Victoria Mochama: Who gets to be angry?
In an essay for Out In The Open, Victoria Mochama discusses how she's come to own her rage at social and political injustice — despite feeling that as a black woman she should hide her anger.
Here's an excerpt from her essay:
When I think about political rage, I think about who gets to be angry, who even gets to express rage and who automatically stifles it because we know that in some way it's not allowed. There are so many ways that anger works when you're young, female and black. I was too young in that first job to know how to express my anger in a professional environment. I only knew one way to be mad as a woman. I knew how to yell at my boyfriend, but even then I'd blast him while putting away his laundry.
You can be an angry woman but don't expect anyone else to deal with it. As a black person who lives in a very white world, I knew to never be angry. It was better to stress eat burritos I couldn't afford and drink the beer that constituted my salary then it would be to ever tell this terrible lady exactly where she could put her strategic plan. Here's the thing I'm always 'Veronica' somewhere in order to be heard. I call on the bag of tricks that I honed as 'Veronica' but learned well before that: always smile, always forgive, deflect where you can and absorb what you can't.