The Truth And Power Behind Black Rage

one black woman leaning on another black woman's shoulder
Graciella Ye’Tsunami
March 6, 2024

Sapphire” is the stereotype created to police Black women’s rage. Portrayed as sassy and emasculating, “Sapphire” was the original “Angry Black Woman.”

 This trope was popularized in the 1950s television show Amos ‘n’ Andy, but anti-Blackness has been vilifying Black women’s rage since the 1800s. Unfortunately Black women are constantly being told to “calm down.”

In  her keynote speech to the  National Women’s Studies Association in 1981, poet and feminist Audre Lorde declared, ​“My response to racism is anger.” 

She continued, ​“Black women are expected to use our anger only in the service of other people’s salvation or learning. But that time is over.”

Where do Black women get to safely express rage

Rage is a valid emotion and a powerful teacher. The Buddhist teacher Lama Rod Owens writes, “If we don’t wrestle with anger, we will never get to the heartbreak. And if we don’t get to the heartbreak, we don’t get to the healing.”

Anti-Blackness is a heartbreakingly violent system that we as Black people, and especially Black women, have been forced to protest for our very survival. It has destroyed dreams, families, and livelihoods. Black women don’t need permission or approval to be mad.

So why should Black women calm down when our future depends on the ability to process rage into action? The answer is simple: they should not. Sapphire’s Rage is there for our liberation.

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