The Black Woman’s Anger

To turn aside from the anger of Black women with excuses or the pretexts of intimidation is to award no one power — it is merely another way of preserving racial blindness, the power of unaddressed privilege, unbreached, intact. Guilt is only another form of objectification. Oppressed peoples are always being asked to stretch a little more, to bridge the gap between blindness and humanity. Black women are expected to use our anger only in the service of other people’s salvation or learning. But that time is over. My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity. —Audre Lorde, “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”, 1981

[Many of the ideas the book deals with — racist misogyny, sexism within the movement, Black family relations — have resonance today. With movements fighting state violence against Black women like Sandra Bland, it is clear that the intersection of patriarchy and white supremacy still has deadly consequences in America. It comes as no surprise that the book has earned its place as a much loved treatise amongst Black feminists; it is a survival tome. The arguments Wallace introduced into the public sphere possess a singular merit derived from the author’s rage. For Black feminists then and now, Black women’s anger has a purpose — it is useful both personally and politically. Black women’s anger is raw and immediate, imbued with the roughness of having survived multiple oppressions, demanding visibility when America would rather we die quietly. And that’s the loudness of the fury written into Wallace’s pages. For the author, Black women’s anger is — in the tradition of Audre Lorde — a kinetic force. Anger provides an honest space for the possibility of social movement instead of stagnation. Anger is, as Lorde writes, “a grief of distortions between peers, and its object is change.” Wallace’s “necessary roughness” and her anger is in every sense a balanced reaction to her lived experience and observations of the distortions white supremacy has created between Black men and women. Black Macho is a more than even-handed take when one considers the full weight of white supremacy and patriarchy in America….]                                                                                    Read the full essay here | Muna Mire for THE NEW INQUIRY



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