Despite carrying this society on our backs, black women have been treated as lesser beings. Aggressive, illogical, ill-tempered, overbearing, hostile, confrontational- angry – are some of the recurrent words used to label us.
The late human rights activist Malcolm X famously said the most disrespected, unprotected, and neglected person is the Black woman. No truer words have been spoken: his words resonate with the impertinence Black women face in modern-day society.
The truth is, I am angry and I will continue to be angry, hostile, and confrontational if I have to. Black women are angry because we are placed in the pits of this hierarchical society – and we have had enough.
The Black woman is divided into four stereotypes.
The Sassy Black Woman
This stereotype depicts Black women as…well, ghetto. Loud, gum-smacking, neck rolling, ratchet women. You’ve seen this Black woman in about every movie ever. You know damn well what I’m talking about.
The Angry Black Woman
Black women are portrayed as angry and hysterical. This trope leads people to automatically believe the Black woman is scary and intimidating. It also invalidates the very much valid and justified anger felt by Black women. It’s bad enough that we face racism, now add demonization, disrespect, and dehumanization to the list. You’d be angry too.
The Strong Black Woman
Yes, the Black woman can do it all. Cook, clean, nurture and save the world without a single complaint. We’ve seen this woman before, on-screen, or in our daily lives. We get that she is strong, but the idea of her not having feelings is wack. It’s unrealistic, toxic, and unhealthy because that ideal does not exist. This has caused the physical, mental, and emotional exploitation of Black women.
The four stereotypes above imply that Black women are not human. Just puppets who take the brunt of this society’s worst behaviour. It’s disgusting.
The Role of Colourism
There is a need to humble Black women, especially our darker-skinned sisters. For many deep-rooted reasons, Africa has normalized skin bleaching because dark-skinned have periodically been made to feel ugly and small- as if their rich melanated skin is shameful.
Far too many Black folks who aren’t dark-skinned don’t acknowledge that even though we all face racism and other social struggles, darker-skinned women endure far much worse. We are all black, but it’s imperative to acknowledge that we aren’t all received the same way by the world.
some of y’all: “there is no colorism in ba sing se” pic.twitter.com/eElvLNjfiC
— sarah (@sarahlugor) June 23, 2020
Women are socialized to accept their inferior status in society and their subordination to men. – Maundeni
We are not angry because they were someone’s daughter, niece, mother, partner, etc. We are angry because they were people who were brutally murdered in the name of gender-based violence. This is the world Black women live in today in Africa. They live in fear of the one group of people who are meant to have their backs. It’s exhausting.
Yet, we were born tired.
So yes, we are angry, intimidating, hostile, and whatever society chooses to brand us with today. That’s because, despite the efforts to pit us against one another, degrade and dehumanize one another, we will always strive to have each other’s backs.
We may be soft, take days off and treat ourselves…as people do, but the need to protect one another transcends this earthly plane. It’s a primal drive – ancestral – and it ties us together because we are Black women.