Why are you attacking me?”
“Why are you so angry?”
“What’s the attitude for?”
These are examples of phases that probably every black woman has heard when they were expressing a difference of opinion. Automatically people tend to feel attacked or “frightened” when a black women has something to say, or expresses any kind of emotion other than happiness or joy. Our very emotions are degraded and mocked in the media, in the workplace, and sometimes amongst each other. Seldomly are we able to express our full range of emotion in public, and even in private to ourselves we past judgement.
Although demonizing black women for having and showing any type of emotion or response that is deemed to be “inappropriate” is something that has been around since 1619 we don’t have to go back that far in history for an example. This past weekend after the US Open Australian cartoonist by the name of Mark Knight saw fit to depicted one of the world's best athlete as such (pictured below)
Obviously this caricature drawing of Serena Williams caused outraged, and people took to social media to express such. Many calling it racist and sexist. While, I do share similar sentiments to those expressed, I want dive deeper into the the symbolism of this cartoon. Here tennis great Serena Williams is showcased as a bulky, black woman having an temper-tantrum. There is s pacifier on the count by her broken racket, and her opponent who is Haitian and Japanese, who has had her appearance europeanized, is posed in front of the umpire, who is asking her if she will "just let her win?"
You didn't have to watch the match to know that this is most certainly how it did not go down. Serena, who was cheated out of a point, and antagonized throughout the match very passionately expressed her frustrations about her treatment. She wasn't whining, or throwing a temper-tantrum she was standing up for herself. However, the problem isn't with Serena defending herself, the problem is that people aren't use to black women doing such. Isn't this similar to what Nicki Minaj has been experiencing in the media these past few weeks? Now, before we continue know that this isn't about Nicki Minaj vs. Cardi B. we are not choosing side, and following their feud ain't apart of our ministry.
However, what this is about is the way in which Nicki Minaj is attacked in the media and being portrayed as being crazy, being a bully, or potentially be on drugs. All because she exposing how she has been mistreated in the industry. Even if some agree with her message they can’t condone her message because of how she is saying it. If she was much more meek and mild in her approach instead of assertive then people could back her.
Chance The Rapper tweeted “I can’t imagine what it’d be like to literally not be able to show yo frustrations with actual inequities and subjugation. Without being called bitter or angry or a liar or crazy. Mfs a literally tell a BW “I feel u but u not goin about it the right way”... what?” Being demeaned and traduced because people are interpreting your emotions as aggression and violence is something that pretty much every black person has had to deal with, especially black women.
But gone are the days were we will hold ourselves hostage to the confinements of society's perception of us. It is not our job to suppress our emotions in order to not offend those around us. It is not our job to plicate to the comfort of others. What is our job is to feel and feel fully and freely regardless of who is uncomfortable because of it. Because after all we are human too, and its time for everyone else to start seeing us as such.