Don’t Make Us Angry.

You Wouldn’t Like Us When We’re Angry: Black women are often portrayed as hostile which is both racist and sexist, but like all stereotypes there is more complex mechanism behind it.

The Incredible Hulk and female Black Panthers.

Look at the image of angry black women on television. Politically you have Maxine Waters of California, liberal Democrat. She’s always angry every time she gets on television. Cynthia McKinney, another angry black woman. And who are the black women you see on the local news at night in cities all over the country. They’re usually angry about something. They’ve had a son who has been shot in a drive-by shooting. They are angry at Bush. So you don’t really have a profile of non-angry black women. — Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas on Michelle Obama being an “angry black woman,” FOX News Watch, June 14.

Black people have long had to live with the stigma that we’re rougher and more horrifying than other people. That somehow we’re more violent and scary and immoral, stereotypes that have existed since wealthy white landowners had to come up with excuses why it was OK to enslave an entire group of people. Black men are menacing and black women are vulgar harridans, screaming obscenities while engaging ball busting.

Many were appalled at Cal Thomas for bringing up the “angry black woman” meme, viewing it as both racist and sexist, and it is. When other women speak their mind, they’re just talking. When a black woman says why she’s proud of America after seeing the results of her husband’s historical campaign she’s an awful witch who wants to destroy all white people. The complete 360 degree turn of hyperbole is attempted over and over again. And with so few images of black women in the media it’s easy to fall back on old stereotypes — the whore, the mammy and the bitch.

Michelle Obama is too chaste and married to be a whore, too independent and smart to be a mammy, so all that’s left is the bitch. And that is the category all educated, independent minded, straight-no-chaser women, black or white, are put in.

If you give Thomas the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he was simply referring to the image of black women that is presented in the media. In that respect who wouldn’t think all black women were pulling Miss Havishams and Medeas all day, every day. This view is narrow, ignorant and demonizes an entire ethnicity, gender and culture. But if he’s referring to the general attitudinal nature of some black women that exists as a defense mechanism for emotional pain, then yes, there are angry black women.

But I doubt Thomas is an expert on this subject.

Black people are chippy people. The chips on our heavy shoulders are boulders, as I oft say. We’re weighed down by psychological damage rooted in our own families and our racist society. There’s no shame in admitting that.

Many of us were reared with the belief that we can not trust each other, that we should be wary and defensive and that love should withheld out of fear. This has vexed me my entire life because I’m not chippy. I was not raised to be defensive. And while I’m careful with who I trust, I’m not outwardly hostile to people. I have the warmth of a southerner and the extroversion of a daytime talk show host. And while I’m not the only one this way, many others are the inverse.

I have a lot of personal issues, but I don’t carry the emotional baggage of having parents who didn’t know how to convey love and kindness. My mother did not demand that I be “grown up” at an early age. When I forgot my mittens as an elementary school student she would simply bring them to the school. Most of my peers were told by their parents that if they forgot anything, lunch, lunch money, hat, gloves, books, it was on them. Their parents either had to work or were trying to teach their children responsibility. But my mother managed to teach me that without allowing my fingers to freeze during recess.

I can remember the general hostility of teenagers, male and female, who would growl “what fuck are you looking at” when I glanced in their general direction in the mall. Kids who didn’t want to be looked in the eye as if any eye-to-eye contact was a challenge, who manifested their parental neglect and emotional immaturity in acting out at school. I remember my college roommates, screaming and cursing at their boyfriends as their boyfriends screamed and cursed back at them and how both were so disrespectful and full of self loathing because all they knew was “MFer” this and “nigga” that. That was how they communicated their fear, their anger, their shame — hostility, suspicion and curse words.

But once again, this was born out of learned behavior from our parents and our interactions with both the black and white worlds. If you grow up watching your mother disrespected; if you grow up being disrespected by your parents, teachers and peers; if you grow up thinking it is an acceptable thing to act a fool when you are hurt and lash out over the slightest provocation then you are going to appear this way. You are going to embody the stereotype. But the “angry black woman” should not be invoked unless there is an understanding of where the stereotype comes from.

There is a big difference between Michelle Obama’s fierce independence and my roommate screaming at her boyfriend after finding out he had four other girlfriends on campus and bought them all the same Nike tracksuit for Christmas. There is a difference between the pain of losing a child, which all women possess and demonstrate regardless of pigmentation, and a few Wanda the Ugly Girl neck rolls and finger snaps.

But I doubt Thomas has studied the psychology of black folk, let alone the psychology of “The Angry Black Woman,” where she came from and where she is going. But this is the latest crude reference to a much more complicated issue in black America — our inability to communicate pa
in and vulnerability with those we love. While I take offense in Thomas lazily tossing out the grotesque banshee who haunts the constantly assaulted image of the black woman, I’m not going to ignore the fact that I wish we could be nicer to one another.

15 thoughts on “Don’t Make Us Angry.

  1. my roommate screaming at her boyfriend after finding out he had four other girlfriends on campus and bought them all the same Nike tracksuit for Christmas.Alright. He deserved to be cursed out.LOL.I’m just sayin’.

  2. jj: Goodness. I have so many stories about my college roommate and her crazy ex. Most notably the one where he punches out one of the girls he was cheating with AND a cop when the officer shows up to investigate him hitting her.So, yeah, he deserved to get cursed out. Not that it solved anything.But I was trying to illustrate to the general mistreatment black people, male and female, inflict on one another. From dating a bunch of chicks and giving them all the same tracksuit, to screaming and cursing at people when you should probably just dump them if they make you that miserable.

  3. Thank you for this post! A while back I wrote about how it has been acceptable in the Black community and the larger society for Black women to be angry. (http://jamericanmuslimah.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/acceptable-anger-black-women-and-vulnerability/)Many of us have not been allowed to be vulnerable or even warm to other people because, depending on where you live or the family you grew up in, it can be an open invitation to predators. I also think the SBW syndrome makes some of us believe that anger is the only emotion we can show. Anything else is weak and the last thing most Black women can afford to be is to be weak. Anyhow, I call for healing. We need it so very bad. I’m starting by working on myself…

  4. Snob,I am not scribbling Cal Thomas on my shitlist because he (she?) sees what he or she sees. That is the perception and I see it too.We go through it and have learned to lobby for people to notice us in pain but we do it in such lazy, passive-aggressive ways such as here in lamentations. Take for instance The Jews, my favorite example. They were continually persecuted but they didn’t bitch and moan about it. THEY DEVISED. They did not wed themselves to the myths to bastardize themselves as noble, ethereal victims. They engaged in processes of owning their plight and despised heritage in creating hard, tangible fortifications against possible construction to re-capture them into future rituals of living out the victimization. They created campaigns for the world to know they have been wronged but they don’t just whine about it. They create the forms and then create a proactive component to show they are growing past the victimized roles they owned (and too still remember the scars and know it could happen again to them).We have been socialized to murmur in Amen Corners and mourning circles. We are addicted to the myths and in validating the sorrow by replicating it. What we see and saw of our female ancestors act out, we feel we must be loyal to live it out too to validate their unfortunance — hoping that our divine uniqueness will exalt them by the sheer fact of our mortality being the single quotient that will showcase magnitude to exorate the deluge. We choose to own the unfriendly, unloving, and hardened birthrights passed onto us by our Boomer mothers and their broken mothers.But it is up to us to learn that marrying to the myths will not qualify the myths of replicating the pain to somehow think the concentrated imitation of carrying the burden of modeling the pain (even if we really our property), we don’t get how that never is redeemed for proper value in the eyes of others that see us. They see us angry and not worthy of love. We have to first learn how to be angry and still muster compassionate hope will being trusting that being vulnerable is strength. As much as we are perpetually wronged, we have to understand that we do not physically lobby for the world to love us. And that seems like a bitch of an ordeal to have to be the wretched of the earth and still have to campaign for love and understanding. But we don’t get that that unfortunate, unfairness is the only recourse for our mortal redemption because no one has to give a damn about our mental health. It is not a crime. It is a fundamental right for the world to do whatever and not give a damn about us. We have to learn that we have to teach the world to love us and that we deserve it. By doing it actively first, others would notice the changes and their call to action in responding. Yeah…it’s a bitch and it is heady but that is where we are since our mothers completely disregarded that we would not be regarded by the world as the worlds’ beloved little princes and princesses. They did no work to fight for us so we must fight for ourselves, our children, and simply the retro legacies of women in the past that did sacrifice in so many ways to honor our existence and our virtue heroically. Our mothers’ generation is/was too immature to understand the ramifications of their obsession with their obsessions to know that was their job and another ball they dropped being so into themselves and their sorrows. Those bitches made us wretched bitches when we grew up so disillusioned that we were the chosen ones as the children who would be gifted and regarded as prize ponies of the movement.I agree with Jamerican Muslimah.

  5. jamerican muslimah: I read your piece and it was really good. I agreed with your point of the acceptance of “anger” and the stifling of emotions being a survival tactic left over from decades of oppression. I was told, often, that I needed to get “a-hold” of my emotions, when I was really, really little. Sometimes by my father (but he let that go eventually feeling it was OK if girls cried — like most men of his generation, he’s a stoic and expects other men to reign it in as well). But my mother was dead set on my sisters and myself being children and that it was OK to care why a child might be upset. Maybe it was because she didn’t have a childhood, being the oldest of nine in a rural family, that she was big on treating children like children and not stifling their emotions.I can still hear her trying to hold back her tongue when she’d see a black couple who would refuse to pick up their crying baby in the store in an effort to teach the baby a lesson. My mother was no pushover, but she didn’t see how withholding affection made you a better adult. But there would have to be a major, major rehabilitation to take place to change the attitude that children should be silent and women can’t cry.andrea: Well, you know my opinion as we’ve talked about this in the past. Black people are often not attuned to their emotional selves, especially women who’ve been told vulnerability = weakness.I think it is hard for people to grasp that this behavior is a pathology and is unhealthy. My mother is in the minority. A lot of black women come from her rural southern background, but her view on letting children be children and caring about their feelings was practically novel compared to the parents of my peers. But I think her childhood was so hard that she couldn’t fathom embracing that as the normative behavior. It was more like she thought it was horrible and didn’t want to inflict that horror on her own kids.But it is hard to get people to see the flaw in this defense mechanism when it has separated from its historical context, rooted in ignorance and slavery, to the modern distortion it is today.

  6. The other thing: you don’t trust Snob. You don’t trust. Yesterday we had a braintrust at the job. This writer came to speak about his platform and he pointed out that we are a society that does not trust. He went back as far to talk about the linkage to the sixties and our trust as a people eroded with Black Power cynicism filling the void after so many were assassinated. Last year Emilio Estevez made the movie, Bobby, and the impetus was that he saw it too in how we were such a self-interested people talking the taught of needing togetherness to still be cynical in action untrusting.I sent you those pieces about trust and trusted systems because I smelled the lack of trust in you. Not too long ago Ebony Jackson, of Nappy University, told me that she was finally starting to get what I was saying AFTER YEARS that we don’t trust. She was starting to put it together realizing that those of us who had ingenuity were isolated and disconnected not trusting each other like all the other peers of our who cynical trying to keep us brotherly mistrustful of each other among them. It is a concert of misery and certaint rather than the certainty that someone will not let you down and hurt you. Uncertainty is maddening so to not trust is easy. It is a guaranteed and will not let you down.But I read so many posts and realize you are not trusting of any of us who speak to you and respond here. What is the purpose of reaching out if it is not just self-interest to tell yourself you are doing something superficially positive? To trust is an immense challenge.I used to tell people that when I used to do Uppity Negro I could not give them money-back guarantees and that they had to have faith and believe. They would swallow their spit. I would literally see them swallow their spit, blink, and then roll their eyes to murmur some cynical comeback to tell me I was out of my mind expecting people to believe in me. I showed them how I radically trusted and was being let down by them and still would get up and trust again. Black People would be mad at me. One woman at Howard fussed at me for putting myself out there with no guarantee of certainty to try to put my life and finances in the hands of hoping in Black People. My cousins chastized me about caring about Black People to the point of all that I was going through. But I am proud that I trusted. I was vulnerable and I accepted the challenges to try to have faith, believe, and trust.And yesterday I was prosleytizing the same way at the braintrust in which I think I made ended of making a significant contact because he saw my passion to trust and know that it is what is missing and would be the only remedy to fix society. We…we women are a society. We have to trust. And getting their requires open society of trusting.Finding the commonality yesterday with this man who has one of DC’s most prominent, if not most prominent literary agent behind him, I know that that agent would not get behind that platform if it did not have weight behind it. Trust…that is what fosters vulnerability. Vulnerability is what fosters collectivist sensibilities. Collectivist sensibilities are what we need to energize any movement towards our salvation and redemption.Kara Walker said, ““I don’t know how much I believe in redemptive stories, even though people want them and strive for them. They’re satisfied with stories of triumph over evil, but then triumph is a dead end. Triumph never sits still. Life goes on. People forget and make mistakes. Heroes are not completely pure, and villains aren’t purely evil. I’m interested in the continuity of conflict, the creation of racist narratives, or nationalist narratives, or whatever narratives people use to construct a group identity and to keep themselves whole—such activity has a darker side to it, since it allows people to lash out at whoever’s not in the group. That’s a contact thread that flummoxes me.” I as much too don’t want to remain obsess with Black Female redemption is this is our destiny to decline out of existence with ourselves to blame not seeing it now but for the world to see and analyze and study 100 to 150 years ago about our sad demise rooted in not being able to trust. So while in our physical lives now we see AIDS, poor health, not marrying, or stress being the death of us, people will then in the future dissect all of our ails to our self-interested egotism cultivated after the sixties since we are the children of the post-movement and we were cursed to manifest our decline by simply not trust and willfully not want to while pompously advertising we were GOOD BLACK PEOPLE with all good intentions to be selfish while not trusting.

  7. andrea: Goodness knows, I wish writing this blog actually gave me that sort of esteem. I probably could save money on therapy.For me to put myself and my views out there is often nerve-wracking and stressful. I enjoy the act of writing, but I’m still plagued by all the feelings of impotence and self-doubt that plague all writers. So I don’t quite gather what I should be doing with the blog other than writing. Presently for me it’s another form of therapy, an act of catharsis where I take the issues that vex me and unearth them on the blog, mixing them up with daydreams and things that make me laugh.

  8. This is our threshold limit value. A few years ago a student at Spelman told me that she understood my language but it was intimidating because she she didn’t know enough and recently another young woman was upset with me that I was being too hard when she as well did not know enough. What I find that has been the only model for us is to diagnose the symptons. The Spelman student, Patrice, told me they read about about that and it was written by an African Writer. I think she put it on my booklist on my old website. But we have a propensity for analyzing the symptons and we think that is it: The world should act right and everything for us would have then fallen or fall into place.There is more to diagnosing and that is and is not your job. It is your fundamental right to do whatever you want but it is a crime to limit yourself at a threshold becuase the unknown and the uncertainty is foreign and can’t be guaranteed by your noble (or as romanticized as noble) family history. I see that you have enormous talents that are being suppressed by you too wanting to marry to the myths as in thinking the campaign for preservation is just to talk about it. Time is up. You put yourself out there into the universe and like so many of our peers we want to design the how and why and when and to what degree of potency we will give of ourselves to the world. We want to believe we are called and are special because our parents said so but we want to dictate the design of how the world sees what is significant. We remain stuck in inertia thinking that if others just recognized then we would have accomplished the tasks when the tasks are never approached.When speaking with Mr. Bishop the other day (Bill Bishop), he started his lecture about the fact that we are self-interested and egocentric as a people and hence web 2.0, in a lot of ways we are not using the democratic gifts of it to heal and build trust. Instead we are magnifying the separation of people while advertising our intentions as good and unified to be a part of the solution. He said we all talk the talk but don’t execute. He, White, spanked White Liberal Elites, in the room by admitting they are like that too. His book is THE BIG SORT.So many things he said, I had already been saying but I had no cred. Now it does not satisfy me because of the validation because time was wasted and during that time I watched and watch more and more of my peers and my people, older and younger, still continue to do what he diagnosed. When I created Uppity Negro, I created it to create systems…to shift paradigms…to create solutions based on work bell hooks, Dubois, Garvey, and Harriet Tubman had already done. What I realized was that we were stuck in inertia just identifying the symptoms but not coming up with practicums to institute change and embark on real systematic salvage missions. It was ambitious and it was ambitious in ways I would not live to see or reap benefits from in tangible measure. I cared more about doing something self-less to hopefully reap the benefits from our collective knitting in building to rebuild together. We don’t get that that is what determines our place and comfort or angst in life. It is not what White People do. It is about what we put together or REFUSE TO PUT TOGETHER. I wanted to do what The Jews did for their people in alter their pathological demise in checking their behaviorals that contributed to gullability for the last time: i.e. Hitler. They had experience exiles so many times from so many nation-states and groups but they realized the serious faux-pas from Hitler because they should have known better to not be that gullable in sticking around in Europe when their own warned them to leave.And it true that not all Jews operate as a monolith but if shit hit the fan, they would come to order and unite. That is a given. They have systems in place. Melody Bockelman was a student at Howard at the time when I first created Uppity Negro studying economics and she approached me one day telling me that she knew what I was doing and trying to do. She told me that she had not seen anyone in our lifetime try to create systems and she wanted to do it too. I was floored. I was amazed because none of her educators even approached me to tell me they saw what she saw in cracking the code of what I was doing and trying to do. I was not limiting myself to what I wanted to really do: remain in a safe place of not testing myself and not testing our people. I realized I had to and I could fail if we failed in NOT TRUSTING me or themselves to trust. So I see it here. I see it in the way we nurse our pathological mainframes. We are angry and many don’t know why or the root. But as well, we don’t know we should be mad at ourselves eventhough we are bonafide victims. Most of our victimization when executed by Simpletons are done by the powers of the controlling group but the measures have been fostered by our lack of governance in how we TEACH PEOPLE to treat us or understand or misunderstand us. We don’t get that we are emulating by replicating women before us be victims of society not just because we are POWERLESS. We are powerless because we think we are powerless. You can be POWERFUL in trusting and being vulnerable. TRY IT! That is how I accomplished what I did doing UPPITY NEGRO and before when I was teaching. I used the softer side as a weapon to teach. I used that proxy of the unknown to challenge myself. I trusted in willpower against the fear of the unknown/uncertainty. I refused to continue to marry the myths that we were wronged and that my only purpose in life was to wait for people to realize they were wrong for wronging us. You have to teach them and that requires being uncomfortable, taking risks that your feelings will get hurt and you may not win, and trusting others.Like The Jews did, we have those same tendencies to wait for some group to recognize they are wrong and hope they will come to terms with it and make voluntary reparations and restitution. So I see it with you too in how you execute the same models to not synthesize what could be magnanimous.bell hooks, probably the best diagnoser, DID it best. It was done and she does it. What we tend to want to do is do a version because we think everyone does not know. And everyone does not know but we never realize we are only circling a ring around work already done. We refuse to realize we must build out. bell has taken many risks on her life and her sanity but she does not need people circling her. She wants us to build out from her work. So what I see with you is the limitations of trusting yourself, the universe, and other mortal beings to build out. I get frustrated reading the victimization here knowing that you know this and that others want it. They crave the pathology of us mourning over how we are wronged to think that is combustible energy capable of igniting our movement. Well…it is not. It only creates more of the pathology in us just meeting to talk to talk to meet to think the next post will take us to the top. We have to be challenged of understanding why when we are victimized we are contributors. Like when we get mugged, we are part of it. We left the house. Instead we see that we did nothing wrong in that we didn’t do anything wrong. We did however take a chance (to leave and live life) but that is risk and we must take it in order to live and develope. For all it is worse, we would and should stop living to stop being victims. But we can’t do that and we will get hurt. But all the time we don’t have to be victims watching the crucibles we face all time (still failing because we spectate thinking that is activation of proactive directives).Whenever at work and I make an error, my boss says, MOVING FORWARD WE are going to or MOVING FORWARD LET”S…That is the language that even if it is my task, it is a WE and WE benefit or fall from my execution. The language that I find that others understand is that it is about TRUST and trustin
    g to go further into the unknown knowing we can fuck up, fail, or simply make unintentional mistakes. However most times we benefit because we think FORWARD THINKING and take risks that we are motivated in attaining achievements in reaching benchmarks — not staying in the same place to know we are still there watching ourselves meet the accomplishment of retaining our place.So when I think of how we respond to what Michelle Obama is going through, I wish that we would look at it in a different way and stop looking at her being a victim. She does not see herself as a victim. And the thing is with me not being an Obama fan, I think she is far more astonishing and risk-taking than he is. She knows what is going to be said and she using the experiences of being victimized as transparencies for WHITES TO LEARN ABOUT THEMSELVES. The problem is the role we play in being ready to know the shoe will drop. We are just standing there. We could be more proactive in campaigning to TEACH and LOBBY understanding instead of waiting to say, “I told you so”. We already know how they will play it. She does too. She however is playing a different game in knowing that if Barack does not win, she would have open the eyes of people that Blacks don’t alway fit their anticipated ideals. Let’s stop thinking she is going in unknowing of the risks. She has been in Corporate America and in Ivys for long enough to know what is going to be said. Our regurgitation of it does not MOVE US FORWARD. It does make space for more AMENS. And when it comes to your role, challenge us to think wider…deeper…and for us to do wider and deeper. Stop trying to get us to marry our parents methods of doing and behaving because our parents are voyuers who taught us how to remain in inertia. Our entire communties did. Our schools did. Our organizations did.I think the ways were raised to emulate our parents is what is killing us. While those of us are so misguided and roaming every which way, we find false security in trying to redeem our parents’ motivations. Their motivations no matter how good they are of a people are not strategic and problem solving. They taught us how to mistrust and be cynical and wait for the shoes to drop. No society grows off people spectating. Things are being done to you while you watch and run for cover. There is no building.I am most appreciative of Michelle Obama in how she is taking risks that has nothing to do with supporting her husband. (You know, I don’t care for him). I see the sacrifices she is taking to lobby a campaign that we are soft yet complex. Don’t you see she is leading this campaign and not the involuntary victim. Maybe she did not want to play this role and put herself out there but I see that she has ACCEPTED HER CALL. We miss out on so much. So you can be asking us how are we going to contribute to building out off of what she is initializing…because of her husband’s willful entry to execute. See…she is just adapting instead of reacting. She is taking control and acting proactively and progressively instead of what she could be doing as a misunderstood Black Female in totally minimizing herself to fit in and go under the radar in the formulated Black Establishment way of playing the finishing-school ethereal victimized ingenue. THINK PEOPLE!Michelle Obama is trusting us. She is also trusting me (not knowing me) but trusting me in hoping that I am smarter to see what she is doing and that I know what to do and not spectate as a victim. She wants to be included and not cry victim to then recoil in a safehouse for safeguard to not interact or be considered worthy to be a part. Her engagements, eventhough sharp-shooted, are determined and cavalier risks she takes all at the same time. She is doing this for us and for her babies — not just Barack.Challenge us to stop murmuring like our parents. Challenge us to pick up from how our parents think and how to build out from it in a proactive way. Challenge yourself to challenge us and then you find your growth in taking risks. Just getting us to surmise about our victimization which is valid is nothing but circling Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth. You can do that in a way of telling us WE KNOW (even when most of us don’t know — cause we don’t know ourselves) but in telling us WE KNOW, it will calibrate ourselves to reason that we covered that and we need to MOVE FORWARD and DO. That will then start to make us start to realize we have to work together and that requires trust. Michelle Obama is doing it. She is trusting us by hoping that we will oblige to being smarter and taking risks to understand and execute.

  9. andrea: First, I should say I do not believe that I have framed Michelle Obama as a “victim.” I’ve framed her as a woman in command of her own path in life, working hard to make her husband president. She’s an aspirational figure.Per any endorsement of past pathologies created by our elders, I honestly don’t know what you’re precisely referring to here. This above entry is exactly about how what we’ve learned about our anger is flawed and is about that lack of trust. It is not an endorsement or a call for us to mourn over this behavior, but for us to consider changing it.As for me actively challenging people, I am not a provocateur. I’m a storyteller. I realize that you think I should be doing something different with my abilities, but I think you and I have very different goals on how I should achieve what I want to achieve. I also don’t think you have a full grasp of who I am making it a little odd to read your diagnosis, concluding that I am “marrying myths” and romanticizing my family history.It’s also strange to read:We want to believe we are called and are special because our parents said so but we want to dictate the design of how the world sees what is significant. We remain stuck in inertia thinking that if others just recognized then we would have accomplished the tasks when the tasks are never approached.I honestly don’t know who you’re talking about here. You alternate between demanding that I recognize my specialness in other parts of your comment then accuse me of being stuck because I was told I was innately special, something you also assume. And you’ve concluded that my apparent “inertia” is about waiting to be recognized.I would argue that, one, I am way more complex than your paragraph suggests. And two, I realize that you don’t want to acknowledge the roots of my apparent “inertia.” Never mind the fact that you don’t realize that I am actively working towards my goals despite my emotional issues. Nor do you seem to understand the nature of someone who creates for the sake of creation.Just because I am not actively pushing by what you gather does not mean it is absent in my life.As for me feeling esteem just for writing and for people enjoying it, I am glad that people enjoy what i write. But this blog was my way of returning to the world after being out of journalism for over a year. My way of getting back on the writing wagon. A way to test my abilities. To see what works and what doesn’t.I don’t envision myself fighting injustices via writing, or calling people to duty via writing. I am very aware that I am not writing that. Therefore I do not entertain the belief that I am a revolutionary simply because I showed up and wrote a blog entry about Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey getting married or about Michelle Obama being on “The View.” I do not entertain these sorts of fantasies of myself. I’m a storyteller, an entertainer. That is my talent. Perhaps you would do something different with my talent, but I am doing what I want to do with it, learning as I go along, discovering new things about myself, enjoying relating with others, meeting new and interesting people and entertaining challenges that come my way.I do not write about weakness or being a victim. Nor do I write going “oh poor pitiful me” over my problems. I could, but I don’t. I realize that the power to change my life is in my hands. Just because you can’t see it from the little sliver of me you get to see here does not mean it is not there.I guess this response was a long, roundabout way of saying, you don’t know me. And there are other ways to state your case without pontificating. If you wanted to encourage me to challenge people you could have found a better way of communicating that without presuming who I am. You could have written me personally and had a dialog, which would have been far more persuasive and helpful. I like to receive feedback and I like to hear others views and opinions. I find you likable and intelligent and have admired your tenacity, but you seem to have absolutely no interest in actually knowing me, only holding the lectern in an effort to educate me and steer me to what you deem a righteous path rather than allowing the space and time to find my way.And I wonder if you are aware that the “harshness” others have accused you of having contradicts your desire for people to be more open and trusting. You complain that we, as black women, are angry and mean. That we are cold. So you counteract that by being “hard” and abrasive. Then tell of people who did not immediately “trust” you, labeling them flawed and concluding this was related to some weakness on their part and not rooted in the fact that you do not know how to communicate your ideas, which are good ideas, without turning off the people who need to hear them.I’m not going to hold this against you, nor use this as an excuse to ignore you, because I do believe in you. All I can say is that the certainty and absolutism of which you demonstrate does not endear people to your cause. But I listen in spite of the flaws because I am not who you think I am.

  10. Finally I got you to give more than handhold.Thank you!In that response, you gave more than just the journalist. You defended but you also had to defend. I baited you and you got uncomfortable.Bill Bishop told the group that democracy is not peaceful and I people twisted in the chairs. I noticed. I came fully prepared knowing my fellow wonk and wonkette peers were not expecting him to take us there. He did not handhold and for sometime I was telling my Ivy peers and some, not as erudite by price-tag of their education, were too still mimicking social change without doing it.You told me in the beginning when we first talked that most people who are journalists write because they want to exact change but can’t. You said that is some roundabout way. Menchken said: “Those who can — do. Those who can’t — teach.”It’s become our pathology. We want to write and talk but you…you have been more and try to not answer your call. Sorry (you know I don’t mean it).It’s not that you write purposely to write about us as victims but you do because that is where most of us are in interpreting it. You know this and so do I.We know we are the wretched but then some of us don’t know what that is. The feedback generated formulates the constant inertia and instead of really doing whatever it is your dad saw in you in trying to formulate you into leader, you cheapen it because you think you want to write. Writing is so safe when most do it because they don’t have what you is your natural genius being edited for submission to entice readers to come back to your blog. These people here by grace of divinity are supposed to find you but not to remain in safe places to not be challenged by another scared and spoiled individual not answering her call.Yeah…I said it!And yeah…I challenge. I bait. When I was at the Center for American Progress in the audience and Ed Burns told the crowd that I was one of the ones the system (the school system) could not stand, he was telling them that I was not one that hid behind, “I want to be positive” and circulated work already done. Where is our generational geniuses: trying to write on blogs or because positive because they know there is work to be down but they don’t know how to get to it and they don’t really want to because it requires work that requires less control over the design of who and how they enter.It took me awhile for divinity to jack me to realize that I was like my spoiled peers wanting to claim I was positive and wanting to contribute on my terms because “it was not supposed to turn out this way for us”. I thought that I would do THIS and schedule positivity in with advertising and p.r. like my friends by saying the right positive things, looking the part, and making sure my contributions were seen and recorded. Then it was not until being in that coffee shop being CHALLENGED and THRUST UP AGAINST WALLS AND NO WHERE TO RUN but retreat and identify that White People were racist, that was when I realized that I had to fight it and get others to fight it too.That is what I was tasked by divinity because I know and I answered my call. So I am not going to be ashamed and you can’t shame me because I did not say what I wantd to say privately. We need some transparency. People need to see ourselves and our peers being challenged. People need to see us propel and try. People need to see us attempt and lose. People need to see us attempt and win. I am not afraid of transparency but it is so much not apart of our culture because we like what we have to say to be controlled and licensed. Where I am and have been for awhile is trying to enact transparency.As for what promoted a private discussion between Mr. Bishop and I was that he was excited by my comment that we need radical tranparency in everything for us to lose our egotism, fears, and cynicism about one another. What I said to you I meant and eventhough you don’t see it, someone else could see it or it could be something that opens someone else up to what transparency is and how we should challenge each other.I use to get throwback from the parents of my students that HATED ME becuase I did not handhold. That was the school that was the prototype of the school that was on The Wire. There was something significant going on and I was fearless in being transparent then to show students what their parents fears were in having dominant control. The students needed to see the transparency and that everyone challenging them was not out to get them eventhough they were not prepared. They had to catch up and parents wanted their babies to be coddled by the system. The students wanted to believe their parents’ motivations and myths that the system had it out for them that they had no hunger to fight the system. The students were learning already to learn how to “get by” but not give and give and give without maybe not recieving anything in return. The students had already formulated to not try anything without any guarantee return or safeguard. I knew our children were going to grow up soft and spoiled incapable of being 100 times as dynamic or smarter than Whitees in the ways my schoolteachers beat into us that we had to be. I knew our students were already repeating the defeatist myths to think that was all they had to do in murmur the pain and injustice while not taking risks to fight it. I knew then. And then I did Uppity Negro and I learned more.So now…I know. I see it still. This is complex and someone has to do it and I don’t care if you are mad at me. So be it. I’m just the messenger. We hated our teachers when we were in grade school because they were tough and they did not handhold but now we appreciate them. These were teachers that did not have their titties out for us to suck on. They loved us and they wanted us to be stronger and smarter than them. By the time I started teaching I saw that almost everyone who was older wanted to PROTECT their children until they were immunizing them against having guts and multiple sensory dimensions. I started to see that my generation and yours was formulated by good intentions parents (some) to just protect themselves but their talk was all pushing p.r. that they were remarkable in dedication to fight. It was all smoking mirrors and my generation and yours do it thinking it is authentic and meaningful becuase it is all they know.Now where we are we are self-medicating and medicating each other on our parent’s generational myths or pains because we want to validate that their lot is ours instead of realizing it did not have to be ours. We willfully accepted it and assisted and still assist in owning it. That there said could get me killed and always put me in the sniper’s line of sight in the Black Community because I dared to admit where our weakest links are in that we, the children, assist in upholding by guilding the myths to honor as our involuntary social injustice.I knew what I was doing in what I wrote. I did not care who read it. I am frustrated and are you not trying to build community? or are you trying to build with limitations by control of your metric monitoring who and what can grow from the fruition of your injection of self into the universe?When I entered the world of activism I knew I had no control on what people thought. And yeah, it drove me and when people misunderstood as they did most times, I realized that is what we run from. We want to know we will automatically win with guarantees. Amanda said she wanted to be someone that created buzz and I told her that it was more than that for me. I did not interject with the world for personal accomplishment. I gave myself and I learned that their was POWER in trying. I learned why we are powerless by realizing there were people who did not want me to gain any power. I learned from the White Supremacists to the angry older Black People that hated when their children (in their 20’s and 30’s) wanted to talk to me
    and support me. I learned from parents throwing out their children’s shirts and instructors jealous telling students to not come to class wearing shirts or talking about the ideas. I was challenging people and pissing off a lot of people. Families were fighting and so were students and teachers. Democracy is not peaceful. And here I got you upset and it is not peaceful. If we are really going to grow, we have to stop expecting it to be Tiffany-boxed delivered. You can say I don’t know you but I never said that I did. You did exactly what student’s parents did when they came to my class spewing, “I loves my child!” and I would say, “I never said you didn’t. You are proclaiming this in defense and anger that I upset you”. I would continue that I know I incited then but their recoil was already their recessed in a regressive state internally waiting for the defense claim. We hate being challenged. We can’t see how someone could not be out to get us if they are challenging us. We only think that someone who is handholding us has the right to challenge. That’s not my co-dependency and that is not a contract I signed. This is transparency in action.I am happy you got upset. There is not reason to build up a further wall of lack of trust because I did not abide by handholding. I am a true adult. I own it. And it is tough being that.Our parents’ generation stifled our adulthood and we too mimick through the motions our bought intelligence. But those intelligences earned by those who are not handpicked by our enabling parents are rare because our parents did not want others like Socrates raising us to see what they did not want us to see. That is why Dr. King and Cornell West talks about Socrates so much. There is no allegiance to anyone when wanting to be fair and honest in discovering and you may find out things your safety net and your psyche may not like.You may want to give me hemlock but hey, so it has been the burden of those that challenged. I’m not running away because I pissed you off and committed the Black Sin of talking publically of thoughts in dissension of yours. Is this not democracy in sharing and building? I just asked you to do it differently in so many ways. So what if it is not my blog? (How dare I?)This is transparency.

  11. Snob,You don’t think I am tired? You don’t think I feel fear and get mad. You don’t think I know how worthless my life and our lives really are to the world no matter how much we think we have hope? You don’t think I am tired as I type knowing I committing the Black Crime of pushing and driving? But life is about challenges and we are supposed to challenge each other. Tired. Tired? Tired of me or tired of yourself? Or tired of truth unconveniently delivered? Tex Gathings was old-school Howard. He was one of my older mentors that I met in a theatre’ association. That was in the early 90’s and he was in his sixties then. All of them. I was the only 20-something there and their was one woman in her thirties presenting. She wrote a book on August Wilson. I think it was Dr. Saunders from Howard. She spoke and left but I was there the entire weekend with all of the WWII, The Greatest Generation, Blacks that came up harder and they gave it to me tough and rough and hard. They were just like the Blacks that ran my parochial school in the 70’s and my Jewish dance teacher that did not give a fuck about our feelings. These people did care about us but they were doing their duty to prepare us to lead and be more. I noticed that in college, most instructors did not care. It was only Amelia Gray that showed us that she cared when the Control Board was thinking about closing our school and we did not move or flinch as students. She balked and got mad. She was so ethereal. But that day she came to class and told us we had to protest. We were like, “What the fuck?” I was like, “That is not in my syllabus!” I was so exhausted with working and taking a full load I thought like society was spoiling us to think: I had things to do on my own terms and she was over-reaching. It was not until she talked to us about being spoiled that I realized that I had been so far removed from the culture she was bringing since time had passed. When around Tex, he would run me through mental and emotional obstacle courses to tell me that I was soft and I had to think strategically. He did not had me tissues when I cried or I told him that he was too tough. I realized while I was getting my feelings hurt and wanting to turn to my dsyfunctional family that would tell me to ignore him that he really was sent to challenge me. I was raised differently by a strong, tactical all-Black school of WWII generation Blacks and my Jewish dance instructor to find myself in a world of PC, stay on your side and mind your own business, nobody asked you your opinion culture of Black People saying they wanted togetherness and change to roam in circles like on a glossy plantation.And then I was sitting in Amelia’s class knowing her dad was the former president of the NAACP, Dr. W. Montague Cobb. I had lost my mind and had grown spoiled and coddled by the times of Boomers’ facilitating this weakened frame of living and understanding we latched onto and owned. I literally was thinking she had no right to expect more of me because I grew away from those Blacks that expected more.“For of those to whom much is given, much is required”. (Luke 12:48)I now appreciate the LUCK I had in being with those old-heads that busted my ass and my ego to make me think and be who I am. And it is not popular. People don’t revere people like me until I am gone/dead. It was not until the year after I left the school that one parent walked up and apologized for not seeing what I was doing while I revisited the school’s graduation. The other parents stood across the room staring. I don’t know if they thought the same as her or was still mad but I knew that one parent saw within that year. Maybe the others did too but was not emotionally mature or giving to tell me. It was weird because they were not rolling thier eyes as they used to do when complaining on me with the principal or in my face in front of their children trying to triangulate their children against me. So I am used to it.I just felt it was time and there seems to be no one of that dying generation ready to challenge us. It seems Mr. Belafonte is now starting to talk about it but it is hard because he too spent so much time coddling us. Constance Rice, Condoleeza’s cousin, eventhough a Boomer, she is the only one I have seen that admitted they failed us. But what I experience from that theatre’ association’s conference is irreplacable and I know we have to replicate it for our survival. There are few of us who have natural genius but so many of can be useful. Instead we are log-jammed all wanting to be special and be recognized as special when we are afraid of really, really, really earning the authority of being special. Instead it is what our parents told us that we think and think the world owes us in reciprocating celebration of our existence. So we get what we get in not understanding that we are angry (Angry Black Women) and it is hard for us to move forward not realizing we own ownership of that tragic meme. White People are not unjustly sighting it on us. We own it but don’t understand the players of the construction of it.Your comment about being happy that I am happy is not lost in translation. It is biting but I expect that from you. I offered. The woman I know from your sorority wants to offer to you and I explained how tunnel-driven you are to not trust but have the liberty to want to be more. After all that I have been through I am open to trust and fight and get my feelings hurt because I (we) should not have been birthrighted this co-dependent bullshit of a life by our own. This is bigger than my parental gripe. I see why Tex fretted about retiring from my college. He did not want us left to raised by our Boomer parents (his children and their peers) at the university. He said they did not care about us because they were too invested in themselves but were going to fool us that they cared by keeping us trapped to the myths with us co-dependently trying to validate them and the reasons (and faults) of their execution in fostering our lives.So the only thing I am happy about in articulating to you is that it is authentic and willful without hesitation. And of course it will painted treacherous but that is what our fears and egos do. There is no joyous way to tell the truth when you know it will hurt and be thrown back at you for not denying it. You said it: we are memory keepers and I know I have pissed off a lot of people mad that I eluded to truths family and enablers will not admit. We are at a place that either you sell yourself for approval or you take a risk at being ostracized when delivering truths. Divine Intervention can be a motherfucker. Divine Revelation is an uninvited and unaccomodating guest. We would rather our packages be delivered the way we want and on our schedule and God-forbid, we want to expect it. That control we rather master. I went through the anger and ’bouts of feeling that Amelia and Tex were intrusive when I was feeling scared and challenged and BETRAYED by them not understanding I was not prepared or did not know enough. I felt that they should have made their divine call for action and acceptance from that I comply to accept their messaging more proper (whatever bullshit that was in stroking my ego while saying whatever it is they had to say). So I know and knew when students got mad at me and continue. Most of us don’t understand that our people have ruined us that if Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman or Dr. King were alive, we would be too soft to take their words as how their refute would definitely fit in today. They would too tell us to get over ourselves and get out of our heads and look at those that coddled us. We are structurally handicapped and they would not be happy either telling their truths that they were tired and coming back, we would make them tired again. If we can’t challenge each other, they too would be tired and unhappy coming back to life to see us how we are sniveling co-dependents of those that b
    etrayed us to this ruin.

  12. I am about to walk to Georgetown. I though while getting dressed that I don’t know if you know that I love you.I think your ability to not trust may not understand that. I am tough and I am passionate. I am intense and I am not afraid of the unknown. I am rare and I know it but that so much of it was just how I was made from clay. I used to feel bad and ashamed that I loved our people so much because they refused to see it that way when fighting me. But now I have grown to say “I don’t care if you don’t want me to love you”. I used to tell my students to that but I would not tell a fighting, defensive adult that because of fear that they would use it to wound me while I was trying to fight for them.Now…I just don’t care. I think we only know how to love in one-dimensional ways. But I…I don’t play. I have had to fight and I put my life on the line time and time again because I love my people. I just don’t handhold and dress it with buttercream.I tend to tell those that I love to kiss my ass if its too tough. The ironic thing is that I am one to tear up before everyone else over anything. They tease me at work that I challenge my White Peers who are senior to me but I am the most emotional and vulnerable at the job about my anger, my pain, and my refute to accept their bullshit. I tear up so easy and fast that they pick on me that I am a mush eventhough I fight outright. I wear my heart on my sleeve but I carry a knife and will cut ya’. I don’t want to cover and bury my heart.

  13. Snob – I have a personal request. Can Andrea email you at blacksnob@gmail.com?Andrea – It might be a good idea to just have your own blog, again. I mean that in the nicest way possible. If you have so many personal critiques for snob, maybe you can send her an email at blacksnob@gmail.com.I have no interest in continuing to even read the “tbs” blog tonight, for fear of having to scroll through hours of your teaching sessions. Sometimes you can talk us into a dark hole. You usually start off good and the end of your comments can be interesting, but for like 23 paragraphs the conversation goes down a very lonely road.God bless your typing soul. Peace!

  14. Not so fast. Snob that story about your roomate and her boyfriend is so freaking hilarious. The funny thing is that your stories that you share with us, can be so similar too my own experiences and others who view your blog, that it actually speaks volumes to the point that you were making. We all have such similar experiences and end up restling with the same issues.Your mother sounds wonderful and patient. I am taking notes for my future family.

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