Black Cinderella Thinking

Damn, Christelyn is fine.
I have been called a nigger three times in my life.  The first time was in elementary school; a blond boy with dirty clothes and flies perpetually circling his face spat the word at me while on a swing.  Then it happened again in high school—some cowardly adolescent thought it was funny to yell out the slur while I was walking alone from school.  The last time came just before my wedding.

I was walking alongside a coworker passing out notices to homeowners about freeway work to be done in Costa Mesa, California...We talked about our significant others.  He knew my intended was white, and asked me about it.

“What’s it like?” he asked, innocently.  “Do you ever worry about what people say?”

“Not at all,” I said, full of cosmopolitan bravado.  “This is California, not Mississippi.

Almost immediately after, a white pickup blazed passed us, a little too close to the curb.  A man hung his elbow out of the window. Then it had happened the third and final time.

“Nigger!”  The cowards hit the gas and zoomed away.

My coworker, who was white, seemed incredulous, almost embarrassed, and a little scared. Then, unsure of what to do, he chuckled nervously, “You’re not offended by those jerks, are you?"


~ Christelyn Russell-Karazin, Beyond Black and White
Actions speak louder than words, and inaction sometimes speaks even louder.  And when white guys in particular blink and blankly stare throughout the blogosphere when shit like Halle and Nita go down, I say black women should immediately enforce a strict no-catering policy.

Fuck the speculation part of Halle's sitch; I'm monitoring reactions at this point, and I'm not seeing much productive reaction from white guys.  I didn't see much reaction during the Nita Hanson bullshit either.  And when I see all this inaction, coupled with women of color rushing to the defense of BW/WM, my warning bells go off.

Before I start in on the white guys, however, I need to say a few words to my fellow black women: tone down the desperation.  Having a man is not that important.  Having a white man is even less important at this juncture.  When a white guy is accused/proven guilty of being racially abusive to his black girlfriend/wife, that is not black women's cue to start shaking in their boots or throwing themselves on the sword in the defense of dating white men.  Cut that shit out now.

I maintain the silence on these issues - from white guys - is deafening.  It's like the white silence which came after Bethany-fucking-Storro's confession.  Now, I can see where the gays are chatting.  I see where the womenfolk are chatting.  And I can only imagine the smug looks on black men when this type of shit goes down.  But I'm not seeing where white male bloggers are going off in force.

And I can only imagine their reasons why.

"This doesn't really have anything to do with me.  I'm not the guy who did this."

No, but it's still your job to denounce and discourage this type of behavior before anybody else can open their mouths and say anything.  White America, for all its trash talk, insists upon sleeping and breeding with Black America.  When a white man is outed for this type of abuse - which goes all the way back into the days of slavery - and white guys sit quiet, your silence condones this behavior.

"This is just that couple.  It's not that big an issue."

Bullshit.  This is that exact thinking which kills white credibility; this convenient inability (read: refusal) to see how and why the past affects the present, and how fucked-up situations like these are rooted in a viciously ugly past.  Carmen Van Kerckhove writes:
As I wrote in a post last year, just because you sleep with/live with/marry/date someone of another race doesn’t make you automatically not racist. After all, slave masters had no problem maintaining their racist beliefs against blacks while raping their slaves and fathering mixed children with them. Neither did Strom Thurmond. And all you have to do is read Susan Crain Bakos’s article to see that sex doesn’t cancel out racism. If anything, sex and intimacy have always been intricately intertwined with oppression.
So you're damn skippy this is a big friggin' issue.

"I don't understand what I'm supposed to do."

Funny...when a white woman accuses an imaginary black man of rape, white men know what to do.  When Bethany-fucking-Storro accuses an imaginary black woman of throwing acid on her face, white men know what to do.  But when a white man is outed for being racially abusive/negligent to his black wife, white men are suddenly at a loss.  Mm-hm.

"Nita/Halle/women like these are just playing the race card."

Excuse me, but white people play the race card.  By bringing up the color of POC's skin in unrelated situations - which white people love to do for some reason - they are playing the race card.  In other words, if a white husband calls his black wife a nigger, he's playing the race card, not she.

Quick recap, children: if your skin color is what's holding you back and causing you problems in a society, playing it as a card is the stupidest thing you can do.

"I think this is a situation for our strong black women to assert themselves."

In other words, you don't want have to do any heavy lifting.  You don't want to be bothered with the "race stuff."  Why defend the honor of a black woman when you can sit back and watch her defend it her damn self?  That's why you chose her instead of a white or Asian woman, right?  Because she's supposed to be "stronger" than other women?

Because she doesn't cry and make you feel guilty about things, and doesn't have any pesky needs or wants to inconvenience you, right?  Because she's independent and self-sufficient, so you can get all the sexual and emotional - and sometimes even financial - support you want without your having to do anything in return...right?

Black women, stop catering

Stop telling each other, "It's okay...it'll be different for you" - that's denial.  That's what I call Black Cinderella Thinking: the idea that with this country's history and its current racial and political climate, there's still a pure-hearted white boy out there waiting for all the black women who want one, and he's not a racist, and he'll take every wretched aspect of your love life and make it better.

The truth is, you don't know how shit is going to go down until shit actually starts to go down.  So just as you're not supposed to assume every white guy is racist, don't assume every white guy isn't either - wait and fucking see.  Just because he's pursuing you, kissing you, and proudly parading you in front of all his friends doesn't mean he's not racist.  I know it's a sickly, creepy, scary notion - a wolf in whiteface - but it's reality.  Deal with it.

Black women, have each other's backs

Sorry, ladies, but this isn't a post-racial society and we are still on alert.  Remain skeptically vigilant at all goddamn times.  I'm not saying presume specific things about people, or be a hostile bitch, or be paranoid - I'm saying do as we've always done and be motherfucking alert.  Which means don't pet each others' heads and try to soothe each others' feelings when shit like this goes down.  This is not a drill.  Band together and have each others' backs because very few others will.

Black women, we deserve better

So tone the desperation down.  Hold your head up and always remember that a man desiring you and bending over backwards to please you is the natural goddamn order of things.  Stop being so "grateful" for compliments from men - any men.  Stop putting up with shit from the men you're already with, and replace them with better models if having a man is what you really want.

You can have better.  You do deserve better.  Don't just say it and think it; act it.  Exude it.  Be it.

Comments

  1. clap, clap clap

    I have avoided, blogs, tv and radio that have the Halle baby daddy topic for fear that I might see reactions and commentary that you are talking about.

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  2. Now this is the truth. Seriously I don't see why the whole Halle thing turned into a defending black women/white men relationships. Maybe some of those ppl that r defending it have experienced what Halle went through and instead of saying something, let it slip over their heads. Idk im racially sensitive to alot of things and what some may see as a joke I can't, but the article is the truth. All the blame went immediately to Halle from Blacks and whites alike and the main thing in question was this: "If he's racist than why would he have had a child with a Black woman?" Keep them coming Moi.

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  3. *passes the collection plate*

    I'm going to also strongly urge black women or for that matter any POC in an interracial relationship with a white person to do what I did.

    Although he had many wonderful qualities, my bf was not the most educated when it came to privilege, racism and anti-oppression. And while he read my blog (where I regularly teach and call this ish out), he still had much to learn.

    Essentially I sat him down and told him that as my bf and as my partner, I expect XY and Z from him. And explained that if we were ever in certain predicaments (say at a party or somewhere and a friend or co-worker stepped out of line, I expected him to step up and defend me and call out said racism and to show his outrage that the man he loved was being disrespected and denigrated in the worst manner possible.

    Because it wasn't a matter of if a situation like this would transpire, it was a matter of when. Especially in the gay community.

    Should I have to tell my partner to do this? No. But I was giving him fair warning beforehand because I wasn't having any of that "I didn't know what to do or how to respond" ish.

    True to form some situations did transpire. But I will say to his credit while he still has a lot to learn, he stepped up and handled his and impressed me a lot.

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  4. @ Neo-prodigy

    Are you two still together?

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  5. No. I recently had to end the relationship for some other issues. We still chat and spend time together but ending the relationship was definitely the best move I could've made.

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  6. You know what the funny thing is? On this blog when this first posted someone was a fucking smart ass and decided to post lines of dialogue from "Loosing Isaiah"

    "Why is it always about color with you people?!"
    "Well me an Isaiah we the same kind of people!"

    I think women period need to get rid of Cinderella thinking. It sets the whole gender up for all these unrealistic expectations, especially when it comes to sex and relationships. But's it's especially detrimental to Women of color.

    @ Neo Prodigy
    Good advice. With my previous SO I had a similiar version of this talk with him. Although as I found out later when this bus driver tried to talk ish to me it really wasn't necessary.

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  7. But it's especially detrimental to Women of color.

    Thank you. Yes, there's a definite sexism factor, but WoC are in extra danger year. So now is not the time for black women to play emo and try to recite platitudes to each other and themselves. This is not something to "put up with" - this is the perfect reason to go Lorena Bobbit on a motherfucker and make damn sure he never pulls this shit with anyone else.

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  8. Yes. And more yes.

    I feel that white partners especially have the responsibility to defend their mates of color when things like that crop up. The fact that so many stay silent is troubling because silence sends a message of tacit approval to others, especially if they're family members.

    I can't get behind the idea that any PoC, most especially black women, should ever tolerate being with a white lover who wouldn't take a bullet for them... all for the sake of "having a wo/man". I'm sorry, but that shit's just messed up. It's like being willing to accept the scraps of love at the foot of the table just so you can say you ate in the banquet hall.

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  9. I think women period need to get rid of Cinderella thinking.

    And to do that, they'll need to tone down the desperation. Which ain't no easy task.

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  10. Another possibility is that many white people go out of their way to avoid confrontation at all costs. They will provoke confrontations, but don't like to deal with the possibility of a response unless they are in a situation where they feel completely safe(i.e. within their social circles backed up by their friends)


    Even the possibility of probable conflict they avoid, as much as they can. I think thats the biggest reason whites don't mix with other people, at least socially. Not just racism and prejudice but also just like some weird ass social anxiety. They don't even like to watch movies with subtitles just because of the possibility that they might not understand something.It might seem like prejudice because it is, but it's also deep seated insecurity.

    I'm not sure how much but I think that plays a factor.

    I mean, I'm pretty asocial anyway, and I avoid most people in general where I live just because I don't really have that much in common with them. But I don't know, I'm met many good friends and interesting people just because I decided to start a conversation with them. Or they started a conversation with me and I went with it.

    There's an almost incredible social timidity to some of them that irks the hell out of me. This is one thing I really don't get about some of my white coworkers and friends.

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  11. @ Student

    You kinda lost me. Which post point/comment are you addressing?

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  12. Sorry I was addressing the point that Neo Prodigy and Aine-Xenon made about White partners needing to defend POC partners.

    I thought white people not defending their POC partners might be because, in addition to prejudice and latent racism , white people in general seem to avoid any type of social confrontation (or self expression that is seen as undesirable especially if it's negative).

    That might be a reason why they wouldn't speak up for someone, because they don't really speak up for themselves.

    Like do you ever notice when white people are around someone doing something offensive in general they just try to ignore the person and continue with whatever it is they're doing? And they'll do it for a really long time even if it irritates the hell out of them. They go out of their way, it seems like, not to address the situation or the offender, whereas a POC would at least do those things, especially a black person.

    A good example of this is comedies like the "Borat" and "Bruno" films. Sacha Baron Cohen's whole shtick seems to be exploiting this social dynamic that white "culture"(I'm not even sure thats the right word?) has i.e. if something is offensive, ignore it if you can, or respond as minimally as possible to it. I think this is directly related to the culture of rigid conformidity that white people enforce upon themselves and everyone else.

    Am I being coherent? I have an exam tomorrow that I'm studying for.

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  13. If they respond at all it's always really muted and awkward, very rarely assertive. Like: "Can you please....not do that?"

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  14. I can't get behind the idea that any PoC, most especially black women, should ever tolerate being with a white lover who wouldn't take a bullet for them...

    I read this and could not help but recall one of Eddie Murphy's lines from "RAW": "You better stomp your feet and light a match for this pussy, damn it! Stand up and clap! Stand yo' ass up and clap!"

    Any WM who can't do that for or defend a woman that he wants to be with needs to get cut (metaphorically) with the quickness. Women need to quit puttin' up with that shit. Men are like fruit on trees; if you find a rotten one, drop it and pick another. You can do bad by your damn self.

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  15. I appreciate what Neo-prodigy said. I've done some interracial dating but never got past a few dates so didn't have that sort of discussion beyond what do you parents think of you dating a black woman.

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  16. and I don't buy that "white people are timid about confrontation" theory. They got no problem letting my black ass know when they don't want me around.

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  17. @Modest Goddes
    Not timid, wrong word, more like spineless.

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  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIVgMvuCM_k&feature=player_embedded

    Notice how in the video none of the bystanders talk to the boys? they just call the police. And then they use the lame excuse "Well they looked dangerous" Everyone was willing to condemn what they were doing but no one was willing to personally confront the boys. Hence the spinelessness of white people.

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  19. aine-xenon said...
    I can't get behind the idea that any PoC, most especially black women, should ever tolerate being with a white lover who wouldn't take a bullet for them... all for the sake of "having a wo/man". I'm sorry, but that shit's just messed up. It's like being willing to accept the scraps of love at the foot of the table just so you can say you ate in the banquet hall.

    If he values the black woman in the same way society values any damsel he’ll know instinctively she’s worthy of protection. But this requires empathy beyond the capability of most white men. He must feel for her strongly enough to internalize her hurt- her fears and her sorrows as if they were his own. Whites come to the aid of animals and will weep uncontrollably when one suffers. Now that’s Empathy. Whites will search high and low at the news of one missing white woman or child. That’s empathy. Whites are still grieving at the site where little Caylee Anthony’s body was found. Weeping/hugging as they lay flowers; that’s Empathy.

    Whites have produced two movies and a reality series based on Natalee Holloway alone. Now that’s empathy and white victimhood all rolled into one. However, Whites find it very difficult to feel that kind of empathy for POC. For the black woman, her white partner’s position must be: If you harm her you are bringing harm to me. She is a part of me and therefore I will defend her with my life. I will defend her against my mother- and my father. I will defend her against my siblings- and my community if necessary. I will forsake all (privilege) for her, for she is my helpmeet.

    Until now, only the white damsel garners this kind of significance. Let a white woman cry and several white men will come to her aid. Let those white tears flow and an entire courtroom will empathize with her. Let a white woman weep and they all (whites) hurt inside. If he simply fetishizes his black mate, then her value is transient; for it’s based solely on what she’s able to do for him. When push comes to shove, he may acquiesce in favor of his family’s approval instead of her. The sanction of friends will have far more value than what she’s able to offer. In the presence of white women, his resolve could fold under the pressure to stay true to his race.

    Student of the World said...
    I thought white people not defending their POC partners might be because, in addition to prejudice and latent racism , white people in general seem to avoid any type of social confrontation (or self expression that is seen as undesirable especially if it's negative).

    Whites prize aggression; our history bears this out. They’ll only take so much before they act out in violence. Look how the threat of violence crept into our country’s political narrative when Obama took office. Now whites didn’t buy all those guns simply for target practice. Screw with a white man’s sacred cows and all you’ll get is confrontation. Mess with his politics (namely his right to bear arms), the sanctity of his property or his family/women and he’ll pull a shotgun on you faster than you can say Tea-Party.

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  20. If he values the black woman in the same way society values any damsel he’ll know instinctively she’s worthy of protection. But this requires empathy beyond the capability of most white men. He must feel for her strongly enough to internalize her hurt- her fears and her sorrows as if they were his own. Whites come to the aid of animals and will weep uncontrollably when one suffers. Now that’s Empathy. Whites will search high and low at the news of one missing white woman or child. That’s empathy. Whites are still grieving at the site where little Caylee Anthony’s body was found. Weeping/hugging as they lay flowers; that’s Empathy.

    Whites have produced two movies and a reality series based on Natalee Holloway alone. Now that’s empathy and white victimhood all rolled into one. However, Whites find it very difficult to feel that kind of empathy for POC.


    BINGO.

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