark Black location of a Harlem barbershop, unable to speak up for herself when “attacked” by the Mean Angry Black Girl. She also has a Sorry Ass Black Boyfriend that doesn’t bother to defend her from the Mean Angry Black Girl. OH DEAR, OH DEAR…WHATEVER IS SHE TO DO???”

    You are is imparting a stereotype narrative without knowing if that was the intent and still losing sight of the point of the exercise. Which is not the barber, the boyfriend or the girlfriend… but the reaction of the people.

    All in all I think you are losing some of the “big picture” gifts that were provided by this video. In my best estimation. The best way for an individual to help deal with an unwholesome narrative/stereotype is just to provide the world an example of something different. To give the idea that there are more than just one story when it comes to people and their behavior. I have personally changed many people’s mind, racist people, with regard to black people. Not by telling them they are wrong, but by simply showing them a different story. As it is there is a story out there that black people have ended up being racist and intolerant in their own way. What was awesome to me was that not one black person joined in with her to validate her story or the narrative that all black people feel this way. Not one. I was so happy just with that alone. It was some five star icing on the top of the cake to see people actually stand up for the golden rule, tolerance, community and moving past the past into the very world that our civil rights leaders fought and died to try to bring into existence. A world where a person is not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. This video shows that we have made some wonderful progress in that direction. But sadly I think this person is too stuck in their own narrative to entertain the possibility of another benign narrative.

    Again it is a pattern that I see a lot. Large people against the fashion industry. Women against men and this cult of patriarchy that we are all supposedly a member of whether we know it or not. The “haves” against the “have not”. For example, assuming a homeless person is a lazy deadbeat that should just “get a job”. Its all just sad to me. As the saying goes… assumptions is the mother of all screwups. And I don’t agree with the negative assumptions you have made with regard to this video. It can be a wonderful thing to exercise one’s ability to give the benefit of the doubt. Though the beginning of that is being able to entertain the idea that one can be wrong.

    ps. The one piece of theatrics that was there to support the goal of seeing what people’s reactions would be that I felt pushed the envelope of probability… was how next to nothing was said by the boyfriend or the fact that he didn’t say more in defense of his relationship. Also missing is what one would typically think would be the girlfriend’s reaction to his tepid reaction. But I saw that as being part of the theater that was necessary for the experiment.

  • Sarah Oyerinde

    This video moved me to tears in the sense that it shows, through the responses of the random audience, that racism still exists and that it’s something that Black people still have to deal with. Many White people do not believe that racism still exists, or they deny they are racists even though they have absolutely nothing to show for it. Us White people (I’m White… see my picture) have this mentality that Black people are living in the past and that they just need to “get over it.” It’s really quite sad, in fact, and it is doing nothing to further racial reconciliation.

    By God’s grace, I want to do my best over here in my own little corner to encourage my White folks to search their hearts concerning this matter.

    God bless!

  • jordan

    I’m so happy for this criticism…it’s brought to light some points I hadn’t noticed. Watching the video, the reactions from those who spoke up were what made it enjoyable–to know that there are strong people who aren’t afraid to speak up in such a powerful way. But throughout the clip, and especially when it was over, I was annoyed by the entire premise and the outcomes when that host guy came out. To me it seemed like a staged event for white people to see that, “Oh! Black people don’t hate white people and they are ‘safe’ and accepting of white people in their communities! I can feel so much better about myself and don’t have to cross the street when I see one of them coming towards me!” Along with the whole angry black girl stereotype…of course there was never any conversation about how the woman who worked at the barbershop might react the way she did, that historically some black males have dated white women as a notion of power, or that black women are statistically proven to be nearly invisible in many areas of society. I hate that it was more of comfort blanket for white people than an actual insight into the reality of interracial relationships and the complexity that is brought along with them, from both sides.

  • richbloke

    If you’ve ever seen the “what would you do?” set-ups you’d know that they usually feature WHITE people playing the roles of panto villain, being over the top racist and extra tea party republican. The situations are never “realistic” and they are not supposed to be, the only purpose is to force a response from REAL people. With the media constantly trying to enforce the idea of reverse racism I found the video a refreshing change in narrative.

    Yes the white girl was a stereotype because for the purpose of the controlled experiment her ethnicity could not be left open to question. A darker skinned brunette may have been perceived as Latina by those in the barbershop. That would have little grounds for controversy in Harlem.

    In the last paragraph of the article the writer states “The sad thing about this entire episode is that the TRUTH of who Black women are is displayed in the reactions of the women who stood up for the maligned White Girlfriend and NOT in the actor’s scripted reaction to her being with the Black Man But that will be lost on those dedicated to seeing us in a certain way”

    Huh??? The only reason ANYONE posts this video is as a result of the positive responses of those black women. Far from showing black women in a negative light it shows solidarity, kindness, patience and wisdom. If you all you got from it was “angry black woman” that is more to do with your own perceptions of self and less with the failings of this TV show.

    Merry Xmas.

  • richbloke

    You are very much mistaken.

  • Anonymous

    Dear ~pbg, I’m sorry but your article is trash!! (sorry, just reusing your word…)

    You
    are in my opinion, PURPOSELY missing the point!! There are so many
    WRONG analyses about your article I don’t have time or energy to go back
    to each one of them, but I think you are showing true incredible bad
    faith, or else you’re blind!… Ok, I don’t even know where to begin…
    YES, sorry to break it down to you, but there are MANY MANY MANY angry
    obnoxious Black women, all over the US, but not only, and I do not why
    that is! A friend of mine from the Bahamas who lived in NY for years
    told me “even Black men are afraid of their sistahz…” However, THIS
    particular show was really awesome because it showed a soft
    understanding sympathizing side of them that obviously DOES exist, but
    that is not so often in the back of our mind when we think of them.
    Therefore it is VERY important a show!… PLUS the hairdresser was
    precisely NOT angry, she just had bad words, but no aggressive tone,
    ghetto expressions, head tilts or other stereotypes of your typical
    “angry Black woman”… And the real point and focus of the video WAS the
    reaction of the other women, NOT, I insist, NOT the mean
    hairdresser!…

    About the White woman not defending herself,
    lol, do you really think in real life anybody would dare say anything in
    such situation knowing they are in a potentially hostile environment
    because they are “different” from the rest of the social group? Common
    now!!… Bad faith again…Hell, I’m tired… It’s this kind of
    articles that drives me crazy and tels me that we ain’t never gonna be
    done with this type of mentality, because some of you will just NOT see
    the point and will ALWAYS boil anything down to the victimization of
    Black men, or in this case, women…

    • AcePhx

      translation:

      I heard somewhere that black women are scary even though I don’t know crap about it and even though I got my facts from someone raised with negative stereotypes about black women (only someone with no education on the matter would say, “even black men are scared of their sistazh…” seriously?). Obviously the words of an actual black American woman can’t be taken seriously when it comes to the truth about:
      1. How this doesn’t happen.
      2. How the reverse happens much more often.
      3. How this is based off of age old harmful stereotpes that still hurt black women today, not actual facts, unlike previous WWYD that are based off of attitudes that ACTUALLY have affects on policy and how certain people are treated.

      / translation

      Seriously. People need to stop with this crap. What I want to see is the reality, where white women who feel entitled to black women’s time and approval because they date black men but think shit like this actually happens any time black women aren’t giving them a “you go girl” and fawning over them. Or idk, where white people react viciously to black men dating white women AND black women dating white men (a lot are more likely to happen than ANYTHING coming up in that typical “jealous black women are scary who will save the poor white damsel in distress” video).

      What I find especially sad, is that you would rather say “black women are this way” then even acknowledge that A it was STAGED and b the reactions of black women who actually defended the white woman, and that shows what the harm of this video is right there.

      • Anonymous

        Your comment doesn’t really make any sense… I read it several times but your ideas or, in any case, ways to express them are so confused that it came out to me like: “what’s your point?…”

        “I heard somewhere that black women are scary even though I don’t know crap about it and even though I got my facts from someone raised with negative stereotypes about black women”

        Ok, I don’t know, but if that comment (“translation”) was geared to me, please DO know that I know a lot about Black women, for having been around them for years, whether in the US, in the Caribbean, and in Europe!… You don’t know SHIT about my life, and you have NOTHING to say against my arguments, because they’re just good! Alright, the only thing that was unnecessary and that I hesitated adding was the example of my friend from the Bahamas… But you articulated your whole answer around that, as if you thought that it was my ONLY argument not in favor of Black women… lol Really?… In fact, I have nothing against Black women, but I have experienced first-hand the relative aggressiveness of lots of them (in ALL the place cited above where I’ve lived for years!) and even sometimes pure bitchiness and I’m not gonna shut up about it!… You take it however you want it, but that wasn’t the point of my comment… #translation! lol

        • Kimberly Moseberry

          I could say the same about white women a lot them are hate, cruel and jealous people to be around. I’ve even heard many white men say that they’re marry a Asian, latina or black woman before they marry a white woman. An I to assume that all white women are messed on just by interacting with a few?
          If anything from the way you’re talking pushing negative stereotypes makes you feel comfortable, if you did you were be on here a board talking about black women.
          It’s ok people can’t seem to stay away from us or stay away. LOL!

    • Kimberly Moseberry

      So you have no actual proof that your so called friend was told that black men are afraid of black women. That is the problem with society people are ok pushing stereotypes and negatives about black women. Dare I say I stuff like this makes a lot of white woman comfortable and gives them this false sense of thinking that it’s ok to stereotype black men and women. Yes they has the hair dresser be very aggressive they wanted to show that. While the white woman was passive and innocent.

      • Anonymous

        Ridiculous…. You didn’t understand anything… ” your so called friend was told that black men are afraid of black women” My friend from the Bahamas is a big Black man who lived in NY for years and who was around Black ladies ALL the time, and he and his friends talked (guys do talk too, you know?), so he experienced it first hand, and that’s how he got to this conclusion… Now you don’t have to believe me, but you gotta take my word for it… Anyway this was only to substantiate an idea that is true to some extent. I’ve experienced it first hand too on MANY occasions and so have many people… I’m sorry but the “angry Black woman” concept wouldn’t have EVER been coined had it not corresponded to some kind of reality, whether you like to read that or not!…

        “the hair dresser was to be very aggressive they wanted to show that. While the white woman was passive and innocent.”
        These are LIES!! You are so blind or dishonest, or both!… The hairdresser was NOT aggressive, she was saying mean things in a very even inexpressive tone, unlike many “angry Black women sometimes talk.
        “While the white woman was passive and innocent.”
        The White girl was the ONLY White person in the middle of a Black crowd in Harlem, helloooow!… It would NOT have looked believable if she had started to rebel, and you KNOW that!! I’m done…

        • Kimberly Moseberry

          Here we go again with this just take my word for it BS instead of offering actual proof. Just the fact that you are posting under the name Anonymous proves me correct. You can go run from the truth now.

          • Anonymous

            My being “anonymous” has nothing to do with the content of my words, I just chose to be so, because we are on the Internet and there is a certain amount of discretion that every sane mind should use but don’t care to… Anyway, you are just another angry Black woman (I’m just going in your direction!) Your message clearly shows what you, in fact, think about White people, no matter where they come from… Your frustration and anger transpire and make you say stupid things… smh… If only you knew a little bit about the world’s history, and NOT only what goes around in all-Black circles, you would maybe discover that HUMANITY is such a mess, not only White people! There are very few peoples in this world that can proudly say they’ve never assaulted, conquered, tortured, stolen, or even enslaved another people… And about enslavement: Arabs have done it first, most notably to Blacks, Egyptians have done it to Jews… Blacks have done it among their different tribes in Africa, and later, used their slaves to sell them to the White slave ships. Small stupid hyper-rich Arab countries of the Arabic peninsula are doing it to South-East Asian people right now, under our eyes… The world is not a pretty place to be… :-( I’m sorry that we have to get to such extremities instead of just talking freely… But you, as a Black woman, in my humble opinion, need to stop playing the race card and the victim all the time, especially when it’s out of subject… Sorry but I won’t run from you… You don’t scare me…

          • Kimberly Moseberry

            Oh but you hiding behind anonymous name does. You see in your tiny mind you have already made up your mind on black women being a certain way based on what other people have told you. To the point you will sit here and make up any story to make yourself feel good about the way you think. That’s how racist like you think, any excuse for you under the sun will do as long as you feel comfortable.
            The fact that you are trying to twist what I say to suit you even further proves my point. Because if you can actually read, I stated. That I can’t base a whole group of people off of what a few do, then you brought up the whole coined thing based on history, I also pointed out world history.
            An I to assume that all whites are monster based off the actions of a few. You can lie to yourself and other people around you, who are willing to allow you to do so.
            I’m not here to scare you in fact , I think it’s the fact that people are calling people like you out on BS stereotypes is what scares you. Not me. LOL!

          • Anonymous

            You are a fool, and you don’t read or understand what I’m saying… And you keep calling me a liar (in other words) as if I couldn’t make my own opinions and think I only have ideas on Black women “based on what other people have told you.” This is so freaking ridiculous it pisses me off, I don’t wanna go any further!!! You seem like the type that won’t let go
            until you have the last word, so go ahead, have it, but unfortunately, it won’t change what is SO true about the “angry Black woman” stereotype… So long, Miss!!

          • Kimberly Moseberry

            I can’t help but to laugh at people like you. Always claiming your done, but yet always coming back with more BS than before. Did I touch a nerve? It seems that I did. LOL!

          • SHAMEICE

            You Kimberly Moseberry are getting a nasty attitude over nothing…someone else’s opinion. It is YOU who help to perpetuate this angry black woman scenario. Understand this stereotype is based on the idea that if a black woman doesn’t like something “she is going to let you know what’s on her mind!” And you, are doing just that. Quit trying to be a bully. We, yes, that’s right, I am also a black woman, are trying to blame WWYD for making us look bad….Please!

            Have you seen how we have made OURSELVES look! Yes I have been the stereotypical “angry black female” before and you know what…I looked dumb as ever! That segment touches so many other subjects other than race. How about GROWN women being mean girls, being all passive aggressive and a lot of people just standing around and letting it happen. Did you ever stop to think a person doesn’t have to stand up for themselves by yelling, screaming and threatening? Did you ever stop to think that this was edited so you don’t know what the other girl said in her defense?

            “The crowd had nothing to do with this” It’s sad people like you who will sit back and let the wrong thing happen. I am in an interracial marriage and I would be most proud if anyone stood up for us like most of the people did in that clip. It’s not about you or anyone for that matter to voice their opinion about our marriage. But if someone chose to feel the need to do so, the only way we can send a message of tolerance is to stand up against any acts that go against that. Remember, there were kids in that shop and the way those adults acted sends the message as to what the right response should be. I am going to teach my kids that we can all have our own opinions, but to disrespect someone else because you don’t agree is not the right thing AT ALL.

            Who cares if it was a reality based segment….is anything on TV based on reality anymore?!

            We need to just all do our part to stop trying to torment anyone and worry about that. And if we see wrong…call it out for what it is…wrong!

            And nothing is wrong with posting anonymous because there are crazy people out there who think because they don’t agree with someone they can torment them…much like what you seem to be panning out as….

          • Kimberly Moseberry

            Wow. I must have really dug down and touched a nerve here for you to go through all the trouble of making up another handle here. Don’t be mad. LOL!

          • SHAMEICE

            Again…maybe you should THINK before speaking. This is a completely different person…Wow…you are pretty sad. And Mad? No, ma’am, just feeling sorry for you at this point. And if you truly feel that you are the least bit significant to “touch” a nerve (never heard that one before, maybe because I am in the medical field and we use words too big for you to understand) and affect me, you are as sorely mistaken as every post you have made on here…and with that…you are now speaking to yourself. Good day :)

          • Anonymous

            Well, I must say… Thank you very very much Madame, for your enlightened statement!!

  • Kirsten Wiscombe

    First off you sound ignorant for responding like this, and just goes to show that you are small minded.

    It wasn’t just to show the black and white aspect of things, it was meant as an overall racist thing and to show that racism is still very well alive today. Some people are ignorant to the face that people are people. It’s just as if any other races brought a certain race into that predominant races “area”. No one should be judged off the color of their skin. Who they are as an individual is where you say who they are. Not, oh he’s white so he must be this way, or oh she’s brown so she must be this way.

    I have plenty of other ethnicites friends and lots of black women friends. I’ve never heard anyone say that they are just some angry black woman. That’s nonsense.

    I have to agree with you on the part that they did make the white girl out to be some “oh I’m a helpless little white girl” role. I surely would not have sat back and been all quiet. And I sure as hell wouldn’t be dating the man who didn’t stick up for me in front of others. But I think the man point was to just focus in on the black girl saying things about the white girl and see the responses of everyone else. You really are missing the point. Change the scenario. How would it have been different if it had been a black woman and white man? Think outside the box a little.

    I really did like this video though. I have met many black people who didn’t like whites until they met me. I don’t judge and I’m the furthest away from being racist. Everyone needs to get over the fact that our color is different and focus on who people actually are.

    I would love to go on and on and on to educate you, but I don’t have all day and seeing as you already wrote this looong response, I don’t think that you would listen or take it to heart.

    • Toni Sparx

      You cannot be “racist” against white people.

      And she isn’t wrong. She isn’t at all negating the fact that stereotypes run rampant in our society; on the contrary, she’s highlighting the very specific stereotype of the “angry black woman”. It sucks, because as a black woman (idc if you have tons of friends outside of your race, you are a white woman and you will never have the personal experience of living as a WOC).

      It’s not right that the black woman/actress said those things to the white woman; however, the issue is the idea that the stereotype of the white woman being helpless, and thus a victim, vs. the black woman being an forceful, thus the aggressor, is the same narrative we see time and time again in society.

  • Anthony Gutierrez

    I also think you didn’t look at the overall message of this video. On the surface it deals with racism. And i agree, ive never seen a black woman respond to seeing an interracial like that ever. but the big picture is that too many people are witnessing injustices right in front of their eyes and instead of speaking up, they sit there and remain quiet because as the second woman said she didnt feel like it was her place to say something. Thats what this video is saying in the grand scheme of things.

  • Meow Mix

    Seriously… have you NEVER watched the show??? Because your whole article is trash….

  • MWanket

    You’re right. The clip raised my bullshitometer too, and your post nails why. Thank you for this piece of critical thinking.

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