My Social Identity
What do you get when you combine a Black woman, passion, and valid arguments? That’s right, an “Angry Black Woman”. I have attended predominantly white schools most of my life, which forced me to be hyper-aware of my tone and the way that I was perceived. Imagine learning about slavery in school and having to think first before expressing any anger. That was my life.
Black people in the United States and across the Diaspora should be angry. My fear of being labeled an “Angry Black Woman” impacted my responses to race-related topics and caused me to sugar coat my thoughts and opinions.
The sugar coating came to a halt as I became more comfortable with my identity and learned even more about the injustices faced by Black people around the world. One particular album aided me in my transition into being unapologetically outspoken. In 2016, Solange Knowles released A Seat at the Table. I would identify this album as a cultural exhalation. Black people were able to use this album to release the bottled frustration that comes with being Black in America.
The album was able to beautifully express emotions ranging from Black joy, to Black pain, and anger. Each track was more of a feeling than a song. One song in particular, “Mad” featuring Lil Wayne, spoke to me the most. She sings about being asked why she’s always angry and she responds by singing “I got a lot to be mad about”. The background vocals then sing “Be mad, be mad, be mad.” The song was exactly what I needed at the time.
This song made me feel both seen and heard. The song’s lyrics affirmed and validated my anger. I am an immigrant Black woman who holds multiple marginalized identities. I have seen the ways in which racism, sexism, and xenophobia can result in the unequal treatment of people like myself. These observations make me angry, and I have the right to express my frustration.
Patriarchy has taught women to present themselves in soft ,quiet, and more palatable ways. Women and men can behave in the exact same ways, yet women will be described using negatively connotated words. This, combined with the “aggression” that is attached to blackness, makes it extremely difficult for Black women to be heard and understood.
Black women who refuse to accept the status quo will always be met with invalidation in the form of an aggressive or angry label. I refuse to let this categorization silence me or minimize the message I am trying to send. It angers me that my identity, something out of my control, has left me with the burden of second-class citizenship. I do not have the privilege of ignoring these circumstances.
Without the anger of the Black women who came before me, I would not have the opportunities that I have today. I would like to create more space, freedom, and opportunities for the next generation of Black girls and women. If this means being an “angry black woman” for the rest of my life, then so be it.