In Defense of Black Women Against the "Angry" Stereotype

Michele Norris of NPR just concluded a compelling and heartfelt set of tweets about why the stereotype of an "angry" Black woman is so damaging and hurtful. It speaks the truth in so many ways.
stereotypes women race BLACK
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Michele Norris @michele_norris
Umpteenth person (including newsroom colleagues) has asked me abt sensitivity around attaching the word "angry" to black woman" so here goes
Michele Norris @michele_norris
Question usually goes something like this- why do black women get edgy about being called angry when they seem to be angry??????
Michele Norris @michele_norris
Let's start with that word "seem". Because that is where this becomes an eye of the beholder judgement call
Michele Norris @michele_norris
Possible that woman who SEEMS to be angry is actually being direct
Michele Norris @michele_norris
Possible that seemingly angry black woman is expressing an attribute or characteristic that is normally seen in a positive light
Michele Norris @michele_norris
If you need further reference, reference the words "shrill" or "ballsy" or "fussy" when attached to certain social cohorts
Michele Norris @michele_norris
Words sometimes take on meaning that go beyond their dictionary definition......
Michele Norris @michele_norris
... and when that happens an adjective saddles up next to a stereotype and slides into a slur
Michele Norris @michele_norris
You might be wondering why don't woman just give this the Kanye shrug or let it roll off their shoulders like Teflon?
Michele Norris @michele_norris
This is a matter of temperment and temperament can be determinative at work, in school, or in life
Michele Norris @michele_norris
In that sense this trope has a swiftboat quality that impacts not just women but also girls when a strength is turned into a millstone
Michele Norris @michele_norris
A show of steel in one's spine is mistaken for something akin to a neck rolling screed accompanied by two snaps and on hands on ample hips
Michele Norris @michele_norris
And understand this -- the trope of the angry black woman has an impact on all women. And therefore it has a ricochet impact on all of us
Michele Norris @michele_norris
When people ask me why this is all such a tripwire I'm tempted to roll my eyes & say "really" But it takes courage to ask & thus my response
Michele Norris @michele_norris
I am reminded of the pre school teacher who asked me why all the girls of color in her class were so..er...well...LOUD.
Michele Norris @michele_norris
Since my own daughter was one of those girls I swallowed my impulse to be offended and instead asked her to sit down and talk
Michele Norris @michele_norris
We talked at length about culture and tradition. How some people practically whisper as they pass the pot roast ....
Michele Norris @michele_norris
....while others roar with laughter and quite literally sing at the table because the convo AND the catfish is that good
Michele Norris @michele_norris
That teacher and I had a long conversation about character and culture and how strength manifests itself in manifold ways.
Michele Norris @michele_norris
The conversation with that preschool teacher made me late for work that day years ago but it was worth it
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