I have to confess to not having heard the stereotype of black women as angry and masculine, but I googled the keyword phrase “black women are angry and masculine” and sure enough the stereotype exists. The website MadameNoire even traces the generalization back to its origin, which it alleges was the 1930s radio show “Amos ‘n’ Andy.”
Having acknowledged that, I will add that I am not surprised. It’s hard to think of an attribute that wouldn’t be deemed racist if it were applied to blacks.
Nevertheless, a cartoon by Montana-based artist Ben Garrison has struck some viewers as trading on the angry, masculine black female stereotype. Here it is:
And here are some of the reactions on Twitter. The first message is from a woman whose handle appropriately, is, @AngryBlackLady. She tweets:
Oddly, they feel the need to denigrate Michelle to prop up Melania, when that’s so not the point. But they’re too stupid to grok that.
— ☔️ Imani Gandy ☔️ (@AngryBlackLady) May 14, 2016
Then you have the rash generalization by Femi H:
WOW you can’t tell me that Trump or any of his supporters arnt racist pic.twitter.com/VX6i8J8IrI
— Femi H (@oluwa_ada) May 14, 2016
And, finally, you have the “projector,” who gazes into the tea leaves and sees his own image reflected back:
Garrison defended his work as satire, tweeting “Satire could strip naked, paint itself purple and yell ‘Satire-satire!’ and they still wouldn’t see it.”
I’m not sure I agree with his defense. I find it hard to see where this cartoon isn’t mean-spirited and crosses a line. There are many things about Michelle Obama that deserve criticism. Going after her appearance, however, is setting the bar low.