You’ve heard the term “Angry black man/woman” probably too many times for it to register anymore. Most black professionals run into it personally at one time or another, and it is a common device utilized in political and corporate infighting against black employees.
It is a device, dependent on the ignorance or bias of other white employees and managers, which can cause serious career damage to the accused black employee. Often phrased as “having a chip on the shoulder” when a black employee reacts no differently than a white employee to a situation, or when the employee is a black woman, as having “an attitude”, the false canard is just another of those “black taxes” on the way to that still not reached post-racial nirvana.
This irrational, racially driven bias provides a serious challenge to President Obama’s image.
Dec. 23, 2010 – Since his 2008 campaign, much discussion has been devoted to understanding President Obama’s approach. At various points Obama’s public coolness has been seen as a plus, while at other points it has been viewed as a real minus. On those rare occasions when Obama has dared give expression to his ire, he has confronted the “angry black man” issue and any concerns he may have regarding the perception that an “angry black man” has assumed the role of President of the United States of America.
In the last two weeks two friends of mine have written pieces critical of my assertion that part of understanding Barack Obama is to understand his intense fear of being perceived as an “angry black man.” One friend simply stated his disagreement with me, while the other ridiculed my position. Both friends happen to be white.
Before I go any further let me be clear that I do not articulate this analysis as in any way a defense of Obama. As my record shows, I have been highly critical of the President on many issues. What has me unsettled, however, is how easy it has been for many white leftists and progressives to dismiss the matter of the “angry black man” without fully interrogating the concept and its implications. In that sense, this is about much more than President Obama.