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Race relations, African American women, Stereotypes (Social psychology), Prejudices, Aggressiveness


Black women in the United States are the frequent targets of bias-filled interactions in which aggressors: (1) denigrate Black women; and (2) blame those women who elect to challenge the aggressor’s acts and the bias that fuels them. This Article seeks to raise awareness of these “aggressive encounters” and to challenge a prevailing narrative about Black women and anger. It examines the myriad circumstances (both professional and social) in which aggressive encounters occur and the ways in which these encounters expose gender and racial hierarchies. It then explores how the intersectional nature of Black women’s identities triggers a particularized stereotype or trope of the “Angry Black Woman” and explains how this trope is often invoked in aggressive encounters to deflect attention from the aggressor and to project blame onto the target. After discussing the harmful effects of aggressive encounters and the absence of effective legal mechanisms to address them, the Article sets forth tangible steps that individuals can take to minimize their incidence.