Stages of Modern Black Communication - Anger (Reset)

**Reset Alert** I've gone through and deleted the least productive comments.  I will be practicing much stricter comment moderation on these posts from hereon out.

The stages of grief (Kübler-Ross model) are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance.  Note: a person doesn't just seamlessly hop from stage to stage in a timely fashion.  A person can start at denial, go to anger, return to denial, and be stuck there indefinitely.  This model was developed when a Swiss doctor (woman, by the way), observed and documented how people deal not just with their own terminal illness, but bad news in general.  I was originally going to use this model for the post, but with modern black communication (i.e., black men and women talking to and about each other), of course, our stages run a little differently.  As in...altogether.

We tend to start with anger

Black women are angry with black men and have every right to be.  Black men can try to say they have a right to be angry with us as well, but it wouldn't be the most intelligent move at this juncture.  In the meantime, neither side is genuinely in denial, so we - as a group - tend to just skip right over that stage and get to the point.  For this post, I don't really think I need to list all the reasons black women are furious with black men - I think even non-black folks have that list memorized by now.  The items range from cowardice, to treachery, to shiftlessness, to overall abandonment.

If I were to start on all of that, we'd be here all day.

Anger is empowering

Anger has motivated black women to accomplish astonishing things despite countless obstacles hurled our way.  We're academically motivated, and hard-working to the point that even though we're paid less than white women with the same or less education as ours, we manage to make more money because we're willing to work a second and third job if necessary.  And we've all heard innumerable times about how black women manage to raise entire families on their own, sometimes raising more than one generation.  Our determination, our pyschological and emotional stamina, and our well-honed survival instincts all stem from our anger.

Anger, however, is also blinding

The problem is, it's hard to let the adrenaline rush go.  When it comes to black women, we have gotten so angry with black men that we think strictly about the past and present, without fully considering the future.  We're thinking reactively, not preventatively.  We raise one generation of autophobic men after the other, while telling ourselves "it's just how it is" and that we've "heard it all before."  Meanwhile, there's a crucial variable we're overlooking, and our anger has blinded us to the pursuit of identifying it.

There is no knowledge that is not power

By now you all know that I like learning things.  Hell, I learn something new from you all every day; studying people is my life.  So peep this confession, kids: in learning situations, I don't really mind talking about the BM/WW issue with black men.  When the purpose is strictly to learn, I go into these conversations with the strict mindset that I am not interested in the men I'm talking to about this.  We are not going to date.  We are not going to have sex.  If they try get some during or after such conversations, they are summarily rejected.

Next confession: In real life, I've actually developed a slight romantic aversion to black men.  Mind you, I find them physically attractive, and very much so; I ain't no autophobe.  And no, I'm not "scared" of black men either.  *snort*  Ever watch First 48?

You see, I have too have the "I don't want to hear it" instinct many adult black women have developed in recent years.

Black men, I don't want to hear why we went to the same college roughly around the same time, and yet I graduated while you didn't.  I don't want to hear about the "skanky white women" you've slept with, and how now you've become re-interested in "black pussy" (yes, I've actually had that said to me).  I don't want to hear about how it's soooooooooo hard growing up black and trying to make a living in a country like America - um, I think I know the drill, thank you...sans male privilege, no less.

I don't want to hear your horn beeping at me.  I don't want to hear you shouting at me from across the street.  I don't want to hear about how you find yourself drawn to the white aesthetic against your will, when I grew up in the same damn society, with the media pressuring me a hell of a lot more than it pressured you, and yet was somehow - for the most part - immune.  So no...I don't want to hear these things - if you're trying to date/sleep with me.

Now...if you are speaking bluntly, with the utmost honesty, knowing fully well I don't want you and so trying to "look good" would be wasted on me - then by all means...I want to hear you.

I am not, however, interested in fixing you

If you learn something about yourself in the process of our discussions, then brava, black men.  *nods*  Kudos to you, bruhs.  But allow me to be equally honest: I'm not here listening to you for your benefit, but mine.  In the event that I finally do decide to adopt and raise some kids, I'm going to have a slightly better idea of how to make sure they don't turn out like you. And as harsh as that may sound, deal with it, playa.  Unborn generations of men of color should never have to find themselves on dates with the likes of "Girl" nor certain white fans of Moi.

In conclusion

All things in moderation, black people.  Anger is a good thing so long as we don't let it cloud our judgment and visions of our future.  Besides, with all black women have accomplished thanks to our anger, we need to start talking about our next stage.

What do you suppose it would be?

Comments

  1. Great post Moi. I agree this isn't something that can just be ignored and brushed off, but the question is what to do? I literally have no idea. I gave my "non-answer" type answer at the other thread, which you shut down lol. But as far as specific actions positive black role models, limited (very limited) television exposure, no white dolls/action figures. Another thing is to stop with the excessive weaving and such. Parents are role models too. If young black boys grow up always seeing mommy with flowing, "white girl hair" they will grow up to prefer that in women. Same with little girls they will feel the need to live up to that standard.

    Also, not moving your child to the whitest school you can find. Make sure there is good mix of races/ethnicites especially other blacks. The same can be said for the neighborhood.

    Of course this will have to be implemented when the child is young because once they are adolescents that's it. That's all I got for now. I'm sure you will tell me if this is what you were looking for.

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  2. Now you're talking, girl. I knew you could.

    Another thing is to stop with the excessive weaving and such. Parents are role models too. If young black boys grow up always seeing mommy with flowing, "white girl hair" they will grow up to prefer that in women. Same with little girls they will feel the need to live up to that standard.

    Boom - a conflicting message. Mommy says "black is beautiful", but then Mommy wears her hair like a white woman - and no amount of saying otherwise can change the impact of Mommy's hypocrisy.

    Granted, using synthetic hair is a long-standing cosmetic tradition around the world, but different people around the world use it different ways. Mommy needs to look up African ways and get in touch with her roots, insteading saying one thing and doing another.

    Also, not moving your child to the whitest school you can find. Make sure there is good mix of races/ethnicites especially other blacks. The same can be said for the neighborhood.

    AMEN. We can sing the "better opportunities" song all we want, but a strong identity and a healthy self-image are more valuable than all the gold in the world.

    I once briefly, on this blog, foretold that I might start talking more about "Colorful Flight." I predict that more POC will - in the near future - start moving to get away from predominantly white neighborhoods and schools and instead work to build up their own communities and schools (which is what needs to happen in the first place).

    Thanks, Zaire. Now we're gettin' somewhere.

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  3. @ Witchsistah

    a BW partnered with a WM cannot be surprised if her offspring see WP as viable romantic partners. Can she raise them to be selective and think critically about and always question their choices and to have the self-esteem so they truly feel they do NOT have to accept the dregs or the funky behaviors of any group? Yup. But I don't see me turning them off to WP when their daddy is one.

    WTF?

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  4. Well, then I guess there has to be a moratorium on BM and BW dating and marrying out. And I guess those of us who have are just ass-out at this juncture.

    Is that what this is all about? Because I feel like I'm sitting on Saturn, talking about one thing, while you're on Mercury, talking about something else altogether.

    I'm talking about preventing your children from becoming autophobic. That takes preparation, learning, studying all the negative things about autophobic black men and LEARNING something which will benefit the next generation.

    What is it about that that's causing such a problem?

    Because, last I checked, whenever a person thinks they "know it all", they've hit a level of hubris which comes right before disaster.

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  5. you're obviously not gonna get what you want out of me

    All I want are some suggestions for black parents - moms in particular - on how to deal with ethnic autophobia manifesting in their children at an early age.

    Zaire typed up two really good ones with her eyes closed. Why is this so hard? Why is there all this drama?

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  6. I never considered how to instill a love of and positive messages about Blackness in a world that hates it when they'll be half-White. I never wondered how I'd prepare my potential girls for the onslaught of attention they'll get from BM simply for being mixed and not get their heads inflated and souped up. I never thought about what I'd tell my potential sons about BW's desirability when it is treated as nil in this society. I never thought about any of these plus a myriad of other issues and concerns and I damn sure have never discussed any of this with my husband, the FATHER of these potential children.

    Good. Great. List some of the things you thought you might try once your kids were born.

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  7. Hi Ankhesen,

    I've been reading the whole "Dude" saga... and just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for this latest post!! I mean, I understand why people reacted the way they initially did to Dude- since he literally *is* some guy on the net to them- but your shift to the parental factor has got me thinking.

    What you said about being angry with black men really resonated with me. I'm a senior in college and recently opened up to my mom and brother about a certain... coldness I feel from black men on campus, and some bothersome dynamics I see. The way they tend to treat black women crudely or as "one of the boys", if you will, but feel the need to be oh so polite with white women, because they're so "sweet" and shouldn't be offended. I feel like since I'm not willing to throw myself at "brothers" while they chase after non-black women (including my Indian and Chinese roommates- great friends of mine), it results in the extreme cold shoulder for me... even though these guys and I have a ton of mutual friends and they're often in my frigging apartment! The two black guys I could actually chill out with, one transferred and is very elusive lol, the other is currently abroad... (to be continued)

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  8. (cont.) My mom and brother plainly told me to hang out with who I felt comfortable with, whoever didn't seem to have hang-ups about me. Looking back my mom's always told us this--I've seen her warn my brother about what type of woman to avoid and what behaviours he himself should avoid, tell him that he should respect himself and not make a woman act like his mother, etc. She's never given him the "stay away from white women" spiel...

    ...His last girlfriend was white, in fact. She came with us once on a visit to Jamaica (my parents are from there). We visited my mom's "primary" (lol) school and my brother took pictures of some of the kids, one of whom was a girl who looked mixed race. The gf commented "I want to have a baby like her". Yeah. She proved to be one of those biracial-obsessed white women. Alas, she is my brother's ex.

    The thing is, I am attracted to white men, and I've come to understand that this not something my mom would take issue with. Partnering/having children with one in the future would not be a stretch for me. But I do want to raise a son who would be like my brother, or even my cousins-- vast majority of my close cousins are boys. I want to raise sons who would be like them and could have healthy relationships with white women without it being some messed up "validation" or "challenge". So I especially appreciate the part about "hearing it" when you're not interested in the man in question. And also your other comment about "not knowing which of your children will be boys".

    sigh- sorry for being long-winded again...

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  9. Thank you, Pajamas, for understanding what I'm trying to say.

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  10. Umm...I've seen the shit fly around here lately, and I was almost too afraid to say anything, but...
    @Pajamas: I'm in the same situation you're in right now. I have a lot of guy friends. A few of them are Black men, who, coincidentally, generally DO show interest in Black women. I'm also "one of the boys" as you said, so I get to ask them about subjects that wouldn't come up if I weren't "one of them."

    @Ankh
    For every non-self-hating Black male I see on campus, there are three more who want that White pussy like nobody's business. I can chill with the BM that are SINCERE when they're dating a WW, meaning they don't put all the emphasis on race, and they'd go for a WoC just as quickly. It's the ones that are ALL OVER any WW they can get their hands on...and they're always the ugliest females!
    My point is: if a BM chooses to date a WW, and this ONE WW ends up being so homely and/or PWT lookin it's sickening, well, he made a mistake. It's when this shit starts to become a PATTERN that I get a self-hating vibe from them. And I'm angry NOT because they don't like themselves, but because they THINK they deserve MY time!

    Now if my little cousin (he's 12 years old) were experiencing this same pattern, I'd sit him down and ask him WHY he likes WW, like why he's attracted to them, and what do his FRIENDS think about it? Because last I checked, peer pressure was still alive and well in 2010. If his guy friends feel the same way about WW (aka they worship them) or if my cousin was at a predominantly White school, I'd look into either getting him transferred, or seeing if he can be around as many other Black/non-White children outside of school as possible.

    I'd let him know that he doesn't have to do the same things his friends do, nor does he have to worry about fitting in. I myself am a perfect example of this, because I grew up with White girlfriends, while the Black girls generally shunned me. I tried to fit in with them, and it ruined me. Even now, as a sophomore in college, I'm STILL trying to recover from the blow I took. I would let my cousin know that there is nothing WRONG with dating a WW, but that he should also be open to other women as well, because more than likely, a BW will appreciate a nice young man such as himself, and hopefully, they won't use him and drop him. And I'm not being hypocritical, because as a 19 year old, I KNOW that he can look upto me as an example of a good Black woman.
    *Sorry about the rant! I hope this helps!*

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  11. Now if my little cousin (he's 12 years old) were experiencing this same pattern, I'd sit him down and ask him WHY he likes WW, like why he's attracted to them, and what do his FRIENDS think about it? Because last I checked, peer pressure was still alive and well in 2010. If his guy friends feel the same way about WW (aka they worship them) or if my cousin was at a predominantly White school, I'd look into either getting him transferred, or seeing if he can be around as many other Black/non-White children outside of school as possible.

    It's different when they're kin who matter to you, isn't it?

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  12. Moonwalker723 said...
    “Now if my little cousin (he's 12 years old) were experiencing this same pattern, I'd sit him down and ask him WHY he likes WW, like why he's attracted to them, and what do his FRIENDS think about it? Because last I checked, peer pressure was still alive and well in 2010. If his guy friends feel the same way about WW (aka they worship them) or if my cousin was at a predominantly White school, I'd look into either getting him transferred, or seeing if he can be around as many other Black/non-White children outside of school as possible.”

    Young black men are singing the praises of the whooty/pawg in videos beamed into inner-city households, and college dorms and we wonder why black men are lusting after white women? The internet is a clearing-house for free hardcore and soft-core media, posted in online gossip forums as well as MySpace and Facebook; should we really be surprised? Young black boys have access to it all.

    Nowadays you can literally Google ‘booty’ and get returns on movies everywhere, including YouTube. What you stop at home he only comes into contact again over his friend’s house or on a buddy's cellphone at school. You have to be vigilant for you must consider the freedoms afforded his friends by their parents as well. You are fighting a battle for the souls of your children and at such an early age.

    A black female role model can say a lot of things to help influence the choices of a man-child but at a certain age- that child will be swayed more by his ‘older male peers’. The music he listens to, the company he keeps and the images he’s exposed to during his formative yrs. will either have him saying, “yeah I want one of those white girls,” or no... my Mom taught me better than that. Depending on how well the teachings catch hold. After raising four teens in the inner-city I don't want to do it again. God help these young parents.

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  13. @ That Dude

    *shakes head* I'm disappointed, boo-boo.

    "I don't want to hear these things - if you're trying to date/sleep with me.

    Now...if you are speaking bluntly, with the utmost honesty, knowing fully well I don't want you and so trying to "look good" would be wasted on me - then by all means...I want to hear you."

    Did you skip over that part, boo?

    @ Student

    Again...you tell me. You're a mixed kid, right? What are some things you recall your parents telling you while growing up? Were you autophobic? If not, what parental factors do you think contributed to your having a strong identity?

    @ M. Gibson

    After raising four teens in the inner-city I don't want to do it again. God help these young parents.

    Anecdotes, please. In hindsight, what are some things you wish you could change? If you could speak to all the young parents today, what advice would you give?

    In case people are still missing my point here: SPILL. Tell. Share.

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  14. @ That Dude

    at what point does that responsibility begin? Or at what point does the parent's responsibility end?

    These are great questions. A parent's responsibility never ends - that's why being a parent is such a monumental burden. You can't pull a "do as I say, not as I do" with kids. You have to set an example from the moment they're born until the day you die.

    Given that black women are often raising their children alone, that responsibility falls squarely on their shoulders. And yet black men get all the blame. You know that denial phase that seemed to be missing?

    I don't think it's denial - I think it's a genuine unknowing. Being a parent under ideal circumstances is already difficult. So being a parent with extra obstacles causes you to miss certain variables you'd otherwise catch.

    It's sweet you don't blame your mother for your decisions (it's quite the sign of maturity), but that doesn't mean there's something she - or your father - couldn't have done differently.

    Much of the BM/WW (or even the WM/AW) trend is related to ethnic autophobia. Obviously, not ALL these relationships are about self-hate - I'm not saying that.

    I'm saying that as a group, we need to address the issue. Some black men marry a white women to escape black women...only to end up breeding more. Same with black women who think that if they marry a white man, they won't have to deal with black men...until their sons are born.

    I guess I'm saying, we can't escape each other. We shouldn't want to, though the temptation may be great for some. It is part of a divide and conquer strategy (by the way, black women are a unique threat as well, Dude. The fact you missed that suggests you really haven't been paying attention to us).

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  15. by the way, black women are a unique threat as well, Dude. The fact you missed that suggests you really haven't been paying attention to us

    I didn't miss anything. I never said that black women aren't a unique threat. My whole point was that the two struggles are different and "who struggles more" is a pointless distinction given that we need to be addressing all of our problems together. The subject of intersectionality and how racism affects black women in particular can be a part of the greater conversation without undermining the black male struggle.

    The same way that we can discuss black men's conditioning to the white aesthetic without dismissing their experiences as "typical" or not worthy of discussion. ANd this idea that black women are "immune" to the conditioning is bogus.

    Here comes a very important point.

    It is not that they are immune, it is that they, unlike black men, aren't ABLE to date white men with the same proportions as black men, because of how they are undervalued - by way of the beauty standard and other standards of "propriety" to which our society subscribes. Black men aren't the only ones rejecting black women - white men, who have no expectations to date black women, aren't only rejecting them, but aren't even looking in their direction.

    So can't you see how this is all stems from the same problem - again, white supremacy? Even though I have gotten angry with some of the women in this discussion, the real brunt of my animosity is reserved for the institution. I hate even the fact that I've succumbed, rather than trying to bring the discussion back to what really matters: solidarity.

    That may be a platitude, but it's also the truth.

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  16. "I don't want to hear these things - if you're trying to date/sleep with me. Now...if you are speaking bluntly, with the utmost honesty, knowing fully well I don't want you and so trying to "look good" would be wasted on me - then by all means...I want to hear you."

    No, again, I didn't miss a thing. It's just that this is a rather troublesome thing to say. Of ALL the people that you would want to know are harboring conflicted feelings around how they view black and white women respectively, it's the people you are sleeping with or with whom you intend to enter a relationship.

    That this sort of thing is NOT being talked about more is why some black men harbor these troubling feelings about black women, and where they do end up dating black women, the feelings manifest in harmful ways in their relationships.

    For the black men who are even aware that they have these issues - which I imagine aren't most of them - chances are that they aren't going to share their thoughts with black women for the very reason that they want to get into your pants.

    Because they know they'll be most likely be met with vicious responses.

    But me? I have this problem with honesty; I will confess everything I'm thinking on a moment's notice, not to be hurtful, but because I think it merits discussion.

    I understood what was at stake when I brought it up to my own girlfriend, even if there was no way I could personally feel the same pain around the issue. It was risky, and she and I had some difficulties around it, but I think the discussions that came out of it were ultimately of great value.

    By contrast, what your statement says, in effect, is that it's okay for the black men you date to continue being fucked in the head around all these issues of race and gender and sex and relationships, so long as they keep their problems a secret. Not only is that not fair to them, it's even more unfair to YOU.

    Of course that's not what you actually want; what you want is men who aren't talking about it because they don't have these issues. But given your suggestion that such black men are on the verge of extinction, what are the odds of finding one?

    And how would you even be able to tell him apart from the man who has the issues but is unaware of them, or is keeping them a secret? You wouldn't be able to tell the difference, until perhaps those troublesome thoughts and feelings - as I said - manifest in unhealthy ways in the relationship.

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  17. It is not that they are immune, it is that they, unlike black men, aren't ABLE to date white men with the same proportions as black men, because of how they are undervalued - by way of the beauty standard and other standards of "propriety" to which our society subscribes. Black men aren't the only ones rejecting black women - white men, who have no expectations to date black women, aren't only rejecting them, but aren't even looking in their direction.

    Oh...but they are. The hindrances in that area, are:
    1) black women generally don't want white men
    2) white women often suddenly realize "they want their men back" and will descend en masse - without shame, without hesitation, and without regard to boundaries - to break up a BW/WM couple
    3) black men are also highly unsupportive of BW/WM coupling, in fact
    4) the black community overall is far less tolerant (*retch*) of BW/WM than it is of BM/WW

    As for the "standard of beauty" routine, I'm exceedingly cynical of that, not to mention tired, especially with more black men admitting some of the white women they chase aren't particularly remarkable in any way. The women are just white. These men aren't chasing beautiful, interesting women - fuck, anyone can understand that - they're just chasing whiteness, hence the "problem" portion of the equation.

    And here's where we get into some serious problems. I read/listen to BM but sometimes, I get the feeling they have.no.clue. what's going on with BW in America. I feel like they're not paying attention. BW have one discussion, relate certain experiences, and yet when BM join the convo, they seem either to skip over certain parts or not know what's going on in the first place.

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  18. And related to what I said in my second-to-last comment about white men rejecting black women, too, check this out. It's a chart showing the reply rates of men on a dating website to women of different ethnic groups.

    http://cdn.okcimg.com/blog/race_affects/Reply-By-Race-Female.png

    The y-axis is made up of the women who sent messages to men out of interest. The x-axis is made up of the men who responded to them. It shows that black women, by far, are the least likely to get responses from men of any race - especially white and Asian ones. Black men aren't much better.

    You should check out the whole article:

    http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affects-whether-people-write-you-back/

    It also shows how black women are more likely than other women to respond to men of ALL ethnicities, in spite (or perhaps because of) the fact that they're getting the least responses themselves.

    Interestingly enough, they respond to black men the least out of all groups. But still more than women of any other group. If looking at numbers like these don't convince you that we have a problem that we need to face together as men and women of color, then I don't know what else to say.

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  19. See...this is what I'm talking about.

    I recall the fiasco surrounding the OKCupid sitch and I also recall it was roundly blasted and then denounced for a list of reasons as long as my arm.

    The fact that you're posting it - here, no less - is a flawless example of what I mean about a communicative disconnect between black people.

    My point is this: talk to black women. Get you info from black women. You're going around us to get info about us and our experiences and that's not the way to go. Ask us.

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  20. Come on, Moi. I'm not saying that black women are literally unable to date white men. I'm talking about the very hindrances that you mention.

    What's to be cynical about regarding the beauty standard? The fact that black men are chasing women who are "just white" is exactly the point. It is that white features - thinner noses and lips, pale skin, straight hair, even higher pitched more nasal voices - where not even exceptional amongst white people, are still regarded as the standard, that is, the baseline for how women should look.

    Black women, to the extent that they do not have those features, are hence rejected. This problem is even more pronounced for the black man who is surrounded by mostly white women (like the kid in the suburbs), for the fact that the black aesthetic might seem to be an anomaly. Nevermind the fact that he shares those features.

    The issue is not, and has never been, about white women on the whole actually being better looking than black women. ONLY that black women do not look like white women. Which of course is why black women who have these features - though still unmistakably black in many cases - are able to "meet" the standard. I'm talking not only someone obvious like a Vanessa Williams, but even someone like Janelle Monae.

    Familiarity and mass-media celebration of white (or that is, white-like) features further allow someone to mistake the standard for superiority.

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  21. No, again, I didn't miss a thing. It's just that this is a rather troublesome thing to say. Of ALL the people that you would want to know are harboring conflicted feelings around how they view black and white women respectively, it's the people you are sleeping with or with whom you intend to enter a relationship.

    Yes...you missed it again; luckily we addressed this via email. I don't want black men using their struggles as a "line" to get women into bed. Just speak plainly and get your point across. Don't be touching my hand and knee and thigh while talking about your problems and how the world is so hard and cruel to you, while neglecting to ask me about my experiences, or even bothering to mention my struggles at all, or just assuming you know what I go through.

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  22. What fiasco are you even talking about? Please do show me where it was "roundly blasted and denounced".

    There's no controversy in publishing these kinds of statistics. If the authors of that post were to make some qualitative judgment, say, about the desirability of black women based on the statistics, then that would be a problem.

    The only place I can see where it is flawed is in NOT addressing the possible reasons that black women get the least responses. But that is probably out of their depth, given that they are white men - Ivy League mathematicians rather than social scientists, no less - and therefore likely oblivious to the possible reasons.

    But these kinds of statistics, ARE, on the other hand, a good springboard for people like to discuss the reasons - and I think the statistics plainly reflect what we've been discussing here so far.

    Talk to black women? That's kind of why I'm here, yeah?

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  23. Yes...you missed it again; luckily we addressed this via email. I don't want black men using their struggles as a "line" to get women into bed. Just speak plainly and get your point across.

    There's a serious communication breakdown here. Again, I missed nothing. I plainly addressed everything you said - perhaps not what you meant, but what you said.

    What the hell black man, trying to bed a black woman, is going to talk to her about his struggles with preferring white women? That would have to be about the single worst strategy in the WORLD.

    You're conflating two different things here. I'm talking specifically about the problem of black men preferring white women and you're talking about the black male struggle as a whole.

    The issue of black men not acknowledging black women's struggle is a very important one, but one not directly related to the issue of black men preferring white women.

    All of these things, of course, are part of the greater discussion about how we, together, as black people, need to navigate the waters of white supremacy.

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  24. What's to be cynical about regarding the beauty standard? The fact that black men are chasing women who are "just white" is exactly the point. It is that white features - thinner noses and lips, pale skin, straight hair, even higher pitched more nasal voices - where not even exceptional amongst white people, are still regarded as the standard, that is, the baseline for how women should look.

    Missing my point again. When I say chasing whiteness, I mean just that - whiteness.

    Let's be real. A lot of men who "chase whiteness" probably couldn't tell you the color of their dates' eyes, even though they're looking directly at them. So when I refer to "whiteness, I'm not talking about the features, because contrary to what you're saying, stereotypical white features - thin lips, slim hips, flat buttocks, pasty skin, nasal voices, etc. - are not "the standard of beauty", hence the irony, and the threat black women pose.

    Black women, to the extent that they do not have those features, are hence rejected.

    No, black women are rejected - when we are rejected - are rejected because we aren't part of the institution of "whiteness". There's no extra perk or privilege to dating or marrying us.

    When you see the likes of Robert DeNiro, Peter Norton, Roger Ebert, and David Bowie married to black women, it's in part because they are at a socioeconomic level where they can marry whom they please and not worry about any drawbacks. Even their families have probably learned by now not to dare say anything. And this is precisely why wives like theirs, and women like Michelle Obama, irk white people so much. Or why white fans react almost violently when a black woman is the love interest to any man, black or non-black - because her presence painfully reminds audiences that the "white standard of beauty" isn't the standard of beauty, even after all this time, and all this hype.

    If I had a penny for every time a white woman bluntly told me she wanted my hair or my lips or my skin, I could buy and sell Bill Gates.

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  25. What fiasco are you even talking about?

    Give me a while to dig that ish up. I can't believe you're even asking; OKCupid's publication caused quite a stir and I'm surprised none of this is clicking for you.

    What the hell black man, trying to bed a black woman, is going to talk to her about his struggles with preferring white women? That would have to be about the single worst strategy in the WORLD.

    No shit. Hence the fact we don't like it, and that it doesn't work (along with the other struggles as well).

    Why didn't you know this was going on? Why are you pulling very white "I-can't-believe-this-happens" with me? What's with the disconnect, Dude? You strike me as being extremely out of touch with BW right now, not to mention proving a point I don't think you even realize.

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  26. Missing my point again. When I say chasing whiteness, I mean just that - whiteness. Let's be real. A lot of men who "chase whiteness" probably couldn't tell you the color of their dates' eyes, even though they're looking directly at them.

    I'm not missing your point. I'm telling you that you're WRONG. And as a black man who has preferred white women, and a very self-aware one at that, I might - just might - understand what's at work better than you.

    You're also misunderstanding how the standard works. I am not saying that we consciously choose white women for their eyes or their noses - like "wow, that girl's got some really thin lips". No, it operates on a much more subliminal level, as does everything within the institution of white supremacy.

    Your contention that it's all about the perks is dubious because it doesn't explain why black men - like commenter Renee's uncles - also pursue lighter skinned black women closer to the white standard. Those women don't have the wages of whiteness.

    Now I'm not saying that the "perks" aren't a factor, too (again, operating on a subversive level), but that the beauty standard is not to be dismissed, because it is very significant. I personally have never given a shit about the perks of whiteness - my preferences have been entirely based on the standard.

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  27. Now I'm not saying that the "perks" aren't a factor, too (again, operating on a subversive level), but that the beauty standard is not to be dismissed, because it is very significant. I personally have never given a shit about the perks of whiteness - my preferences have been entirely based on the standard.

    If you say so. *nods* I got what I came for.

    Thanks.

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  28. Take your time. But you won't find it, because there was no fiasco around these statistics. The only OKCupid controversy was around the issue of them giving preferential treatment to "better looking" users, which is separate from this article.

    Even that controversy was overblown, because the whole "hotter"50%" is total bullshit, as they give everyone the announcement that they're in that group exactly 15 days after they sign up. Some friends and I tested it out - including me making a fake profile with a picture that didn't even show what the person looked like.

    Anyway...

    Why didn't you know this was going on? Why are you pulling very white "I-can't-believe-this-happens" with me?

    I'm not pulling anything; I'm saying I'm unaware that this happens because I, for one, have never done it. That's never enough evidence for anything, though, because I tend to be the exception to just about every rule. But I've never known any of my black male friends to discuss their white women preferences with the black women they were trying to get into the sack. For that matter, my friends don't have white women preferences at all. Which is interesting, now that I think about it.

    I mean, that whole idea is laughable. I'm a total geek who pulls women with the proficiency of a donut (actually, worse, because donuts have tempted many a lady) but even I wouldn't do something that stupid.

    But hey, maybe you're right, and the majority of white-fancying black men are engaging in such foolish behavior. It wouldn't be the first time some completely inane shit escaped my radar.

    But then, I tend not to associate with fucking morons.

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  29. And not to take away from any esteem boosts you may get from this, but...

    If I had a penny for every time a white woman bluntly told me she wanted my hair or my lips or my skin, I could buy and sell Bill Gates.

    I suspect that shit right there is them being at worst, patronizing, or at best, attempting to prove that they're not racist, because see, they just LOOOOVE your hair.

    They just wanna touch it! Because it's so weird! It's so cool! It's the same bullshit wrapped up in some cute paper. The exoticization of the other; big black mandingo mystique, except for women.

    Sure, maybe there are some white women out there who truly envy black women's features, but I have extreme doubts that they are the majority of the ones saying those sorts of things.

    Because yeah, really, I'm sure they're actually saying:

    "Gee golly gosh! I sure wish I could trade all this worship and celebration of everything white, and all the status privileges that come along with it, for YOUR hair and lips which even your own men don't appreciate. Gosh, would I ever!"

    Sorry, but I don't buy it.

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  30. I mean, seriously. If the wealth is concentrated amongst white people, and there are large numbers of white women who want black hair, why is there literally NO industry for white women trying to make their hair more coarse like black women's? And don't give me anything about curly hair, because you damn well know that white people's "curly hair" and "black hair" are not even remotely the same thing.

    You could argue that it's why women get collagen in their lips, but I'm sure they separate that from any attempt to approach a black standard. After all, they have Angelina Jolie as their model - and it is women like her they aim to emulate, not the black woman with the same lips. And really Angelina's lips aren't like a black woman's lips, either.

    What else? Tanning? Again, there's a separation. They don't see it as themselves "getting blacker", they see it within the range of acceptable white features - again, made popular by celebrities, or maybe those white people who are "mixed with a little something" (ooh, they're so exotic, so "ethnic"!) but not enough to stop being white.

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  31. Dude,

    This may sound like a dumb question but I you experience does this "standard" also have a signifigant effect on black men who strongly prefer black women? Like, in your experience do these guys tend to prefer black women with more aquiline features and "softer" hair textures.

    I ask this of you because most of my close friends are female and I don't know what goes on when guys(black ones in this case) come together and take about their physical ideal. Do you think BM who only want BW are also partial to BW with so-called white features?

    I hate to use rap videos as the barometer for what average BM find the most attractive(although I DO think they give insight) because their are so many factors at play like marketability, demographics(most rap consumers are non-black) ect.

    What says you?

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  32. Like I said, I got the info I came for, and more.

    Good luck pursuing WoC, Dude. I wouldn't hold my breath, though, if I were you.

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  33. @Zaire Y: Yes, I think that's absolutely true. It certainly has been for me, which is why I said above:

    [B]lack women who have these features - though still unmistakably black in many cases - are able to "meet" the standard. I'm talking not only someone obvious like a Vanessa Williams, but even someone like Janelle Monae.

    Now, I would not presume to speak for all black men, just those of us who have - knowingly or not - been conditioned towards the white aesthetic. I am certain that there are plenty of black men who genuinely appreciate the "black aesthetic". I know them personally - like my old roommate who plainly did not find white women attractive at all.

    I put "black aesthetic" in quotes because there is great diversity amongst black women, some of which even includes those qualities associated with white people - greater diversity than exists amongst white people.

    When I analyze it on a deeper level, the features that are considered quintessentially "black" in America, and are therefore excluded from the standard, I think are particular to West African ethnicities - the source of most of the African-American diaspora, and therefore prevalent in African-American women in particular.

    But also like I said, it's not like there's any pinpoint trait-for-trait analysis that's done. An individual's aesthetic is taken as a whole - in most cases I'm hardly considering which exact features make a woman attractive to me or not. I like what I like.

    But it was considering my preferences through the critical race lens that made me start really thinking on why I was more often selecting white women, or less often, certain black women.

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  34. @Ankhesen

    Good luck pursuing WoC, Dude. I wouldn't hold my breath, though, if I were you.

    Really? That's where you're going to leave it? With a comment precisely like the ones you deleted, being snide rather contributing to the discussion? That's kind of disappointing.

    But it's cool, I don't hold it against you.

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  35. @Zaire: There's something I need to clarify, too. There are, I think, distinctively "black" features that most black men, regardless of whether or not they have any affinity towards the white aesthetic, favor.

    You mentioned rap videos and you're right that they provide some insight into that. As does the fascination with Kim Kardashian. There are aspects of the figure associated with black women that are increasingly being considered favorable. Like an ass that actually has some girth and a shape, rather than looking some weird extension of their back and the little "J-shaped" nothing. Or being more curvaceous in general.

    Though apparently the trend seems to be - again, see Kim Kardashian - to seek out white women who have these features, a "best of both worlds" sort of thing.

    So it may be more about what features are excluded from the standard, than what features make up the standard. And the features that are excluded are never the "white" ones.

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  36. @ Ahnk
    I wasn't "raised" mixed. That's what I'm saying. Part of the problem is the whole history African Americans and Native Americans.

    That's where some of the problems come in. I've always known most of my background but it didn't become real to me until, POC consistently told me:" Are you sure you're black? Cause you look...?" I didn't look entirely like something else, but I didn't look like what I said I was either.


    My sister recently found out for certain. She has Lupus and if she needed and organ later on due to complications from that, liver or any other organ, her donor matches would be Asian people.

    Now in regards to my niece, she's multi-racial, multi ethnic and only looks one thing.(Hispanic-although people say she looks more and more like my sister)

    What if my niece looked black?
    What about people who are mixed but don't look like it?

    Are they supposed to be taught to have racial esteem, specifically in blackness, even if they don't particularly identify that? Especially if they are only being raised by one parent?

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  37. Really? That's where you're going to leave it? With a comment precisely like the ones you deleted, being snide rather contributing to the discussion? That's kind of disappointing.

    I told you - I got what I came for...but I'm guessing you haven't (what did you come here for, anyway?). This was about gaining knowledge for my benefit - and beneficial it has been. It's amazing the things you can learn from a person when you don't shut them down right away, but keep them talking instead. From our chat, to our emails, to your comments on this blog...*shrug* I learned a lot.

    Did you need something?

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  38. "Really? That's where you're going to leave it? With a comment precisely like the ones you deleted, being snide rather contributing to the discussion?"

    I think Ankhesen Mie deleted those comments because she wanted to move on to talking about parenting black boys or discussing BM/WW relationships with black male relatives that you actually care about. It seems* like her problem with the whole "leave women of color alone" thing was not that posters were applying it to you (I basically agree with them), but that she wouldn't want women feeling so cynical with their own sons/future generations of black men- hence the parental/advice shift.

    Since you're focusing on *you* again, well she doesn't have to be as personally invested...

    And this...

    "Though apparently the trend seems to be - again, see Kim Kardashian - to seek out white women who have these features, a "best of both worlds" sort of thing."

    But doesn't this basically prove that these men are chasing after just whiteness, though? I mean, the fact that they'll even take features that are usually associated with black women and then tack them onto white women to get the "best" of both worlds...

    I also do remember a lot of buzzing about the OKcupid thing; I happen to be a hardcore lurker and would see it linked in a lot of blogs. You missed all of it?

    *correct me if I'm wrong...

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  39. I think Ankhesen Mie deleted those comments because she wanted to move on to talking about parenting black boys or discussing BM/WW relationships with black male relatives that you actually care about. It seems* like her problem with the whole "leave women of color alone" thing was not that posters were applying it to you (I basically agree with them), but that she wouldn't want women feeling so cynical with their own sons/future generations of black men- hence the parental/advice shift.

    Thank you. I don't know why that eluded so many people.

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  40. Ankhesen Mié said...
    Anecdotes, please. In hindsight, what are some things you wish you could change? If you could speak to all the young parents today, what advice would you give?

    What can we do as parents? Love them, encourage them to dream; exhort, listen and offer support and guidance as needed. For some of us there is a fear our girls will either end up on the pole if we fail- or our boys absorbed into the gang life. If you have a spouse and you’re not in total agreement with that partner on how to raise your children, expect trouble. Fear can make a parent overreact in a situation which creates a “cause and effect” type of reality. In our effort to steer our children from everything we deem as negative, we end up pushing them right into the hands of the thing we dread most. Most black parents I know aren’t behavioral therapists, nor do most have degrees in child psychology. My wife was raised without a father and derived her style from her mother. I too was raised without a father and based my child-rearing acumen on my own past. Needless to say we clashed a lot.

    Boys are more private with their thoughts and it might not become apparent the child has an esteem problem until he begins to act up in school; especially when there’s no father to talk to. One has to be firm with a boy child, for it seems they’re more susceptible to peer-pressure. My wife could tell my young son to take out the trash and he would just sit there. Oh but dad could repeat the same thing in a calm even tone and brother man hops to without hesitation. Another good motivator was, “Wait till your father gets home,” or, “I’m going to tell your father.” I was the backup; it was my job to stand firm with my wife even if I didn’t always agree. There has to be a model in the home for your son to emulate 24/7, not just when dad visits every other week. I didn’t allow my child to wear a skull cap, nor was he allowed to ‘sag’ his britches. I didn’t allow rap/hip-hop to be played in my home despite what others might think. We made sure we knew who his playmates were, and their parents. Curfew/chores were a reality and school work had to be done before he could play or talk on the phone.

    There’s no recipe book for rearing little boys; especially if you weren’t raised by a man yourself. My son visits our empty nest often and expresses gratitude in how I raised him. People laud him on the job for his work ethic and he responds by saying, “I owe it all to my dad.” Now that’s enough to make me tear up. He seeks my advice in almost all matters and I’m quick to lecture him on inter-personal relationships.

    You must hold up a standard in your home as a defense against the onslaught of pressure they’re exposed to every day. Sitting at the dinner table as a family helps too, and I wish I had done that more. I’m not a perfect parent but I did my best with the tools I had at the time. Oftentimes it can be our own dysfunction that raises our children despite our best intent.

    Young black men as old as 35 still sag their pants and hang out with dey boys as if they were still in school. They’re incapable of taking care of themselves let alone a wife and child. To be married is to assume responsibility for someone other than yourself; to put their needs before your own. Maybe its why so many black men aren’t getting married, for they still need to be taken care of. Never saw so many thugs who were Mommas boys in my life. We black men must own up to our failures and admit we’ve dealt a serious blow to the family unit. Strange how black men aspire to be players, pimps and hustlers; rappers and ballers, but not many aspire to be fathers to the black boys/girls they sire.

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  41. @Ankh
    Yes it matters a LOT when you're related to that person...and it HURTS to see them reject women who look like the women who raised them.

    @M. Gibson
    The media is impossible to hide from a child, so all I can do is try my best to give him the knowledge to decipher what's positive and negative in the media/from his friends etc.

    And might I add that it seems to have worked! He's crazy about rap music, but we've managed to help him become a great young man! I'm quite proud of him, actually.

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  42. Moonwalker723 said...
    "And might I add that it seems to have worked! He's crazy about rap music, but we've managed to help him become a great young man! I'm quite proud of him, actually."

    That is so nice, good for you! God bless you and stay encouraged. "I'm proud of you," is something our boys need to hear often.

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  43. That Dude Who is Tired of Arguing12/20/10, 4:42 PM

    @Pajamas:
    But doesn't this basically prove that these men are chasing after just whiteness, though? I mean, the fact that they'll even take features that are usually associated with black women and then tack them onto white women to get the "best" of both worlds...

    No. You seem to be misunderstanding my argument, and also conflating two separate arguments. I do not disagree with Moi that the "perks" (I'd call them imagined status privileges) of being with a white woman factor into some men's choices to do so.

    But I'm arguing separately for the role of the beauty standard - that the exclusion of certain "black" features from that standard has nothing to do with the perks, and therefore it is not about "chasing whiteness", but about preferring specific physical features, or rather, being conditioned to dislike others, or at least find them anomalous.

    One issue physical preferences, the other is status privileges. I am discussing the former, and presented myself as one example of where that was what drove my choices. Regardless of any social distance I've ever felt from black people, I have never wanted to be white, emulate, or have any greater proximity to whiteness.

    To reiterate in the simplest possible terms, I would be just as attracted to a black girl who had the features that I'd been taught to value as I would a white one. And I know that's true for a lot of men who have been indoctrinated in the same way.

    I also do remember a lot of buzzing about the OKcupid thing; I happen to be a hardcore lurker and would see it linked in a lot of blogs. You missed all of it? *correct me if I'm wrong...

    The burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim.

    If there was so much "buzz" about it, surely you or Moi can find me a single article anywhere on the vast internet that references it?

    Honestly, I don't even understand the resistance to my argument, because in the end the source of the problem is the same: the institution of white supremacy and its lasting effects on all of us as people of color whether male or female. You'd think I was trying to defend the institution for all the flak I've received here.

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  44. I wonder if educational reform might help to convey messages about the white-skewed standard of beauty, maybe incorporated into Black History Month or made a part of high-school curricula (a unit in social studies about slavery/imperialism's impact on beauty standards?).

    Realistically, even organized movements to make standards more realistic aren't going to change the media (unfortunately, it's elitist enough to be able to ignore protests), but maybe working on changes at home and at school would doubly reinforce messages of self-acceptance (and rejection of self-hate) in kids. Acceptance of others, too - this should be a federal educational initiative in schools with kids of all races.

    @That Dude:
    "Gee golly gosh! I sure wish I could trade all this worship and celebration of everything white, and all the status privileges that come along with it, for YOUR hair and lips which even your own men don't appreciate. Gosh, would I ever!"
    Honestly? Sometimes I wish I could get rid of white privilege. I haven't earned it, I don't deserve it, and I know a lot of idiotic jerks who could benefit from not being able to ride the coattails of that privilege into positions higher than those of PoC, solely because of their phenotypes. BS, seriously.

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  45. "Honestly, I don't even understand the resistance to my argument, because in the end the source of the problem is the same: the institution of white supremacy and its lasting effects on all of us as people of color whether male or female. You'd think I was trying to defend the institution for all the flak I've received here."

    @ The Dude: Where does personal culpability come in?

    And you are defending the institution actually.

    If it's that powerful, then why should anyone fight it?

    Keep deluding yourself, your traipsing quite merrily down the path of narcissism.

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  46. @Dude

    Well, Ankhesen did say she would dig some stuff up, so...
    I was merely agreeing with her.

    "Honestly, I don't even understand the resistance to my argument"

    Well, a lot of people disagreed with your points. And really? The fact that you so readily called a black female poster a bitch"while, in the same post, thanking a white one for understanding you is a bizarrely good example of the dynamic I mentioned in my very first post.

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  47. The fact that you so readily called a black female poster a bitch"while, in the same post, thanking a white one for understanding you is a bizarrely good example of the dynamic I mentioned in my very first post.

    Ooooooooooooooooh.

    Well, Ankhesen did say she would dig some stuff up, so...

    Black women rightfully put OKCupid on blast; those stats and (white) folks' interpretation of the black female experience caused a stir.

    I was originally going to track down all the different blogs run by black women, but I think That Dude should that instead - like homework.

    He needs to 1) stop making this point about him and about the future of our kids (hence my absence), and 2) get attuned to WoC. The first step will be to read more blogs by black women and learn their perspective.

    When a black man goes around black women to get his info about black women, he's basically getting on his knees and begging for disaster.

    You know...like when white folks skip over POC to learn about POC.

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  48. Sure, maybe there are some white women out there who truly envy black women's features, but I have extreme doubts that they are the majority of the ones saying those sorts of things.

    Because yeah, really, I'm sure they're actually saying:

    "Gee golly gosh! I sure wish I could trade all this worship and celebration of everything white, and all the status privileges that come along with it, for YOUR hair and lips which even your own men don't appreciate. Gosh, would I ever!"

    Sorry, but I don't buy it.


    Really quickly: this, ladies and gents, is denial in its textbook form.

    A man who's into skinny women doesn't want to find out his girlfriend has an eating disorder. A man who's into green eyes doesn't want to find out a green-eyed woman he really likes actually wears contacts.

    And a black man chasing whiteness DOES NOT want to find out his white girlfriend wishes for a black woman's features.

    Everyone - from whites to Latinos to Asians - know and point out how many whites prefer so-called "black traits." I've had this pointed out to me by non-blacks since I was a child. It seems like only black men didn't get that particular, hence their denial; overlooking such a crucial fact tends to make them look incredibly NOT smart.

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  49. By the way, I brought this up before; notice the names of the most popular tanning lotions:

    Brown Envy
    Black Beauty
    Sinfully Black
    Chocolate Diamond
    Obsidian
    Dangerously Dark
    White 2 Black

    White people are OPEN about this desire; it's part of their privilege to be. Because they know won't get nearly as much drama as POC will get when they buy, saying, a bleaching cream.

    Dude, I warned you...you're out of touch with women. You should know that women aren't really at war with one another. Sexism is the most ancient of the -isms; once women establish a racial "safe space" of sorts with one another, we have conversations amongst ourselves which men could never even imagine. Women bond over and commune about the very things which men believe drive us apart.

    Denial of that is just that - denial.

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