This is originally from an entry on my Medium blog
Similarly to most any other socially aware Black person with an opinion on virtually anything of consequence, I’ve gone through my adult life being consistently and adamantly labeled by non-Black people as “Militant,” “Too Opinionated,” or — everyone’s favorite detracting tool — “Angry.” For the longest, I’d resented this term, because I never felt like I was coming from a place of anger, but simply from speaking my truth about issues I’d personally encountered and my discontent with many of them. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but I think I’m entitled to rant a bit over being called things like “Oreo” or “The Whitest Black Guy I Know” by more than one white gay man — or being chastised for being a bottom as opposed to the aggressive, Mandingo tops they like to stereotype us as being.
But, as it tends to be the case in any white supremacist culture, the second a person of color speaks up about our own grievances, we’re labeled as any of these things as a way for bigoted white people to mask their insecurity and discomfort with potentially being called on their crap, and “angry” is one of those chosen methods. And for a while, it worked pretty well…I despised the term, and often tried to temper my delivery in order to avoid being seen that way — but I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows that no amount of respectability politics can stop that. Speaking your truth as a minority will always land you that descriptor from someone.
However, as I’ve increasingly lost more and more fucks to give when it comes to white supremacy and all of the bigots who feed into it, I recently decided that I’m no longer gonna be resentful of it, nor am I gonna try and run from it or push back against it, anymore…going forward, I’m just gonna take this descriptor and proudly wear that bitch as if it were a new jockstrap that perfectly accentuates the plump, chocolate cakes (if you don’t know, ask somebody…they’re certified. But I digress *innocently sips tea*).
I’ve come to find that people associate anger in black people with the simple qualities of being assertive, self-confident and being even mildly outspoken in their truth, while they generally see the “good blacks” as being the ones who are docile, soft-spoken and don’t say or do anything that even remotely challenges one’s (generally ignorant and toxic) world views — and when they are opinionated, it’s usually only to reaffirm white supremacist rhetoric *side-eyes Stacey Dash* — and particularly, won’t stand up for themselves, regardless of how many ignorant remarks you hurl at them. Given that, I’ll happily take being an ABM over being the shoe-shining “Safe Black Friend.”
Secondly, with everything that Black/African people have had thrown at us in this country (on every corner of the Earth, really), we have literally every reason to be, not only angry, but enraged beyond comprehension. I don’t wanna bog down too much of this post listing out examples, but I mean…just watch the news. If you can take in all of that and still question why we’re so “angry,” you’re very likely so dense and racist that there’s really no good reason for me to value your opinion, anyway.
All that being said, it’s important to clarify that this shouldn’t be misconstrued as any kind of admittance that said stereotype is even remotely accurate. Let it be known: If Black people (and especially Black Women) were even half as angry and monstrous as we’re often characterized as being, all of this shit would’ve been torched and destroyed, by now…ALL of it. Not to mention, the bulk of y’all wouldn’t even be here to dish out such ill-informed micro-aggressions towards us. But fact is, we protest, we don’t destroy cities, we don’t attack people, nor do we promote violence…and rarely do we go around shooting up public spaces with especially lethal weaponry (and I’m sure many of y’all know exactly where I’m going with this)………………
Anyone who’s taken a remotely critical look at modern history (or even more current events) knows where the majority of anger (if not outright savagery — another buzz word that they just love) has really come from, and I’ll just leave it at that. *takes another sip of tea*
Now, excuse me, while I go shopping around online for a nice “Angry Black Man” t-shirt…ooh! And maybe a hoodie!
Until next entry…