Sunday, April 18, 2010

Read this article and think carefully before deciding to react to what Jill Scott is saying.

http://www.essence.com/relationships/commentary_3/commentary_jill_scott_talks_interracial.php
Personally, I hear what Jill is saying.  I am married to a white man and I still wince when I see a black man with a white or asian woman.  Oddly, it does not bother me when I see a black man with a woman of latino or hispanic descent.  It may be that not all of my feelings are rational.

My type of beauty is looked down upon in what has been and remains a Eurocentric culture.  Got kinky hair and always loved the density and  texture of my nappy locks.  Whatever created me gave me chocolate brown skin which I always thought was pretty. That was not how other people saw me.

When I was younger I was taught that lighter-skinned women with straight hair were more desirable than I.  On some level I believed it and then on another I didn't and resented what was being told to me.  Even now when I look at television or on the web I rarely see myself characterized as beautiful.  How about that Pinesol commercial when the woman gets sexually turned on by the smell of that product?   I have never met any black woman that domestic.

Now I understand that people marry other people for various reasons; I married because I was in love and I have no doubt that some of the couples I described above have done the same.  What I am saying is that women of African descent have been hurt by the beliefs and definitions of beauty put forward by this current culture partially because most of the people who have money to spend in the United States have lighter skin and straighter hair. Another reason is that women of African descent have been falsely characterized as inferior to other women.  It gives some people the ability to create a self by declaring what they are not, but that's another blog post.

It is not my fault, and I am doing the best I can with this situation.  I am tired of being blamed for what other people will not take responsibility.  Much pain has been caused by declaring my beauty as third-class or non-existent.   Jill was just being real.

I wonder what black men think when they see me with my husband?  I happen to love his blond hair and blue eyes too, and the man who is using them.

Black women have proven themselves worthy of respect.  We will no longer silently allow ourselves to be mythologized as non-human.  Thank you Jill Scott for having the courage to speak your truth.

6 comments:

  1. My brother had a white girlfriend a little while back and she said when she was out with him she noticed black women scowling at them. Brother said he never noticed the women because he does not have any interest in what people he does not know think about him.

    Brother told me that he thinks that black women who feel as Jill Scott does are playing the victim in some way. I think it is hard to know what other people should feel; At the same time I think the scowling at strangers is wrong.

    I saw a black man with a white woman this weekend, and I did wince inside. Then I went on with my day. For me the wince is, you think she's better than me don't you? I know there may be no truth to that statement, but I still feel it.

    Some people think that black women are meaner and more aggressive that white women. I am not mentioning any mames, but I have had this implied to me recently. In 2008 I watched a panel of citizens on C-Span who said they felt that Michelle Obama was radical. I thought, are they seeing the same person that I am? I see an intelligent, sweet, strong woman.

    In my opinion, the belief that black women are inferior to white women still exists and black women will continue to wince.

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  2. A conversation with a friend: You were right too. Black women cannot continue to feel resentment forever. We have to slowly evolve and heal as we grow and the culture changes

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  3. Some people think that black women are meaner and more aggressive that white women. I am not mentioning any mames, but I have had this implied to me recently. In 2008 I watched a panel of citizens on C-Span who said they felt that Michelle Obama was radical. I thought, are they seeing the same person that I am? I see an intelligent, sweet, strong woman.

    And... some people think that Michelle O's husband in league with radical Muslim terrorists, plans to force a Stalinist state on us, and might be the Antichrist.

    You're not the only person who questions what reality she lives in! (I have to be really careful about what I say in public where I now live, because anti-Obama sentiment is very, very high...)

    Brother said he never noticed the women because he does not have any interest in what people he does not know think about him.

    At the risk of sounding a wee bit sexist, I think most guy just don't notice things like this as often as women do; also that men are often far better prepared to deal with this kind of rudeness and hostility than women - in that boys are taught that it's OK to stand up for themselves against bullying, etc. - while girls generally aren't.

    I think we could all stand to learn from guys like your brother, really!

    And... the bottom line is (imo) that there's always going to be someone around who disapproves of you (whoever "you" happen to be) and would be more than happy to both tell you off and manage your life for you.

    The trick is in learning to decide that those people's opinions really don't matter. (It only took 50 years and a bit for me to start deciding that, so no worries if anyone feels like they're a slow learner - or starter. Better late than not at all!)

    btw... I meant to say this earlier, but I think the perception of black women as mean and aggressive is just crazy - and wrong.

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  4. Yeah, I agree with you Spinning. I am just learning to ignore other people too and starting to understand that the people who are always pointing out my failings usually have plenty of their own. Why should I live my life according to their faulty perceptions?

    Many black women are strong and will stand up for themselves. Some people call that being an uncooperative, ungrateful bitch. I call it being myself.

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  5. Well, here I am, a white woman who was taught to be polite and defer to other people (including my older brothers) - it has taken me a long time to learn to stand up for myself, and to speak my mind when appropriate.

    Not that I was some kind of mute, fearful person before, but I just never wanted to make waves. peace - sometimes at any price (almost) - seemed to be the best way to deal with life, except that life can be very hard on people who are afraid to speak up.

    it really amazes me that I sometimes am called "aggressive" (by guys) for being forthright. if I were a man, that would likely not even be commented on, or else it might be spoken about in an approving or admiring way.

    there is a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive... but a lot of people don't seem to understand that.

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  6. Many black women are strong and will stand up for themselves

    Believe me, I admire women who are like this! (No matter what color they are, or what background they come from - but yes, when I lived in the D.C. area, I did see that black women were much more apt to be upfront and assertive than most white and Asian women - same for most Latinas, though not all... some are very assertive.)

    Why should I live my life according to their faulty perceptions?

    Like you, I'm learning that I don't have to do this. It's very freeing, but it does take some work.

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