9.19.2012

Black Reality, White Hype

In her post "Who You Find Attractive is Not Neutral", Renee at Womanist Musings discusses how social constructs (like, oh...say racism, for example), can impact whom we're attracted to and why.

In her post, she also quoted a troll who'd commented on one of her previous posts:
Cherry

This is so cheap, picking on women's skin quality. This is the cheapest argument I see in Asian and Black women that like to use against White women. You know what? We may develop wrinkles easier than you do, but at the end of the day, guess who gets most of the dates. Hmmm? I guess your ''ageless'' skin doesn't help much, doesn't it?
Here's why comments like these don't bother me: it's all hype.

When men - particularly men of color - gush over white girls, it doesn't bug me.  I know why they're doing it, and now, many of them do too.  They've been conditioned to, plain and simple.  The supposed superior beauty of white women has been systemically drilled into them  since birth.

I say "supposed" because it's just that.  White (American) female beauty rests on a tentative pedestal; one shove and the whole thing shatters.

And they know it.  That's why when a black man kisses a white woman onscreen, we don't flip out.  But let Zachary Quinto lock lips with Zoe Saldana, and you have to brace for impact.  Cast Gabrielle Union opposite Stuart Townsend, but don't blink, 'cause if you do, the show will be cancelled before you open your eyes again.

Let Angel Coulby portray Guinevere on a show where the white female aesthetic holds no sway, and see what happens.  So much as insinuate that Taraji P. Henson might end up in bed with Jim Caviezel, and before you switch off your TV, online petitions to kill her off will have sprung up.

And it's not just where white guys are concerned.  Put Naomie Harris opposite Rain and read the hordes of comments from white girls about how "annoying" she is.  Pair Gabrielle Union up with John Cho, and then count the minutes down until they're broken up.

To ask an age-old question: if we're not a threat, why all the upset?

In one of the best interviews I've ever done, actor Edward Hong stated:
When I...[was]...in college, I found myself noticing the fierce inner and outer beauty of African American women, especially those of the cast members, and loving it. Of course, I had to really make sure that this love for Black women was not for any gross objectifying reasons but for legit reasons beyond exotic fantasies. It had to be based on love, the kind with grounded reality, the kind that doesn't treat the woman in a light that is not true to her.

...I have noticed that this kind of attraction is a rarity among East & South Asian men but it would seem that this is something that is noticeable within a lot of other men as well. Darkness seems to be a color that seems to be undesired by the mainstream and even in hip hop videos, if there are any black women to be seen, it's the caramel colored ones that get all the love. Now don't get me wrong, I certainly have a lot for the caramel colored black women (Alicia Keys!!) but darkness to me is something I see not as a lack of or anything negative....
From commenter Blanc2 on Abagond:
Men tend to be attracted first by physical beauty. WM in relationships with BW have come to see BW as beautiful. For this reason, we appreciate the beauty of Nia Long, Jill Marie Jones and/or Serena Williams as much or more than that of Halle Berry or other slender, light-skinned BW. In fact, if there is any generalization I have seen among WM who are attracted to BW with respect to physical attributes, it is that white guys tend to prefer darker women over lighter ones. And fuller lips over less full lips. We also love full asses, by the way. I have personally experienced and enjoyed many shades, from obsidian to café au lait, and many shapes, from Buffy the Body to Venus Williams.

(Later) By the way, I have been happily married to a BW for 14 years now, and we have two beautiful golden children for whom I would lay down my life and die.
And there's no hype.  There's no myth, no unrealistic expectations to live up to, no fear that someone will take a peek behind the curtain, see what's really going on, and not want us anymore.  Guys like these already know the reality of us.

The reality of us is precisely what attracts them...not the hype.

15 comments:

  1. Quality over quantity, Cherries of the world. I see my unambiguous Black features as a b.s. deterrent, so I have no tears to waste over the hordes who'd stomp me into the ground to get next to Fairy Vagina or its closest equivalent. Have your multitudes, I ain't even mad; we only need 1 person who loves the whole of us.

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    1. "I ain't even mad; we only need 1 person who loves the whole of us."

      And that's what it really boils down to.

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    2. Whenever I hear some White or non Black person downgrade us about not having the looks to fulfill being a potential marriage prospect, I don't mad, I'll be glad. Whether I'm pretty or ugly, I wouldn't want a guy to evaluate me on my appearance only. What if something happened to me that could disfigure my face and lets face by the time were in our 60's or 70's not too many people are going to look like supermodels. Yes, some people will age with grace and look regal,but to look young as 25, I don't think that it will happen.

      My mom had a good friend that I envy so much. By White societal standards, she should have never had boyfriends( some of them good looking) or been married: She's plain and she's dark skinned,but she had all of that. She not only drew black men to her,but White and one Arab in the mix. It was her spirit that I envied

      Edward Hong took those words right out of my mouth.He said that he liked not only Black womans looks,but foremost, he loves their spirit. I remember when that idiot had the study about black women's looks and how many people wrote in questioning why we keep saying were pretty when, in their eyes, we weren't. This is what White society haven't got and still don't get: Black women are more interested in their spirituality than their physical being. We try not to let looks get in the way of who we are as being human beings.Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of beautiful Black women who take care of themselves,but we just don't rely on looks to define who we are. My sister once remarked that all of the men that she ever dated seen her a her worse and she would rather have it that way. No, she doesn't go out on purpose doing that,but whenever she's not going to work or anywhere special, she just go out in simple styles. I get what she's saying. Honestly, I would want a man to see men realistically than behind a mask.

      No, Im not mad, because we know that beauty don't last and if that guy is in it for those reasons, you better believe that he's going to get his divorce papers ready to oust you out of his life and the cycle will continue, until he dies or he comes to conclusion what really counts in good unions. Ive seen some women just relying on their looks and don't get when the husband leaves them for another woman who they really love and sometimes don't look as good as they do.

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    3. @ M - brilliantly stated.

      Black women are more interested in their spirituality than their physical being. We try not to let looks get in the way of who we are as being human beings.Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of beautiful Black women who take care of themselves,but we just don't rely on looks to define who we are.

      This. This soooooo much.

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    4. That above quote is dead on. My ex who is Asian (And I've heard white men say this as well)used to always tell me that he loved Black women's energy and how black women are "About something." He was like, it doesn't matter whether she's a lawyer or opening her own hair salon, Black women are always on their J-O-B.

      Black women are truly a threat. From Kpop, to television shows, people flip out when they see us. Remember when Rain had that sista on his tour in Japan? I saw a clip of that same show in Hong Kong and the comments were very revealing. He had a white girl and a Korean girl in this performance, and no one uttered a word about either one of these women, but as soon as he cuddled up to the black girl? People were saying "Oh, I guess I don't have a chance I'm not black, etc.." Her very presence triggered something in all of these women.

      That Cherry trick is typical. White women stay believing their own hype. She's as insecure/threatened as they come.

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    5. Quality over quantity, Cherries of the world.

      Which is another thing. Amongst many men of color, white women have the reputation of being easy. Bragging about going out with lots and lots and lots of men doesn't help.

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  2. Hey Cherry!

    You got that same 'tude when your man ultimately trades your wrinkled ass in for an upgrade?

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  3. Well said everyone.

    Quote:
    "When men - particularly men of color - gush over white girls, it doesn't bug me. I know why they're doing it, and now, many of them do too. They've been conditioned to"

    > Yes. I've read some stuff online on forums, from guys, I remember this one guy (non black but still Poc) who kept denying that it wasn't conditioning but plain personal preference when he was debating with a black woman who tried to open his eyes. He didn't want to admit it, she said it was too frightening for him to admit that there was a part of his brain that has been manipulated. At that time, I didn't fully realize how true she was (though I agreed with her), my judgement was still clouded with some naivete and giving people the benefit of the doubt with the "personal preference" thing. It was funny though, as I got to read a lot more from this guy, always justifying why he didn't want to date black girls, always giving new arguments, which I pointed to him and I even told him that his arguments in favour of white girls work for us too. He didn't get it. Lol.

    Now, M said something that seems true to me, the focus on looks that end up defining women is much less valid in black cultures than in Euro-Western and Asian cultures, in my opinion. The obsession with one specific beauty, thinness and body perfection that makes people feel so bad about themselves (or face job discrimination) if they don't fit the narrow and idealistic mold...it goes beyond that too (academic success), and it's so sad that your looks (there and in the West) is linked to your worth as a woman/person.

    I have my insecurities too but I'm OK with what I got for the most part, I don't want to look like a super model nor a pop star. I don't think I'm fierce, I wish I was lol But I understand the thing with many black woman, the confidence they exude, just like what I read from youtube comments (cf: the Unwritten Rules) a woman said that during parties she just enjoys herself and is comfortable with herself and doesn't care about the others which appeal to handsome guys, at the surprise of her white friends.

    As a black woman, I could get a bit more confidence, but I'm not fooled by the hype about white women and I couldn't care less about all of these men who go for them and don't like us. I think that by being my simple self I'm screening out some guys. It works both ways anyway :) Just like M said.

    Also...it's interesting that white men are confident about their handsomeness and don't care about seeing a black man dating a white woman in movies but many white women don't show this level of confidence (blame it on the media and society too that targets women way more). It's clearer to me now.

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  4. Not mention the Cherries of the world are the first to flip out whenever a Black woman is cast as an onscreen love interest to...well, anyone.

    If you are so confident, why are you so easily threatened?

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    1. 'Why' indeed. Guess that pedestal isn't so sturdy (remember "What's Wrong with European Men?", ladies?).

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    2. Linked above. Good to know we're on the same page.

      That bitch was a classic Cherry (dear God...is "Cherry" about to become the new "Becky"???). She thought was the Shit until she took two steps outside American borders and into the real world.

      One of the most annoying white coworkers I've ever had did a semester in Ireland way back in college. During that semester, she visited much of Western Europe. She told me about how by the time she got back to the US, she felt deeply ashamed about being an American.

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  5. You know what this reminds me of? There was a season 3 episode of Parenthood in which Jasmine (Joy Bryant) and Crosby bump into each other at a restaurant with their respective dates. At that time, they were still separated and co-parenting (they are now officially married). You know what IMDb commenters focused on (paraphrasing)?:

    "I don't get how she's supposed to be able to afford outfits like that if she's JUST a dance teacher"

    "It's just not very realistic for a dance instructor to afford that kind of dress/shoes for a date." Her looking nice on a DATE offended them.

    A real life incident that I remember happened in NY last month. I was there for a birthday party and then spent the night at my friend's (white, male) apartment. The next morning I met his 3 roommates. 2 guys (Iranian and Latino) and 1 white girl. The 2 male roommates greeted, shook my hand, basically just wished me a good morning. Even asked a couple of questions. I smiled and said hello to the girl and she barely turned around to greet me. I wasn't fooled- I could tell she wasn't just a "quiet person", she was just being icy as HELL. Later on I asked her and the other guy where the trash can was. She piped up... just to vaguely wave in the wrong direction. Her whole face/demeanor just fell when she saw me, it was hilarious!

    Reading up on these things has been so funny for me because it's given context to incidents during my teen years that... irked me before I could explain why. I went to Italy at 16 with a group of about 10 other kids- only 2 boys, both of color. There was one black girl besides me. Frankly she was a bit ditzy and irritating, but she was also a very pretty girl. EVERY time we went out, boys would smile/turn around and look at her/flirt with her. On the first day the white girls laughed it off as being, cute/funny, but as time went on they were clearly furious. Our ignorant ass group leader (a white woman) explained it away with the "black people are rare in Italy" routine and that made them disturbingly happy. The rudest one of the bunch resorted to throwing herself at men, unsurprisingly. She was also just startlingly disrespectful toward me. Wonder why.

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    1. It's really telling how they act when they're not the centre of attention for 2 minutes. Wow.

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    2. Also, your mention of the comments on Joy Bryant's character's wardrobe made me remember a commenter on The Bar. She said that her white mother-in-law asked her to 'dress down' when coming over for family gatherings, as she was apparently making the white women self-concious. *blink* Yea....

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    3. *blink* I thought we weren't a threat.

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