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For the Grio’s new “Single and Fabulous” series journalist Jacque Reid recently spoke with mental health expert Asha Tarry about Black women being unfairly tagged with the Angry Black Woman label and how it affects our relationship with men.

During their chat, Reid wondered why so many Black men are quick to call Black women angry when we both face the same sort of issues every single day.

She explains: “It’s one thing for the rest of the world to unfairly label Black women as angry, but it really bothers me when Black men do it especially because they deal with it themselves being unfairly labeled as angry. And then they’re so quick to label us as angry, or bitter.”

While it’s annoying to be hit with the ABW tag when you’re merely expressing yourself, we shouldn’t have to swallow our feelings simply to get along with others or be seen as a human being, rather than a stereotype, either.

Let’s be clear: Black women have every right to be angry.

Every aspect of our lives from our hair and bodies, to our ability to parent and our relationship choices have been fodder for public criticism; we are often subject to both racism and sexism and abuse; and historically, particularly in the colonized diaspora, as Ms. Zora put it, we’ve been “de mule uh de world.”

Black women have had to fight for every ounce of progress we’ve made in this country, despite being oppressed by nearly every community (including our own). So excuse us if we don’t want lower our voices or plaster on a smile on our faces when we’re hurt, upset, or yes, angry.

My bad, son.

My sentiments were summed up perfectly by DT of the Facebook page, For Black Women—What Not to Buy.

You know what, I personally don’t care much if people think I am angry. I am and have good reason to be. I think we need to rethink this whole “Angry Black Woman thing”. Some of us have every right to be yet we are being shamed for being angry. So basically we are being bullied into hiding our emotions about all the crap that is directed at us. When I see an “Angry Black Woman”, I prefer the to call them intense, I understand where it is coming from. I am smart enough not to stand in the line of fire though.

So what the world is basically telling us is to accept our situation and be pleasant. Fuck that!

Calling a Black woman angry is nothing more than tactic to minimize and dismiss our feelings. The Angry Black Woman stereotype is nothing more than a whip to keep us in line, shame us into suppressing our emotions, and bully us into swallowing our hurt because discussing what’s really going on makes others uncomfortable.

Are some Black women angry? Hell yeah!

But we have every right to be, and we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it either.

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  • mark

    Every black person has anger issues and a good reason to be angry. No one wants to take away your voice. Speak your mind and don’t hold back. My issue is that if I did not cause your issue, please don’t take it out on me. If I speak to you it doesn’t mean that I want to get your number,have sex, impregnate you with 5 kids, and leave you and the kids with no support. Maybe I am just being nice. Direct your anger at the source, not randomly. That is the main issue!

  • Pete

    You wanna be angry about racism and sexism? That’s fine. Everyone, not just black women, has the right to be angry about social injustice. But that doesn’t justify your disproportionate anger in response to something that has nothing to do with your race or gender. Don’t use your race/gender as an excuse to be rude and irrational.

  • iWritethetruth

    Can somebody please explain to me why so many black women hate on each other

  • Jose Pachaco

    1. Follow the teachings of your Mother, Auntie, Sisters, Cousins, Oprah, Beyoncé, and conform every black male into the same category as a thug, street hustler, woman abuser, womanizer, or homosexual.
    2. Choose to date NOT the nice, quiet, working class black man because he’s dull and boring but instead go for the dude who has substituted weed for oxygen, who’s idea of real hard work is dealing illegal items and has tons of ca$h in his pocket yet has a 401K plan for down the road.
    3. Fornicate with this type of dude out of wedlock only for the money provisions, wait 9 months later and become angry when you’ve discovered he’s been fornicating with other like-minded females with the same intentions.
    4. Blame all black men for your poor decision making and lack of self-respect, esteem, and worth.
    5. Join the I HATE BLACK MEN club and live miserably ever after.

  • Jose Pachaco

    It’s funny how in my work place these females (at least 30 of them) talk crap about black men and how they’re lives would be better off without their existence sit around at lunchtime comment on which one of them is cute and whom they’d want to have their babies. Or how much money they think some N****r has (Their words, not mine.)