Now, I’ve never been accused of being the angry, black women or the angry, black person in general. That label just wouldn’t stick to someone who smiles all the time, is known for her positive disposition and is a diplomat at heart.
But I do KNOW and have witnessed reaction to an angry black person. It seems that when a black person gets angry or becomes upset with a person of another race many times the individual or the people around them believe the black person will either become violent or that a violent altercation will later ensue. And usually the individual reacts with fear, to be honest this has happened to me on a few occasions. However, if I sense the person is scared I stop and ask, “Why are you scared? I’m not going to hurt you I’m just voicing my dissatisfaction with x, y, z..” I have received varying reactions to my blunt honesty over the years but usually the person reacting in that negative way towards me apologizes and tries to address my concerns in a more appropriate and constructive manner but I must say that this fear reaction, from my observations, is more prevalent among people over 50.
But I do believe that many people subscribe to the violent, angry black person stereotype. Many of these people give validation to the stereotype and believe it to be a fact and thus react more negatively towards an angry black person.
Obama, obviously, has had to and continually confronts and tactfully manuevers around this stereotype day after day. And he tries to constantly maintain his cool in order to never, ever appear as the angry black man, because we all know where that will lead to the inevitable..”Boy, he’s always angry,” “I don’t think I want to vote for an angry black man,” “God, if he’s this angry now what will happen if he becomes President?” I can go on and on but his consistent coolness has led to the inevitable well, he’s too cool. He’s too above it all. He’s not one of us. He doesn’t have any ‘real’ passion.
So in a way Obama can’t win. If he raises his voice and gets a little more passionate about an issue, any issue, some people will get scared and believe he’s a militant black panther who wants revenge on whites. Yet, if he maintains an even and steady temperament he’s cold and distant. In times we often times recite, ‘let cooler heads prevail’ yet Obama is criticized for displaying these characteristics–he can’t win.
But I ask would you rather have a leader that is hot and unpredictable or a leader than is composed, reliable and steady under pressure?
I think the answer is quite clear.