Dear America, Black People Have A Right To Be Angry6/14/2012
If something scares mainstream America more than the anger of People of Color, I can’t name it. Ev...
If something scares mainstream America more than the anger of People of Color, I can’t name it. Every Black public figure looking to garner acceptance by the White majority must steer away from criticizing too harshly the blatant inequality of the US; lest they be painted an enemy of the State.
And as we navigate our daily lives, African Americans avoid voicing our discontent in mixed company for fear of being labeled a stereotype. As a Black woman, when I feel emotions begin to swirl, I recognize that both my blackness and my womanhood will conspire to make me the “crazy black bitch.” Concealing our anger, however, does nothing to heal wounds, fix policies, or facilitate discussions.
Read: Why I am OK with Being an Angry Black Woman
The righteous discontent of Black America provides a catalyst for change. The fact is: we can never be post-racial (if that’s really the aim) until America relinquishes its irrational terror of black rage. That anger is productive and justified. The problem is theirs not ours.
When Michelle Obama succinctly noted that America is “downright mean” in a 2008 interview with the New Yorker, I thought: “Well…yes.” Her comments made perfect sense. America has, in fact, been particularly cruel to those who had the misfortune of being born female, homosexual, non-white and/or poor.
Mrs. Obama’s comments drew ire from conservatives who were deeply offended that FLOTUS dare reflect upon the history of the country that made her a millionaire. Michelle apparent forgot that blind gratitude is what successful African American are expected to convey at all times.
Read: Haunted by Jim Crow: The Grudges of An Angry 83-Year-Old
Yes, we must forgive, but before that, raise hell. Racist logic goes that if you are Black in America you have no right to be angry about the discrimination that under girds this country’s every institution. You see, white Americans are the only group afforded the luxury of outrage. When angry white men march in the streets to protest taxes, affirmative action, or same sex marriage, they are patriots. When Black activists march to protest inequality in the justice system, education, housing or healthcare, we are whiners.
Our justified anger stems from the fact that white Americans rarely listen to our pleas and demands for justice with the intent to act. Anger is not shameful when it prompts action. It is anger not sadness or despair that has propelled much of the progressive change in the United States.
Personally, I’ve had to learn tune out the detractors who wish to discredit my concerns because of my “hostile” tone. If you are unwilling to listen to me when I am angry, you probably weren’t interested in what I have to say. No apologies. Americans will just have to get used to hearing less than conciliatory counternarratives.
America, we’re mad as hell, and you will hear it.