Confronting the Angry Black Woman Stereotype

The angry black woman stereotype is just another way to keep black woman down, and to silence them out of fear of being placed into another box.

By: Alexis Ditaway

Lately, many women seem to shy away from expressing their true opinion for fear of being labelled an “angry black woman.” This stereotype has been pushed and elevated through society and the media, and looks to say that if black women are expressing their passionate opinions, refusing to back down from any opposing force, or simply speaking on their opinions regardless of what is popular, they are suddenly “angry”. Bitter, hurt, or whatever adjective you may use to call it, it seems that black women can’t be strongly opinionated and happy.

There was a time growing up when I felt that voicing my opinion was something that I had no need of doing. I felt that my beliefs, opinions, and values were constantly going against almost all social norms. Yet, because I didn’t want to seem “different”, and because I often felt so passionately about what I believed in, I stayed quiet. I would sit back and listen to what everyone else had to say, and keep all of my counterarguments in my head. I didn’t want to be looked at as negative, or “doing too much”, so I settled for silence.

What I began to realize from personal growth, however, was that my opinion was not only valid, but deserved to be heard just as much as anyone else’s. My disagreements and personal opinions didn’t make me “angry” or “bitter”; they were just a different perspective than anyone else in the room.

We, as black women, are told so often to sit back and listen that we often forget how to stand up and be heard. Whether it be in the classroom, at the office, or at the dinner table, we often forget that we have a voice that deserves to be heard more than in the inside of our mind.

These situations become even harder to deal with in times when we are the ONLY black woman at the table. It is a struggle to find a voice in areas where you feel you have no belonging. We were not made to be “Yes-men”. We should not be forced into silence out of fear of “doing the most”.

Why, when a black woman voices her opinion, does she have to be angry? Can she not be passionate? Can she not feel that the topic at hand is wrong? Does everything point she has have to go back to being “hurt”? Sometimes, it actually isn’t that deep. Black women do not “feel some type of way” every time they have an opinion; they just have an opinion.

For those of you who still struggle with being able to speak your mind, or who can’t do so without the fear of being stereotyped, I want you to remember that you were given a voice for a reason. The things you say can be what influences someone to do better, and what motivates people to change.

There will always be some backlash especially when you are going against common standards and beliefs. But you are doing yourself a disservice if allow only yourself to hear what you have to say.

The angry black woman stereotype is just another way to keep black woman down, and to silence them out of fear of being placed into another box. No one and nothing should shut you down from expressing yourself. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. The power you possess with your tongue is a gift, and one that black women should use much more often.

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4 years 6 months ago

Thank you so much for writing this article. As someone who has been called an “angry black woman” an incredible amount of times, it was really nice to read that my feelings are valid. It’s always annoying when people say that because a. I’m not always angry but B. If j am angry, don’t I have a right to be? Hopefully girls read your article and realize that they shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.