By Keely Aouga ’19
Being a teenage girl, I can’t help but wonder what people think about me. Do people like me? Do people think that I am approachable? These are just the basic questions, the questions that spiral through most girls’ heads. But then, I remember that I am not just any girl; I am a black female. That is something I will never be able to change, and I love that about myself. I love my rich chocolate skin and my magical curly hair. Although I love these aspects of my identity, I feel that all people see is my race and gender; I’m more than that. I’m someone who speaks passionately about things that matter to me. I am someone who believes in social justice, and I try to voice my opinions as often as possible, but there are times when I refrain myself from speaking, in order to not be labeled as the “talks too much about race” black girl or the “angry” black girl.
But what some people don’t understand is, I’m allowed to be a black girl who is angry. I have reasons to be upset. My anger should never have to be justified to anyone. Why can’t I be angry without it having anything to do with my race? Even if people don’t say anything about the color of my skin, I have to live wondering if people associate my actions and behavior with my race. I have once had a conversation with a peer, in which they tried to finish the end of my sentence, and they did so by making comments regarding race. Little do they no, those were nowhere close the ending to my sentence, but they assumed I was going to be “bitter” or complain about issues involving race because that’s what all the black girls do. I will always feel the need to filter what I say. I can’t be too angry or else I am just bitter and annoying, but I can’t be too quiet or else people will walk all over me. The stereotype of the “angry” black girl doesn’t necessarily mean that one is angry. Sometimes, it is meant to silence one’s voice and make them feel inferior. It is meant to restrict black women and prevent them from speaking out. It has trained me to constantly think before I speak, especially depending on the people I’m around. I can’t leave room for any “slip ups”; you can’t afford to “slip up” when you’re like me at a place like Andover.
But what do people expect from me? I am angry, and I’m going to show it. I’m going to be angry for as long as I feel necessary. You can’t invalidate my feelings or tell me how to feel. I don’t understand why any other person’s anger is valid, but if a black woman does it, then her feelings no longer matter. If you haven’t noticed, we have a reason to be angry. The system that we live in has placed black woman at the bottom of society. All we have are ourselves to show that we are more than a stereotype. Our solidarity and sisterhood are the driving force of our strength and motivation. We are forced to keep our head held high and look strong, but not to look scary. We have to be authoritative, but not too bossy. So much is expected of us, but God forbid, we get angry.
So yes, I am an angry black woman. And, I am not ashamed; I am empowered. I will take my anger with me to show that my anger isn’t something to disregard. I will carry my anger with me unapologetically. My anger is for every black girl that has to restrict her speech. It’s for every black girl that has to be hyperaware of how her actions affect others perception of her. Until black women are equal to everyone, I will continue to be angry.