You have every right to be angry: Impacts of the angry Black woman stereotype and counseling considerations for helping Black women honor their anger

Jenelle Francis


The Angry Black Woman (ABW) stereotype depicts Black women as hostile and aggressive. It is rooted in slavery and functions to silence and invalidate Black women. The ABW stereotype perpetuates racist ideology and is used to control the narrative of Black women and justify their mistreatment. Black women are faced with the impacts of the ABW stereotype throughout different areas of their life, beginning in childhood. Because of the risk of being negatively and inaccurately perceived, Black women have had to filter themselves to not be labeled as aggressive, hyperemotional, and/or the “angry” Black woman. This paper explores the history of the ABW stereotype, how this stereotype influences treatment towards Black women, and the impact on Black women’s health. This paper also shares ways that mental health counselors can help Black women honor their anger and express themselves.