Fierce Angels

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dr. Sheri Parks, associate professor in the American Studies department at the University of Maryland and author of Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture, discusses the mythology of the "strong black woman" in both black and mainstream culture in the United States.


Sheri Parks

Comments [12]

perri from NYC

I'm thinking about the comment Michelle Obama made about being proud of her country for the first time. I totally "got" what she meant, but I think many people pegged her as an ABW.

Aug. 05 2010 01:00 PM
lb from nyc

I have noticed this stereotype in movies, where the African American is this the voice of reason in contrast to the white characters.

Jul. 31 2010 09:01 AM
The Truth from Becky

MIKEinInwood - you are perpertrating the stereotype and more importantly going directly opposite of what is being said here. The comment is being strong, aggressive in a nut shell a woman handling business on her own, giving eye contact and solid firm "perceived" as angry, but thank you for letting me know what YOUR reaction to all of that would be.

Jul. 30 2010 12:44 PM

If you can only be strong by being angry, you are not strong. Your anger will alienate people around you. They may back down and you will 'win the battle', but you'll lose the war. The people who have to deal with your anger cannot express their anger and they resent you for silencing them. That others back down when you are angry can be viewed as the bigotry of low expectations. Many people do not expect angry Black women to be rational, so they simply do not deal with them.

Jul. 30 2010 11:48 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Too bad the segment was so short. I was wondering if Ms. Park had opinion about how the most well known "angry black woman" in the U.S., Medea, is portrayed by a man.

Jul. 30 2010 11:45 AM

The superwoman model is not limited to African-American women. I learned to be a superwoman from my mother, an East Indian woman from Trinidad.

Maybe this had more to do with class than ethnicity - a model for coping created by generations of struggle.

Jul. 30 2010 11:39 AM
nj woman

Nothing new with women being the strongest and being super woman, helping and taking care of all, sometimes at their own expense. This crosses all boundaries and is not only a black women phenomenon.

Jul. 30 2010 11:39 AM
The Truth from Becky

I agree with the caller and the Doctor... it is a surreal existence because the power, strength and intelligence you are expected to have by your family is FEARED in the business world. Shifting is what you learn to do as a result.

Before I could finish, Brian say "angry black woman" which is how the Black Woman is perceived to the world! Unfortunately.

Jul. 30 2010 11:38 AM
The Truth from Becky

To be clear, my comment was towards the Doctor, ag and people like him always want to detract from the issue at hand.

Jul. 30 2010 11:35 AM
The Truth from Becky

Very well stated.

Jul. 30 2010 11:33 AM

I think you said that elegantly, ag.

Jul. 30 2010 11:15 AM
a g from n j

this is bound for misunderstanding,but here goes- i feel something is not terribly right in the world,when i hear black men,so often say on the radio,"be strong sister".
after a tragedy,or at the first sign of black womans tears,that phrase gets thrown out there. i am very sympathetic to the african american experience period. i don't think that any and eveyone is "strong" all of the time or some of the time. or that strength ultimately comes from,"being strong". this should go to both or all genders for that matter. and i think a lot of quiet "passive" behind the scenes people in civil justice movements,never get the credit they so richly deserve,for being thought of as not heroic or strong.

Jul. 30 2010 11:02 AM

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