Sunday, August 23, 2009

What If Black Women Were White Women?


"If" Black Women Were White Women
August 23, 2009


In “If Men Could Menstruate,” Gloria Steinem makes the persuasive argument that “Whatever a ‘superior’ group has will be used to justify its superiority, and whatever an ‘inferior’ group has will be used to justify its plight.”

For too long the definition of racism has been a fight between white and black manhood or “who’s the bigger man”, so to speak. We've trivialized the existence of gender between both groups of men in favor for discussion of the "bigger issue".

This has historically enabled white female supremacy—the most unchallenged form of white supremacy—to escape any critical thought.

What if suddenly, instantly, the power of white femininity were transferred to black women?

The answer is clear: Black women would represent value, purity; and based on their natural traits would be worthy of protection and instantly become the objects of universal desire. White women would represent the opposite.

“Beauty tar potion” would become globally popular to get the “black look.” “Dove” would be replaced with a black soap called “Raven” to help exfoliate the skin and bring out subtle hints of melanin.

White female features would be declared violent. Their “jagged” thin lips, “knife sharp” noses, and “harsh” jaw lines would be nature's way of expressing why men have a natural preference for the soft features of black women. Soft lips, soft cheekbones, and soft, round noses would be proof of natural femininity. Full, pink lips and large, dark eyes would become associated with virginal black girls whose purity must not be compromised. Black female features would thus be said to represent youth.

Straight, blond hair would be considered “wild and unruly” because when the wind blew, it did not stay in place. Women with naturally straight hair would hide their “unruly” and “wild” stick-straight hair in public. The desire for “lightweight hair” that defied gravity would permanently end the use of blow dryers. Keeping one's natural blond hair wild and straight would become indicative of a political statement.

The anti-aging properties of black female skin combined with soft, curvy bodies would be proof of the overall reproductive health of black women. Scientists would argue that black women were naturally preferred as long term mates and mothers because they were “healthier.” Men’s attraction to women is based on overall health and fertility, after all.

Suddenly, biracial women would be “in” because the hard features of white women wouldn't prevent the fragile genes of “black beauty” from peeking through. Men would suddenly have the desire to date “ethnic,” non-black women since they would look “closer to black” than blond women—at least they wouldn't look like white women.

Statistics would equate the fact that white women make up the majority with their “overpowering” and “strong” population. This would be proof that they could handle unsafe neighborhoods. The “strong culture” they would have created amongst themselves would enable them to withstand their lack of protection from predators and criminals. Statisticians would argue that men were attracted to black women innately because they made up a small percentage of the population. “We tend to value what is rare,” they might say.

Men would proclaim that white women deserve sexual objectification because “flat buttocks” allow for deeper penetration. In ghettos across America, men would stand on street corners and yell “Damn! You got a flat ass!” to remind white women of their sexual status in society.

Upper class women would be afraid that their “asses looked flat” since it would represent animalistic and sexual deviance, like white women. Black women’s buttocks, said to protrude farther from the body, would prove that their natural vulnerability made them “less equipped” to handle hardcore sex and rape like white women could.

“I need a strong white woman!” would become a popular “empowering” slogan for exploitative men who rationalized the emotional, financial, and sexual overburdening of white women.

Overweight white nannies would become the “acceptable white women” in popular culture as they do not pose a threat to black female superiority and privilege. Conventionally attractive white women would serve as a sexual threat to black women for single-handedly breaking down the beauty hierarchy.

Hip hop videos would feature men throwing money at “white bitches” bent over in front of the camera to showcase their white asses, eager for deep penetration. Entire songs would be devoted to hatred of “white gold digging bitches” who believed that they were entitled to the financial security in marriage to which black women were entitled. “Penetrable white asses” and “pale-faced hoes” would become the cash commodity for selling entire musical genres.

White women’s “hard” bodies would be deemed more “capable” of fighting off sexual attackers, while the soft curves of black female bodies would become worthy of police protection. White women, despite being at high risk of being victimized by violence and sexual crimes, would not “need” police protection.

Movies would feature black women as the main objects of men’s desire across racial lines while stereotypes of evil, bitter, and oversexed white women would further prove why men of all races simply did not prefer blonds. “We can’t help those to whom we're attracted,” men would say. “Preference” would become an unconcealed acceptance of discrimination against white women. White women’s anger towards and sadness about the status quo would show their unreasonable jealousy of the innate superiority of black women.

Republicans would ban abortions to protect the virtue of pure, black motherhood and liberals would advocate increasing the number of abortion clinics in “low income” neighborhoods where white women would be the majority. Liberals would claim that white women had “culturally” approved of sexual objectification and were “safe enough” without outside help since they were warned not to touch “in-group issues” with a ten foot pole.

And so on and so forth.

The most important reality is that black feminists would eventually grow tired of being seen as innocent and vulnerable in patriarchy and would fight to erase the commodity of black femininity. “The innocent, submissive, and vulnerable representation of women is what puts us in danger. The rigid category of femininity has contributed to our oppression,” they might argue.

In the back of every black feminist movement we would hear the quiet and dignified pleas of radical white feminists. “But, we do not represent femininity. We are considered strong, incapable of feeling pain, and sexually deviant—but all this has done is increase our likelihood of being in danger. And aren’t we women too?”

As Gloria Steinem wrote, “In short, the characteristics of the powerful, whatever they may be, are thought to be better than the characteristics of the powerless - and logic has nothing to do with it.”

What remains universally evident is that the many justifications for power and privilege are always inherent, always scientific, and always permeate society to the point that they remain deeply buried within our collective consciousness.

Until someone challenges them.



© 2009 Alienati0n

Edited by Kara Feldman.

220 comments:

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nkreseknowledge said...

Amazing article....

To whoever said this:

Danila said...
girlfromthenc, I feel you in everything you said. I don't want to attack or offend anybody but I do get tired of holding it all in and trying to be strong. I know this piece isn't meant for therapy, but I just have to get some things off my chest. So many things have come to min as a result of this piece.

The first thing I thought about is my own social situation. I'm 28, black female, single of course (as are most of the black women I know around my age). I spent years pining after white men. Finally one of them told me straight out that he was interested because he heard black girls have "big holes". Even the nice ones would have never brought me home to mama. I've been told that I'm "too much". I realized I could not be compatible with them and would have a hard time trusting one. Years of exposure to white men's true feelings on the internet have turned me off even more. Black women aren't even desired in porn. Yes I have gone to porn sites and read the racist comments on videos of black women. Even while they're getting off they still hate us.


I look at my young cousin. She's already had several abortions, and I'm almost certain she will end up with a few kids by different dads when all is said and done. On the surface, she fits the stereotype of the sassy, stronger-than-strong, hypersexual, hard-partied.....

Whether you're a sexless mammy like me, or oversexed jezebel like my little cousin, in the end it all adds up to the idea that we black women aren't worthy of love (that highest of human ideals). If we're not worthy of love, then we're not worthy of justice, or mercy, or recognition, or forgiveness. We're not fully human.


As I was reading this my heart was sinking in my chest. It is hard to be a black woman today, just as it was 100 years ago, please keep ya head up. The sad thing about it, I don't feel that it will get better. One thing I can say, non-black men do desire blk wmn, and its more than just sexual. Society does not portray blk wmn as something worth having, so they aren't going to want to risk family and friend exclusion and their social standing by bringing a black woman home. White ppl invented status, so they will always try to keep up with it.. I have been courted by white men on many occasions, I am sure many of those occasions were for sexual reasons solely... blk men do it to white wmn, that is a male thing, not a whie male thing.. But yes, we are viewed as being too much and or not good enough for most men.. good enough in the bedroom but not good enough on paper. You have to know yourself and know who you are. We live in a screwed up world, why would someone of worth be considered ideal?? It doesn't add up..Just know, it is not about looks, if it was, blk women would be the ideal, hands down.. even if it was about intellect and strength (mental, emotional, et.c) we would still be the "ideal". Its deeper than that,and that's why we focus on ourselves and let the rest catch up to us... One Love My Sister, You Will Always Have Me :o)

nkreseknowledge said...

Amazing article....

To whoever said this:

Danila said...
girlfromthenc, I feel you in everything you said. I don't want to attack or offend anybody but I do get tired of holding it all in and trying to be strong. I know this piece isn't meant for therapy, but I just have to get some things off my chest. So many things have come to min as a result of this piece.

The first thing I thought about is my own social situation. I'm 28, black female, single of course (as are most of the black women I know around my age). I spent years pining after white men. Finally one of them told me straight out that he was interested because he heard black girls have "big holes". Even the nice ones would have never brought me home to mama. I've been told that I'm "too much". I realized I could not be compatible with them and would have a hard time trusting one. Years of exposure to white men's true feelings on the internet have turned me off even more. Black women aren't even desired in porn. Yes I have gone to porn sites and read the racist comments on videos of black women. Even while they're getting off they still hate us.

.....


As I was reading this my heart was sinking in my chest. It is hard to be a black woman today, just as it was 100 years ago, please keep ya head up. The sad thing about it, I don't feel that it will get better. One thing I can say, non-black men do desire blk wmn, and its more than just sexual. Society does not portray blk wmn as something worth having, so they aren't going to want to risk family and friend exclusion and their social standing by bringing a black woman home. White ppl invented status, so they will always try to keep up with it.. I have been courted by white men on many occasions, I am sure many of those occasions were for sexual reasons solely... blk men do it to white wmn, that is a male thing, not a whie male thing.. But yes, we are viewed as being too much and or not good enough for most men.. good enough in the bedroom but not good enough on paper. You have to know yourself and know who you are. We live in a screwed up world, why would someone of worth be considered ideal?? It doesn't add up..Just know, it is not about looks, if it was, blk women would be the ideal, hands down.. even if it was about intellect and strength (mental, emotional, et.c) we would still be the "ideal". Its deeper than that,and that's why we focus on ourselves and let the rest catch up to us... One Love My Sister, You Will Always Have Me :o)

nkreseknowledge said...

Amazing article....

To whoever said this:

Danila said...
girlfromthenc, I feel you in everything you said. I don't want to attack or offend anybody but I do get tired of holding it all in and trying to be strong. I know this piece isn't meant for therapy, but I just have to get some things off my chest. So many things have come to min as a result of this piece.

The first thing I thought about is my own social situation. I'm 28, black female, single of course (as are most of the black women I know around my age). I spent years pining after white men. Finally one of them told me straight out that he was interested because he heard black girls have "big holes". Even the nice ones would have never brought me home to mama. I've been told that I'm "too much". I realized I could not be compatible with them and would have a hard time trusting one. Years of exposure to white men's true feelings on the internet have turned me off even more. Black women aren't even desired in porn. Yes I have gone to porn sites and read the racist comments on videos of black women. Even while they're getting off they still hate us.

.....


As I was reading this my heart was sinking in my chest. It is hard to be a black woman today, just as it was 100 years ago, please keep ya head up. The sad thing about it, I don't feel that it will get better. One thing I can say, non-black men do desire blk wmn, and its more than just sexual. Society does not portray blk wmn as something worth having, so they aren't going to want to risk family and friend exclusion and their social standing by bringing a black woman home. White ppl invented status, so they will always try to keep up with it.. I have been courted by white men on many occasions, I am sure many of those occasions were for sexual reasons solely... blk men do it to white wmn, that is a male thing, not a whie male thing.. But yes, we are viewed as being too much and or not good enough for most men.. good enough in the bedroom but not good enough on paper. You have to know yourself and know who you are. We live in a screwed up world, why would someone of worth be considered ideal?? It doesn't add up..Just know, it is not about looks, if it was, blk women would be the ideal, hands down.. even if it was about intellect and strength (mental, emotional, et.c) we would still be the "ideal". Its deeper than that,and that's why we focus on ourselves and let the rest catch up to us... One Love My Sister, You Will Always Have Me :o)

nkreseknowledge said...

Amazing article....

To whoever said this:

Danila said...
girlfromthenc, I feel you in everything you said. I don't want to attack or offend anybody but I do get tired of holding it all in and trying to be strong. I know this piece isn't meant for therapy, but I just have to get some things off my chest. So many things have come to min as a result of this piece.

The first thing I thought about is my own social situation. I'm 28, black female, single of course (as are most of the black women I know around my age). I spent years pining after white men. Finally one of them told me straight out that he was interested because he heard black girls have "big holes". Even the nice ones would have never brought me home to mama. I've been told that I'm "too much". I realized I could not be compatible with them and would have a hard time trusting one. Years of exposure to white men's true feelings on the internet have turned me off even more. Black women aren't even desired in porn. Yes I have gone to porn sites and read the racist comments on videos of black women. Even while they're getting off they still hate us.

.....


As I was reading this my heart was sinking in my chest. It is hard to be a black woman today, just as it was 100 years ago, please keep ya head up. The sad thing about it, I don't feel that it will get better. One thing I can say, non-black men do desire blk wmn, and its more than just sexual. Society does not portray blk wmn as something worth having, so they aren't going to want to risk family and friend exclusion and their social standing by bringing a black woman home. White ppl invented status, so they will always try to keep up with it.. I have been courted by white men on many occasions, I am sure many of those occasions were for sexual reasons solely... blk men do it to white wmn, that is a male thing, not a whie male thing.. But yes, we are viewed as being too much and or not good enough for most men.. good enough in the bedroom but not good enough on paper. You have to know yourself and know who you are. We live in a screwed up world, why would someone of worth be considered ideal?? It doesn't add up..Just know, it is not about looks, if it was, blk women would be the ideal, hands down.. even if it was about intellect and strength (mental, emotional, et.c) we would still be the "ideal". Its deeper than that,and that's why we focus on ourselves and let the rest catch up to us... One Love My Sister, You Will Always Have Me :o)

Kian said...

This article blew my mind. Very powerful words. I don't know what else to say except: keep writing!!! Don't ever stop.

Kian said...

Very powerful words. Don't know what else to say except: keep writing!!! Don't ever stop. The world needs to hear you what you have to say.

Kiminee said...

Girlfriend, your article made me cry.... from all the way over here in the UK!

AT LAST! FINALLY! Someone with the COURAGE to articulate (beautifully) exactly what I have been saying to female friends for YEARS. Your article is the TRUTH and let me tell you, you have expressed your message SOOOOOO freaking well. White female privilege is truly alive and kicking in this oppressive and racist country (UK) and right across the world. The WW (angry and fearful)I tend to encounter (because I am well-educated, have an executive role, a house I own in a lovely area, no kids, no husband, drive and own a car, wear quality clothes, have a well-toned physique and youthful looks at aged 45 years)100% HATE ME as do 'certain' black and white men. Why? Because I do not fit their warped perceptions of what a BW should look like and be doing with her life (How VERY dare she?!!! Who does she think she is???!!). When I have objected to their treatment and comments the response has been "You are aggressive?", "You think you're better than me",and the one I hate the most "You think you're white".

Nuff said.

Thank you for your courage and honesty - please keep writing.

LaNeshe said...

Phenomenal article!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. It actually made me uncomfortable, which kinda says a lot.

Anonymous said...

"GMAFB! That's just evil saying this. White women always want to win the "oppression wars." It's always about you, isn't it? The narcissism of white feminism is astounding."

Ugh I hate racism stupid white ladies gawd stupid white people always being horrible in every way they're always bad in every way possible stupid white women you know THEY'RE the cause of all racism ya know that right?

Pangaea's Garden said...

A friend just sent this article to me and I think it is fabulous! I would love to repost in Pangea's Garden if it's okay.

justice calo reign said...

That was quite the ride. I think I'm going back to experience that a few more times.

Jimmy Bumble Bee said...

Word Up !!

FifiGoggo said...

Wow. Thank you for this. As a non-american I've been reading and learning a lot of late about what it can mean to be black and female in the US, and your words speak volumes. Thank you for sharing your perspective. Incidentally I think dark skin is beautiful - this "beauty tar potion" of which you speak, any plans to get that on the market? :) Keep up the writing lady, you're clearly a talent - much love and respect from Aussieland!

Sophisticatedblkwoman said...

Glad this is back up :)

anilmc said...

Valid thought experiment. bit weird to see the characterizations of white women as able to handle sexual violence because of x innately white characteristic.

Maria said...

I thought this was a great, challenging article. Thank you for writing it.

I'm white and thus have privilege, I just want to be clear about that.

I want to mention that I feel uncomfortable about the idea that white women, as the 'nice, fair, vulnerable' women, are protected by patriarchal forces, because it seems to me white women are raped and abused even when they conform to every stereotype of nice/fair/vulnerable that patriarchy has to offer.

I'm trying to say that conforming to the privileged object status does NOT make white women safe from harassment. I do agree with you that women of colour suffer more, and that racism from white people (of any gender) makes them much more at risk. But I don't agree with you that conformity saves white women from these things. The idea that if white women just play by the rules, and stay virginal/become good mothers/stay faithful to their husbands, that we'll be saved from abuse seems fundamentally wrong to me.

Am I trying to argue out of seeing myself as privileged, and thus talking out of my ass? I'd like your opinion.

Again, thanks for writing this piece. Please ignore this comment if you consider it derailing the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this essay.

It's a great tool to help people realize what we might not otherwise.

And the tone is not accusing or angry, which makes the message easier to pass onto others.

sam said...

excellent article.

i think this makes people think about how ridiculous the images and 'scientific' explanations for discrimination can be.

i'd never really given the 'media portrayal' and 'physical objectification' of black women any thought. i thought all black women really were tougher than white women, cos their parents trained them to be tough if they were living in a rough neighborhood.

all the black women i saw did have 'protruding asses' and wear a lot of makeup and bright clothing and so i just believed that did make them more comfortable with sexuality. but reading that part about 'flat asses' being considered sexy cos they could be penetrated easier really got me thinking. i never hated anyone or said anything bad about black women, but i realize now my thinking was wrong. i don't know why i thought black women were more sexual than white women, but now i know that's a silly idea. i also can't believe black women all hide their natural hair in public. that would be such a hassle every morning. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much. I was just having this discussion with my boyfriend, we are both black.

Honestly I have been loosing my mind in all this because when using plain English and explaining these concepts to people (everyone EXCEPT black women) they act like I'm bizarre or delusional or worst just another angry black bitch even when I'm not presenting this way, and I take careful/painful measures to not be seen as one of those ABB because the only thing worse than being a black woman in this WORLD is being a black woman who is "angry" i.e. a black woman that wants her existence/contributions in the human community recognized as important, beneficial, pleasant etc. how dare me... This is RUINING my relationships because I want men who have a preference for me. But Black men don't, and like everyone else, including many black women, they have internalized and approved of the concept of white female superiority and unfortunately I suffer from having a preference for black men. But I won't straighten my hair or wear weaves or colored contacts or try to lighten my skin (Ambi). I am loosing it, its like where on EARTH can I go that the beast of superiority hasn't touched. I know that this response is choppy at best but dude, my heart is full

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