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Why I’m Absolutely an Angry Black Woman

Avatar • Oct 29, 2015
Photo by Femi Matti

Photo by Femi Matti


By Dominique Matti for Those People

Because when I was five, my kindergarten classmate told me I couldn’t be the princess in the game we were playing because black girls couldn’t be princesses. Because I was in third grade the first time a teacher seemed shocked at how “well-spoken” I was. Because in fourth grade I was told my crush didn’t like black girls. Because in sixth grade a different crush told me I was pretty—for a black girl. Because in 7th grade my predominantly black suburban neighborhood was nicknamed “Spring Ghettos” instead of calling it its name (Spring Meadows). Because I was in 8th grade the first time I was called an Oreo and told that I “wasn’t really black” like it was a compliment.

Because in 9th grade when I switched schools a boy told me he knew I had to be mixed with something to be so pretty. Because in 10th grade my group of friends and I were called into an office and asked if we were a gang, or if we had father figures. Because in 11th grade my AP English teacher told me that I didn’t write like a college-bound student (though I later scored perfectly on the exam). Because when I volunteered in Costa Rica that summer, I was whistled at and called Negrita. Because when I asked my host father if that was like being called nigger, he said, no, it was a compliment because black women are perceived to be very good in bed. Because I was a kid. Because I watched from the bleachers while the school resource officer didn’t let my brother into a football game after mistaking him for another black boy who was banned. Because the school resource officer maced him for insisting he was wrong. Because I was suspended for telling the school resource officer he didn’t deserve respect. Because my senior year boyfriend said nigger.

Because I was one of two black girls in the freshman class at my college. Because at meetings to talk about how to attract more black students, someone suggested that the school attracted a certain demographic (sustainable living, farming, general hippiness) and that maybe black people “just weren’t interested in things like that.” Because my college boyfriend called me a “fiery negress” as a joke when he ordered for me at a restaurant. Because the boyfriend after that cut me off for saying he was privileged. Because I can’t return to my hometown without getting pulled over.

Because when I got married people assumed I was pregnant. Because people who know I’m married call my husband my “baby daddy.” Because my pregnancy with my son was plagued with videos of black lives being taken in cold blood. Because their murderers still walk the streets. Because the nation sent me a message that my son’s life didn’t matter. Because when Tamir Rice was murdered I curled up on the bed and sobbed, cupping my belly. Because my son heard me sobbing from the inside. Because they don’t care about us. Because when I was 7 months pregnant my neighbor asked me to help him move a dresser up a flight of stairs. Because I am not seen as a woman. Because I am not allowed to be fragile. Because the nurse that checked me in at the hospital to deliver wouldn’t look my husband in the eye. Because the vast majority of people won’t look my husband in the eye. Because when the doctors put my son in my arms and I saw that he was as dark as his father, I knew life would be even harder for him. Because he will be regarded the same way I was. Because he will be forced to grow up before he is grown. Because strangers at the store think it’s okay to reach into my son’s stroller and touch him without a word to me. Because we aren’t entitled to boundaries. Because they think we are here for their enjoyment. Because people don’t think we are people.

Because my nephew told me he couldn’t be Spider Man like he wants to because Spider Man is white. Because when he was four he said that he wants to be white so that he can go on a boat like the people on TV. Because I couldn’t save him from that. Because I can’t protect my son. Because I can’t protect myself. Because my stomach sinks whenever I see a police car. Because when my husband leaves the house at night I am afraid he’ll be killed for looking like somebody. Because I worry that if I went missing like the 64,000 other black women in this nation, the authorities wouldn’t try hard to find me. Because I am disposable. Because I am hated. Because we keep dying. Because they justify our deaths. Because no one is held accountable. Because I am gas lighted. Because I have been told that by speaking about being oppressed I am victimizing myself. Because our murders are filmed and still pardoned. Because I don’t know what it means to let loose. Because doing the things that my white peers do with ease could cost me my life—trespassing in abandoned buildings, smoking joints, wearing a hoodie, looking an officer in the eye, playing music loudly, existing. Because I am afraid to relax. Because I am traumatized.

Read the rest here.

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cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago

I understand

keda
keda
5 years ago

so true.

Eesh
Eesh
5 years ago

So true it hurts.

unsure
unsure
5 years ago

Because we were born.

nylse
5 years ago

i understand and can relate to alot of her experiences; i may even be justified in feeling angry but i refuse to be angry. anger erodes and is worse on me than others. instead i make a choice not to be angry and channel those emotions in constructive ways

redpaperlantern
redpaperlantern
5 years ago

Thank you for posting this piece. The pain was palpable…

Victoria Owl
Victoria Owl
5 years ago

This is the sad truth. I like how she pointed out the problems from both sides.

maji
maji
5 years ago

Some of this is confusing but I applaud it overall.

Mali90
Mali90
5 years ago

so painfully true

Tiffany Williams
Tiffany Williams
5 years ago

This is so sad. I can’t wait for the day revenge is taken but even when we paint the ground with their blood the wounds still won’t fully heal.

Nei
Nei
5 years ago

Wow, all the way back to 5. We really hold on to ish huh?

Sorry your Black hurts you so much… 🙁

JLTR
JLTR
5 years ago

I’m crying.

Nia
Nia
5 years ago

That’s deep! ??

Ocean
Ocean
5 years ago

I get it and relate to all of her adult experiences.

Ms. A
5 years ago

So because foolish and ignorant people made you feel like you’re less than, a piece of dirt is why you are angry? So they won. These arrogant people you come across in life got the better of you. That’s why we have examples like Solomon Northrop, Rosa P. and Harriet Tubman to reference — brave souls who went against the grain and refused to believe they’re too stupid to learn and become great. It takes courage to stand alone and bear through pain but it makes you stronger. If you allow your anger to swallow your spirit of independence then… Read more »

FreeTea
FreeTea
5 years ago
Reply to  Ms. A

How do you know that our leaders of the past did not feel the same way she feels? Have you ever listened to Malcom X? How do you know she isn’t already standing alone and bearing through the pain? Have you never been angry? I think they were angry. I think that anger pushed them to strive for changes that would empower and enfranchise us. Malcom X was angry. I am angry. I have stood alone and born the pain of my current existence in a small city in the state where Mike Brown was murdered. I stood alone and bore the… Read more »

MyFluffyPuffs
5 years ago
Reply to  FreeTea

I’ve been wronged in the past and I’ve learned to not allow negativity to shape me. It’s why I read other people’s experiences and yes I know all the people you spoke of. My anger isn’t justified because not everyone is horrible — it’s a select few compared to population. Dealing with stupid people doesn’t give me the right to act stupid towards others.

Samantha McClush
Samantha McClush
5 years ago
Reply to  Ms. A

“So because foolish and ignorant people made you feel like you’re less than, a piece of dirt is why you are angry? ” But, is it a bad reason to BE angry? Ignorance and foolishness has done a LOT of terrible things, it’s the fucking reason why there are racist killings and why people are thought less for their gender and race. How can that shit NOT make you angry? What are you supposed to feel? Nothing, peaceful? That makes no sense. And just because someone is angry does not mean they’re defeated. Anger is an emotion, not an action. I’m sure Harriet… Read more »

tracena barnwell
tracena barnwell
5 years ago

Very deep, I can defintely relate but she should know that anger inside of her will break if her if she doesn’t let go

GaryandNicole Kennedy
GaryandNicole Kennedy
5 years ago

If we let outside experiences dictate our attitude toward people and life then we are puppets to those experiences. I understand injustice and it boils me too, but I also understand that man is not without fault and it looks different in everyone, just some are more potently outward expressing their faults while others have secrets that could kill. Forgiveness is so important in living a free and joyous life! It doesn’t excuse poor behavior or decisions by people but it definitely makes us face why we are angry and upset and we walk through those feelings and move on… Read more »

Samantha McClush
Samantha McClush
5 years ago

It’s kinda hard to forgive someone when they don’t want to stop the harm they’re doing to you, even if it means killing you. I’d like to let my feelings go, but not if it mean letting my life go. #blacklivesmatter

Laddidi
Laddidi
5 years ago

This is soooo deep ?

Monique
Monique
5 years ago

This seriously makes me cry because I went through similar racist and sexism experiences except for the husband and son part . I’m single and not pregnant but I fear the day I get married and have a kid because I will experience that. I feel is black woman have every right to be angry ! It’s hard being BLACK and a WOMAN . I felt each word she wrote . It broke my heart.

Taylor
Taylor
5 years ago

Love this.

FreeTea
FreeTea
5 years ago

Why do you assume I act stupid towards other White people? I only get ignorant with people that are trying to justify what’s going on right now, and I do so regardless of race. I’m complex enough in thought to understand the difference between criminalizing everyone versus criminalizing those that deserve it.

And I feel like the author is probably no different. How did you read that out of this post?

Amber Lewis
Amber Lewis
5 years ago
Reply to  FreeTea

she isn’t trying to justify the racism that’s happening in this country. I think she’s just trying to say that the only person who will continue to suffer from the hate following these encounters is the person holding onto it, i.e. the author of the article and everyone else who walks around nursing hatred that in these people’s minds have faded into the past. They probably don’t remember these things anymore than what shirt they were wearing on that day 10, 20, or however many years ago that was. your angry. I’m happy you were able to vent. It’s healthy.… Read more »

FreeTea
FreeTea
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber Lewis

So I should forget and brush off injustice because they already have? And we wonder why our community is not empowered. People like you stay busy turning the other cheek, continuing to get slapped because you’re too busy trying to be righteous rather than helping those of us who ARE angry to make change. I’m not currently at a place in my life where I can make major change, but I do what I can–marches, speaking openly about my experience, writing. I have a whole list of things I plan to do once I’ve obtained my education and gotten to… Read more »

Good-digger
Good-digger
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber Lewis

Sorry, but how is her anger pointless?

Ms. A
5 years ago
Reply to  FreeTea

I am not assuming anything about you because I do not know you. I speak in general terms about my experience and not allowing negative ones to shape the way we as a people in general dictate reaction.

nat
nat
5 years ago

She needs to let go. You let go of things when they happened in the past and does not reoccur all the time. The oppression of black people, black women is a ”thing” that is happening now and if we do not speak out we will still be opressed. Killing human beings black,white,green,blue should not be left alone and let go. Read ur history white people do not let o when they were treated wrong. The youngest person to die by death penalty in the US was a eleven year old black boy b/c he killed a white girl they… Read more »

Amber Lewis
Amber Lewis
5 years ago
Reply to  nat

hold on to your purpose and desire for change, but not hate. It clouds judgement, sends you to the grave before your time, and because of these things, makes it unlikely that you will be able to cause a positive change in the world. You let go to be at peace, effective, and purpose-driven. I feel Martin Luther King’s methods got more done than Malcom X.

Samantha McClush
Samantha McClush
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber Lewis

But, why are police and people still killing Black people and getting away with it if Martin Luther King’s method works a lot more better than Malcolm X’s?

Blessed Black Woman
Blessed Black Woman
5 years ago

Terrible article and a slap in the face to God. Are you thankful for anything? In ALL things, give thanks! Focus on your blessings, learn from your struggles and know that God has ALL POWER

Kiara
Kiara
5 years ago

So she can’t have emotions is what you’re saying? You’re clearly missing the point. The fact that you’re trying to cut her down by saying “are you not thankful for anything” is disappointing. The article isn’t about that. Would you speak about something else when you’re focusing on one topic? No, as it’s irrelevant and not pertaining to the subject. Whenever you’re feeling down or very upset, are you thinking about what your are thankful for, anyway? No, you live through that anger until it wears off like normal people. And what if she isn’t Christian? The fact that you’re… Read more »

Sydney Daviston
Sydney Daviston
5 years ago

Not everyone believes in God.…take it for what it is, and don’t tell her how to deal with her pain and life experiences.

Wendy Ros
Wendy Ros
5 years ago

Dominique,this is so very powerful thank you for sharing .l agree completely with what you said. However I believe a change is coming for our people and we will be free from this degradation and repression that is slowly bleeding us of life . I share some of your anger because l too have seen,heard, witness and experienced similar. I have been frustrated and at a loss until recently . l have started researching online,learning more about my history ‚listening to those black leaders both past and present who are trying to make positive changes to improve the lives of… Read more »

Samantha McClush
Samantha McClush
5 years ago

#WhiteTears isn’t the same as Black Oppression.

Being called “cracker” isn’t the same as being considered a thief for the color of your skin and less human. There’s mocking, then there’s dehumanization. Should she just let that go, let those experiences go, even though they dictate how she’ll live or if she’ll be alive the next day?

Want Black people to stop expressing the way they feel, then stop telling them how to feel. Stop being demeaning to them so they don’t feel like less of human.

Now, fuck off.

Good-digger
Good-digger
5 years ago

This article is about the author feeling justified in being an angry black women. It is not meant to be celebratory. There’s a time and place for everything.

Raheema PL
Raheema PL
5 years ago

i relate to you on many pain points as i was adopted in a white family..which was a blessing on many aspects of my life but we need to realise as well that many amongst the black community do the same on their own community..and in many parts of the world plus as many are commenting, theres always positive to see in our lives and millions of blessings from our Creator. I am proud to be black and i dont care anymore being called an oreo (for being“white inside“as some may say). who cares As long as I am pleasing to the One… Read more »

Raheema PL
Raheema PL
5 years ago

plus there were many times in my life when i felt so much anger towards whites bcz of our history m the way blacl
were treated but then i realised that i was becoming myself racist by generalising
we must control our anger but its not easy cuz u guys in america must see a lot of things happening that we dont see happening much in france or england
but racism still here but not as obvious

Good-digger
Good-digger
5 years ago

To anyone reading this and calling the author’s POV negative, or telling her she needs to “let it go”, please remember this: Situations need to be acknowledged and identified before they can be changed.

Aliya
Aliya
5 years ago

PREACH!!!!

Kiara
Kiara
5 years ago

How can you “rise above it and live your life” if THIS is your life? You’re telling me you would be able to ‘rise above’ a situation in which a man in a police uniform is pointing a gun at you? You can’t just tell people to deal with it and move on. That’s like telling a depressed person to just stop being depressed and be happy.

agman
agman
5 years ago

You may not believe in God but I bet you’ll believe in having a heart attack. Because that’s exactly where all this hatred and forgiveness will manifest.

agman
agman
5 years ago

Enjoy having a heart attack or high blood pressure or cancer, Because that is exactly where all this anger, hatred, and forgiveness will manifest. You are the author of your own life and you choose what and who you will be. Let others decide your fate and you will remain a victim.

Lyric
Lyric
5 years ago
Reply to  agman

Did you read this? Did you think about anything?

Michelle Freeman
Michelle Freeman
5 years ago
Reply to  Lyric

I read the whole thing, we all deserve better. User agman probably tries to bury the issue inside like what some people in my country do. Basically, they believe that if they don’t talk about it, the issues don’t really exist … and my country is predominantly black [or if you prefer African descent instead of black that’s fine] and yes, I have or other citizens have experienced these same issues.

Rayuka
Rayuka
5 years ago

This is exactly why we as black women shouldn’t fear being stereotyped “the angry black woman”. It is a label created in hopes that we shut up and accept the unjust treatment that we receive simply for being black women. Stay strong and speak up.

trackback

[…] Furthermore, some black women proudly own their ‘angry black woman’ journey. “Because I was in 8th grade the first time I was called an Oreo and told that I “wasn’t really black” like it was a compliment.” To read more, click here. […]

Happywife Taylor
Happywife Taylor
5 years ago

Wow. That was deep. People are always going be negative to anyone no matter what color they are. That doesn’t mean you have to be an angry black woman. You can choose to rise above it and live your life. It seems like she is holding to feelings that need to be let go of.

petitsoleil
petitsoleil
5 years ago

Girl, I don’t know if what I’m going to tell you is going to help but anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s poisonous and harmful for you soul and your health. Nobody can make you feel less than if you don’t think that you’re less than. Actually, we’re all human beings on this planet and we’re all equal. Different but all equal. We all come from nature and Mother nature doesn’t discriminate. So don’t think that you’re less than anybody else because of those experiences that happened to you or in your environment.… Read more »

Mel B
Mel B
5 years ago

I felt that ladies pain because I feel angry myself and when I speak to people they tell me that I am aggressive. I have my children and I am told that we are free from slavery but how comes I don’t feel completely free. I want my children to live their dreams if they choose to. Although I know they will have to fight or else those dreams will be taken away by society and its perceptions of us as black people. I know my dreams were somewhat this way. I pray for our young people that they do… Read more »

shell
shell
5 years ago

This article makes it seem like being black is all about pain, after you give birth to your son your thinking about how terrible his life will be because hes darker?? Shes angry but still better off than most black women. yes we have a painful existence but, there’s also so much beauty in our culture and lives, thats why people think our culture starts with slavery and ends with rap music. we dont celebrate who we are, and what we were as a people.

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