Activist speaks on the myth of the “angry black woman”

Nelexia Galloway addresses the Central Phoenix/Inez Casiano NOW organization with her presentation “The Myth of the Angry Black Woman." (Sayo Akao/DD)

Diversity and inclusion became the focus of a Central Phoenix National Organization for Women meeting Sunday morning as a representative of the Young African-American Democratic Caucus spoke on the harmful “myth of the angry black woman.”

“I’m not an angry black woman,” said Ne’Lexia Galloway, chairwoman of the Young African-American Democratic Caucus to the Inez Casiano/Central Phoenix NOW organization.

Galloway’s statement was part of her presentation “The Myth of the Angry Black Woman.” Galloway spoke during a meeting of the Inez Casiano/Central Phoenix NOW, a chapter of the National Organization for Women, a feminist organization that aims to take action to achieve and protect equal rights for all women.

“She’s the angry black woman. She says what she wants to say how she wants to say it and does not care what anyone has to think about it … those are stereotypical words that are associated with the African-American community,” Galloway said.

Galloway said these characteristics can describe many types of people but that those people will not typically be described as angry unless they are African-American women.

“There’s two things I will always be. One, I will always be a woman, but second I will always be African-American,” Galloway said. She explained these characteristics do not make her angry.

Galloway spoke to a group of predominantly white women and pointed out that African-American women were not fully represented within the group at the NOW meeting.

Julia Young, who joined the Central Phoenix chapter of NOW following the last presidential election, agreed with Galloway that more diversity within the group would be beneficial.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Young said. “I’m just hoping to see this group become more diverse and more representative of the community.”

According to Galloway, a diverse community is necessary for change.

“If we are in our community and everyone around looks like me, acts like me, thinks like me, there will never be change. Never,” Galloway said.

Galloway questioned the group on how they would reach out to young people and people of all races to build an inclusive group.

Laura Cox, the chair of the organization’s newsletter, agreed with Galloway and urged for other women to involve individuals who are different than themselves in the organization.

“As women we always have an uphill battle. We always have to do more, be more, give more to even be considered,” Galloway said.

Galloway finished with a reference to a Maya Angelou saying: “I speak of the black experience but I am talking about human condition. The things we dream about, the things we fail at, but the things that we still succeed at if we work together as one.”

The next chapter meeting of Central Phoenix NOW will be held on Sunday, March 26 at Fair Trade Café at 10 a.m.

Contact the reporter at Olusayo.Akao@asu.edu.