There is no doubt that I am a black woman, I am probably what is considered to be a "real black woman," kinky haired, so-called now described "type 4" with no real curl pattern with which to classify it as "good hair." I am hearing this term again and again, not just from whites but from predominantly black men and I wonder what in the hell is happening. I, myself, have been in the past deemed a bitter, dark, angry, jealous, ugly sister who has tried to bring a black man down (my war with Will Smith has been well documented).
Are we angrier than white women? Well, let's examine this more closely, shall we? I remember growing up as a little girl, I hated dolls; not that I really did, it was just that they did not look like me, at that time there were no black baby dolls, like there is now, for my mother to purchase. That made me sad as a little girl, but it did not make me angry. I do remember someone giving me a Barbie doll, but she quickly went to the bottom of my closet.
While growing up, only the lighter skinned black women were considered beautiful. The sad thing is that today those standards of beauty are still in effect. I think a better description would be the politics of beauty. I am making the references of physical beauty to make a better point in pursuit of the angry black woman theory. We don't say the angry light-skinned woman, do we? That in itself is enough to piss me off, so am I angry yet... not quite.
I remember, in my 20s, I dabbled in modeling, and I was chosen to do the cover of Essence magazine; I had natural hair way back then as I do now. Thinking I was chosen for my ebony beauty, they proceeded to cut all my hair off, straighten it, and never used the cover. I was outraged and hell yes I was angry, because I thought this is a so called magazine for black women, yet even today that same magazine really supports the western image, which is now become the blond black woman. Does this make me angry? Yes.
Little girls who stand eye level in the supermarket waiting for their mommies to check out need to see images of themselves, funny all that I see are rap magazines with angry looking black rappers who are supposed to be successful, so why the angry Black man look? Oh yes, it means you have street credibility... oh, please!
Yes, even my own son thinks it is true, which saddens me greatly. "Why?" I asked him. His answer was this:
How many times do you walk into a store and if there is a black woman behind the register she has attitude and acts like she is doing you a favor by being there. I didn't have to think about it, it is true, as much as we don't want to admit it my people. I myself had to tell another sister in Penn Station, that I could indeed shake my neck better than she could, so just give me the damn information I requested. I felt very sad indeed, that perhaps we need to take a look at ourselves. I, too, have been guilty of jumping all over someone who made a simple mistake. Was it because I am an angry black woman?
We expect to be treated with less dignity, because we are black women. We can't today find things to even decorate our children's rooms with images of themselves unless they are gangsters and so on. We still have companies like Dove making stupid mistakes like putting the only black girl on the bad side of skin color. I don't see myself on TV unless I watch a re-run of myself. No, Ne Ne Leakes in not a role model for me, nor are most of the black women I see on the tube, I simply cannot relate. Does this make me angry? Hell-to-the-yes, it does. Shame on you BET, and TV One for not doing what you know you should do.
Perhaps black men need to remember, that our great great grandmothers were on the same slave ships, we were not in the penthouse section of the boat, but right there with them in chains. We, historically, have had to raise many of our children alone, without father figures, and that makes us angry. My son was included in that statistic until I re-married.
Granted there are many black fathers who are and were there including my own. Our anger is historical, but mostly I think we are simply tired women. I know I am exhausted with the weight of everyday life, and sometimes I just look damned angry.
We have not had the same advantages or opportunities as our white sisters, and frankly we need to stop looking at them for the justice we seek and create our own opportunities with our own curl patterns.
It also seems that the media reinforces this stereotype to the hilt, with negative images, of the Sassy angry sister, talk show host, reality TV personalities, basketball wives, and old antebellum movies. Does Hollywood only still see us in this light, or are these the images that they believe we want to represent us. Black men must stop telling us what we are and aren't.
I admit to my anger at the Chris Rocks of the world and others like him for making mockeries of us in terrible movies like Good Hair. The Help was of no help to me, and I think that with all the wonderful black actresses out there we can play big momma's ourselves.
So in defense of black women, I apologize for my anger if you should meet me on a bad day. You would be amazed at what a simple smile would do for the angriest of any women.