Image courtesy of Imani Gandy
While at the Democratic National Convention, I did a lot of interviews. I'm still working on a larger piece on my thoughts about the DNC in our Breaking Time, but two interviews in particular stood out — for very different reasons — enough that I felt they deserved to be featured in whole.
The first is with activist and blogger Imani Gandy, who founded the Angry Black Lady Chronicles and the Team Uterati coordinating resource for feminist action. She's advocated an aggressively pragmatic approach to politics, often clashing publicly with other progressives about President Barack Obama's actions and drawing attention to what she perceives as misogyny and racism among some leftists. We talked about divisions among liberals, different approaches to activism, and how race plays into today's politics.
How did the Angry Black Lady Chronicles start?
I started a pop culture blog with a group of women in 2008, and we were tossing around ideas of a column I would do, titled something like “Ask a black lady.” I was just kind of throwing it around, and I don't know why but I just decided my column would be called Angry Black Lady chronicles. I don't really know why, it just sort of came out of nowhere.
Then, when I stopped blogging with them, I decided to move my column onto its own blog, and it just become angryblacklady.com
And then it got contributors, etc...
I started out blogging on my own in 2009. I went on medical leave. I had a pituitary tumor. That's sort of the cause of the anger, because I would have hormonal fluctuations. Have you ever been around a first trimester pregnant woman?
You know how they get real irritable? Flashes of anger for no reason? I'd get that, but at the most ridiculous things, like “that light went out! Goddammit!” So that's kind of where the angry moniker comes from, but I also like to poke at people because of the stereotype of the angry black woman. Then when people meet me they're like “wait, you're not that angry,” and no, I'm very nice person, but I can be pretty strident in my writing and on Twitter. I like to juxtapose those, like a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type thing.
I started blogging on my own in 2009, I picked up my first two contributors in 2010, right around the 2010 elections. It's right around that time that I dropped all the pop culture stuff and became fully political, because I started to get really frustrated with the way progressives on the left were hounding President Obama for stuff that I thought he shouldn't be hounded for, like the public option and “why didn't you close Gitmo?”
I felt like there were facts about how the administration had done things and facts about how he didn't have a Democratic majority for as long as people think that he did. I just began to get really frustrated.
I also began to get really frustrated at what I saw as underlying racism on the left.