The Stigma of the “Angry Black Man” (Part 1)

There is a term that Black people, in general, hate for people who aren’t black people to use. That term is, “YOU PEOPLE”. Considering certain things that have been going on both in my life and in other places in the city where I live as well as throughout various parts of the country, I have decided to PURPOSEFULLY use the term “YOU PEOPLE” in this post, certainly not as ANY reference to my fellow Black people, and not necessarily to insult anyone reading this. I simply want to get your minds on where I see things regarding the “angry Black man” stigma. Some (only some!) of you non-Black folk act or feel (for some strange reason!), that every Black man (or woman) is angry; and being “angry”, then we must be angry at, and with, YOU PEOPLE for whatever reason YOU PEOPLE tend to come up with!

SIDE NOTE: Any non-Black persons reading this note who takes offense then I say GOOD! My words fully apply to some of YOU PEOPLE in the spirit in which you’ve already assumed that I must have written them: as an “angry Black man”. It is my sincere hope however, that YOU PEOPLE will take something from my words and learn a thing or two more about Black people, in particular, Black MEN, for I wrote this specifically with many of YOU PEOPLE in mind! For every other NON-BLACK person (and even the few of my Black haters) who are NOT OFFENDED by my words, I hope you understand that this note is simply from MY point of view… as a Black man. Of course, it will not apply to everyone. There are indeed some very GOOD people in the world. However, since NONE of you are living in MY skin, there is only so much I can expect you to understand. Those who can will be able to relate to nearly everything I’m saying.

First, let me premise this little commentary by stating very clearly that I am NOT an “angry Black man”; at least not by any twisted definitive, stereotypical meanings many of YOU PEOPLE have been taught, have taught your children, and have taught and CONTINUE to teach AND believe yourselves to be true! In fact, I am a happy, if not reasonably content, person! Sure, I have issues and life’s challenges just like everybody else, but I didn’t get to be my age by not having learned SOMETHING about life and about other people. I happened to be a man of reasonable intelligence, wit and charm. I have a great sense of humor, logical (not just common) sense, wisdom, skills and a keen awareness of who I am, where I came from, and where I would like to go in the path that is my life. These traits and more could apply to ANY dick-swinging male on the planet. Just because there are BLACK MEN with such traits makes him no different from any other male.

Second, although many of YOU PEOPLE tend to think so damn little of us Black men, I cannot dismiss the fact that there have been, and currently are, quite a few Black men who perpetuate the stigma of the “angry Black man” and who tend to “fulfill” the stereotypes you might have of Black men in general. Those exceptions notwithstanding, I still say that many of YOU PEOPLE do tend to look down on us. YOU PEOPLE have a strong tendency to assume that nearly every Black man you see has “anger issues”; issues stemming and carried over from: a bad childhood, a broken home, fatherless guidance, drugged-out mothers, physical, mental, and sexual abuse, disabilities and illness, jailed/imprisoned relatives, a lack of personal attention, having a lack of respect for other people from other ethnic groups, unemployment, certain economic conditions or poverty, poor educational and recreational opportunities, a lack of people willing to care or love us, just to name a few. Yes, some of YOU PEOPLE do in fact, think and believe all this – and more – to be the answers for why the “angry Black man” exists. With a few exceptions, generally, you could not be farther from the truth!

With such mentality had by YOU PEOPLE, it would not matter how many Black men smiled at you, spoke pleasantly to you, or could walk into a room in the fullest of confidence, their heads held high. YOU PEOPLE would still fear or think less of them. With such mentality, it would not matter how many Black men were well-groomed and dressed, carrying their own sense of class, swagger, or how well they conducted themselves as mature, self-controlled persons – even in the most STRESSFUL of situations. How often have you heard stories of BLACK MEN gunning down hundreds of people or blowing up things, endangering and taking the lives of others? Yet YOU PEOPLE still show signs of those oh-so-very-damn-obvious vibes of FEAR of…us! Yes, YOU PEOPLE continue to show upstanding Black men that you are fearful of us! And for what! What are you so damn afraid of? I’ve seen how many of YOU PEOPLE prefer to deal with a Black man who is lighter (and I’m talking very light-to-almost-White) in skin tone than those men who are darker in complexion! What the fuck is THAT all about? (And at this point, I have to ask my own brothers and sisters the very same question, for some of US do the same thing among our own kind! But…that is another topic for another day!)

Listen: This is NOT any racist charge; it is a FACT based on fear or being uncomfortable with someone BECAUSE of race and gender!
We (Black men) see this in hundreds of instances where many of YOU PEOPLE clutch your purses tightly, lock the car doors, and in some cases, even change directions to walk on the OTHER side of the street- at FIRST SIGHT of a….BLACK man, just like a person does when he sees a big dog heading in his direction! I am NOT making this stuff up! I CAN’T make it up! It’s 2012 and it’s STILL happening! The brothas and I talk about it – and quite often, too; never in jest, but in sheer wonderment! If one of YOU PEOPLE were walking side by side in a forest with me, the wildest animals living there would attack YOU first – simply because of the scent or pheromones of FEAR which you tend to emit! It makes me wonder and shake my head in disgust sometimes on how obviously fearful some of YOU PEOPLE can really be over a seemingly harmless individual simply because of that mix of skin color and gender! Many of YOU PEOPLE also emit this fear in the silly and very awkward ways in which you communicate with us Black men whenever we assert ourselves in an effort to peacefully address or resolve a situation. If we raise our voices, even on the smallest scale, or write a letter in an assertive manner, YOU PEOPLE tend to assume that we are acting out in the “angry Black man” mode. Your initial reaction to that is to try ever so hard to choose your words carefully in responding to those situations of confrontation or dispute. How is it then, that unless a gun is pointed in your face, you’ve never shown ANY of these awkward behaviors towards WHITE men?  And I know some of you are just waiting at the edge of your seats for President Barack Obama to show his true, “angry Black man” or “real nigger” nature! Admit it! You’ve probably said to yourselves, “No black person is THAT damn cool under all that stress!” It really bothers some that Obama, like myself, and other of men of my race are the epitome of coolness! (or “kool”, which is my preferred method of spelling when using the word in this sense.) Some brothas have this coolness it to a very high degree; others have it at other degrees! It’s really that simple when it comes to the coolness of Black men! The REAL “icing on the cake” of YOU PEOPLE daring to deal with a Black man who is not happy with you, or with the services you provide, or the way you’ve been treating him is: AVOIDANCE, LYING and DENYING that you are available to meet or talk with him either in your office or some neutral setting. Many of YOU PEOPLE like to have your secretary or some other office lackey pass on this same blatant LIE to the “angry Black man” (or Black MEN) patiently standing and waiting in the foyer who, just five minutes before, peacefully asked to see you. YOU PEOPLE always tend to jump to conclusions, assuming that the Black man is already very pissed off and… well, you “just can’t deal with that man now!” You know, some of us Black men have been in that situation (of wanting to meet and talk with YOU PEOPLE in the office to address or resolve an issue) only to have your office lackey AND sometimes an armed SECURITY GUARD come back to tell us that “not available” lie. You would send an ARMED guard to ensure that the “angry Black man” (or angry Black MEN) won’t go ballistic! As I said, YOU PEOPLE think very little of us Black men and you continue to erroneously underestimate our ability to control and conduct ourselves accordingly as well as our ability to deal with you personally in a peaceful, mature, and rational manner! Shame on you for thinking like that about us and ALL men of color!

So what to do about the “angry Black man” stigma? Well, first thing is for many of YOU PEOPLE to stop believing the hype, the stereotypes, and the perceived and assumed social problems of the world which some of YOU PEOPLE think contribute to the development of EVERY Black man in America, thus making him to be “the way he is” towards other people and issues. All of THAT is the reason why you are afraid to deal with us! Second, other than skin color, generally Black men are no different from any other male. We have moments, just like you and non-Black males, when we get upset or angry over certain things, too! Therefore, do not be afraid to deal with or even confront us based on such small-minded, unproven fears or worse, our skin color. We are still MEN; and MOST of us are still peaceful, intelligent and RATIONAL human beings! I’ll write more on this subject later.

Keepin’ It…REAL!

2 thoughts on “The Stigma of the “Angry Black Man” (Part 1)

  1. You should have had a photo of a rapper, DMX or 50 Cent for example. lol The rap industry has perpaetuated this stereotype, Will Smith tried to change it but he just ended up being seen as a corny fruitcake who black hip hop heads laughed at and the white people felt they could control. I do agree that there is a fear of the angry black person in GENERAL. It also applies to whites fear of angry black women. An image that Tyler Perry enjoys perpetuating. When in actualiy, there are people like ITALIAN AMERICAN Theresa Guidice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey (BRAVO) as well as Nene Leakes on the Real Housewives of Atlanta (BRAVO) who is a black woman. For some reason, when a black person is upset, everyone behaves as if they committed a crime against the entire black race. They instantly represent all of us. All of a sudden they are deemed “ghetto” Whereas, Bill O’Reilley doesn’t represent the entire white race, yes many see him as an asshole, but it ENDS THERE. With a black person getting angry on television, it goes well beyond that. I do feel a lot of white people walk to the other side of the street when young black men come around but I do not think it’s racism (see the movie CRASH) Because I do the same thing. For any young person of any race who DRESSES THE PART of a thug. Now this goes into the whole Trayvon Martin thing and I thought Zimmerman was a bit prejudice and WRONG for what he did, but at the same time, Trayvon is an example of what young black men should not do in situations like that. Look, a hoody is not a sign of a thug, every race of every economic background wears them, but it is also the entire presentation that makes people wary of you. The sagging pants and the swagger. The way some people walk down the street as if they are sneaking up on their prey. I damn for sure cross the street when I see a posse of young guys and I’m sorry but we as blacks need to take responsibily for the perpetuation of our own stereotypes. Young black men tend to commit crimes against each other, rob each other and hate on each other. We don’t even trust each other for the most part when it comes to business. We have a lot of cleaning house to do. I overall I agree with you but I do feel there is an entire piece missing from this. What can we do to change this?

    • Good point, Isayaah. I wish I had thought of using pics of some rappers whom I know come off as being pissed or angry. As much as I love and try to follow rap and hip-hop,you’re right; there are some artists (The Game comes to mind) who fit the description of an “angry Black man”. As I was drafting this post, I had originally made references to Trayvon and Zimmerman but the draft got so long and shifted heavy details about THAT particular issue, that I simply decided to drop all reference to the case, with an intention that I would revisit the “angry Black Man” topic from time to time and, as moved, would write about it. As far as sagging pants ans swagger, I’m working on posting a little something on that. Stay tuned! Thanks for your comments!

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