Typically, I do not blog about controversial topics. This is a fun website, full of book blurbs and contests and is all about the upbeat. I live for joy, smiles and laughter, and am definitely not a fun snatcher.
But today, I must delve into the serious. It will be a short lived excursion, because I choose to represent and live in the positive!
Today, I viewed a video blog blasting black women for being argumentative and angry. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen such a thing, nor the first time it’s bothered me that this stereotype is persistently perpetuated. I’ve battled the “angry black woman” stereotype in my career and wish that it would disappear, so that I can give feedback and critiques without someone feeling threatened.
What bothered me about this particular video was the fact that it was made by a black woman, and that it was a black man who posted it to be read and cosigned by all. First of all, the young woman appeared to be bi-racial, which could explain some of her ire toward black women. Perhaps her mother is another ethnicity and has endured some disdain from black women, or maybe has bought into the negativity displayed to black women by some black men. I can’t be sure, but the video was baseless and pointless. In fact, I refuse to post a link to it because I don’t want to assist in spreading foolishness.
Now, let’s start by asking the question. Are black women angry? This subject has been handled eloquently countless times. Here’s a link I WILL spread http://thegrio.com/2013/07/14/are-you-countering-or-confirming-the-stereotype-of-the-angry-black-woman-heres-how-to-break-free/
The short answer to this is YES, many black women are angry. Many reasons are rooted in a pain so deep that the anger is a survival mechanism. With the generations of abuse and abandonment suffered by black women, many take the hard stance to keep from crumbling. Frown to keep from crying…or worse withering completely.
I’m going to try to articulate some of the things that concern ME as a black woman raising black daughters. This is not an all-inclusive or exhaustive list. I have not done research – these are MY observations. This is not to assign blame or to remove accountability. Trust me, there is behavior that I see regularly that makes me cringe (twerking on film…) This is to add to the solution based dialogue that I think we SHOULD be having, instead of the negative black women bashing conversation that takes place daily in cyberspace (not to mention that is perpetuated on a plethora of reality shows that I am guilty of watching).
Reasons why SOME (not all) black women are angry
- Many black women are raising children without the benefit of marriage, financial support or even emotional support from their children’s fathers – It is very easy to say, “She shouldn’t have gotten pregnant before she got married.” But I find that there are very few black and white situations when it comes to single motherhood. Perhaps the man she loved wouldn’t marry, although he was willing to play house and accept all the benefits that came with it. Maybe she was married and the marriage dissolved, and she was faced with a man who refused to allow the authorities to dictate his money. Maybe she’s a widow who cannot find another man to shoulder the responsibility of another man’s children. No matter the reason, raising children alone is the kind of thing that can break a woman (or a man) down. Child rearing period is a harrowing experience for two…or even for a village. It’s not a one-person job.
- Black women feel devalued by black men – For every happily married black couple, there are scores of black women who feel invisible when it comes to their black brothers. I once read (I think it was Hill Harper’s book Conversations) that 90% of the population is chasing 10%. I call that 10% the rich, beautiful and famous. I know single, college educated, upwardly mobile black men that won’t consider dating, much less marrying, a black woman unless she is what they consider the “whole package”. Thirty inches of long flowy hair that doesn’t come from a package, a body of unnatural proportions, multiple degrees, Greek status, career woman, sexpot, no children and knows how to bake a pound cake like their grandmother. Now, I didn’t say they wouldn’t sleep with a regular black woman. They’ll do that quite frequently. Even have a few crumb snatchers (see number 1), but marriage or even a relationship is not even a part of the equation. I read another statistic that said MOST black men marry black women. I believe that. But many of that talented 10% of black men seem to have a plethora of reasons to choose not to marry at all, or worse, decide that no black woman is worthy and move on to other ethnicities. What is HILARIOUS to me, is when I hear the brother who should be lucky to get a date (unemployed, undereducated, underfinanced) spout the same list of requests of the fabulous 10%. Of course, I know brothers who are the OPPOSITE of this. So before someone attacks me, I never said all. I feel such joy when I see a power couple. Both following their purpose, raising a family and doing the dang thang! #blacklove (and no I don’t feel any kind of way about promoting black on black couples. I’ve got too many single girlfriends…who love black men. Moving right along…)
- Black women’s self-esteem is attacked DAILY – This ties into bullet two, but since that one was already too long, I started a new one. We’ve got some issues when it comes to hair, body type, sexuality, skin color and a host of other things. Sometimes black women even turn on one another when it comes to this. We see a beautiful woman like Lupita Nyong’o slay EVERY red carpet this awards season, but know the average day to day sister that looks like her is not always regarded as beautiful. We watch our men choose women with “blow in the wind” hair (oftentimes weave enhanced), but then get blasted by our brothers for wearing weave or going natural and trying to achieve our own length without the help of chemicals. The dark -vs- light issue is STILL alive and well. I wish that thing would die. Again, not ALL black men fall prey to this, and there are many men of other ethnicities starting to appreciate the beauty that black women have always had.
- Black women compromise in relationships when they have them – Many times, black women who are in long term relationships do more compromising than arguing. Even the ones in the public eye endure blatant cheating (Gabrielle Union) and disrespect. But if they want to keep that man, they turn a blind eye and try to hold their heads up. The fact that the BET show Being Mary Jane has such a huge audience is telling. That old adage “I’d rather have a piece of a man than none at all” is unfortunately still relevant.
None of these reasons are excuses for bad behavior. For arguing incessantly, fighting, or becoming bitter gold diggers who get what they can and run. It makes me so sad to see women mutilate their bodies with butt shots and implants trying to become a video vixen or King Magazine model. Or get on television and reinforce every negative stereotype that has ever been articulated.
I think there are ways to combat these things though! For example, we can raise our current sons to accept responsibility instead of making excuses for them. We can teach our daughters how beautiful they are and lead by example! We can choose to walk away from unhealthy relationships.
Bottom line, these choices require sisterhood and mentoring…and brotherhood too. We need to stand up for each other as a community. Support entertainment that uplifts and encourages over entertainment that destroys and tears down. Mentor someone! Even if you’re not a parent, help someone’s child get on the right track (or even an adult). Pull that young lady aside at the office who wears platinum weave and club clothes to work, and counsel her in love. Take her shopping!
But PLEASE, let’s stop bashing one another in online videos that do nothing but incite bloggers like me to post responses. They don’t resolve any issues. And for the record, I’m not angry! There’s a lot of us out here. Let’s start making videos about the purpose driven, focused, extremely joyful black woman!
Oh….shameless plug….this positive and joyful black woman has an uplifting and encouraging new book called The Replacement Wife coming out on 2/25. I should be promoting my book instead of blogging about social issues 🙂 Get it everywhere books are sold or on one of the links below!
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