Anger was not useful to dwell on. It was not creative. In interviews she suppressed it with steeliness, just as she guarded her words and herself from meddlesome intrusion. But she could explode at the craziness of racism, its distorting power, its pernicious notions of "purity", when the screaming red-mouthed baboon whites evoked lived under their own white skin.
Disappointingly she found it even among blacks, with their talk of mocha, hazelnut, onyx, tar- and silt-black. There was such compulsion in human beings to classify by type and clan, to suspect and hate the other, to refuse to vault the mere blue air that separated them. If oppression was no longer by actual ownership or actual violence, then language could be used to do the job with some efficiency. Politicians, misogynists, lawyers all knew how. Who could rescue language, ensure it stayed supple, strong and alive? That it was unarrogant, and would keep reaching towards the ineffable? Women could. Black women could.
In her novels it was inevitably mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters who kept families and communities together with that mesh of loving bossiness: pull up your socks, comb your head, do your chores, hush your mouth. She'd done the same, raising two sons, fitting her writing into chinks in the endless round of work and domestication. In kitchens across the land black women stitched grey cotton, or poured soda into the crease of a palm to make biscuits. They brought order out of chaos, as her writing did.