“Life is not a binary.” – Staci Jordan Shelton

Rambling thoughts on “love and light” and its opposite, the label “Angry Black Woman” that we so eagerly reach for so that we can dismiss the voices of women of color.

It occurs to me that only a mind limited by a misunderstanding of life as a binary would imagine an angry Black woman to be anything less than a magnificent expression of humanity among many possible magnificent expressions of humanity.

– Anger is only judged as negative or inferior by a person or society that values passivity over Wholeness.
– Blackness is only judged as negative or inferior by a person or society that values whiteness over Wholeness.
– Womanhood is only judged as negative or inferior by a person or society that values manhood over Wholeness.

What, precisely, is the offense? Anger? Blackness? Being a woman? The inconceivable and shattering combination of all three speaking at once with a single voice?

To be offended by the expression of anger from a Black woman is, in essence, to ask, “How dare you be whole? How dare you, by simply existing and voicing emotions, shine a light on the self-imposed limits of my humanity?”

This incredulity looks to me like jealousy and self-loathing indulged to an extreme and distilled down to a three-word tantrum: Angry Black Woman.

It is time to grow up and stop throwing this old tantrum. Life is not a binary. We are not “either this or that.”

Accepting ourselves and others as whole beings, loving the full expression of humanity in ourselves and others, replacing the question “How dare you?” with “Why don’t I dare?” — this is the light that interests me. This is the love that does the hard work of asking “What have I refused to look at until now? What have I been so afraid of losing that I have traded pieces of my own wholeness and humanity to keep it? What have I allowed myself to believe is not worthy of love or existence (and could I be wrong)? Could I love myself enough to love all of us? Could I love all of us enough to love myself?”

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