Everyone knows about Angry Black Woman. Everyone sees them everywhere. Anger and sadness are two sides of the same coin called dissatisfaction. One is external, one is internal. Woman internalize, men externalize.
(Women should be sad, huh? So does anger make black women masculine?)
I am not angry, and I’m not a woman. Blackness is perceived regardless of my will, but what I’m really into is crying. I’m a Sad Black Girl. Sad Black Girls listen to King Krule and Radiohead. We read Kafka and shouldn’t read Schopenhauer. We smoke loud and we’re lonely clouds. We own hi-fis. We ruminate. We close our eyes.
Sad Black Girls are tomboys and robots. We don’t wear pantsuits. We know that anger is a secondary emotion that hides fear or hurt or sadness. Our emotions are purer, primary? We hurt and we fear and we cry. We don’t have formal diagnosis. The doctor says we’re not in pain.
Sad Black Girls are probably too passive. Some of us are maladaptive daydreamers, still talking to imaginary friends at the age of 21. Between the lot of us, we have millions of paracosms. If you’d like to enter one, listen up for a bit.
Sad Black Girls existed all over everywhere, until the 60s. And then there were afros. “By the 1970s, a majority of empirical studies found that Blacks had high self-esteem,” but we weren’t born then. Some of us have natural hair and some of us have been teased for it.
Happy black girls compare themselves to other black girls, but Sad Black Girls go to lily-white schools. We blame ourselves, but maybe it’s not our fault. Is it? Isn’t it? "The person of color is caught in a Catch-22: If she confronts the perpetrator, the perpetrator will deny it." Sad Black Girls tend to overthink and do nothing.
Sad Black Girls have learned culture-bound syndromes from white girls. Some of us vomit, slit our wrists, become hikikomori. We use self-deprecating humor, sarcasm. We get all As. Our moms are not tigers but our peers’ moms are, and we care about our peers.
Sad Black Girls cannot be seen by God. We aren’t blessed. We should smoke less often, be less fatalistic. Someone tells a Sad Black Girl to pray, and she doesn’t, and she stays sad. We are too rational to believe in #BlackGirlMagic.
Sad Black Girls maybe kinda know the difference between self-esteem and racial-esteem. Kinda? Collective self-esteem, right? Sad Black Girls are loners, of course, we don’t have reflected glory to bask in. We have cut off the reflected failure with a boxcutter, but we cut too much, oops.
Some of us secretly love To Be Young, Gifted, and Black even if we can’t get past the corniness.
Angry Black Women are out there fighting for something today. They are empowered, entrepreneurial, independent. They are role-modeling. They have overcome adversity.
Meanwhile, the Sad Black Girls are crying until their defense mechanisms rust. We are giving up, learning helplessness. We are being abused right now, physically or emotionally or without realizing it. We are doing what we're told. We’re being silent. We bear with it, thinking of other places, maybe England, anywhere but here.
(A roach skitters. A siren screams. A couple argues in the street. What are we doing here?)
Someone mistakes a Sad Black Girl for an Angry Black Women and calls her strong, places a burden in her arms and sends her along. There are no Evergreens for us, no all-girl schools or sanatoriums. There is no place for weakness in blackness. Sad Black Girls are crushed by life quite quickly, maybe there are none already.