White Atlanta Hawks General Manager Jokes About His ‘Angry Black Wife’

Sports site DeadSpin recently publicized remarks from a meeting between Atlanta Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox and about 200 season ticket holders. As the ticket holders peppered him with questions about the Hawks’ season, Wilcox attempted a joke;

“I know you guys may be angry with me, but I’m used to it because I have a black wife and three mixed kids, so I’m used to people being angry and argumentative.”

The joke came to light after African American ticket holder Clarenton Crawford, who attended the meeting with his wife, emailed Hawks CEO Steve Koonin. Wilcox has since apologized with the following statement;

“At an early December chalk talk, I made a self-deprecating comment at my own expense regarding my family, which is multi-racial. This joke offended Mr. Crawford and his wife and for that, I apologize…”

Maybe Wilcox’s wife and children really are spirited, but it seems more likely that he was using them as a ‘black joke’ punchline rather than individualizing their behavior. It’s also very possible that Wilcox’s wife isn’t offended by the characterization. But what to him is a joke is, to black women, a stereotype used to muzzle us in our professional, personal and academic lives.

It is not unfair to say that black women are often animated and passionate, but the stereotype of the ‘Angry Black Woman’ is a silencer used to interpret any non-docile behavior as immediately threatening, and to paint black women’s concerns as unreasonable. It’s why little black girls are being flipped in chairs, wrestled to the ground and put in headlocks by white men two and three times their size. It’s why black women are fired for responding to insults, and spend their careers battling the notion that their emotions are unreasonable. We are constantly told that, no matter how outrageous the offense, if we react in anger we immediately delegitimize ourselves. And so black girls learn early to bear their wounds silently, that it is the price of living in a multiracial society.

All we can hope is that, through this debacle, Wilcox is now aware that his joke came from a place of privilege that many black women do not have.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast.

3 thoughts on “White Atlanta Hawks General Manager Jokes About His ‘Angry Black Wife’

  1. I HOPE he has an awakening now to what black women go through…..The anger black woman…Why is SHE SO angry? A lot of times it’s from some unaddressed, unanswered crisis in her life thats ignored…something that happened to her crying to get out, get help, and be solved…forever.

  2. maybe he meant people were angry with him for having a black wife a multiracial kids? As a black woman when I read it I didn’t think he was talking about an angry black women but I can see that could also mean the latter.

  3. That sounded more like a joke about other people’s reaction to his black wife and mixed children rather than his black wife’s anger but that’s just my opinion

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