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Understanding the Angry Black Woman in the Context of Racism and Sexism

Understanding the Angry Black Woman in the Context of Racism and Sexism

RaiNesha Miller


Negative stereotypes associated with Black women’s expression of anger, such as The Angry Black Woman (ABW), negatively impacts how society perceives and interacts with Black women. As a result, Black women tend to hide their true emotional response to anger-inducing situations out of fear of reinforcing the ABW stereotype (Walley-Jean, 2009; Fields et al., 1998). Black women may self-silence as a way to cope with internalized oppression due to the diminished social value of their emotional expression. To date, researchers have failed to examine possible factors that may contribute to Black women’s experience and expression of anger. I argue that the ABW does exist. However, one must first consider the racism and sexism consistently experienced by Black women in order to understand their anger. This review will present theoretical models of anger, frustration, and powerlessness that illuminate the connection between Black women’s anger and their experiences as racial and gender minorities. This review will also consider the clinical implications of Black women’s chronic subjection to discrimination, experience of anger, and anger-control tendencies.