Angry Black Woman

February 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog It Out, Bitch, Featured

For a long time I was careful not to fall into that stereotype of  the angry black woman – mad at her kids, mad at the world, mat at her man, mad at the white man more than anything else. Just mad, mad, mad.

This morning I realized that I am. Sometimes. And I’m okay with that. Because sometimes I have every right to be mad. But what makes me really upset is thinking about the times when I’ve curbed my anger because I didn’t want to come off as the angry black woman – the number of times I hesitated saying something out loud or on Facebook because I don’t want to make my white friends and family members “uncomfortable.”

This morning I went to the Walmart. Not just any Walmart, but the Walmart, the scene of the incident. The Walmart where a redneck, douchebag, asshole looked at the Obama ’08 bumper sticker on my car and said, “Nice nigger sticker you got there,” not caring that my child was standing right next to me.

Ever since then (12/31/08), I’ve always felt a sense of dread and disgust when going back there. And not just that store, but the whole area. I started wondering how many other white people were walking around with the word nigger on their tongues just waiting for a moment, a lost election, the loss of a parking spot, anything, to let it fly.

And I’m supposed to be the bigger person. I’m supposed to “let it go” and just brush it off as a rare, isolated, event. I thought that I had, for the most part, until this morning when I decided to go back there because it was the closest place selling a video game Donny and I both wanted. I couldn’t even park near the spot from that night because it made my stomach knot just looking in that direction. I put Jack in a shopping cart and headed for the store. One of the wheels made a clacking sound in a kind of one-two rhythm. And as I pushed it all I heard was:

clack-clack-nigger sticker-clack-clack-nigger sticker-clack-clack

I just wanted to be done and out of there. See, that man had tainted the whole area. He felt safe enough to spew his hate there. Was there a reason for that? Did he know something that I didn’t?

Driving home I thought about the book I’m reading, The Help, and why (at times) it bothers me so much. It’s set in 1960’s Mississippi and follows two black maids working for white families. At first, the dialect was a little hard to swallow. Friends told me, “Well, you know that women back then spoke that way.” No shit. I have a grandmother in her 80’s, born in the south, who cleaned a lot of white houses and helped raise white babies. I know that some black people spoke that way and still do. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. And I’m allowed to have an emotional reaction to it.

But it wasn’t until today that it hit me what’s really bothering me. The attitudes depicted in that book aren’t gone. They’re just more subtle… most times. In the past two years, do you know how many white friends have admitted to me that they have parents/siblings/in-laws/aunts/uncles, etc., that use the word nigger? More than I’d have imagined. And my response is always the same, “What do you do?” And the shuffle begins where they back step, side step, and pretty much just step in it. But I get it. These are their people. They have to share meals and holidays with these people. They may have to borrow money or ask these people to watch their kids. They’re not trying to rock the boat.

I get it. Doesn’t mean I like it because I understand it, though. It makes me feel like, “What does that say about how you feel about me? What does that say about how you feel about yourself?” I judge and I get angry. I picture them standing there with polite smiles, fitting in, standing by, while the word nigger floats around the room. Sometimes I think those people are worse. I assume that racists are idiots, so what does that say about the people that sit in the midst of the racism and sip from their cups, and pass the plate of string beans, and turn up the music, like it didn’t even happen?

I hate that people keep telling me, “Well, that was x number of years ago.” It wasn’t that fucking long ago! My Grandmother is 83. That means she was well into her life as an adult and couldn’t use the same bathroom as white people. That means she lived a long time with white folk not acting right. It would be nice to say that the true old school racists will die out soon, but Mr. Nigger Sticker was about my age. I remember glancing at his fat ass wife and later thinking how could she even tolerate that. But she probably feels the same exact way and for all I know they’re raising little mini-racists right now.

So, what the hell am I supposed to do with all that? I think I can be a little fucking angry, for one. It kills me when people want to compare struggles. Like, a white woman might say, “I know discrimination, I’m a woman!” Uh, I’m a black woman, doubly-fucked, what else you got? “I’m fat! People discriminate against me all the time.” Then lose some fucking weight! The last time I checked, this blackness ain’t washing off. You can’t even count ugly people because ugly is subjective. One man’s ugly is another man’s juuuust fine.

I think the only people that can come close to relating are mentally-handicapped people. To have something “wrong” with you, something that sets you apart, something you can’t hide when you go out in public, and then question the sincerity and motivations of everyone that deals with you while you’re out. That’s what it’s like to be black in America.

Make no mistake: being anything in America is infinitely better than being anything anywhere else. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. And sometimes, it’s harder. This wonderful free country where I gotta worry about a white person spitting in my food, or mistreating my child when they find out her mother is black, or being called a nigger just because.

And give me that, white people. Stop trying to sugar coat that shit. Stop telling me, “Well, you know, that was a long time ago,” or, “You have to let that go,” or, “Don’t think that way.” It’s kinda hard not to think that way when you’re getting nigger sticker thrown in your face. I don’t have the luxury of not wondering or worrying. Do you know how many interviews I’ve shown up to and seen the look of surprise on people’s faces when they see I’m black? And then I have to sit there the whole time wondering if it’s a bad thing.

So, yeah. Must be nice to not have those worries on top of all the other worries we all have like, paying bills, affording health care, making time for work, family, friends and ourselves, etc. So, cut me some damn slack.

A few weeks ago I brought up the Nigger Sticker incident while talking with some friends on Facebook and a white friend emailed me a day or so later and said that every time I talk about it, it makes her uncomfortable. And that I can’t continue to let it bother me because the racist wins.

First of all, I felt like this was her polite, white, way of saying, “Get over it.” Secondly, he already won by spewing his filth and not catching an ass whupping for his troubles. Finally, if it makes her (or you, for that matter) uncomfortable to hear about it, then take that discomfort, mix in some humiliation, a dash of fucked up history, a pinch of having relatives that remember what it’s like to fear talking to a white person wrong because they might get strung up, toss in side-eyes when you’re out with your white husband and mixed children and chew on that for a while. Then multiply it by one thousand and imagine how I feel.

Then politely wash it down with a frothy mug of shut the fuck up.

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Comments

70 Responses to “Angry Black Woman”
  1. pricanqt says:

    Nina I love this and don’t think there is anything “to get over”, be upset. I still hate the Atress and looks I get from people when I’m on a date with someone darker than me, because that’s what I’m attracted to.

    • Montanique says:

      Let me ask you something and I’m really not trying to be “angry” but what does what she is going through have to do with you dating black men? Please tell me … please? Are you wanting sympathy or something because of the “attitude you may encounter? The fact is black men would rather have one of you than one of us anyday so you got what you want whether somebody is giving you the evil eye are not? What difference does it make if it is not “favorable” to onlookers because white women are the most desired women in the world while the black woman is the most degraded, with the “lesser than” image. Black men love you and you all love them and you’re feeling slighted and feel it is in the same vain of the “racist” attitude that Nina is describing? There is no comparison.

      • ames says:

        Wow…first off can we not be color struck? I believe Nicole is Puerto Rican…a country with slave ancestry same as America. But I will let her speak for herself. From my point of view I am a black woman who many day could “pass” and I get shit on all the time for dating men the same skin tone as my father because of some perception that my skin tone is attractive….guess what, its not. I have a hard time because MOST brothas want sistas…I get hit on by dudes who are looking for white women…not because of looks but because of attitude…for some reason, maybe white guilt white women are more pliant …brb

      • ames says:

        Anyway…I think racism has caused us to fall into the trap of turning on each other…what is the correct skin tone to date a black man?

        • Montanique says:

          I don’t know all of Nina’s origin but in this article she refers to herself as feeling angry or deeply effected over being called a “nigger sticker” lover and her reactions to this label which indicates she feels a part of her is black in addition to her other races but as far as not being color struck, that would take place in a perfect world. All you have to do is read the headlines daily especially in the matter of localized news and you can see easily it is the way of the world to be colorstruck…race is in every subject …sorry.

          • ames says:

            you are right on that point, but to call Nicole out, without even knowing her heritage and to say that black men want her simply because of the color of her skin…without even knowing her…is out of line.

          • Montanique says:

            To ames

            Oh so you know everything huh ames…isn’t this article “Angry Black Women” written by Nicole herself?
            If she is the author of this article she is also speaking in first person which indicates this is the personal experience of a BLACK WOMEN and if I’m mistaken I’ll be the first to admit that but YOU are the one whom is out of line because my response regarding black men and white women wasn’t to Nicole it was to someone else. So check yourself initially before you start trying to check somebody!

          • ames says:

            Montanique, my apologies for confusing you..pricanqt is Nicole…but yes, in this case I do know what I am talking about because I know NINA is the blog author. I know “pricanqt” is a Puerto Rican woman named Nicole. I know you are extra bitter about black men who date women who must be lighter complected than you..and I know I feel sorry for the fact you feel the way you do about it. Consider me checked…

      • nina says:

        Montanique,

        Anyone would assume your first comment above was directed at Nicole because you posted it directly under hers. Your comments in it seem to be in direct correlation to her post as well.

        Nicole did not write this blog. I did. This is my website.

        I think Amy’s point was that you made a comment to the effect of “black men preferring women her color” as if she were white when she is, in fact, Puerto Rican.

        • Montanique says:

          My apologies regarding the mix up as to who I was referring to because obviously I thought I was talking to someone else and not whom I thought and I’m not extra bitter about the subject but I do tend to be defensive for all black women because I know what we go through even though more and more we’re ashamed or hesitant to express it because we are so readily tagged as angry rather than just being hurt or disappointed. Nowadays so many more of us only looking for validation for those considered to be “affluent” and there by hiding our true feelings. As a writer and researcher I talk to them every day and I am one. I am so sympathetic to the fact that as far as women go and as much as we are fully receptive and accepting of our own beauty society doesn’t see us that way. Our gifts and beauty is overshadowed and pushed to the background more than any race of women, we are the most negatively portrayed and black men eagerly assist in placing us there and know one is for us more than I am for these very reasons so again I would like to apologize as well.

  2. Cassie says:

    OK—I have told you about the town near my grandparent’s house…why don’t you get upset at these people? when you are brought up that it is ok and you don’t really ‘get out’ of it, you don’t see it is wrong.

    It took me going to college, seriously. There are people that I know that still have ‘workers’ these workers will tell you “I am soandso’s n-word”, point blank. Is it right..HELL NO! You know that, I know that, most of America knows that….most of these people never see that, however.

    I am NOT trying to make excuses here, just trying to provide a little insight. In no way am I saying that this life they live is OK.

    I HAVE had discussions with family members about the use of the word and their general thoughts on the subject…no headway was ever made.

    I cannot and will not ever know that feeling, I am sorry that you and/or Kali has had to do so.

  3. Raeann says:

    I know for a fact it still exists. I lived for two years renting a house on a farm about 12 years ago. There was a black man who worked there for the family that lived on the farm and he lived in one of the 4 houses there. He spoke in a dialect that bugged me to them (a very demeaning one, not necessarily an accent), yet I didn’t talk down to him and he began to talk more clearly to me. It was so strange and uncomfortable. I liked all the people involved for the most part, and they treated in some ways this man like he was part of the family, but you know they didn’t think he was worth as much as they were, or that they expected him to talk any different than they did. I will never forget it. It was like it was the early 20th century or something.

  4. Deidra says:

    I enjoyed this blog. Anger can be a pure emotion if directed to the person who caused the harm, in close proximity to the event that caused the anger. Sometimes, however, we carry around chronic anger and misdirect it at innocent people. When it comes to racially-motivated anger, I don’t hold my tongue…not with racists who use code or direct language to insult…and not with family and friend who use racial slurs. For me, this limits the amount of resentment/anger/negativity that I carry with me.

  5. Sue McGoo says:

    I can’t believe anyone thinks you shouldn’t be mad…

    I’m so sorry that happened to you, and I’m sorry your baby had to hear it. That’s disgusting. This DOES make me feel embarrassed, but not because of you, because… It’s still out there, and I had so hoped to see it put to death by my generation. I really thought it was just our grandparents, and that if I had enough sense to know in my gut that it’s just WRONG- even though the person saying it might have been the person I loved most in this world, and if I had the balls to say it to his face, then SURELY I could not be alone, and that it would all be better soon. This world is a terrible disappointment in so many ways.

    We keep trying.

  6. Flora Scarbrough says:

    Well said, like James says. I agree with you on this subject. I will not ever know where you are coming from, but I do empathize with you. My family (close family, like brother, mom, sister, etc) use the N word and I always get on to them about it. I hate that word. I never used it in front of my kids because I didn’t want them thinking it was ok. I don’t ever want to hear them use it. I’m so sorry that your world was tainted by that Jack@$$ at WM.

  7. Steph Kelley says:

    I can say without a doubt I speak up whenever I hear that word. Wherever I may be. I do not care if it is with family ( many who regularly use the word) or anyone else.
    My family is weird in that it is about half black, half white and throw in a little Korean and Mexican. We still have the older white southerners though who really do not see the problem (and the younger white mostly southerners).

    I have been with my nephew in public and had someone call me a coal hauler and my nephew a little n-word I about lost my fucking MIND. I put Hayden in the car and stood got right in that morons face and let him know what an idiot he was. ( I may have thrown in that he was jealous his dick wasn’t as big as the babies)

    Some white people may not get what you go through and we never can, but we do get IT.

    • Stephanie says:

      My ass would be in jail for sure. My nieces are half portugese and lebanese and if ANYONE ever said anything about their race i would lose my damn mind. I someone asked me if it bothered me that my sister married a “raghead” once, i flipped my shit. He is my brother in law, i have known him for about 15 years and I love him… no matter where his ancestors came from. It does not matter… lately i have been thinking of the song “Imagine” by John Lennon and thinking, what if we really were just a brotherhood of man???

  8. Pinky says:

    I still can’t get over that happening to you and it angers me the same. For anyone to tell you to get over it is ridiculous and they should just not read what you write. If that would have happened to me with my mixed child I may have said something…then again with kids involved I would see why one would be the bigger person then move on. Great blog Nina <3

  9. Nanea Hoffman says:

    I feel physically sick thinking about you being subjected to that in front your child. Anger, I think, is the appropriate emotion to feel. And yes, people should fucking feel uncomfortable when you talk about this. That’s the POINT.

    I live in politically correct central, so people might think that word, but they don’t say it out loud. It comes out in other ways, though, and you BET I speak up. Once, a very close family member said, in our living room, that black people just aren’t good at business. Because of genetics. I told her that kind of talk was not EVER okay in my house. I told her lots of things, not least of which is that Hitler agreed with that ignorant-ass kind of thinking. Bob (this was his family) said, “I hope you aren’t serious, because if you are, you have to get out of my house right now.” Then there was the time Matthew told me someone told his best friend, who is mixed, that black kids don’t play soccer. It’s that kind of bullshit that goes on here, and I will not tolerate it. I am raising my children not to tolerate it.

    I am sorry for what you have gone through and still go through. As Steph says, I can’t get what that is like, but I do get IT.

    Keep speaking up. Keep making people uncomfortable. It’s how we get people to think. And hopefully, change.

    • Dianna says:

      I’m with Nanea. It makes me ill. I hate racist people. They make me want to vomit.

    • ames says:

      i make my living off the fact that there are fools who think black people are incapable of owning business…i would much rather earn it another way….but its a mission

  10. Trista says:

    If fucking America would ACKNOWLEDGE what they did was morally reprehensible and utterly and completely disgusting, perhaps the people in this country might begin to acknowledge it too. Instead they encourage forgetting. Forgetting??! You don’t forget something like slavery, especially when your country was built on it. So instead people tend to want to say “ah, that’s over, let’s move on.” No-fucking-way. This country doesn’t even want to APOLOGIZE for it, because god forbid we acknowledge that it was WRONG, because what does that mean? Reparations,maybe? Oh hell no! We can’t even begin to think about that shit, so let’s pretend it isn’t there.

    But worst of all, to not acknowledge that unbelievable, unforgivable acts were committed upon humans BY humans is to say it was ok. And to say it was ok is to perhaps suggest that maybe African Americans aren’t worth as much as whites. So by shying away from the subject, the racism is sanctioned.

    You have every right to be angry. I’m angry for you. And I am embarrassed for my country.

  11. Meghan says:

    I’m glad you wrote this and even more so that you chose to throw it out there.

    I refuse to make excuses for certain members of my family in regards to race. I let them have it. Its been discussed at enough dinner tables and occasions where people either choose to button their lips around me before “lettin’ one slip” or they gang up on me like its a joke.
    I’ve been warned more than once to argue the point just makes THEM uncomfortable.
    Ok then…I live 800 miles away…you’re just going to let me have my moment.

    Pardon, but if you expect me to choke down your dry fucking turkey while sitting in this folding chair AND pretend nobody thinks your daughter is acting like a whore and throwing her life away the last thing I am going to do listen to you call someone a N*****. Now pass the mealy potatoes and try incorporate three new words into your stunted vocabulary until I can haul ass out of here and tell my parents “Look, I tried.”

    Bravo.
    And I love Louis C.K.

  12. Shaka says:

    Great read. Where is that walmart (so i could punch that redneck in his fuckin mouth)?

  13. Dianna says:

    You know what I do with people that say the “N” word? I delete them. Not just from facebook, from my life. FUCK THAT SHIT. I don’t get it!!!! Why are people so disgusing??

  14. Kathi Smith says:

    Nina, I don’t know you (I saw a link to this on Vincent Truman’s FB page) but I’m glad you ranted here. Time’s have changed, are still changing, and it’s because people speak out about what is wrong. It’s a process, slow, unsteady, and not always moving forward, but I do believe we’ll get there one day. People like you who have the courage and strength of character to speak honestly about your feelings can sway hearts and minds.

    I’m an angry white woman. I don’t face the same things you do, but I understand anger, the need to get it off your chest. Funny thing, but your opening, mad at the kids, mad at white men, mad at the world, is exactly how I feel more often than I’d care to admit.

    I see racism from people I know. Most of the time I stand up to it. Sometimes I just don’t have it in me that day. But I’ll tell you this: Racism is on the way out. I’m over 50 now and white attitudes, especially among the young, are so different now than they were when I was younger. There are still young racists being raised, but there are so many more who don’t judge by color. I know so many people my age who were racists but whose children are in mixed marriages with mixed children. That’s been a real wake-up call for so many. It’s easier to hate a race when you don’t know any, but who can hate their own flesh and blood, even if that flesh is darker than their own? Once they accept their grandchild, it’s amazing how much easier it is to accept others.

    This may not seem like much of a change to you, but if you could only see the changes I’ve witnessed, maybe you’d feel as hopeful as I do.

    Anyway, keep letting your anger out. It’s healthy for you and it’s healthy for others to hear it.

  15. Amber says:

    First of all, I love this blog. Damn right you should be angry, both at people who inflict this kind of hate on you and at those who make you feel like you should forget it. It’s unbelievable that in this time in America you have to put up with that sort of hate. Anger keeps us aware. It can be a very positive emotion and one that shouldn’t be abandoned for the sake of others’ comfort.

    As a white person, I have almost nothing to complain about in America. I never understand when other white people bitch about how they are at some sort of imagined disadvantage. What I hate is that other white people see me, admittedly the whitest girl most people have ever seen, and decide to have a discussion of what I like to call “old timey racist banter” because they assume I want to talk about how other races or ethnicities have done me wrong. I don’t want to have that conversation with them and it almost never ends well. If I’m in a professional setting, I turn the conversation cold and dismiss them rapidly. If it’s a personal setting, I invariably get into some sort of argument. I want some sort of t-shirt that would just let them know I don’t want to have that talk, I’m not racist, and I want them to leave me the hell alone.

    Thank you for this blog. It was perfect. Please write more. People need a little discomfort in their lives.

  16. Tanefa says:

    You are better than me. I probably would have been on the news for getting into a brawl at Walmart with my child and two ignorant white folks who tried my patience not know I possess none for that kind of ignorance….

    I appreciate your candor and the expression of your anger is well placed. You have every right to be angry and every right to return to that Walmart with your head held high without thought to those ignorant people. Your anger is righteous but you have to let go of the fear that accompanies it because that is what is making the feelings linger. In order to move on, you are going to have to forgive those people for their ignorance which was probably fostered by their upbringing. It is going to be rough to stomach but in the long run its worth it for your peace (and piece) of mind. Allowing those feelings of despair and wanting to hid from the Walmart, to linger is what lets those people win! {this coming from a woman who would have opened a can of whup ass in front of their child- :)} Any hoo, lol stay blessed beloved.

  17. Debra says:

    I read a book a few years back from Ocatvia Butler called Kindred. Please check it out if you’ve never had the opportunity to read it. I’ll paste the synopsis below, only because I wouldn’t be able to do it justice :o)

    “Using the techniques of science fiction, Octavia Butler in Kindred tangles in a startlingly unique and imaginative way with some of the most fundamental questions about slavery: How does one become mentally enslaved? What is the nature of the slave-master relationship? What is the relevance of slavery to modern-day descendants of slaves?

    Dana Franklin, a black woman writer, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday in 1976 when she is snatched from her Southern California home and transported to the bank of a river in the antebellum South where she saves the life of a young white child who appears to be drowning. When the child’s parents arrive, they begin to beat Dana; when the child’s father attempts to shoot her, she is transported back to the twentieth century. The child is Rufus Weylin, whom Dana later discovers is to be the father of one of her ancestors, a child born of Weylin’s rape of Alice Greenwood, one of his slaves. Thus, the preservation of his life is critical to Dana’s survival. She is transported to the nineteenth century whenever his life is in danger, and she returns to the twentieth century whenever her life is in danger.

    She begins to develop an attachment to Rufus; in every life-saving encounter with him, she attempts to teach him not to fall into the racism endemic in his family and southern society. In essence, she tries to save both his body and his soul. But her trips back in time are too infrequent to have any lasting effect on Weylin, who buys into the racist and sexist system that surrounds him. Dana takes an interest in the Weylin slaves, particularly Alice, and uses her literacy and knowledge of modern medical skills to help them. But in order to guarantee her own existence in the future, she also must encourage Alice to have sex with Rufus. Eventually, Dana too is made a slave and forced into an intimate understanding of the horrors of slavery and her own limitations.

    The tension of the oddly symbiotic relationship between Dana and Weylin makes this book a riveting read. By transporting a modern-day African American woman into slavery, Butler vividly brings to life the hardships endured by the slaves. Dana frequently compares her strength and survival skills to those of the enslaved women and finds herself wanting. In the end, Dana finds the strength to break free of her physical slavery and the hold that the past has on her, while ensuring her own survival in the present, but she can never again forget the struggles of her exploited ancestors.”

  18. Mekka says:

    can I just say… I can SOOOOO relate. My great aunt passed last year at 100 years old…she was still alive to see a black president. There was a family for whom she worked (cleaned and did laundry)that wanted to help out with the funeral (didn’t need to but just wanted to contribute something because she was so good to them…ahem.) Now i remember *stopping to shake my fist at you for drudging out these ill forgotten memories*

    I remember this otherwise ‘nice and sweet’ elderly white woman was talking about memories and she matter of factly recounted giving my aunt her old curtains and old fabric and yaddah yaddah… I swallowed hard and hoped to be able to leave soon… then my 10 yr old pointed to these knick knacks of black women sewing and all kinds of shit.. she told my half Haitian daughter that she got them from Haiti when she went there on a christian mission (i.e. colonialization)…did you know they don’t wear shirts all the time? they don’t have shoes…they cut out old tires and tie them to their feet… I wanted to hem that ass up… yup…mad about it…I digress…

  19. Carrie says:

    You have every right to be angry.

    I’ve always been fascinated by ‘race’ and racism. I guess that’s what led me to major in Anthropology. While getting my degree, I couldn’t learn enough about race in America. I read as much as I could and it was as though a light bulb finally went off for me. I understood that I had privileges tied to my skin and others had burdens. I was angry about the injustices in our world. The anger, ‘paranoia,’ and distrust made sense to me. I’d feel the same if I had such experiences.

    From then on, I decided I wasn’t going to condone it. I’ve alienated myself from white people when they begin to use their special ways of saying racist things. When a friend rolled her eyes and told me that Black History month is a joke and racist and then asked, ‘Why don’t we have a White History month?’, I told her that the other 11 months of the year are all about white people so get over it. They have the shortest month of the year, for Christ’s sake.

    Anyway, your post is beautifully written and from the heart. Thanks for sharing – I know it isn’t easy to talk about or share these things.

  20. Hezzy says:

    That incident STILL pisses me off as if it happened an hour ago! Nina, I’m proud of you. Keep telling it like it is.

  21. Raeann says:

    I keep thinking about this blog, a lot of white people seem to want to forget or push it under the carpet. It kind of reminds me of those saying the Holocaust never happened. They want to say, well that is the past. Any white people in a mixed society though is going to hear from people with an ignorant attitude (I remember you writing something about your husband hearing this kind of thing, the people talking to him not knowing his wife was black) and them not thinking much about it because you are also white, or assuming you have the same ignorance as they do. Those bothered by it too want to just push it under the carpet, cut them out of their life, etc, instead of saying hey, this is messed up, or what have you. It isn’t the past, it still is around, sometimes in places you wouldn’t expect. It’s disgusting how much is exists. It breaks my heart that Kali had to hear that. It would break my heart if my kids heard anything like that. I kind of am guilty of that, I try to raise my kids to be fair to anyone, but I get where I assume that everything is hunky dory at their school, as they all seem to get along (the school is very racially diverse), but I have questioned them in subtle ways if there is any racism as I wonder about some of the parents at the school. I kind of get weary of the redneck factor. Anyway, that attitude of pretending it doesn’t exist, is dangerous, and it helps breed more negativity.

  22. Mary Harman says:

    One morning, one of our installers came into the store and said to me, “Hey N…” I looked at him and said “Hi White Trash!” Then proceeded to rip him up one side and then the other. Told him someone should rip his lips off, etc. I guess he thought he was being “gangsta”. I lost all respect for him that day and since that day, his name is “White Trash”. There is NO excuse for the way the man treated you (and your family). What would these people do if you went up to them and called them “White Trash”? Just ridiculous and it makes me sick! I don’t give a flying f if you are white, black, red, orange, green, blue. Ignorance is Ignorance!

  23. Donny says:

    Since you got this off your chest does it mean I can stop sleeping on the couch, coming in the back door, and riding in the back seat?

  24. ames says:

    ..you know what is worse…BLACK people who say get over it! We as a people have let a lot of this shit manifest with the whole “lets assimilate”. The jews wont let anyone forget about the holocaust but how many black kids can tell you what the middle passage is? Granted, slavery as a practice is universal, its written casually in the bible and their are countries that still practice it…but the type of slavery that happened in America is different than any place on earth and the historical and cultural impact is felt even today and no one addresses it…
    I fight every day so that minority business owners can get 10% of the money spent by corporations…TEN percent…and it is a battle…because there is an assumption that people of color ( and women ) are incapable of participating in business…wtf!!!

    any ol way…its not that long ago…i was going to be a ward of the state because in 1966 being of mixed race made you unadoptable…yep.

  25. Patti says:

    I have nothing to say about this, except, I love you.

  26. Margery Bloom says:

    I spent the whole week watching Eyes on the Prize with my juniors. Because they needed to see and hear what reality was, and not just read the standard lines on Rosa Parks and MLK Jr in the textbook. Racism on my campus is rampant – black vs. brown. I keep telling them how stupid that is – that the white power structure is thrilled that they are expending all that frustration and anger on each other rather than directing it where it belongs. Maybe some of them get that.

    So they’re watching some pissant mayor of some pissant Alabama town ranting and raving and spewing the word, and they are all just totally appalled. “They were allowed to talk like that?” “Not only were they allowed, it was normal.” “Man, that’s just fucking WRONG.” So there is hope that change can occur. And now they understand WHY I don’t allow them to use that word in my hearing, even if they’re using the one that ends with an “a” and not an “er.”

    I remember one night, after a waitressing shift, sitting at the bar and having to listen to some shithead go on and on for 15 minutes about how the Jews had totally fucked up his city, how we were all thieves and liars, and finally, how Hitler should have finished the job. And I was too weak to open my fucking mouth and say a single word. Then he turned to me and offered to buy me a drink. So I said, “Sorry, no, I don’t accept anything from racist bigots, and I doubt you’d want to buy a Jew a drink anyway.” He turned all shades of red, but didn’t apologize. I went back in the kitchen, where my exhusband was still on shift, and just shook and cried. Because that part of me DOESN’T show on the outside, and I had never heard such raw hatred directed toward ME, even if it wasn’t personal. So I can imagine how much more awful it is when it IS directed at you because it’s visible.

    So keep writing. I’ll keep writing. Because the only way to make it stop is to shine the biggest motherfucking halogen spotlight on it that you can.

  27. Leah says:

    Some bitch in my friends list on Facebook (who has since been deleted) was sticking up for a piece of shit comedian here in the UK called Frankie Boyle, who loves throwing ‘jokes’ into his routine about ‘retards’ and he bandies about the N word amongst other disgusting, attention-grabbing bullshit. I said I thought what he’d said was disgusting, and that I won’t even tolerate writing the N word, let alone saying it, even in reference to someone else using it. I don’t even like it when black rap stars mention the N word in songs, or if it’s mentioned in films. It makes me feel sick when people use it, whatever their colour (although I can see why the rap community has claimed it as their own).

    I got called an ‘uptight PC c*nt’ for replying to that girl’s Facebook status saying I found Frankie Boyle to be reprehensible for making jokes about black people. I replied saying if you think that makes me an uptight PC c*nt then so be it, but I’d rather have that accolade than be the kind of person who thinks it’s OK to say the N word.

    I’m just a white English girl who grew up in a Pentecostal church full of black people, and I have a black uncle, but even so I can’t say I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racism. Even so, I’m more aware of it than some people might be, and it makes me puke. When I was about 14 my best friend was a black Jamaican girl called Paula, and I saw the looks we got together. I’m glad I was brought up in the church, because I was brought up to believe everyone is equal in the eyes of God. If only that were so in the eyes of man!

    No, I could never know what it’s like to be in your shoes, but I wish we lived in a world where you didn’t have to meet Bubba the racist in your Wally World car park. I found you talking about that incident upsetting but for you and everyone else who has to experience that, not because it’s a taboo subject no one should talk about. People SHOULD know racism still exists, and it SHOULD make us feel uncomfortable! It should make us feel dammned uncomfortable because it’s pathetic. We as a world should be SO far past this bullshit by now and you should not have to have that upset.

    There was a film that came on the TV yesterday with Blair Underwood in it, and he was getting beaten up by a white cop within 2 minutes of the film starting. I had to turn it over because it made me feel physically sick. Literally I couldn’t bear to watch it. It doesn’t matter to me what the film was actually going to be about because I just couldn’t watch that happen.

    I know Rosa Parks is someone of great importance to the black community in America. Here I like to think Asquith Xavier was quite a trail blazer, although it sickens me that in the year we won the World Cup (1966) there was still such institutionalised racism. Here’s a link to a story about him, if you’re not familiar. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2006/07/15/first-class-hero-115875-17388823/

  28. PJ says:

    I think a lot of problems come from the political correctness movement trying to say, on a general level, that people who are “different” from you are essentially the “same” as you. Instead, they should be saying that “difference” is a good thing for the world, because it gives us a chance to experience all kinds of wonderful things that the “same” just can’t come close to. Diversity shouldn’t be ignored, it should be celebrated.

  29. richard says:

    God, I love you.
    In the not too distant past, I had someone — who I would have expected to know better — use the word. And while I DID fight my original gut instinct to slap them hard (and I’m not kidding, that is literally what I wanted to do), I did give them a lecture.

    There may have been some finger wagging and a threat to pull a shank outta my weave.

    What, you think you’re the ONLY angry black woman?

    I would say that if there’s a group that might “come close to relating” are the gays. Maybe I’m wrong, but in my mind — and clearly, this comes from a biased place — but we, too, are unable to change (as opposed to fat folks or even ugly folks who can have plastic surgery), and we, too, know the fear that you speak of here.

    A few years ago, Charlie and I were with some friends in the East Village, bar hopping. It’s not an area we knew well, and it’s not an area we went to often. As we were walking down the street, one of us made a joke to the other. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but it was something along the lines of, “Oh, man up.”

    Apparently, a guy standing outside a bar thought we were talking to him. “Fucking faggots!” he yelled before chasing us for a few blocks. It was an absolutely terrifying experience, and neither CHarlie nor myself can be in that area without instantly remembering the night and making reference to it.

    We behaving differently in certain situations. At home, we routinely refer to one another as “sweetie” or “babe”. It’s as casual to us as it was for Edwina to call her daughter “sweetie” on Ab Fab. It’s just part of our daily lingo. But sometimes, we’ll be somewhere and one of us will say it and we’ll realize, “Oh, shit. Not here. We ain’t lookin’ to get killed.”

    • nina says:

      Richard, I hear you, but what I meant was something that is just immediately obvious about you. Like, when you walk into the room people know right away that you’re black while it may take some more investigating to find out someone is gay. But I absolutely feel like if there is any word that can compare to nigger, it’s faggot. I despise that word. I don’t even like typing it. And I don’t tolerate it.

      In fact, when I put myself in the shoes of my white friends that have admitted to letting the use of the word nigger slide, the only comparable situation is if I were in a room full of any kind of people and someone said faggot. I’d lose my shit. It makes me sad that others can’t do the same when it comes to either word.

  30. Liz Czukas says:

    Hi Nina,

    I found this meme through the lovely James McShane. I read it, not expecting to be moved to comment, but I was. You wrote it beautifully, and you have every right to be angry. What a complete asshole. What gives people the right to say anything to a complete stranger other than “Hello?” I mean, seriously. What do they know about your life? I know this wasn’t your point, but how did he even know that was your car? Your choice in bumper sticker? The level of ignorance is galling.

    I have nothing in my life to compare it to, so I won’t try. The only feeling I can imagine even comes close is when I used to work at Planned Parenthood, and the abuse I suffered having to go past the protesters on Saturday mornings, when I was just going in to do my job. I did teen education, nothing even related to abortion, and I was spit at, called names, screamed at and treated in the least-Christian ways I can imagine by the protesters. Now I chose to be there, and I knew the risks every time I parked my car, but the shock of the ignorance and hate never failed to stun me. I can only imagine this event gave you a similar feeling. I can’t imagine living with it everyday.

    I am proud to say that I don’t know anyone who would use the word (or at least they know better than to use it or any hate words in front of me). I wish more people could say that.

    Thanks for getting angry, but telling it beautifully.

    – Liz

  31. Alisha says:

    Nina,

    I could sprinkle your story with anecdotal memories of my own, but what we both know is that if you have never experienced it, you will never understand. Not only do I appreicate this post, simply because you have the platform for impact, I FEEL YOU!!

    Check out the website for Ferris State University (http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/)…They have the largest collection of Jim Crow memorabalia in the world, and we are actually making the museum larger. They have a travelling display called ‘Hateful Things’…While it is called Jim Crow, the displays of these items has branched out to encompass all that is ugly.

  32. WildSmile says:

    ^5 on the black hand side! Awesome Nina!

  33. Karen says:

    Be angry when people are assholes.
    Nothing wrong with that. There is a telemarketer that I’m sure never wants the call here again after the cursing out she got for calling to ask for my deceased mother…..AGAIN.
    Never let anyone you to get over it.
    Tell them to kiss your ass.
    Love your babies and your husband and hold your head up.
    Wish I knew what to tell you what to do with the rednecks but I’m at a loss with that one myself.

  34. SusanaB says:

    Dearest Nina,

    I am so sorry you had to suffer from the ignorance of another especially with your child in tow. I hate ignorance in all forms and it bothers me that you had to suffer because someone is just an idiot. I just want you to know I have loved and admired you for a long time and I’m in your corner. As long as we keep talking and we keep the communication open, things have to get better. I believe that it will. Keep the faith!

  35. Natasha says:

    **Standing ovation**

  36. Orin says:

    Hello fron your neighbor to the north (Canada)

    Everytime I read things like this I am amazed that people would still be using that word out in public.

    I live in Vancouver BC and we have so many different races here and inter-racial people that I can’t even recall the last time I heard a racist comment. Granted we moslty have asian descent people here. But racism is racism.

    Glad you blogged this out and never be afraid to show your anger due to your colour. Whenever I hear racist or prejudice comments I am the first to shame those people.

    Anyway I have written more than I thought but conveyed less than I hoped.

  37. Malcom Hoover says:

    there is much brainwashing going on today peoplke think there is progress
    f that there is no progress
    another lie is that racists dont know what they are doing
    they know darn well…they are specialist at making black peoples life hell
    another big piece of propaganda is that they say are afraid of blacks
    bullcrap they mistreated them for 500 years and still going
    the only thing they are afraid is that blacks one day might escape this subhuman bondage and retaliate
    and dont mistake it for a guilty conscience
    they dont feel and compassion towards blacks

    the one thing that annoys the heck out of me is all the decoys racists deploy to shut legit critcism and resistence up

    they want to lynch + rape us but they also want us to be thankfull for it

    racism is on the rise
    and its here to stay

    the right way to deal with racism is to defend yourself as a black person right in that moment
    that will give you a peace of mind
    and actually thats what makes one free: ACTION

  38. AngryBlackWomanToo says:

    I would weigh about 100 pounds less if I had the courage to say the things you have said here. Just stopping by to thank you for saying them for me and for all of us who, for whatever reason, allow ourselves to be silenced. I don’t know you, but our shared experience makes me appreciate and love you all the same.

  39. Heather says:

    I’m just getting around to your blog. All I can think about is a quote I heard somewhere once about discrimination. ” You want to know who has it the worst? A Black lesbian.” I’m not making fun of you or the blog. That just popped into my head.

  40. You have every right to bring it up, and bring it up, and bring it up over and over until every person you know, knows that hatred is still out there.

  41. Patricia W. says:

    Preach! Also, Louis CK is so full of awesome.

  42. Allan Anderson says:

    My 75+ year old neighbor has had a hate on for me for several years. I can handle his foul comments to me but he has been calling my 7 year old bi-racial son a nigger when he walks the sidewalk in front of his house. My son is terribly distressed by this and I do not know how to stop it. My neighbor loves it when I confront him about anything and just makes things worse. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • ABG says:

      Call anyone who calls you a nigger back, regardless of their colour. It’s confusing and takes the sting out of it for you, and lets the person realize it’s not a colour insult, rather a person just lacking intelligence.

  43. Randy says:

    Ecc 3:8 KJV – A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

    I’d say this is your time to hate.

  44. Angela says:

    Thanks for writing this, I am getting knots in my stomach reading what happened to you in that parking lot. All the feelings from my personal experiences come forth, a mix of helplessness and fear, a stranger hates me, wishes me harm, and will lash out at me if the opportunity presents itself. Must I walk around “angry” to defend myself, always on the ready with venom to spew their way if need be? That is not my typical disposition but the fear can push me that way, make me into an “angry” black woman. So I understand. It doesn’t help that although the only harm that old man at Wal-mart could only inflict was by making hurtful comments, there is a history of old white men spurned by the same sentiment doing immensely worse things…

  45. Marvin says:

    I guess the real question is, do you still support Obama?

  46. goldenoldenlady says:

    As a white woman living in the UK (not only white, but blonde and grey-eyed) I have lost count of the number of social occasions over the years such as parties or trips to the pub where someone has tried to tell a racist joke in my presence. As soon as I see which way the joke is going I always stop them dead in their tracks and tell them they will get no sympathetic laughter from me.  Strangely, they always do stop.  AND change the subject.  They even apologise.
    It just takes resistance.  But resitance takes nerve.  And nerve takes having all our ducks in a row should an argument ensue and we have to defend our position of tolerance.
    Not easy.  But not impossible.  It has got easier as I have got older (I am 55 now) and I put up with shit much less in my life as a whole.  My time here is running out, so I don’t want to spend ANY of it seeming to condone nastiness through silence.

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