Yes Black Women are Angry and It's Time to Listen1/20/2014
by Morgan Lashon of I spell my name: Woman Just last week, I was talking to my roommate about pr...
by Morgan Lashon of I spell my name: Woman
Just last week, I was talking to my roommate about problematic Internet platforms like
WorldstarHipHop. Alas, this week, Marc Lamont Hill hosted a panel on Huff Post Live to discuss how
WorldstarHipHop normalizes and incentivizes violence amongst people of color. I was extremely
excited because 1: I have been voicing my concerns about this website for years now; and 2: Professor
Brittney Cooper is all that and a bag of chips, and I couldn’t wait to hear the valuable thoughts she’d
bring to the discussion. The discussion panel also included RhymeFest, Professor Shayne Lee,
Filmmaker Mandon Lovett, and T.V personality Amanda Seales.
So I’m watching the panel discussion, I’m agreeing with half of what’s being said and disagreeing with
the other half. The usual. At some point Professor Cooper aka Professor Crunk brings up the point that violence initiated and carried out by a black man against another black man is taken with a higher sense of urgency and and more emphatic call to action than violence initiated and carried out by a black woman against another black woman. She supported this notion by pointing out our culture’s reaction to the Sharkeisha video. We have laughed, shared the video amongst co-workers, and snickered when watching this violent video. I am curious as to why violence between black women is taken with a grain of salt?
I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding the Sharkeisha video. I refuse to watch it because I
have no desire to support WorldstarHipHop nor the unsettling pathologies videos like this perpetuate. So,
of course, they opened the discussion with footage of the fight, after which I was angry because I had
done such a good job of avoiding the fight, but I digress.
Anyways, at this point in the discussion, all hell broke lose. RhymeFest found it somewhere deep in his
patriachy-filled heart to raise his voice at this sister while asking her, “Why you so mad?” She held
her own and stated her point very clearly and informatively.
But to RhymeFest and to everyone else who can’t understand why Professor Cooper and black
womanists like myself are mad, here’s a glimpse into the reason: Black women are constantly being
silenced and asked to stay in our place. These messages are sent explicitly through our interactions with
black and white men and implicitly through racially-charged stereotypes that impact society’s perceptions
of us. We are hardly ever allowed to express ourselves, our struggles, our pains, without being typecast
as the “Angry Black Woman" even when these expressions are valid and grounded in sound rationale.
And in the select platforms we are given to express our opinions such as this, we are asked to back
down and think of the greater good before our own (which is what we have been known to do since the
beginning of the African-American family.)
Rhymefest accused Professor Cooper of bringing division to the “good fight.” The “good fight” being
the fight against violence in black communities aka the fight to end violence amongst black men. If
there is division, which there is, it is because many black men refuse to acknowledge the experience(s)
of the black woman. They refuse to support our fight, simply because they can’t wipe enough
patriarchal, misogynistic, and sexist crust out of their eyes to see merit in our struggles and in our
attempts to overcome these struggles. Why are we constantly asked to be silent? Why are we constantly asked to validate, support, and uphold the black man, when there is no reciprocation? We are not asking for validation, but so much as a mutual understanding of the underpinnings of oppression, sexism, etc that influence black women’s lives daily.
It is not that we do not love our men, our community, and our kids. It is that we no longer find it advantageous to put our experiences aside for the sake of the community. We are better than that, and we deserve more.
So yes, we are angry RhymeFest and we have every right to be.