So while white women were projected to have indisputable moral character, black women were deemed as outspoken, combative, and immoral. The stereotype of the ABA (angry black women) has been around since the sass’s but the term Sapphire was not coined until the larval of the show Amos ‘n’ Andy which introduced a character by the name of Sapphire Stevens. The show was popular during the sass’s and sass’s. Sapphire was married to George “Kingfisher” Stevens who also perpetuated the belief about black men being lazy and lacking intellect.
Throughout the airing of the show Sapphire can be seen being cruel, controlling, and excessively critical of her husband which ended up being some of the most memorable scenes. Amos ‘n’ Andy was one of the first television show to feature African Americans and was definitely a step in the right direction as far as blacks being included on the “big screen” after being excluded for so long but ultimately embedded a damaging image about black women into the American consciousness. After Amos ‘n’ Andy the Sapphire found Itself in many comedies.
Where there was a lazy, Irresponsible black man there was a black woman emasculating him. Aunt Ester was a popular Sapphire In the sass’s on the show Sanford and Son. She often argued with her brother-in-law Fred insulting him with names like fool, heathen, and kuaka. Ester’s interaction with her husband Woodrow is also one consisting of her dominating him. Additionally in the ass’s, you see the emergence of the Black Exploitation genre in film catered to the African American audience. During this time film makers begin the amalgamation of the Siebel and the Sapphire.
Pam Greer Is the most prominent actress. Starring In films named Foxy Brown and Coffey, Pam Greer can be seen portraying an angry vigilante using her sexuality to manipulate men and seek revenge. Nowadays the depiction of the angry black woman is seen in many forms; from Tartar P. Hanson in John Singleton’s Baby Boy (2001), Maroons from the hit reality show the Apprentice (2004), Val’s Flavor of Love (2006-2008) , or on multiple talk shows including but not limited to the Motel Williams Show and the Jerry Springer Show which still airs today.
Sociologists have often black women as being the mules of society. Others also believe after everything they have been through historically they have the right to be angry. The problem with the ABA presented itself when it became a caricature of the actual black women, when it became the one of the only representations of black women; it became problematic when assessing character traits of being outspoken, independent, and/or strong became negative ones. Stereotypes of any kind are damaging to the ones they apply to and the Sapphire Is no exception.
Everyday black women deal with how their actions woman voices opposition or emotes a little bit too passionately she risks being labeled “angry’ or “bitter. ” Ultimately resulting in black women avoiding situations that may cause her to be upset or discuss topics which could provoke a negative reaction from her. Once the stereotype has been internalized, it creates an obstacle when expressing feelings of anger or frustration. The ABA also affects how other people perceive black women’s behavior. While a white woman’s outspokenness is seen as her standing up for herself, an African American woman’s is seen as being belligerent.
Additionally, if in fact a white woman did actually become “angry,” she is relieved of not having to worry about being stigmatize or having someone apply her behavior to her entire ethnicity. On the other hand, a black woman faces not being critiqued as an individual and having others Justify their own beliefs about an entire race thru her actions. The same behavior is interpreted differently. Black woman do get angry. Black women are assertive. Black women are passionate. But so are other women.
Every day I’m confronted with situations in which there’s an internal debate as to how I would like to express myself. There’s a constant fear of being stereotyped as a black woman who’s angry and mad at the world. Should I express myself passionately or “sugarcoat” the way I’m feeling for the sake of giving into a misguided belief about black women? In the end I still lose because by allowing my emotions to go unaddressed eventually lead to the ultimate emotional breakdown. The perpetuation of the ABA caricature could eventually dissolve if there was more presentation of us outside those typical roles.