Recently it has been my sad duty to report the demise of Mammy and Jezebel. It comes with great relief that I report that Sapphire while critically wounded from the vicious attacks of both racists and the liberal left is still breathing.
Sapphire who is more commonly known as the angry black woman has been resilient in her fight to maintain her life. Unlike Mammy and Jezebel who were used for what they could physically give whites, Sapphire is welded like a weapon to forestall dissent.
Womanhood is understood as soft and yielding and to be called a sapphire or an angry black woman is to be created as 'unwoman'. It is meant to literally strip the body of any resemblance of femininity leaving the victim feeling unsexed and unworthy. She is a metaphorical weapon that has been employed to keep black women docile.
There are many that would love to disassociate themselves from her because it is a label that originates in the white mans desire to remain at the top of the race/gender hierarchy; however a complete denial of her existence would admit on some level that we are not entitled to our rage.
Anger is just as much a legitimate emotion as happiness, or sadness. Too withhold from expressing the myriad of human emotions because we have been told that it is a negation of our gender, is to fall prey to social construction. As De Beauvoir theorized one is not born woman but becomes one; therefore what is understood as 'woman' is not based on any genetic characteristics that are based in sex but is based in characteristics that we create to maintain the gender hierarchy.
Sapphire needs to rise like the phoenix from the desert sands and place her hands firmly in ours. This is an official call for reclamation. By welcoming her existence we are saying to the world that 'womanhood' constitutes the meaning we give it. Anger is not always a destructive emotion and when it arises from a basis of legitimate social exploitation and marginalization it is not only justified but necessary.
To say that we do not have a right to our anger is to accept that the crimes that have been perpetrated against black women are not only justifiable but acceptable. Raping us, enslaving us, beating our bodies, stealing our children, allowing us to languish in poverty, and sterilizing us is not okay. These are crimes against humanity and many continue on to this day. What kind of message does it send to our daughters when we silence our legitimate rage? It says that we deserve this treatment, it says that we welcome it.
My humanity will not allow me to reject Sapphire because to do so would mean that my body and my life do not belong to me. Though many have chosen to wield her like a weapon, and shrink away from her whenever possible, I choose instead to embrace her lovingly. She is my inner lioness that refuses to admit defeat, she is 'woman' in all her rage and power.