Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blameless White Womanhood

The Britney Spears debacle has managed to pierce the veil of my all-consuming (though involuntary) focus on the applicability of the parol evidence rule, primarily through sheer, unavoidable, repetition. In all honesty, however, Ms. Spears' case has long nagged at me for another reason--the way in which it encapsulates the tendency of our media, and our culture more generally, to rationalize the bad conduct of white women in ways that will render them "blameless."

I do not know Ms. Spears, and I have been as irritated by the strangers who would presume to judge her harshly as by those inclined to spout endless excuses on her behalf. She may well suffer from post-partum depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or any combination of the above or some other form(s) of mental illness; not being a therapist, of the professional or armchair variety, I can't speculate about her mental health.

Nor am I suggesting that genuine mental illness, in and of itself, is somehow not "real" and cannot provide a genuine explanation for aberrant behaviors. What I am referring to is the use of mental illness (or abuse, or any other concept) as a means of reducing Ms. Spears' culpability for her behavior and garnering her sympathy instead of blame.

Many in the public insist that Britney "must be crazy," because she has behaved erratically and irresponsibly, at least as the media as has portrayed her. But having grown up with a mother who was a therapist, and who treated many addicts, I know that perfectly "sane" junkies and alcoholics behave in similarly erratic and irresponsible ways when it comes to their children and their lives in general. It is atypical for the public to express much sympathy for the average addict-mother who treats her children like possessions, to be alternately "loved" and utilized as a cudgel in order to manipulate family and friends to do their bidding when they would otherwise be inclined to wash their hands of the ne'er do well.

Yet whether it be Britney Spears, Susan Smith, Karla Faye Tucker, Paula Yates or Mary Winkler (all the latter of whom, of course, committed horrific crimes), the American public seems more inclined to look for ways to excuse white women of responsibility for their crimes, than to hold them responsible in keeping with our general "get tough on crime" resolve. This disconnect is particularly jarring when it comes to the differing treatment of black and white mothers.

For instance, though white women are marginally more likely to use drugs while pregnant, black women are substantially more likely to have their newborns tested for drug exposure. Similarly, black women are also significantly more likely to have the care of their children investigated, to be adjudicated "negligent," and to have their custody of their children either suspended or terminated as a result.

Above all, and in a not at all unrelated point, the portrayal of black women's "bad behavior," is distinctly different from that accorded white women. First of all, black women are generally ignored as individuals by our media and our culture. Instead, our presence is reduced to purportedly representative stereotypical imagery, that permits our individual existences (and narratives) to be eliminated from public view. Thus, when a black women engages in wrong-doing (or, all too often, even when she does not) or is victimized, there is no effort made to "figure out" why she may have done what she did or to consider how her victimization may have come to be. Her blackness is considered explanation enough for bad behavior (just as her blackness becomes irrelevant when she does something good--then, we "just happen to be black), and her blackness renders her victimization invisible, or even culpable.

Secondly, the process is in many ways reversed for white women--their images are the primary focus of our media and culture, and anything "bad" that happens in their lives (whether it is done to them or by them) requires intensive examination, analysis, and explanation. Thus, white female wrong-doers are almost always portrayed as suffering from some sort of mental or emotional illness, and white female victims are typically sanitized to the point of sainthood. Essentially, white women are always "victims," always blameless, regardless of their conduct and its consequences for others. Admittedly, some white feminists have struggled with this imagery, recognizing that the downside of being placed on a pedestal is a severe restriction of mobility. But most white women have either blithely embraced or silently accepted the benefits of presumed purity, the presumed purity which is the bedrock of white supremacy. This presumption of purity is the implicit fount from which sympathy for white "bad girls" in popular culture, from the "Runaway Bride" to Lindsay Lohan to Paris Hilton, beneficently flows.

And this imagery has powerful consequences for black women of which we must be aware, particularly since we have historically been posited as the white woman's "impure" foil--the mule who carries the burdens of all the stereotypes about feminine badness that infect our patriarchal culture, while white women are purported to embody all that our culture has determined to be feminine "good": she is the good mother vs. our bad mother, the good wife vs. our bad wife, the lady vs. our whore, June Cleaver vs. Sapphire.

My point isn't that we should view white women as the "enemy, but that we should understand how our culture perpetuates images of white vs. black womanhood that are false and destructive--and that we must acknowledge the extent to which white women not only benefit from this false dichotomy, but do so willingly. Just as we have had to face the destructive role that DBRBM play in black communities, we must also face the fact that others among our supposed "natural" allies are not always on our side, and may be unwilling to forgo their own relative privilege in order to take on the challenge of forging a healthier society for all of us. As black women, we must always remember to place our own interests first, and to carefully analyze the motivations of those who would claim a share of our efforts, while rejecting any part of our struggles.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aimee, I love coming to your site, because you really do have some sense and understanding of what's going on. Your analyzation is fantastic.

But. I've got to say this.

What took you so long to see that white women are portrayed this way? I have been making art about this very subject for many years. It's a touchy subject when I show my work to white women. They usually leave red-faced and full of questions they dare not ask. I've been told I am hard on them, but no one ever lambastes artists in the media for being too hard on black women...

I wish, in your analysis, you would have exposed advertisers (the real propagandists) who regularly promote white women's purity and blamelessness.

White women are the biggest consumers in the US. If they feel unattractive and less than, who do you think advertisers use to make white women feel better about themselves? Yes, you guessed it, black women.

To make white women feel good about their bodies, they will show a larger black woman, and generally present her as unattractive and unfeminine. If they feel badly about their hair, they will show a black woman with natural hair as unattractive. They will move the black woman off to the sides or in the background. They will make her the bff to the popular white girl. Black women are used in every way conceivable to make white women look better.

Black women are never used in cute hair commercials, but they are overrepresented in household cleaning, laxative, and vaginal cleansing commercials. So if it's an unpleasant product, they let the black women become the "face" of that product.

Black women are overwhelmingly represented in service positions to others, but they never seem to have stories of their own. There is a tendency to complexify white women's problems, but simplify black women, funneling us down to either street ho or shrieking harridan.

There's so much to say on this topic. Thanks for bringing it up.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Re. Blameless white womanhood--Excellent, Aimee. That is why I'm all about critical race feminism: black women, race and gender!

geekgrl said...

Wonderful article. I agree with you and anonymous’ assessment of our reality as BW. This is a topic I occasionally rage against to my friends.

It angers me that even though I hate gossip and turn off the TV every time I see it, I am still inundated with the weekly ‘tragic WM’ (girl in Arruba, Spears, etc). Its sad to know that if something, god forbid, were to happen to me on vacation, it wouldn’t even make the local papers. But something tragic happens to WM and its national news.

Lisa said...

Aimee, you always manage to put it down.

Miss Pinky said...

Great topic Aimee. As the media continues to focus on the drug problems of singer Amy Winehouse, I can't help but think..wow, isn't it great *sarcasm* that black folks think it's tragic and want her to get help, but when discussing Whitney Houston they say she's just a lost cause crack-head.

pinky

Anonymous said...

and that we must acknowledge the extent to which white women not only benefit from this false dichotomy, but do so willingly.

You are dead on. White women directly benefit from the racial hierarchy in this country, but I think they are the less willing then white men to acknowledge the privileges that come to them because of skin color.

On another note, I've found that the facade of sisterhood is very apparent when you start IR dating. I can't tell you how many of my white girlfriends go into sabotage mode when a white man shows any interest, but will actively point out ANY black man as a possible mate no matter how sorry he is.

Taylor-Sara said...

excellent Aimee as always, You hit it on the head. It makes me so angry when I see BW used to do cleaning comercials left and right but she can almost NEVER do the shampoo commercial and show her hair as beautiful! I am so sick of images that paint us as ugly, (by using very unattractive BW) stupid, only good for cleaning, and other menial duties. But the real question since we know they are doing this is, What do we do about it???

Simplemoi said...

Great article!!!!!!!!!! My guy and I where just discussing the role they always have the black girl play the side kick on shows or have her act like a neck rolling stereotypical blk girl mode. I don’t feel sorry for all these young white’s girls in Hollywierd acting up Amy winehouse, Britney, Paris etc because they have money they can get help what about those not in the media where do they find help and the strength to go on in life. I’ve watch BM go into that save a ho mentally for f up WW and do shit they never would do for a BW without calling out her name and requesting something in payment. I think we as BW have to make an effort to change the media perception of us and not get typecast in roles that don’t promote us as beautiful, unique, educate, and sexy women

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

What took you so long to see that white women are portrayed this way? I have been making art about this very subject for many years. It's a touchy subject when I show my work to white women. They usually leave red-faced and full of questions they dare not ask. I've been told I am hard on them, but no one ever lambastes artists in the media for being too hard on black women...

Girl, don't be too hard on me! Betty Friedan in the Feminine Mystique wrote about the "problem that has no name." It was the emptiness and desperation of many middle class white housewives who felt useless and dependant.

But BW have a different problem that has no name--a problem that artists like you struggle to clarify and bring to light. Our "problem" is the constant degradation of our womanhood and feminitity, both by the larger society and within our own community. The glorification of white womanhood is part and parcel of that degradation.

Just as Friedan wrote about her white housewives, we usually realize something is wrong long before we can articulate the problem in words. We know from an early age that we rarely if ever see women who look like our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts when we leave our homes and communities--and when we do see such women, they are presented either as a problem or a joke.

The images of BW that we only occasionally encounter are certainly nothing like the beautiful, loving, warm, supportive, generous women who nurture us and do everything in their power to send us out into the world prepared to love ourselves and be a productive force for good.

We can't name the problem because we are actively and consistently discouraged through our socialization from recognizing the problem for what it is--or even that it exists.

The example you use of advertising is perfect: virtually all BW I have met can see that BW are rarely included in advertisements; that when we are included, our image is limited to biracial-looking women, and even then only in the background or for a second, as the camera passes over her (like furniture) to focus on the blonde; that when BW with dark skin and kinky hair are shown, it is often in commercials for weightloss products or cleansers; that even when included in a group of women, we are represented as obese and unglamourous, even when the other women are all slim and attractive.

Yet, if you go to any black organization, church, even a black message board and point this blazingly obvious reality out, what will the response be (not from whites even--from other black people)? Usually an outright denial: "That isn't true. What about that Macys/Target/Carnival Cruises/whatever commercial with the pretty dark sister? What difference does it make? If you felt better about yourself, it wouldn't bother you." And on and on, ad infinitum.

BW learn early that we are dismissed and mocked when we point out destructive realities. That many, including other BW, feel completely comfortable with telling us that we have not seen what we've seen, heard what we've heard, felt what we've felt. And so the problem still has no name--until we refuse to cooperate anymore.

Please keep making your art--I would love to see it!

Aimee said...

Taylor-Sara said...

the real question since we know they are doing this is, What do we do about it???

Hey T-S! Of course, you're right--we have to develop a response.

My personal opinion is that we first have to take the action that more and more of us are now pursuing--spreading the word. It is the silence and denial around this issue that makes it so powerfully destructive.

Next, I think as the first Anonymous shows, it is important that we use whatever our skills are (in her case, art) to question and expose this reality. For instance, since taking Labor and Employment in law school, I have been compiling all the research I can on why it is that advertisers, magazines, the mass media in general, are legally allowed to explicitly discriminate against BW in a way that would be wholly prohibited if practiced by General Motors or Microsoft.

You would never walk into the HR department of a Fortune 500 firm today and be told "we're only hiring blondes," or "you're too dark--next!" But Vogue and people who make BMW commericals openly make judgments like this all the time. Eventually, I want to get to the point that we can organize black models and actresses to openly challenge such discriminatory treatment with the support of BW consumers, and to provide them the legal basis to do so (if there are any lawyers/paras out there, I'd appreciate seeing any citations and law review articles on this subject that you've found!).

But no matter what is that we do, I think that each of us can both use our skills, and continue to enlighten others. Above all, we can no longer allow our "white sisters" and "black brothers" to tell us the problem doesn't exist or is somehow trivial. We have to make it clear that we recognize it for what is, and will no longer passively accept the status quo for the supposed "good" of whatever cause we are supposed to devote our energies to. We must be our own first defenders.

Evia said...

Aimee--wonderful topic!

However, I'm going to take a different slant on this to jiggle some brain cells. LOL!

AA women MUST think politically and financially because money and politics rule the world. These two--money and politics--are the same in MANY cases or they're not far from each other.

So BW in the U.S. MUST think and ACT politically and financially first and foremost. I know human beings are emotional, but bw must stop wallowing in pure emotions--at least on the public front.

Many black women get upset when we're not recognized as being among the most beautiful and best women by mainstream whites, yet OBVIOUSLY many black people themselves do NOT regard bw as the best and the MOST beautiful women. Many blacks advocate "Blame Black Womanhood." And I'm not talking about bm mainly here. Been there and done that.

I'm focusing on black WOMEN here because there are certain things we're going to have to do--de-programming work--in order to elevate ourselves. Let's be real about this. No one is going to be motivated to help you for long IF you don't help yourself.

I mean why should we expect for whites to treat Whitney or Lil Kim with kid gloves in the media the way they treat Britney and Lindsey when most BLACK people rake Lil Kim and Whitney and countless other sistas over the coals constantly, criticizing them forwards, backwards and upside down?

I'm an AA woman and I think that I and other bw are some of the highest quality and most beautiful women on the planet. If I don't think this way about myself and others who resemble me in looks and background, why would I expect for others to think this way? I know this may sound stupid and naive, but it always shocks me when I run into other black people who don't think that bw are among the best and most beautiful women on earth. LOL! Really, it shocks me and I can't yet wrap my brain around that. I can only understand it intellectually, but I haven't been able to process that completely.

Maybe this is why I constantly fight with bm on this issue--because I can't process the low value many of them place on bw. It always shocks me.

Anyway, this is one reason why I have preached that bw MUST support each other--no matter what. Rather than continue to fight a sista, I think it's best to just get quiet or avoid "acting out" sistas altogether, but MANY bw are vipers regarding other bw. Most sistas definitely don't give each other the benefit of the doubt.

What I'm saying is that MANY bw DEFINITELY don't subscribe to "blameless BLACK womanhood." Many bw obviously see each other the SAME way that racist bm and white people do--as less-thans in one or more ways. I know they've been programmed to do this, yet how can they expect nonblacks to see them differently? Are bw who think this way even trying to de-program themselves. Who do they expect to do this for them when it's advantageous to racist whites and racist/predatorial bm for bw to continue beat each other down?


The following is a way of pointing out how another group views and treats their women.
I have a lot of white in-laws and many of them are females of all ages. I've been to countless well-attended family gatherings and there is usually much discussion about current events. I have NEVER heard any of them tear other white women down. When Britney's name comes up or any other white woman who has done something pathetic, shameless, or even criminal (like murdering her children) NONE of those women EVER say anything sharp or nasty. They will talk about the story and tell other family members the details but usually they will express SYMPATHY--never condemnation OR they will say NOTHING. I've paid very close attention to this. I don't know how they "really" think about the Britneys, but I know what they say. Nothing much. The only time I've ever heard them blanketly condemn another white person is if the white person is a predator of some sort or if that person is a child molester, serial killer or is someone who is swindling large amounts of money from others.

Outwardly at least, these women treat each other with kid gloves. These women give each other the benefit of the doubt. I've noticed many times that bm and wm do this too. They will stretch themselves to give others of their group/gender a pass.

But bw don't tend to do this. Many bw tend to hunt and peck for the tiniest things about each other. Look at all of the focus on bw perming their hair, wearing weaves and dying their hair or the black women who dance on BET. You would think that these sistas were predators or serial killers!! LOL! For ex. I've noticed that a bw can be in the category of doing "mother Theresa" type work in a typical black enclave but if she wears a weave or her wig is twisted, many bw will focus on that and harp about it to the point of nausea.

However, I think he prime example of bw 'blaming black womanhood' is how bw rail about those black dancers on BET. I have NEVER heard a bw cut them any slack. They're always viewed as slimy less-thans by every bw I've heard speak about them and OFTEN blamed outright for destroying the morals of the black community. LOL! Yet most ww who I've hard comment about the HUGE number of ww who make up the vast majority of women in the multi-billion dollar porn industry will express SYMPATHY for those women.

Now maybe it's just the ww I'm around or listen to--who are overwhelmingly middle to upper middle class, college educated, etc., but I just don't understand how we can expect whites or anyone else to stop devaluing bw and giving us equal consideration when a huge proportion of us bw don't do it ourselves.

Neither ww nor wm would financially or politically support tolerate the Britneys being devalued or slammed because that sends the signal to the world that other ww can be devalued and attacked/slammed. Bw shouldn't ever slam each other publicly and we shouldn't tolerate anyone else slamming us publicly because it sends the signal that each and every single bw is prey.

It's a scientific principle that "animals that travel in herds are safer." These types of animals have many fewer predators. This has been proven. Bw need to start traveling in herds, figuratively speaking. Folks can laugh about this BUT I'm serious!

Given the social setup in the U.S., the only time I'd slam a bw publicly is if she's been mostly proved to be a serial killer.

Aimee said...

Miss Pinky said...

Great topic Aimee. As the media continues to focus on the drug problems of singer Amy Winehouse, I can't help but think..wow, isn't it great *sarcasm* that black folks think it's tragic and want her to get help, but when discussing Whitney Houston they say she's just a lost cause crack-head.

It was seeing the difference in both media treatment and publc reaction to Whitney and Britney--two obvious addicts--that probably was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

I've seen plenty of folks call Whitney "crazy" in the colloquial sense, but not in a way that suggests real concern that she suffers from a genuine mental/emotional illness that needs treatment and deserves sympathy.

Instead, she has become an object of ridicule, a joke--another ghetto crackhead for people to mock. No concerned inquiries into possible post-partum depression, borderline personality disorder, pychosis, bipolar disorder. And Whitney has more talent in her pinky-toe than Britney and Jamie Lynn combined--isn't the loss of her gifts that much more tragic?

The sad part, as you point out, is that black people have actively participated in the constant derision directed towards Whitney Houston. We are too busy laughing at her, and making sure that Bobby Brown is held in no way responsible for the collapse of her life (remember, never blame the "brotha") to consider why her life has turned out this way, or to care whether she is getting "help." We can't even sympathize with her child the way people pity the poor Federline tots--black folks are too busy calling her "ugly," and making fun of her weave.

That's why it has to start with US refusing to participate in the character assassaination of other BW, or the sanitization of white female wrong-doers.

Elisha said...

I am pleased Aimee that you brought this topic to the forefront. I saw some disturbing posts on another blog and wanted to see something positive and came here.

Picking up where Evia left off, I am going to name one bw who appears to be a 'mammy' at least in the media and I do this with no direspect as I do think she's come a long way from being disrespected in the national media in 2006:

I have watched Star Jones' talk show periodically over the past couple months and am VERY disappointed in what I see.

Just today Star was ranting loud about how the media is putting out inconclusive and negative/unfair information about Heath Ledger's demise. I mean she went as far as to say "Its BULL!!" Ohhhh, she was in a real tizzy!!

I had to blink 3 times to make sure I was seeing and hearing all of this correctly because when the news of the 2 women and their children in Ohio came to light, I kept looking for Star Jones to have at least 15 minutes of her show to speak to 'experts' and various law enforcement officers about the viciciousness of what happened to these 2 beautiful women.

What did I hear from Star Jones (and other news media outlets) about these 2 sisters????

______________ That's right nothing. Its like it NEVER happened. Imagine if this had been 2 white women friends and their infants??.

There might have had maybe a small blip of coverage for these black women(which I did not see) but it was as it these women's and their babies lives were worth NOTHING!

Yet everyday Star goes on and on about Britney and any other white woman who is missing. This infuriates me! She is sickening!

She will talk about the OJ case because it brings in ratings.

I used to respect Star but now...I just think she was perpetuating the villification of black women by being on a national show and not give black women who are accosted in some way .01% of the media coverage she gives white women.

When the black woman near Detroit was missing and the college student in North Carolina I believe went missing only to be found dead later...I heard NOTHING from STAR. I turn away from her show now because of this.

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how many of my white girlfriends go into sabotage mode when a white man shows any interest, but will actively point out ANY black man as a possible mate no matter how sorry he is.

I have experienced this with white females I've known.
I am very attactive and I get a lot of attention men white, black etc.

I wonder if white females and females of other races more threatened by black women that are consider beautiful in our society?

In my case, its like you're black you shouldn't have that, you shouldn't be considered beautiful. I dont know. Am I being paranoid? Are my feelings valid?

Anonymous said...

In my case, its like you're black you shouldn't have that, you shouldn't be considered beautiful. I dont know. Am I being paranoid? Are my feelings valid?

________________________________

Yep. Your feelings are valid. I'm like you, but I'm fat too. I'm waay outside what most folks think SHOULD BE attractive...

Yet, white men find me very attractive. I was at an event, where a white and asian woman were both so threatened that a seriously attractive and accomplished white dude didn't acknowledge their presence, because he was so excited to talk to me. I was tag-teamed with mistreatment the rest of the evening by them.

When you are black or overweight, you're not supposed to be attractive. I've experienced men who feel weirded-out that they are so drawn to me. I'm often told, "I'm not usually attracted to (insert some aspect of myself here), but I really like you."

Being both black and overweight, I'm EXPECTED to be ugly. That's what my time, life, and culture says to the world. Yet it's not true. It's hard for a lot of people to deal with.

On that note: Does anyone know that Norbit was nominated for an Academy Award for make-up? I find that obscene.

Let Love Rule said...

Evia,

I agree with much of what you say. There is a great deal of shaming in the bc. But it's also important to consider the role of media images and their impact on how bw are perceived in the larger society.

In my mind the two go hand in hand, Were it not for the racism of the larger society, the shaming within the community may not be so prevalent.

Evia said...

Evia,

I agree with much of what you say. There is a great deal of shaming in the bc. But it's also important to consider the role of media images and their impact on how bw are perceived in the larger society.

In my mind the two go hand in hand, Were it not for the racism of the larger society, the shaming within the community may not be so prevalent.


Okay, I hear ya, and I KNOW that first came racism and then came all the rest of this, BUT this is where I part company with most AAs on this issue. It sounds like you're saying that black folks can't/won't like or love ourselves UNTIL the media (mainstream whites) likes or loves us. I mean, are we really so dependent on racist white folks' understanding and appreciation of us? Then that's the voice of doom. They may never change. Or they may even begin to see blacks in a worse light than they do now. Does that mean that we too will see ourselves in a worse light? Wow!!

Anyway, I think this clears up something for me. Maybe this is why I see black women so positively. I've even had bw to write to me asking how I can view bw so positively. LOL! It's because I can see bw WITHOUT seeing us through the eyes of the media. And I can look at bm's actions without seeing them through the eyes of the media. I can see a loving bm even if the media tells me he's not and likewise, I can see if he's a predator even if the media tells me he's not.

I am in no way excusing the media, but the media would be hesitant to mistreat us IF blacks these days didn't send the signal that it's okay. Some of us are VERY complicit in inviting unfairness and mistreatment in this way. For ex. look at the movie "NORBIT" that tons of blacks went to see. Then some of those SAME folks who went to see that movie will be the loudest critics of how the media constantly features overweight women on the screen. I actually know a "conscious" sista who went to see that movie and talked about how funny it was, but will get on a soapbox criticizing the media's treatment of bw!! I mean, don't black folks have some obligation not to give outsiders the green light to treat us unfairly or attack us?

This is not blaming the victim; this is actually a public service message to ALL folks who define themselves as "black" to de-program and re-program themselves even if the media doesn't do that for you. Don't wait on the media to do this!!

See, this is why I despise bm who use the excuse that the media "made them" prefer light, bright and white women. Based on what you're saying (and I guess this is a view shared by many black folks, so I'm not directing this at you personally), maybe I should "understand" why so many bm discriminate against dark sistas? Maybe I should apologize to them for blasting them. Maybe I should pat them on the head and say "Good job. You're aping the media so well." LOL!

Aimee said...

Evia said...

I KNOW that first came racism and then came all the rest of this, BUT this is where I part company with most AAs on this issue. It sounds like you're saying that black folks can't/won't like or love ourselves UNTIL the media (mainstream whites) likes or loves us.

I don't think that's what LLR was saying, and it certainly isn't what I'm saying. I think she is pointing out the objective reality that anti-BW sentiment has both internal and external manifestations, and that if we as BW want to confront such sentiment, we have to confront it WHEREVER it rears its ugly head.

Just as we can't wait for whites to love us to love ourselves, we can't wait for each and every black person to love themselves before we demand the respect we deserve from EVERYONE. The fact that there are self-hating black people does not excuse anyone's racism, black or white.

Evia said...

Just as we can't wait for whites to love us to love ourselves, we can't wait for each and every black person to love themselves before we demand the respect we deserve from EVERYONE. The fact that there are self-hating black people does not excuse anyone's racism, black or white.

I realize this isn't an either-or situation. This is why I'm highlighting another aspect of the "blameless white womanhood" issue. There are blacks these days who hold ww blameless too but blame bw for SO much.

I know YOU definitely go after black on black prejudice and racism, but I'd certainly love to see MORE black bloggers and such show NO MERCY towards AAs inflicting racism and unequal/ harsh treatment or blame on bw because the black on black attacks set the stage early in life for young black females to "accept" blame, unequal treatment, and less-than status across the board.

This is why many bw don't even question excessive blame.

Many black girls have been blamed for so much by their very own family/community right from the start. They get used to it and it's internalized. After that, it's easy for the media, the school system, and other systems to reinforce blame, or less-than status. In effect, these black females have been "prepared" by those around them--by those they trust--for this less than treatment and are not even aware of what's happening as it is piled on them day by day--by those around them AND by the media.

So I agree, it should be attacked totally and completely when it comes from anyone and everyone.

Halima said...

So eloquently put and so comprehensively explored aimee, i can think of nothing further that needs adding

but just to highlight and comment these excellent portions:

My point isn't that we should view white women as the "enemy, but that we should understand how our culture perpetuates images of white vs. black womanhood that are false and destructive--and that we must acknowledge the extent to which white women not only benefit from this false dichotomy, but do so willingly.

Aimme, you have articulated so well one of the key 'issues' that pains me more so because it continues to go unnoticed and is not even 'scehduled' to be addressed anytime soon!

Just as we have had to face the destructive role that DBRBM play in black communities, we must also face the fact that others among our supposed "natural" allies are not always on our side, and may be unwilling to forgo their own relative privilege in order to take on the challenge of forging a healthier society for all of us.

Spot on, bw refusal or blindness or squeemishness to look at this reality is on the level of their hesitation to confront bm over their own oppressiveness! Yet ww continue to earn and reap rewards at bw expense from this unfavourable positioning of bw and


BW have always been caught between the vice of bm and ww, but we have only till now recognised the evil inherent in the wm and turned a blind eye to the other opressive forces and their manifestations. the sooner we see and raise our voices against this issue the better!

As black women, we must always remember to place our own interests first, and to carefully analyze the motivations of those who would claim a share of our efforts, while rejecting any part of our struggles.

Wow, I think I can resign now! You have wrapped it up.

Above all, and in a not at all unrelated point, the portrayal of black women's "bad behavior," is distinctly different from that accorded white women. First of all, black women are generally ignored as individuals by our media and our culture. Instead, our presence is reduced to purportedly representative stereotypical imagery, that permits our individual existences (and narratives) to be eliminated from public view. Thus, when a black women engages in wrong-doing (or, all too often, even when she does not) or is victimized, there is no effort made to "figure out" why she may have done what she did or to consider how her victimization may have come to be. Her blackness is considered explanation enough for bad behavior (just as her blackness becomes irrelevant when she does something good--then, we "just happen to be black), and her blackness renders her victimization invisible, or even culpable.

So eloquently put!

I term this the ‘oppressive white female superstructure, which is so injurious to bw by just being!

There is indeed a dominant white female superstructure that stands within the society to the oppression of non-white females (one simple example is how the term 'blonde' is used as shorthand to mean beauty and desirability thus with one simple term Bw are excluded). a lot more work needs to be done to 'itemise' how it works oppressively. unfortuanetly the cloack of innocent wwhood, fear of being labelled bitter and our need to feel big hearted towards other women (read: not jealous of other women), and can i add the fact that issue of beauty and looks are never deemed startegic and serious issues, means we have a bigger fight to even get people to engage with the issue and take it all seriously!

BW learn early that we are dismissed and mocked when we point out destructive realities.

True talk! and like i said above, some bw dont even want to talk about ww and the ways they get over on us, least we be called 'jealous women'.

Yet, if you go to any black organization, church, even a black message board and point this blazingly obvious reality out, what will the response be (not from whites even--from other black people)? Usually an outright denial: "That isn't true. What about that Macys/Target/Carnival Cruises/whatever commercial with the pretty dark sister? What difference does it make? If you felt better about yourself, it wouldn't bother you." And on and on, ad infinitum.

Indeed! recently this issue was raised on another linked blog and bw came out all defensive on behalf of ww! I think sometimes we bw are betrayed by this need to show that we are magnanimous and sure of our beauty etc. Unfortuntely this is a perfect environment for the problem to thrive unconfronted!

Eventually, I want to get to the point that we can organize black models and actresses to openly challenge such discriminatory treatment with the support of BW consumers, and to provide them the legal basis to do so (if there are any lawyers/paras out there, I'd appreciate seeing any citations and law review articles on this subject that you've found!).

You know i am with you on this one. but i feel daunted by the fact that the first response will be to try to shame bw into feeling they are making a big deal out of nothing. Eg when the issue of glamour magazine and bw hairstyles was up for debate, many ww started their arguments by saying, "Why would you want to be approved of by thant silly magazine anyway", totally missing the wider issues involved around esteem, denied access to jobs in these 'soft' industries (including hollywood and the mega bucks it pays), which this whole issue of beauty feeds into!

what do you think the approach should be aimee? Making it plain, studying the media etc is important for sure but in addition we need to have a primcipled argument to counter this, "these are such trivial issues when people are starving in Africa' responses that immediately come up!

Do you have any ideas how we can begin to move on this issue?

I must admit that my particular peeve is 'biracial as the acceptable black female' and the related issues of the shunning and under representation of 'ancestral' looking bw. I dont want to pick on biracial/light bw because i love them totally but we have to lay bear every form of oppressiveness however it appears and whoever it favours.

Now in my part of the world, open up any catalogue and from year to year there are 5 biracial females to 1 dark skin woman (if they manage to slip in one dark woman that is!) when we all know that in reality and numerically, the opposite should apply.

Also biracial females are now accepted as serious contenders in mainstraem reality Tv shows and a couple have won quite recently. This is really good however, there is another side to it i see emerging and am afraid will take hold, and that is that this will soon 'cement' and form a 'culture' as these things do, and soon no one will even think to add non-biracial bw to the lineup but will immediately reach for the biracial/light bw. This already happening quite a bit!

I am very bewildered that after this many years no one is really pointing out this blatant biased representation, and the fact that we havent seen this yet as an issue to confront in mainstraem is something i find worrying! Why do we never say to the wd agencies, "Why when you want a black person, do you 8 times out of 10 go for the more atypical black person'.

In someway i guess we feel pressed to say 'we are all black' and give the impression that we are not fighting within the group, but like i said, this means we create an opportunity for the problem to thrive!

maybe a 1st approach would be getting a general acknowledgment of this problem so it doesnt continue to be done without thought!

i would love to hear your thoughts and strategies about the general issue of organising to wrest bw from under the 'superstructure' of white womanhood!

Phew that ws long. I hope i havent bored you aimmee lol!

daphne said...

I must admit that my particular peeve is 'biracial as the acceptable black female' and the related issues of the shunning and under representation of 'ancestral' looking bw.

This is a real and serious issue, and as a lighter BW, I would be a fool to say otherwise. I do have some questions about this - is it that biracial women typically have lighter skin, or is it just lighter skin in general is preferred? I would consider myself a black woman - both of my parents are black. My father had dark skin, my mother has a medium brown skin tone. Out of nine siblings, somehow I came out with the lightest skin tone (to the extent that people thought I had a different father, but that's a whole other issue!). However, I have what might be considered phenotypically African physical features - full lips, wider nose, type 4 a/b hair, wide hips, full rear. Would I not be considered ancestral looking solely because of my skin tone? Could it be argued that lighter BW with phenotypically African features are rarely seen in media? Is it possible for a darker, yet more "bi- or multi-racial" looking woman to have more access to TV/film roles? Are my questions splitting hairs? I don't know if that makes any sense, and I don't want to be divisive - just trying to gain a deeper understanding.

Taylor-Sara said...

Aimee thank you so much for posting this topic, it so needs to be dealt with. It's time to fight back, the only way they will ever listen is if we band together and fight. And halima you are so right, trying to be magninimous, and appear secure, is the perfect environment for these problems to procreate and spread. Aimee whenever you are ready to undertake this movement, I am 1000% behind you! Nobody else is ever going to stand up for us if we will not stand for ourselves! Great comments everyone, Evia, Halima and of course Aimee as always...

Halima said...

Hello daphne

No i dont think you are being divisive. i think i used biracial as a catch all term for bw who benefit from being closer to the eurostandrd which i suppose could range from skin tone to caucasoid features or both!

For sure not every biracial or lighter bw will appear on catalogues etc but there is an undeniable frequency with which women who appear to have recent white parantage, get selected for roles and yes this is an extremely complex issue which we all could do with more clarity on at least so we can deal with it sensitively!

missprissypants said...

Your post was spot on! I used to wonder about this all the time, but could have never said it quite as well as you did.

The biracial thing in advertising kills me. Especially in children's clothing ads. The boy is almost always obviously Black, while the girl will look biracial. Not that biracial children are not beautiful, but even at a young age, the media is showing that a regular Black girl is not as pretty.

CW said...

This is an amazing post! This boils down to how BW will ALLOW themselves to be treated...AND how BW treat one another....




BWDB http://thecwexperience.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Aimee, as usual you have hit the nail right on the head. You are so right about how this stupid society excuses and protects those garbage, misbehaved trash WW like that stupid Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Amy Winhouse, and the rest of those stupid WW idiots. I hate them, and I hate this society for lionizing them while tearing down the beautiful, strong, intelligent BW who carries herself like a true lady and a trooper 99.9% of the time and NEVER gets her due for it! It stinks.

And BM have a hand in this of course. Yet another way they fail BW!

Anonymous said...

WW make me so sick! How I hate them!

Aimee said...

Evia said...
I realize this isn't an either-or situation. This is why I'm highlighting another aspect of the "blameless white womanhood" issue. There are blacks these days who hold ww blameless too but blame bw for SO much.

I know YOU definitely go after black on black prejudice and racism, but I'd certainly love to see MORE black bloggers and such show NO MERCY towards AAs inflicting racism and unequal/ harsh treatment or blame on bw because the black on black attacks set the stage early in life for young black females to "accept" blame, unequal treatment, and less-than status across the board.

___________________________________

I see examples of this all the time. For some reason, it is easier for many people to focus on an "enemy" who can be made the sole and exclusive focus of all blame, than to recognize wrong wherever (and by whoever) it happens to manifest itself. But that inability opens up many of us to a great deal of abuse and hurt because we divide the world by false categories of "good" and "bad," rather than making the kind of case-by-case judgments that are harder, but necessary. I definitely try to be careful to avoid that.

Aimee said...

daphne said...

Out of nine siblings, somehow I came out with the lightest skin tone (to the extent that people thought I had a different father, but that's a whole other issue!). However, I have what might be considered phenotypically African physical features - full lips, wider nose, type 4 a/b hair, wide hips, full rear. Would I not be considered ancestral looking solely because of my skin tone? Could it be argued that lighter BW with phenotypically African features are rarely seen in media? Is it possible for a darker, yet more "bi- or multi-racial" looking woman to have more access to TV/film roles? Are my questions splitting hairs? I don't know if that makes any sense, and I don't want to be divisive - just trying to gain a deeper understanding.

I don't think you're splitting hairs at all--your questions are a good example in my mind of the kind of observations that we as BW make internally all the time, but begin to question because they are so often dismissed by those around us, and because we are encouraged to turn our justified outrage with the discrimination we witness on each other.

There is definitely a "sliding scale" for judging BW's beauty in our culture--darker skin can be "balanced" by straighter hair, fuller facial features "balanced" by a thinner body. Implicitly, we know this--our experience teaches us this. Think about the dark girls with the long hair in school who the other girls rolled their eyes at for "thinking she cute"; the light girls with the broad noses and full lips who got snickers for being "ugly." But rarely did anyone just come right out and say that "the less black African a BW looks, the more beautiful we find her." It was the problem that had no name, because no one would articulate it--because if anyone did articulate it, everyone around that person would attack and reject her for making such an observation, and insist it was false, though we all know it is true.

Instead, "the community" just pits the dark and the light girls against each other, and tries to convince them that the hurt they are suffering emanates from the other group, not from a system of discrimination aimed at both. Fortunately, some of us are waking up. :-)

JJ said...

I have this conversation all the time with friends and the example I always use (just to drive home the point) is Jenna Jameson and Karrine Steffans..

Both women have engaged willingly and proudly in the sex industry. Both women have moved on from their initial porn/sex lives yet they both still profit handsomely from their porn exploits and the notoriety (and mainstream popularity) the industry has afforded them.

However...

Since Jameson has "renounced" her porn ways she's often portrayed as this symbol of female empowerment who took control of her own exploitation and profited from it and beat men at their own game. She's portrayed as having learned from her experience and become a better woman for it.

Karrine is portrayed as a gutter whore who needs to go sit down somewhere and need to realize her 15 minutes of fame has been up and should be ashamed of herself for painting all Black women with the whore brush.

I'm not defending either one.

But it always strikes me as amusing (and sad) that all a white woman has to do is renounce her whorish ways and she's welcomed back into the fold of pure womaness.

A Black woman...well once a whore always a whore. And hell her whorish ways cast whoreness on other Black women even if they don't engage in said "whorish" behaviors.

You often read about former strippers and porn stars who are married (sometimes several times) and they are (generally) always white.

I often ask my friends: who marries the Black stripper/whore.

Anonymous said...

You know, I read all these blogs, and I just made a post on another one, that I know the blog author will not publish because she never publishes any of my posts. Anyway, the topic also hinges on the stuff we were talking about here, so I thought I would bring it up.

This idea that BW who date outside their race are so progressive, puzzles me. Dating cannot be more progressive than black women accepting, embracing and flaunting the beauty of their hair. The MOST progressive thing any black woman can do is WEAR HER OWN NATURAL HAIR TEXTURE.

How can we have a conversation about the general disdain for black women's beauty, and NOT talk about the hypocriticality of BW who position themselves as 'progressives' yet are unwilling to psychologically examine why they hold onto hair/hair texture that isn't their own. I don't understand why we can't evaluate the shame on these very progressive blogs. This topic seems to be the ultimate white elephant in the room.

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

This idea that BW who date outside their race are so progressive, puzzles me. Dating cannot be more progressive than black women accepting, embracing and flaunting the beauty of their hair. The MOST progressive thing any black woman can do is WEAR HER OWN NATURAL HAIR TEXTURE.

How can we have a conversation about the general disdain for black women's beauty, and NOT talk about the hypocriticality of BW who position themselves as 'progressives' yet are unwilling to psychologically examine why they hold onto hair/hair texture that isn't their own. I don't understand why we can't evaluate the shame on these very progressive blogs. This topic seems to be the ultimate white elephant in the room.

___________________________________

(1) Who said that BW who date outside their race are by definition "progressive"? BW who date IR are progressive, conservative, and everything in between. What we share is a refusal to be restricted by externally determined racial criteria in our choice of companionship. Beyond that connection, our values and belief systems are quite diverse.

(2) Even if no BW on the planet straightened her hair, our society would still deify white womanhood and it's purported "purity" and blamelessness. Our society would do this even if no BW existed; my post was intented to simply point out the reality of this deification and its effect on BW's lives. I don't completely follow how you decided that this subject is "really" about the failure of progressive BW to wear their hair naturally.

(3) In terms of what "we" should be examining here, I think "we" should examine a number of issues, and your focus on self-love reflected through acceptance of our natural hair is not new or unique to you. If, however, the subject doesn't get sufficent attention in your opinion at this or any other blog, you are free to invest your time and energy in a blog devoted exclusively to this topic.

Anonymous said...

If, however, the subject doesn't get sufficent attention in your opinion at this or any other blog, you are free to invest your time and energy in a blog devoted exclusively to this topic.
________________________________

Yep. Maybe I should start a blog, but I don't have the time to manage one everyday. I tend to want to want to examine the psychological reason behind we do what we do in the external world. It seems to me black people in general feel threatened by an exploration into the psyche. So if I created a blog with intense, deep topics, I doubt anyone would post with the type of rigorous honesty required to get to the bottom of it all.

Anonymous said...

The way some women judge other black women on their choice of hair texture (and extensions)is divisive.

I do not see women who relax their hair running around denouncing women who prefer unrelaxed hair. To be sure, some bw do snicker when they see a wonderfully kinky/coiled haired woman. But there is no OUTCRY about it.

On these very blogs and various forums I've read, bw are particularly vicious about women who are not 'natural'.

We are hopefully all responsible women right? If someone chooses to wear chemicals be it color/relaxer or weaves it is a Personal decision.

I dare anyone to tell me my mother is not progressive because she relaxes her hair. And I dare someone tell me she is trying to look white.

She's been THROUGH the struggle from the 1950s 'til today, gotten advanced education, birthed/raised children and took care of her business. Who is to judge her??? I think not.

Hair does not define her as a black woman. Her work does.

This natural vs. relaxed divisiveness does NOTHING to uplift black women on the whole.

A teacher or a nurse/doctor/mother who wears her hair relaxed is just as relevant as one who prefers chemical free hair.

daphne said...

Maybe I missed something.....but I fail to see how the "bw and their hair" debate factors into this topic (which, OMG, can I express how old the debate has gotten? The same people on either side, redundant analysis, accusations and assumptions flying all over the place, etc). Or even how IR dating or progressiveness ties into it. Not to mention the irony of anonymous expressing concern over black women not addressing the elephant in the room, yet not wanting to create a blog about it at the same time complaining that no one would post comments to get to the bottom of it. Nicely circular!

Anonymous said...

It seems to me the mere mention of this topic is met with a lot of defensiveness. Usually this sort of lashing out is a sure indicator of shame surrounding the hair issue. A lot of minds are closed to the possibilities. And that's dangerous...to close yourself off to your own possibilities.

Yes. It is a VERY personal issue...how BWs feel about their overall beauty in relation to their hair, shape, body, skin color, etc is very important and very personal. It seems we freely talk about skin color a lot on these blogs, but rarely delve deeply into the complexities of body shape & size, and of course, hair... It's very clear to me some BWs feel more worthy of love with a relaxer or with extra hair on their heads, than without.

I hope one day black women will want to have this discussion. It's not an old conversation at all. We haven't even begun to plunge way below the surface yet. It's too painful acknowledge that a lot of BWs depend on weaves/relaxers to get through life. Our worth, our lovability should never be that dependent on something outside ourselves. I believe we as BWs can never really be free until we address this honestly.

How we feel about our beauty hinges on it. How others feel about our beauty hinges on it. How we are reflected in the media hinges on it.

daphne said...

It seems to me the mere mention of this topic is met with a lot of defensiveness. Usually this sort of lashing out is a sure indicator of shame surrounding the hair issue.

A few things:

1) Lashing out? In a word, no. I don't understand how your original comment ties in with Aimee's post. I'm not Aimee, so I won't tell someone what they can or cannot post, but I can certainly state my opinion on the relevance of it.

2) Your assumption that lashing out (which is a euphemism for disagreement, I guess?) indicates shame on the hair issue proves my point about the ongoing debate.

3) You continue to express the viewpoint that black women don't want to talk about it, but when Aimee recommended that you blog about it, you declined. Then, via some kind of unique foresight (which, I need to get some of that so I can win the lottery), you state the reason you decline is that no one would post with the rigorous honesty you deem appropriate. You would rather hijack another blogger's post and then declare that anyone who isn't down as an indicator of shame.

4) I, for one, am tired of the hair debate, but that's just one opinion. I'm sure there are many women interested in discussing the issue, so please don't generalize about what discussions women will or will not have when you haven't made the effort (other than hijacking this blog) to express your perspective on your time on your blog. Besides, from what I have seen on the blogosphere, there are a good number of women that share your view, which negates your assumption that black women don't want to have the discussion. Off the top of my head, I can think of 3 blog posts and comment threads on 3 different, yet connected blogs in which exhaustive discussions have taken place. Perhaps you're looking at different blogs?

JJ said...

How did folk venture onto the hair thing?

Anonymous said...

JJ said...
How did folk venture onto the hair thing?
-------------------
Because someone basically wanted us to know that if bw do not wear chemical free hair/non-weaved hair, we are NOT progressive.

Gorgeous Black Women said...

As a mental health advocate, I can't judge. Before, when it seemed like she was being childish, I definitely casted some blame.

Now that it is quite evident that she suffers from at least one serious mental illness which she's not being treated properly for, I can't judge. Yes, she needs to have her kids taken away. I had a bipolar in-law who refused to take her medication. She was definitely manic, not hypomanic. She picked up her kid from school and sped off. Her daughter, who had not closed the door, fell out and died of her injuries. Her husband divorced her and had primary custody. She still refuses to take her medication and as a result, she hasn't seen her other two kids in nearly 3 years now.

Despite the issues she has, I don't pity her in the least bit when it comes to the kids being taken away. I'm surprised she had as much time with them months ago. If she were not a celebrity with loads of money, she wouldn't get so many chances to get it together. Getting it together probably requires hospitalization for some length of time. It's difficult but it's worth it.

La ~ msviswan said...

This is my first time to your blog. I just want to say this was a wonderful piece, it touched me because you put things so well into perspective. For the record: I personally don’t feel sorry for Britney (and the others), they have the money, family, fans and resources to console them. No one felt that sorry for Shar when Britney thought she had something over her. They rather talked about "all her previous children" for another man. Britney also likes the attention, while she’s also humiliated and upset she can’t have her way. her little sister was taking to much attention.

Anyway, I haven’t read any of the previous comments as yet. I just want to share two examples to other like minded black women. These things have been bothering me personally for some time now.

I live in a predominantly black, dysfunctional and sexist society. I’m the youngest black female at my office among mostly women 45 and up. In my office there’s an older white female (only white female), that appears to be inept when it comes to producing basic office tasks. When she makes her constant errors, I notice the black female supervisor and other black women in the office look for excuses... “maybe she’s homesick - she’s still doing good for her age - maybe she’s overwhelmed etc”. Yet, there’s another older black female that works even harder doing the same job, but when she slips up on rare occasions, they call her lazy or careless. This bothers me, and I lose my patience with these women for other reasons also. One of them once said, she can’t blame some of these men when little girls get raped. She said little girls need learn to go straight home after school. These women depress and frustrate me on a daily basis, I don’t fit in and it’s getting to me. Seriously.

Also, a couple years ago a white female tried to kill her “baby daddy” who was a black male “playa” that abandoned her after the baby was born. His family and many other black people in my community gossiped that “something” may have happen to her in her past, perhaps she’s suffering with postpartum, or he must have done her something because “white women don’t usually act like that”. What’s ironic, he has a previous black “baby mama” who his friends and family vilified for years because she took him for child support. I kid you not.

I think the black community also enables our demise. Could you imagine what society in general would have said if that missing pregnant Marine was a black woman?

-sighing and can't get any sleep.

elisha said...

La ~ msviswan said...

"In my office there’s an older white female (only white female), that appears to be inept when it comes to producing basic office tasks. When she makes her constant errors, I notice the black female supervisor and other black women in the office look for excuses... “maybe she’s homesick - she’s still doing good for her age - maybe she’s overwhelmed etc”. Yet, there’s another older black female that works even harder doing the same job, but when she slips up on rare occasions, they call her lazy or careless."
___________________

This scenario is played out EVERYDAY in offices across the land.

Black men and non-blacks are not the only ones who give white women a pass. Other black women do this BIG time even at the expense of other black women.

It is a shame that black women are sooo hard on other black women. Lots of times we are our own worse enemy and then we wonder why others do not respect us.

Before I look for a black man to understand me...I look for a black woman to do so. If I do not get a black woman's support - I know I am in for trouble from everyone else.

To be sure, I'm not talking about trifling behavior. I'm speaking more to the scenario you just provided La ~ msviswan.

Little snafus that everyone makes because we are Human gets blown out of proportion when we (bw) are out of sorts periodically.

We tear each other down real quick. Hell, even when we are 'doing the damn thing and doing it right' we get scoffed at by black women as in, "Who does she think she is?". Then we are surprised that black men and non-blacks scoff at us???

hmmm - it all makes you think.

gatamala said...

I think the black community also enables our demise. Could you imagine what society in general would have said if that missing pregnant Marine was a black woman?

If anyone would have heard about it at all...

Aimee said...

La ~ msviswan said...

I think the black community also enables our demise. Could you imagine what society in general would have said if that missing pregnant Marine was a black woman?

Honestly, no--I can't imagine, because I am certain we would never have heard anything about a missing black pregnant Marine. To the extent we did hear anything, you are correct in pointing out it would likely be black people calling her everything but a child of God, while white people simply ignored her.

That's why it is so crucial that those of us who know better, do better. I've been in the position of being surrounded by BW with backwards, "mammy" mentalities, and there is probably nothing more disinheartening. But there are BW like US out here--BW who love, respect, and support other BW, who believe in each other and work in our own best interest. Even if you can only connect with those women over the Internet now, maintain your connection with them! One of the biggest obstacles we face is low morale--the many of us who want better who end up feeling that we are alone. We aren't! And even if we think no one is looking, people are watching the way we positive BW carry ourselves, especially our young girls. They need a better example of ways not only to relate to men or other races, but to each other, and we are the ones to provide that. Please don't lose heart!

Anonymous said...

Yep. Maybe I should start a blog, but I don't have the time to manage one everyday. I tend to want to want to examine the psychological reason behind we do what we do in the external world. It seems to me black people in general feel threatened by an exploration into the psyche. So if I created a blog with intense, deep topics, I doubt anyone would post with the type of rigorous honesty required to get to the bottom of it all.
---------------------------------
You know even if your blog doesnt get any reponse doesnt mean people wont read it and learn from it. I know many blogs outhere that dont get many replies, however lots of people read them.

Halima said...

Hi aimee

just wondering how we can progress this issue. i also wanted to add that we dont have to worry or wait for 100% of bw to be on board with ideas and plans for the betterment of bw as a whole. there will always be stragglers, and women who are resistant because they dont see how things can change (these usually come round with the first major victory), others just get something out of opposing any such plans.

all in all, an idea snow-balls as it takes off on its journey.

IR Dating E-Book

Phantom Mare said...

Yep. Maybe I should start a blog, but I don't have the time to manage one everyday. I tend to want to want to examine the psychological reason behind we do what we do in the external world. It seems to me black people in general feel threatened by an exploration into the psyche. So if I created a blog with intense, deep topics, I doubt anyone would post with the type of rigorous honesty required to get to the bottom of it all.
____________________________


You don't have to blog everyday. Yes, people WILL read your blog!! Hey take a dive! Be YOU and state your concerns. (Said in encouragement) :o))))

Anonymous said...

I started one today...

http://blackwomanunhinged.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I started one today...

http://blackwomanunhinged.blogspot.com/
__________________________

Congrats for starting a new blog.

Now I hope you will allow differing views as you have here with the subject of black women's styling choices (I am trying hard not to inject the hair thing into this blog).

If someone disagrees with you, please respect their views. As long as everyone is respectful, there should be no reason black women cannot debate whatever positions you present on your blog.

black | woman | unhinged said...

Now I hope you will allow differing views as you have here with the subject of black women's styling choices
___________________________

Anon, are you the same anon, that mentioned this on my blog? If so, you are welcome to say whatever you'd like. There is no censorship there.

Anonymous said...

Actually, one of the main persons who doesn't censor opposing points of view is Classical One, a white male. Men tend to embrace challenges. Halima is queen of censorship because she doesn't want her lies challenged. Same for Evia. Aimee is open enough to understand the importance of a variety of points of view. It's those who attempt to practice demagoguery by expressing unfounded fabrications as facts who need to practice censorship.

Anonymous said...

anon wrote: "Actually, one of the main persons who doesn't censor opposing points of view is Classical One, a white male. Men tend to embrace challenges."

=============================

C1 has a great blog. Variety of topics and a diverse population. Very interesting reads. It can get wild at times but he tends to stay out of the furors that sometimes erupt.

I will not make a comment on the other 2 bloggers you mentioned. I have not really read their blogs often.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. C1's blog is not preachy. You basically have intelligent, interesting and fun discussions without so much of the radical black male hatred. He is a good facilitator.

Sandra77 said...

C1 has a good blog but he exercises no control over the comments to his blogs - accordingly the comments go far afield and some commenters get very abusive of others who don't share their views. Also, the comments can go so far afield that they become unfocused and unhelpful and a downright turnoff. The other bloggers commented about (Halima and Evia) do write excellent blogs and they keep their blog comments focused and don't allow commenters to abuse each other - I guess in some quarters that constitutes censorship. Each blogger has the right to determine the topics and focus of his/her blog and how far afield they are willing to let commenters go. I read Halima's and Evia's blogs regularly for that reason - comments remain focused and intelligent and I learn from reading those blogs and comments. I can't say the same for C1's blog anymore - I don't bother to read it anymore unless someone on another blog mentions something particular on C1's blog that they recommend. And I wish that were not the case since C1 is one of the few white males blogging on IR. I wish his blog would regain focus and reclaim quality over quantity.

black | woman | unhinged said...

The other bloggers commented about (Halima and Evia) do write excellent blogs and they keep their blog comments focused and don't allow commenters to abuse each other - I guess in some quarters that constitutes censorship.
_________________________________________

Hmmm...I disagree about Halima and Evia. They are very, very, very, preachy, insecure and guarded. They never publish my comments because, quite frankly, I tend to make points they can't easily disprove. They require a certain Stepford Wife-participation, which I truly do not respect. They don't want others challenging them and prefer visitors who have drunk the kool-aid.

Plus their tactics are very old-skool and churchified....we are the preachers...you are the lowly congregation, there will be no crossing of lines. I get to spew my thoughts at you...you dumbasses need to listen.

Anonymous said...

Sandra77 said... "C1 has a good blog but he exercises no control over the comments to his blogs - accordingly the comments go far afield and some commenters get very abusive of others who don't share their views."



You do have a point Sandra77. C1 has a group of women who have been with him since he started his blog. This group feels very comfortable with C1 and each other in the small group that is very close in terms of online friendships. What happens is that they communicate with each other freely. C1 seems comfortable with that.

C1's main commenters tend to be younger. So the conversations are different. There are a few women who are in their 30s who belong to this group and at least one of them is more mature.

I've noticed less drama on his blog lately though.

Sandra77 said...

Anonymous who posted on 2/27 at 8:51 pm - you're right, the dichotomy we're seeing between C1's commenters and Halima/Evia's commenters may be an age thing. I am part of the older crowd, and I don't have time for BS. I don't read IR blogs to pass the time of day or as "light reading" - I read IR blogs to learn something. I don't want to waste time reading "inside jokes" among a few commenters (that's what private mail is for) or reading about "village life" and I have no patience with commenters being allowed to abuse one another (e.g., "browncutie-gate"). No-one has to read anyone's blog, which is why I don't bother to read C1's blog regularly anymore - I have a good deal of respect for the substance of C1's post topics, but so often the comments thereto lack critical analysis and are completely unrelated to the topic, yet for the most part C1 doesn't seem interested in reminding his commenters to stay on topic or challenge his commenters to look deeper (his prerogative, of course). I suspect much of the antipathy certain commenters have to Halima/Evia's blogs is that they don't tolerate BS, they require that comments stay on topic and they give substantive challenges to commenters' foolish writings (just because you have the right to an opinion does not necessarily make it a valid opinion and does not place it above being challenged on its merits). Not everyone recognizes what dangerous times BW are living in right now - it could go either way for us and if BW don't take action against the forces against us, things can very easily go the wrong way for us on a VERY long-term basis. If you don't agree with a bloggers point of view or all you are contributing to the discourse is inanities, then why keep coming back to that blog? I don't get this need/desire to control another blogger's thinking. Start your own blog if you disagree, or just move on. That is the nature of blogging. I won't deign to tell C1 how to run his blog - that is his decision. If a blog doesn't meet my needs, I find another blog that does (or I would start my own).

Anonymous said...

Anon 2-27 8:51pm I agree with everything you said but all those women on C-1's blog actually haven't been there since he started. If you go through his archives you will see there are different commentators who posted. And the ones who post now (maybe, maybe with an exception of what 1 or 2?) weren't even posting when he first started.

Now I don't post much but I have been reading his blog since he started. I'm part of that young group (23 yrs) and I definitely get tired of the topics constantly going off topic. I read all the blogs but I still read his too hoping the comments don't venture off.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2-27 8:51pm I agree with everything you said but all those women on C-1's blog actually haven't been there since he started.

Now I don't post much but I have been reading his blog since he started. I'm part of that young group (23 yrs) and I definitely get tired of the topics constantly going off topic. I read all the blogs but I still read his too hoping the comments don't venture off.


____________________________

anon 2/27 3:27 pm:

Ok. I did not know that some of the readers previously mentioned were not part of the original commenters. C1 had mentioned one day that at least 3-4 of them were. Your point is well taken.

Stephanie said...

Aimee,

Thank you so much for bringing up this topic of racial/sexual double standard. White women get away with everything under the sun, with mainly white pundits rationalize their misbehavior while Black women gets punished by those same people and, frankly, I'm tired of it.

That's because of the perception that white women are the epitome of femininity and black women as "unfeminine."

These dualistic stereotypes of women of both ethnicities have brought untold evil upon both the white and the black communities for centuries. It's still happening now.

Who's responsible for this? Black men, White men, White women, and even Black women.

What say you?

Stephanie B.

Anonymous said...

Well, one thing to note about C-1 is that his blog has begun to slowly reveal that his desire for black women is mostly a sexual fetish and his latest blog entry is the icing on the cake in that respect.

Anonymous said...

This is deep! I'm so glad I found this blog, it is filled with intelligent discourse. I absolutely agree about the racial/sexual politics that are at play with Britney and other white female celebrities. Black female celebs are/would be demonized for this type of drama. I'm not "blaming" Britney or trying to downplay her situation if she really IS going through mental turmoil.

In fact BW from where I'm from know more about mental turmoil than a lot of women currently know and/or experience. I'm going to "go there" and say that folks and forces are working together to attempt to drive BW crazy. If we don't seize our power and our ability to think for ourselves, it will become worse for our psyches.

There is an intense jealousy that plays itself out when "society" tries to get you/them/us to believe that BW are not attractive (and we know that's a LIE) and BM are falling all over themselves to get WW/non BW who are white/lighter skinned but are enhanced (lips/butts/breasts/hips) to "emulate" the physicality of many BW! It's really something.

Instead of overanalyzing Britney and her situation, I wish the networks would analyze THAT.

Great post!
poutmouth

Anonymous said...

"Black male hatred"?


I guess you do not care about the endless Black female hatred that is ALL OVER the internet, and in the world in general. Instead you choose to focus on a non-issue. As Black men have to be the most babied group of all these days.


Get a clue.

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