He glares at me with his intensely, indescribable eyes. It feels like they’re looking right through me. His broad shoulders are squared off as he faces me. I stare up into his round, crystal eyes. He towers over me. I flinch as he moves his strong arms.
“Jeanette, you’ve got to do better. You’re a great intern, but lately you’ve been off your game.” He says to me. His eyes are intense and his arms are crossed in front of him. His sleeves are rolled up and unbuttoned at the cuff. I can see the blond hairs on his arm. White men are so hairy, such a masculine trait.
“I know Mr. Rob, I’ll do better. I’m sorry, I’ve been dealing with some stuff. With school and everything.”
Mr. Rob was her supervisor. He was only 34 and he was already so accomplished. As a corporate finance manager, he was well on his way. Jeanette always had a thing for men who were intelligent and handsome.
“You know you don’t have to call me Mr. Rob, it makes me feel old.” He said
Rob went back to his office and Jeanette turned and walked away.
Rob was handsome. She loved being around him. On the rare occasion that the company had a get together, she loved being able to see Rob outside of work. She loved the way he could be laid back and relaxed when he wanted and hard and cut throat the next.
His favorite drink was scotch and soda. Jeanette always wondered how he could drink and still stay relatively sober. Jeanette could only manage one beer before she started getting sleepy. Must be genetics. Although Jeanette was a small woman. She was only 5’1, yet she was buxom with a 32 D natural bust, small waist and ample hips and backside.
Jeanette wasn’t much of a drinker any way, she was a dancer. The one time that they went to happy hour at a bar that had dancing, Jeanette had drank two beers and the room was already swaying. She loved to dance, but dancing in front of her coworkers and supervisor was anxiety inducing. Yet, she couldn’t stop herself and she felt an incredible level of comfort. Of course, she didn’t completely cut loose, no she just moved in rhythm to the music, turned and twisted at her leisure. Not nearly all that she could do.
Yet, there were moments when she would catch Mr. Rob looking at her…not looking at her the way he did at work. It was like he was looking at her and actually seeing her for the first time. It was like in that moment, he was looking at her and seeing a different woman than the shy, bookish, conservative Black girl at work. His eyes were wide with sensation. …every time she would catch him looking and try to meet his gaze, he’d turn away quickly and smooth back his hair. Maybe it was the scotch haze or maybe she’d imagined it…she didn’t know, all she knew was that she liked that he looked at her and she couldn’t understand why…
She was a nice Black girl and nice black girls aren’t into white men. Although Jeanette was raised by her mother and father in a very Christian household where they never overtly told her to stay away from white men, it was just an unspoken expectation that she knew not to go there. Her grandmother, who she loved dearly and who was an old church lady from North Carolina lived in the house too. Jeanette grew up hearing the horror stories of what life was like in the Old South. She heard stories of lynching and abuse. Jeanette’s grandmother, who always had a kind-heart, had raised the child of her sister alongside Jeanette’s mother. It was a well-known secret in the family that the reason that Jeanette’s grandmother had effectively adopted her niece was because she was the half-white child of Jeanette’s Great Aunt. She had conceived the child with her white employer when she was working as a maid in the 1950s. No one ever said the word, but Jeanette had a feeling that her Great Aunt might have been raped.
So, coming from her background, it was understandable why her family would be hesitant to see their daughter with any white man. The truth was Jeanette was just as hesitant to be involved with a white man. But that didn’t stop Jeanette from sometimes feeling the way she did about Rob.
The truth was, white men scared her. She wasn’t quite sure if she could trust them or not. Her fear was rooted in history and culture, yet she wished that she could trust Rob.
The Beginning of a New Journey!
note: this is an old blog post that I pulled from an old blog that I had called blackyetlovely.wordpress.com. I have combined the blogs into one, but much of what I say in this post is still very true and I still feel this way, so I am reposting it as a new post or a reminder of what I feel.
I became Christian when I was 12, just the beginning of adolescence. To be Christian is defined as believing in and being a follower of Christ.
I grew up my entire life in a sheltered enviorment where I truly believed that the world was this idealistic place. I went to a prep school where I was one of the few black girls in my class and where I was one of a handful of my friends who believed in God. Although I was different from my friends, we generally got along.
As I grew older, I began to have my first encounters with real racism. I began to realize that the idealistic world that I had dreamnt of as a young girl did not truly exist. The more I experienced and learned, the more I began to realize that there is so much cruelty and injustice in this world. I began to feel alienated as a black woman and the constant demeaning and degrading images that were shown in the media coupled with my personal encounters with racism began to drain me emotionally…and spiritually.
When I looked at the mistreatment of black women in society and the world, it made me sick. I couldn’t understand why God would allow little girls to be born truly believing that they’re so unwanted and undesired just because of their skin color and hair texture.
At this point I had to stop and pray and reflect on some things. I realized that there is only so much I can do ,as a human being , to change the way people feel about me, as a black woman. I can show people positive images of black women, I can show beautiful pictures of black women, but at the end of the day people are going to believe what they want to believe. If they have negative and hateful feelings towards me and other black women…I can’t change their heart, only God can do that.
I thought about the song “This Battle Is not Yours,” by Yolanda Adams, I realized that in the process of constantly fighting over people, I was also fighting myself. I was hurting myself and am hurting myself.
I have to remind myself on a daily basis that “this battle is not mine, but Gods,” just as it says in 2 Chronicles 20:15.
I write this blog as a form of prayer. I hope to find healing for myself and for other black women as well. Just as this blog is a learning experience for many of my readers, it is also a learning experience for me.
“I pray that through this blog God will remind me that this battle is not mine. I pray that God will remind us not to look to the media, men or other people to see our true beauty, but to look to God, our father. I pray that God will show us that true lasting beauty is not found externally, but is found in a beautiful heart, which is ripe with God’s love. I pray that God will forgive me for my bitterness, anger and foul mouth and heal my heart so that I may help others heal through this blog. I pray that God will show me how to help improve the treatment of black women without being hateful or resentful towards others. I pray that God will help me and all those black women who feel mistreated to FORGIVE those who mistreat us, so that we may truly be in God’s image. I pray that God will help me to remember to love thine enemy. I pray that God will uplift this blog and help touch the lives of black women and all people who read these words, including myself and my co-author Bronwyn. I pray that God may touch my heart and touch the hearts of our readers. I pray that God will heal and allow me to carry the positive lessons from this blog through all the days and truly take them to heart. I thank God for all his love and I seek him with an open heart and welcome his guidance into my life and the life of our readers. In Christ name I pray. Amen.”
and I thought that Miley Cyrus and her “twerking” appropriation was bad…
My natural hair is not a joke and it’s not a trend.
There was an article featured on a natural hair blog that featured a white woman and her “journey to natural hair acceptance.” I am not going to give the name of the article…but it was featured on Curly Nikki. I advise you not to go visit the site. I do not want to support that site with any more clicks. Curly Nikki, which was founded by a Black woman named Nikki Walton, was originally intended to give Black women a safe space where they could get advice and support for their natural hair. Ultimately, the blog was sold to a white-owned company, so it should come as no surprise that a white woman who basically just took her hair out of a bun and called herself “part of the natural hair movement,” was featured on the website.
Let me say this…
My natural hair journey is sacred to me. My natural hair journey wasn’t just superficial, it wasn’t just about not seeing my beauty represented in magazines or on the big screen. It wasn’t just about cutting the relaxed tips off of my hair and it certainly wasn’t as simple as taking my hair tie out and proudly proclaiming myself “a proud natural!” No. Embracing my natural hair was the beginning of embracing my Black identity. Once I went natural, I started researching about my African roots, I started reading about my history and I started taking pride in who I was. I questioned all of the lies that I had been told about my heritage. I learned that my western and central African ancestors had a rich history and still have a rich culture. I learned that much of what the media shows about Africans around the world is untrue…and I started to love myself. So, my natural hair journey was more than just superficial, it was sacred. It was a catalyst that led me to embrace all parts of my Black identity.
Natural hair support groups are a place where Black women can feel safe. We can can feel safe from discriminatory military regulations, we can feel safe from school and workplace discrimination and we don’t have to worry about being called “nappy-headed hoes.” We need those spaces and I find it very offensive that a white woman, who is part of the very group that marginalizes US as Black women, feels entitled to enter this space and impose her views on Black women. Her struggles as a white woman with “natural hair,” [read:white hair] are not comparable to the systematic discrimination that Black women face for wearing our God-given natural hair everyday.
The natural hair movement is about Black women bonding, sharing our stories, supporting one another and healing..and I am sorry, but I cannot identify with a white woman who claims to be apart of the natural hair movement and I will never be able to truly accept a white woman into the natural hair space…not as long as white supremacy and white privilege continue to exist. As long as I have to keep straightening my hair just to go to job interviews and as long as I have to keep reading stories about schools expelling Black girls for wearing natural hair or banning african hairstyles or the military banning braids and afros…I cannot take the “hair struggles,” of a white woman seriously. It doesn’t compare and I certainly think that it’s insulting at best and racist at worst to suggest that it does compare. This is not to say that the woman’s struggle’s with self esteem aren’t important and this is certainly not to say that white women can NEVER be invited into black woman’s space, but it is clear that some white women are oblivious to their own white privilege and as long as that attitude of oblivion continues, there will continue to be a rift between Black women and white women in the natural hair community.
Because my identity as an African woman was stolen from me…My natural African hair is the only link that I have to my origins.
Yes, the natural hair movement is a sacred space for Black women and I completely understand where the anger and frustration that many Black women feel is coming from.
Please don’t appropriate our natural hair journey. It’s not a toy or a fad.
read more about my natural hair journey here: http://blacknotwhitedippedinchocolate.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/hairdresser-tales-natural-hair-is-soft-beautiful/
I am very late on this topic, I’ve been busy with other things, but I must chime in. I tried to stay away from the Donald Sterling controversy because it was futile to me to focus on one man when the problem is the institution as a whole. So, Mr. Sterling likes to associate with half-black women, but hates Black people. Nothing unique about that. We’ve seen that throughout history. Have we forgotten about Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Thistlewood or Strom Thurmond? All of these white men slept with at least partly Black women, yet all of them held racist views towards Black people. I am not at all shocked, the news about Donald Sterling didn’t particularly interest me because I had heard it all before. However, what gets to me is not the fact that he had a relationship with a Black/Latina woman, who clearly has her own problems with her identity, it’s the fact that he said this,
“I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?”
This statement should be a wake up call to all Black people, especially Black professional athletes. Just remember Donald Sterling is only one man expressing his views, but ask yourself this. How many Black players are there in the NBA and how many Black owners are there of those sports teams? Who are you really playing for and where is your hard-earned money going to?
Just remember years ago, Black folks were allowed to entertain white folks, dance, sing and perform and white folks happily watched, but at the end of the day, the black folks had to go out of the back door and exit through the kitchen. The message being, you can entertain us, but don’t you dare think that you’re one of us. As Donald Sterling put so bluntly, “you’re like an enemy to me.”
Fame and money will only take you so far, as a Black person, when you are not even running the game. So I can’t say that I am terribly surprised by Donald Sterling’s comments. I am surprised that more Black people still haven’t opened their eyes to reality. You may have some dollars, but just remember while you’re being paid millions, those who own you are bringing in billions. The minute you step out of line, you “become an enemy to them.” Think about that next time you, as a Black person, think you’ve made it.
There are many a Donald Sterlings out there.
One of the earliest books that I read was Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All by Maya Angelou. It is because of her words that I developed a love of literature and it is her legacy that inspires me to continue to write. I will truly miss Maya Angelou. I cannot wait to share her words with my own children, if I am blessed with some one day. What a beautiful spirit.
So, there was a video put out by Buzzfeed, which dramatized the infamous OK Cupid and the ayi dating app. In the video, models are used to represent the various races and genders that were represented in the studies.
See for yourself:
I’ll try to keep it brief. As many of you know, I am a Black woman who struggled with self-image and self-esteem throughout my adolescence. It’s still a struggle sometimes. However, I am no longer bothered by studies and videos such as these and let me explain why.
From a Non-Superficial/ Greater Perspective:
I know who I am. I come from my parents and I have their blood in me. As the descendant of a once-enslaved people, I have the blood of survivors and the blood of people who overcame great adversity inside me. I carry the features and mannerisms of my ancestors and my very existence is a testament to their tenacity and courage. I am honored to be in their image and I could not imagine looking any other way.
True beauty comes from living a life of love and kindness. What some app says does not define who you are. You define who you are. I must tell myself this again and again or life can get depressing, but sometimes I am a hypocrite about it, I admit. Today, I am going to be a hypocrite and write about the superficial stuff.
From a Superficial Perspective:
Now that we all know that at end of the day there’s more to life than just some dating app, I must get down to the superficial. I’m only human and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t superficial at times. So, I must tell you the hidden advantage of Black women being portrayed as the least desirable.
Simply put, I love the feeling I get when I’m what people least expect. When many people think of Black women, they have all these stereotypes in their mind. Many people expect to see a mammy, sapphire or Jezebel and when you are none of those things, some people do not know what to do with themselves. It is rewarding, on so many levels, to prove someone wrong.
I have had experiences where I’ve put on a dress, some eye liner and had men of all races that were surprised that *GASP* there was such a thing as an attractive Black women…and then they just stare at you in bewilderment. Most women can tell when a man is looking at them… well when you are a Black woman and people don’t expect to be attracted to you, but they are…it makes that look (and desire) all the more intense. It’s puzzling, yet alluring to some men (and women) when you are not what they expect a Black woman to be.
But, let me tell you where the real hidden advantage comes in. When men aren’t expecting to be attracted to you, but they are…it’s like they are discovering you for the first time. You become mysterious, rare and exotic and that puts you at an advantage because most men love the thrill of discovery and exploration. But, no one is expecting you to be anything other than the stereotypes they have in their mind, so they don’t even see you coming.
This is why Black women should stop seeking mainstream media acceptance. Being undiscovered gives us a distinct advantage. We should spend time not dwelling on the negative stuff, but instead investing ourselves in our positive attributes and beauty. The more we love ourselves, care for ourselves and value ourselves, the less other people will feel like they can treat us in a disrespectful manner.
So in summary, don’t let these studies get to you. We are much more than we’re made out to be and we do have a distinct advantage, trust me.
On an even more superficial note, I’d love to see a video about interracial marriage and divorce rates(though i doubt it)…wonder who’d come in first and last for that… *wink wink*
” I too remember a time when I would turn on the TV and only see pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself before I was in front of a mirror, because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced just the same disappointment at being just as dark as I had been the day before.
I tried to negotiate with God. I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted. I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But, I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because I never woke up lighter. And then Alek Wek came on the scene. A celebrated model, she was dark as night. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman that looked so much like me as beautiful. Now I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far-away gatekeepers of beauty. My mother used to say to me, ‘You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you.’ And these words played and bothered me, I didn’t really understand them until finally I realised that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume. It was something that I just had to be. And what my mother meant by saying that you can’t eat beauty is that you can’t rely on beauty to sustain you.
What actually sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master. But it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even though the beauty of her body has faded away.
And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation for your beauty, but also get to the deeper business of feeling beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty.” – Lupita Nyong’o, Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon
Black people, let’s uplift one another, we must appreciate our own beauty. Stop spreading the lie that black isn’t beautiful because it sure is!
I am thrilled that Lupita Nyong’o, a beautiful, educated Black woman has been given credit for portraying the tragic story of Patsey in Twelve Years a Slave. I wept at her portrayal, but I have to say Black folks, why are we so excited about Hollywood giving Black folks some credit?
Hasn’t Hollywood shown us time and again, as an industry, that they couldn’t give two sh*ts about Black people? This is the same industry that put up Precious, The Help and Gone with the Wind as examples of the Black experience, so why are we jumping up and down when they finally throw us some crumbs and a bone??
I don’t know about y’all but I would trade in a single Oscar for a Black-owned production company where Black people could put out thousands of our own movies, with our own movie stars and tell our own stories any day. Don’t get it twisted, I am happy for Ms. Nyong’o, she is talented, intelligent and beautiful and she deserved her credit, but I don’t want Black people to get blinded by the glitz and glam of white Hollywood and think that we’ve arrived and FORGET what Hollywood has done to help the Black community… which is essentially nothing!
In the long run, a single Oscar will not change much for Black people…if we want change, we need to start owning the production companies, owning the money and creating stars ourselves…then we can have our own BLACK OSCARS and they’ll carry just as much, (if not more prestige) as Hollywood Oscars.
So, let’s not get carried away and be too forgiving of Hollywood. I LOVE LUPITA, but let’s get a clue here.
“I was watching a documentary called Blackfish and it was upsetting to see how these magnificent orcas were captured and detained in little pools and made to perform for the entertainment of people.
They take the orcas who come from different parts of the worlds with different cultures, force them into concrete little tanks (ghettos) and then force them to perform for the entertainment of mostly white people. They break up the families in the wild, they breed the males with the females from entirely different cultures, different methods of communication, they deny the orcas food when they don’t perform, they separate the mothers from the calves (even to the heartbreak of the mothers) and they subject the animals to conditions where they are forced to fight with another and (whale on whale violence is the norm whereas in the wild, it is not. Why can’t they just leave the animals and admire them in the wild? If they want to help why not stop polluting the environment and dumping oil into the ocean?
But in addition to the mistreatment of the animals, one other thing struck me.
The companies that capture these whales are predominately white-owned. One thing that really stuck out to me…doesn’t this sound eerily familiar to how Black people and other POC are treated by racist white people. During slavery the took Black people away from Africa, broke up their families, took mothers away from child, they forced black people from different cultures and backgrounds to breed with each other just to make profit and they put Black people in prison industrial complex and ghettos and everything…
am I the only one who noticed this interesting connection.
It makes me wonder, do white people see Black people as no more than animals?”
This is a email that was forwarded to me by a follower of my blog:
“I am just so confused about everything right now. I do not know where to start.
I’ve always preferred Black men because of our history and culture and I am physically attracted to them. I also love dancing with Black men, we have a natural rhythm when we are together.However, I also can look at a white man (and many other races of man) and find him handsome. Even though, I am attracted to all races of men, I always thought that Black men and Black women had a special bond because of our culture and the way we’ve been treated globally. you would think we would be our own support system, but it doesn’t seem so any more.
When i got older, i began to notice that a cultural rift between black women and black men was developing. I noticed that as proud as I was of my culture and as tied to my roots and history as I was, so many young Black men, especially, just did not seem to care.
I had black male acquaintances, relatives and family friends who wouldn’t even date Black women or if they did date bw, it was never serious and they delayed marriage for years, so much so, that black women weren’t marrying at all. But, i noticed when these same Black men were with non-bw, the question got popped usually much faster, like within a year max. My black woman cousin and my friend were both hurt this christmas because they thought their long time boyfriends (who were black) would propose to them. One has been dating and loving the guy for four years and she was heart-broken that she didn’t get a ring this xmas. I worry that the guy may never propose to her because some black men think it’s okay to string bw along and they don’t take us seriously in terms of marriage.
I notice all these things, but I kept quiet about them because I didn’t want to judge all Black men based off of this. I still don’t. But, the turning point finally came when I went on YouTube, innocently researching for a college paper , and came across a YouTube video by a Black man who was verbally abusing, berating and demeaning ALL Black women. I was sickened by what I heard. I never in my life would have expected to hear some of the hurtful things being said about Black women… from a Black man. I later discovered that there were literally hundreds of videos like this about black women
(95% by bm) on youtube and i was crushed. My self-esteem was just wounded so much by this. Couple that with the actions of the black men i mentioned earlier and you can only imagine how that made me feel. Even the white guys who I went to school and college with(some of whom were very conservative and close-minded) did not stoop to the levels of these Black men on YouTube. I would expect racist behavior from a close-minded, conservative white male, but I always thought that Black men, of all people, would know how it feels to be mistreated based on skin color.
so, for the first time, i wondered if maybe i was holding onto the past in terms of my expectations for marriage with a black man. i thought about my father and grandfathers, who were and are all wonderful black men and above all, beautiful human beings who cared for their families. I wanted to build a legacy like that with a Black man too. I was proud of my culture and still am, but when I see some of the things I am seeing, it makes me feel like I am living in the past with my hope for finding a Black husband and building a black culture. Most Black men may not be “marrying interracially” on paper, but most black men also aren’t marrying at all. I feel like some black men love to string black women along, but when they get with a non-bw, then they want to take her seriously and pop the question. It’s too much emotionally for me. I’ve never been a so-called “strong black woman,” I am vulnerable and was raised to cry when I’m hurt and ask when I need help.
I find some white men to be handsome, I enjoy their lighter colored eyes, (although i still love brown) but because of our history and cultural differences, I have always been turned off by them in a romantic sense. It seems there is just a gulf between white men/black women when it comes to their understanding of the black experience and that is because their white privilege blinds them. However, after some of the hurtful words and experiences with Black men, honestly I feel like if i’m going to be mistreated like that from black men any way, i might as well just go with a non-black man. I also worry that if I continue going down this path with Black men, i may very well end up alone and never get the family life that I’ve always wanted and grew up with.
But, it is not fair to default to white men because of some negative experiences with Black men and because the black culture is deteriorating. I wouldn’t want to do that to any man, including a white man, but emotionally I cannot HELP, but crave that protection and validation from white men because i am so emotionally wounded by the hurtful words and treatment by certain black men. I never felt this way before encountering the mistreatment that I did.
Intellectually, I tell myself that it is wrong to seek that validation and that I need to judge people as individuals, but emotionally, I want that validation. Part of me knows that if I am with a white man, then i am going to get a certain degree of protection and i would feel beautiful and valued because he chose me. But the logical part of my brain is telling me this is the wrong way to think and that i am cheating, not only the man who i become involved with, but myself by going into a relationship with that mentality.
I want to be with a man because i love him as a person, not because i think his skin color will bring me validation or protection. I despise that mentality, yet emotionally, i crave the protection and value from white men that, some black men, it seems, are unwilling or unable to offer.
it is ironic because i never felt comfortable around white men when i was younger, but now after hearing some of the hateful things from black men, i feel so unprotected, so despised and so unwanted that i don’t even care if a white man doesn’t understand the black experience any more, i just want to be safe and cared for. even if a white man doesn’t understand everything that i go through as a black person, at least he could give me the protection and care that i crave. i hate that i feel this way.
but at the same time, part of me is saddened because I know that institutional racism & white privilege are a large part of the reason that Black men haven’t been able to give Black women the support that we need and I feel like I am abandoning them and going to the group of men who have benefitted the most from the very system that has destroyed us, as a people. While, I completely see and empathize with Black men because institutional racism is an issue, I cannot fathom why some Black men would be so cruel to Black women and take their anger out on us. There is no excuse for that and it hurts terribly, but what can I do?
I also feel guilty because, if i become involved with a white man, I don’t want to just default to him for that protection and validation, that is not fair to him. He is an individual too, he is a human being and I want to connect with him as a human being, love him, care for him, support him and give him what he needs.
Of course, white men are far from perfect and yes, some can be ignorant about Black people, but emotionally, i cannot stop wanting that feeling of being protected and safe and i know a white man can more readily provide that, ironically, because of the very privilege that has historically disenfranchised black people as a collective.
Needless to say, I am very confused and don’t know what to do. “