By Guest Columnist Jun 07, 2007

RaceWire is proud to bring you another I-Narrative–stories written by people who have an up-close view on race in America. This month, we feature Angy Black Woman, a mad blogger who’s taken the blogworld’s racial analysis to an edgier level since kicking off TheAngryBlackWoman Blog last year. Here’s her story. About why she started this damn smart blog; what she’s learned about racist bloggers; and about staying power. Check this! Anger Management: The Rise of the Angry Black Woman Blog by Angry Black Woman The first incarnation of the Angry Black Woman blog I started back in 2005. It was a bit of a joke, along the lines of Rent-A-Negro. The idea was that I could hire myself out to people in need of an ABW in their lives. Someone to intimidate blowhard neighbors, get someone to keep their dog off your lawn, step up to nasty customer service people — that kind of thing. But being that it was just supposed to be funny and nothing more, the first attempt I made at running an Angry Black Woman blog did not last long. I wrote just a few posts and then the online journal went spare for several months. In fact, my very first blog was not a political one. It was part of a community of blogs by science fiction and fantasy writers. Most everything I had to say was in that context. So race rarely played into my blogging. It wasn’t until I became more aware of racial issues within the science fiction and fantasy community—such as the lack of diversity in the field amongst the writers as well as the characters and settings in the literature—that I started to write more and more about it. I found myself getting increasingly annoyed with the world at large, and especially with the media. But most of the people who read my Live Journal were not interested in hearing me go on about race and politics. Or, so I thought. While I found outlets for my anger in online communities dedicated to talking about race (such as blackfolks, sex_and_race, dotracesnark, and weirdosofcolor), I needed more. I needed a place to speak my mind and foster real discussions. I still had the domain name from the first blog, so I set it to point at a Blogger account and the current incarnation of the Angry Black Woman was born. That was in March 2006, but things didn’t really get going until the summer of last year. One of the first posts I made was "Why is the Universe full of White people?" The piece vented my frustration with science fiction television’s lack of meaningful minority characters. Later, as I continued writing pieces like this, I desired more for my blog to not only say something but also do something. That’s why I started Pointer Posts—essays that address issues that often come up in conversations about race such as Privilege, the Race Card, Reverse Racism—that I could point to. I wouldn’t need to re-articulate my answer to an argument anymore, I would just say "Go look at that post." To the next level… and beyond? Since starting by blog, I’ve gotten my fair share of overly privileged jerks leaving negative commentary on my site. I’m often called a racist. I’ve had to develop calluses. Otherwise, I won’t last long. But one thing that surprised me (but shouldn’t have) is that the racist commentators all sound the same They all give the same tired arguments and pull out the same tired examples and excuses. It’s almost as if they have a script. I sometimes feel like there’s no point in arguing, these people won’t listen. And that’s the trap, you see. That’s how people who want to maintain the status quo do so – by wearing folks down. And it works. The stagnant discourse makes me wonder if I will ever move on to the next level of debate or discussion. One challenge is not to allow unchecked anger to run rampant all over the blog. Every now and then I slip. Even though I do embrace my anger, I know that to make my voice effective, I have to present my ideas rationally. That’s how I disarm people. They see the blog name, they see the challenging quote in the head image, and they immediately assume I’m raging and irrational and wild. You can always tell when folks are reacting to that and not my actual posts. Though I’ve been dealing with that kind of thing for years, it still has the ability to take a lot out of me. I dealt with it before by just disappearing from the blog for a few weeks. Last year I was gone for months. Every time I would think about logging in or even checking my email, my mind would send me off to do other, less stressful things, like watching Doctor Who. But I faced up to my aversion the last time this happened and rededicated myself to keeping the blog active and alive. A day in the life of ABW In my current job as a freelance web designer, I pretty much spend my entire working day online. On a typical day, I’m doing three or more things at once — working on a webpage for my client, wrangling work or personal emails, checking up on the ABW blog comments, reading other blogs, and researching stuff for my latest writing project. There are some days when I spend a lot of time checking up on the blog. Like when I’ve put up a post I’m eager for people to respond to or when a post has taken on a life of its own and there’s a greater likelihood that trolls will come by. I can’t imagine how other people with less flexible jobs keep up with high-traffic blogs. Mine isn’t very high traffic — on a normal day I get 400 – 600 hits, though there was one day when I got 11,000–on my Tucker Carlson disses Barak Obama’s church post – and I try not to post more than once a day. Bloggers like Atrios or Kos amaze me. Before blogging became their ‘jobs’, they had to be doing other things to make ends meet, right? But then, that reveals a truth that folks don’t often talk about — how economic stability plays in to the ability of people like that to blog and then make that blog their livelihood. Certainly white folks are more likely to have that financial base. Men are, too. Could a woman of color have built up a blog with influence like Eshcaton, Daily Kos, Pandagon, or Talking Points Memo? Beyond whether or not the wide world of bloggers would pay attention to her at all (a very valid consideration), would she have the time and resources to pull it off? I don’t know the answer. These days, it’s kind of weird to be known in various places as "The Angry Black Woman". When I first started I had no idea I’d be read by so many people or end up as one of those people white folks look to for "The Black Opinion". I just got back from a gathering of science fiction and fantasy writers called WisCon where people knew me as both my writer self and as the Angry Black Woman. I started out not wanting that — my friends knew, but I kept my pen name off the ABW blog. Now I feel like the secret’s out and I should use whatever little influence I’ve built to address issues and make changes. There are times when I feel like I shouldn’t be the one who does this. I’m not the most learned or experienced (or talented) black women writer that I know. But then, I’m pretty loud and I can’t stop talking, so I suppose it’s alright to take this soapbox if no one else wants to stand on it right now.