“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.“ Malcolm X
When you hear the brutal honesty that was vocalized in this speech given by the late Malcolm X, you begin to understand some of our frustrations as black women. We have never been angry; we are disappointed, and have every right to be. EGL recently held a focus group with black women about the angry black woman stereotype; some of the resounding themes from that conversation are below.
Our history precedes us. While society continues to label us as angry and bitter, our ancestors unfortunately lived a history that warrants such a reaction. To the contrary, however, it’s less about us being angry, and more about black women being undervalued and unprotected. The so-called anger is a misconception. We are simply tired of being historically marginalized, despite the generations we’ve spent breaking stereotypes and proving our worth.
Everyone relies on our strength. For some odd reason, we are forced to smile and turn the cheek at society norms that have had a direct impact on how we are viewed as mothers, caregivers and women. Systematically we are left to deal with broken men that have been plagued with generational curses that stem from everything from civil rights issues to welfare reform. We have historically been forced to mute our grief and say goodbye to our children thanks to laws directly implemented to tear down the black family.
There was a systematic approach to our downfall. What most people don’t realize is that black women have always been the backbone of America. If the Willie Lynch letter was nothing but a glimpse into how it all started, then we should start there. Lynch’s “The Breaking Process of the African Woman” is a reminder that the role reversal of black men and women was forced upon us. And as always, we are forced to play the hand that we are dealt.
Black women were left with no other option but to be vocal in the household, and fearless when faced with adversities. Black women aren’t angry, or bitter. We have finally found our voices after generations of caring for everyone else and putting our needs on the backburner. We are no longer allowing society to speak for us. We are beautiful, opinionated, educated queens that deserve the same respect as every other woman, and we won’t stop talking until we get it.
Watch the video to see how other black women view the stigma of being labeled as an angry.
Written By: Tamara U. Butler