Why are Black women so angry?

Problematic question draws many responses

Carla St.Louis | 2/20/2014, 9 a.m.
Unlike women of other races, Black women are regularly viewed as angry by society. The Urban League of Greater Miami ...

Unlike women of other races, Black women are regularly viewed as angry by society.

The Urban League of Greater Miami addressed this disparity by hosting a forum that asked the women of Liberty City, “Why are Black women so angry?”

Held on February 13th at the Freedom Hall, 50 to 60 attendees including a six member panelist with five women and one man addressed a multitude of underlying sources of Black women’s perceived anger.

Some of those sources included the question at hand, jealousy and self-hatred. Other motivating factors included unresolved past trauma from molestation, rape or domestic violence and typical triggers like racism, slavery and a lack of Black men.

The conversation, which was moderated by Sharron L. Henley, vice president of programs for the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc., was split into three re-occurring themes: community, church and school.

“I probably can tell you why Black women are angry,” said Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, school board member of District 2. “I think they are courageous, stand-their-ground women like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and your mama who stood and said, ‘You are not going to mistreat me.’ If that’s angry, I guess I’m an angry Black woman.”

Henley recounted her own experience with anger during her angst-filled youth, a period that left her “angry but not necessarily aware of it.” She suggested that many Black women and young girls adopt practices that helped her release and understand her anger like mentorship and anger management.

“Education is not always academics,” she said. “It’s a learning process and comes in many forms.”

Through the discussion, Henley read many audience submitted comments. The following comment from an anonymous Black woman fostered the most responses: “Black men have become scarce and absent. Black women are mothers and fathers. Of the Black men that are left they are gay, in prison, polygamists or left our race to be with another race. In conclusion we have become angry.”

Major Stephanie Daniels, the commander of the Miami-Dade Police Department, northside station addressed the prison element of the comment and said, “Because of the violence that plagues our community, we are playing a major part in making Black men scarce.”

Roger G. Williams of Miami-Dade College gave a different perspective to the controversial question at hand, framing his answer in the context of history.

“We cannot ignore the racial aspect of this statement,” said Williams. “We are suffering from post traumatic slave syndrome. We have to look at that history because it's so recent. Black women never have the opportunity to control their own image. Negative stereotypes of Black women makes it simplistic to label them."

He continued: "Black women aren’t angry; but more so frustrated. An environment must be created where they can properly heal because what you’re witnessing are women who have not healed from the historic trauma of slavery. Every incident that occurred after slavery — Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement and the fracturing of the Black family by the 1980s drug wars--impeded that healing process.”