The curious case of the angry black woman
I’ve been alive for 30yrs going on 31 and it would appear black women are inherently angry and scary. You can be quiet and minding your own business as a black woman and someone will still come up to say they feel threatened by you. I don’t know how we are even allowed to roam streets freely if we are such a hazard to the rest of the human race.
I am tired of the burden of being likeable being placed on me as a black woman when everyone else is given the freedom to be however they want to be towards me. I am expected to be the one doing the bending. Understanding, reaching out, apologizing, comforting, sympathizing, reading between the lines, choosing my words carefully, being sensitive to other people’s feelings; anything and everything. Why am I not afforded space to be human as well? Why aren’t my feelings ever considered?
Even writing this I am aware of the unspoken rule to not make everything (anything) about race. That’s just another unreasonable expectation placed on me as a black woman because for me everything is about race. The amount of respect, sympathy, understanding, grace etc. that I’m afforded is based on my race. My whole existence is defined by my race. But a privileged person expects me to put my race aside for a bit and focus on whatever the issue at hand is. The issue at hand exists because of my race.
I have been tired for a long time from having to carry my burden of being a black woman in a way that makes others comfortable. There are spaces in which my race and gender deny me my right to take up space. I can take up space but that space is a small square that has already been allocated to me before I even walk in so I don’t inconvenience anyone. I am tired of having to make myself small so other people can be comfortable.
What is threatening about my existence? Why are other women given room and even expected to be fragile and black women are expected to be the caregivers? What about my skin color says I am strong but also a threat? Or it’s the “strength” that is the threat? It seems the world has an idea of how we should exist and that idea does not involve us being human. We must be some other version of being that does not make anyone feel uncomfortable in any way.
I have to hide my tears in fear of them being further used against me however it’s well known and has been said by many other black women how white women’s tears are weaponized against us. Once a white woman sheds a tear the game is over for the black woman. We stand no chance against those precious tears.
I’m tired and mad that this is how the world is anywhere and everywhere we go. Someone will always find fault with a black woman. Too quiet therefore not sociable, too loud therefore a threat. There’s no middle ground. We are always labeled something that isn’t who we are on the basis of our race only. I’m exhausted from having to exist in a world that is so violent towards me but turns a blind eye to the pain they cause me.
I want to keep quiet and mind my own business but Audre Lorde’s words ring in my head, “Your silence will not protect you.” There is no way of speaking about this without “making it about race” because it is about race. Amanda Gorman has a TEDTalk which I love called “Using your voice is a political choice”. In writing this I am realizing that I am making a political choice and I am okay with it because everything about my existence as a black woman is politicised.
Today all the women in me are tired. I cannot believe it’s even considered offensive to call a racist a racist so we tiptoe around the issue finding nicer names to call something as violent as racism anything but that. I am exhausted from just having to navigate this world as a black woman. Fuck this shit. A racist is racist and the world is violent towards black women.