I’m Not Allowed To Be Angry: An Exploration of the Angry Black Woman Trope.

Why? Why aren’t I allowed to be angry? To put it simply, stereotypes… Stereotypes and the constant invalidation of a Black Woman’s emotions. We can also add tone policing and most of all, blatant misogynoir. So maybe it can’t be simple. But let’s break it down together.

Stereotypical Angry Black Woman Meme
Angry Black Woman Meme

Stereotypical Angry Black Woman.

When you watch movies, what kind of roles do Black women have? (if they even have any roles.) Are they all pretty much the same character? Are they all upset about something? Are they rolling their necks? Are they threatening to fight someone? And the most importantly, are they all scaring/threatening a white woman? When writing roles for black women there’s no variety. Nothing to show them in a good light. As a result, we’re just known as always angry. (If you see a black woman in a movie/tv show and they’re screaming, fighting, drinking, smoking, and talking about welfare, and their baby daddies, the writers ain’t shit.)

Taraji P. Henson as "Cookie" in Empire.
Taraji P. Henson as “Cookie” in Empire.

Invalidating Black Women’s Experiences and Emotions.

Since many people don’t know how to separate roles from reality, we’re stuck with this narrative. And since we’re stuck with this, we’re not allowed to have any emotions. Any emotion we show is just brushed off as us being angry… even if we’re 1. not angry or 2. allowed to be angry. We’re just told to “calm down” or things aren’t “that serious.” That means our experiences and emotions are constantly being invalidated. What happens when you’re constantly being invvalidated? WE GET ANGRY. Black Women are constantly made to feel like we don’t matter and as a result we get told to calm down. This isn’t only coming from white america. This is coming from within our own communities.

They’re constantly telling Black Women how they can show emotion, when to show emotion, and to calm down if they do show emotion.

Black Men are bashing us, making us feel like  we don’t matter, and then just calling us angry. Black Women are teaching Black Girls  not to  show emotion. Not to cry. Not to be rightfully angry. But are they telling white women the same thing? Are they telling Black Men the same things? No.

Misogynoir is misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias. 

If you didn’t already know this term, learn it. Fighting the patriarchy when you’re black is a whole new ball game.



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