The inestimable Ijeoma Oluo has a few thoughts about the “angry black woman” trope:
I used to work very hard to avoid that descriptor. I used to busily reassure people that no, I am not angry. I used to force smiles and swallow pain and reassure everyone that I was fine.
But I am not fine. I am angry.
And I have a lot to be angry about. I am angry that I have to see so many black men and women murdered by police without any justice. I am angry that my 15-year-old son is already terrified of cops. I am angry that black households have, on average, 12 times less net worth than white households.
I am angry at the unchecked rise of racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism in America.
I am angry that this country elected an ignorant and unqualified bigot into our highest office.
I am angry that my 9-year-old son feels utterly failed by the adult society that was supposed to protect him from racist hate.
I am angry that the color of my skin is one of the biggest indicators of not only the quality of my life, but also of my life expectancy. I am angry that my son’s transgender classmates are being told by our federal government that they cannot use the restroom in safety. I am angry that this administration is gleefully deporting brain cancer patients and domestic violence victims. I am angry that my fears look so similar to the fears that black people had in the 1950s.
I know why I am angry, and I know who I am angry at.
I am angry at school systems that refuse to treat implicit bias and the criminalization of black and brown youth as the emergency that it is. I am angry at politicians who knowingly activate and exploit voter bigotry with phrases like “black-on-black crime” and I am angry at the voters who fall for it, despite all of the scholarship out there that shows such dogwhistling to be a racist trap.
I am angry at media that constantly portrays my people as violent and unpredictable. I am angry at business and community leaders who will stoke xenophobia to distract from their exploitation of the poor. I am angry at those who value their comfort so much that they’d rather call me a liar than face the truth of how this country treats so many of us.
It would be appalling to not be angry at these things. To ask me not to be would be to ask me to divorce myself from reality.
Read more of Oluo’s powerful declaration here.