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What If Black Women Were White Women? (Things That Make You Go Hmm…)


This is a few months old, but we didn’t catch it when it was initially making its way across the blogosphere; I thought it apropos to post now, partly influenced by several recent related posts and discussions we’ve had on this blog – notably my Bitch Is The New Black post.

The author, who calls herself simply AlienatiOn can be found HERE.

I don’t think the article needs much of a lead-in, given the above title. So read on, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below… if you have any.

“If” Black Women Were White Women
August 23, 2009

In “If Men Could Menstruate,” Gloria Steinem makes the persuasive argument that “Whatever a ‘superior’ group has will be used to justify its superiority, and whatever an ‘inferior’ group has will be used to justify its plight.”

For too long the definition of racism has been a fight between white and black manhood or “who’s the bigger man”, so to speak. We’ve trivialized the existence of gender between both groups of men in favor for discussion of the “bigger issue”.

This has historically enabled white female supremacy—the most unchallenged form of white supremacy—to escape any critical thought.

What if suddenly, instantly, the power of white femininity were transferred to black women?

The answer is clear: Black women would represent value, purity; and based on their natural traits would be worthy of protection and instantly become the objects of universal desire. White women would represent the opposite.

“Beauty tar potion” would become globally popular to get the “black look.” “Dove” would be replaced with a black soap called “Raven” to help exfoliate the skin and bring out subtle hints of melanin.

White female features would be declared violent. Their “jagged” thin lips, “knife sharp” noses, and “harsh” jaw lines would be nature’s way of expressing why men have a natural preference for the soft features of black women. Soft lips, soft cheekbones, and soft, round noses would be proof of natural femininity. Full, pink lips and large, dark eyes would become associated with virginal black girls whose purity must not be compromised. Black female features would thus be said to represent youth.

Straight, blond hair would be considered “wild and unruly” because when the wind blew, it did not stay in place. Women with naturally straight hair would hide their “unruly” and “wild” stick-straight hair in public. The desire for “lightweight hair” that defied gravity would permanently end the use of blow dryers. Keeping one’s natural blond hair wild and straight would become indicative of a political statement.

The anti-aging properties of black female skin combined with soft, curvy bodies would be proof of the overall reproductive health of black women. Scientists would argue that black women were naturally preferred as long term mates and mothers because they were “healthier.” Men’s attraction to women is based on overall health and fertility, after all.

Suddenly, biracial women would be “in” because the hard features of white women wouldn’t prevent the fragile genes of “black beauty” from peeking through. Men would suddenly have the desire to date “ethnic,” non-black women since they would look “closer to black” than blond women—at least they wouldn’t look like white women.

Statistics would equate the fact that white women make up the majority with their “overpowering” and “strong” population. This would be proof that they could handle unsafe neighborhoods. The “strong culture” they would have created amongst themselves would enable them to withstand their lack of protection from predators and criminals. Statisticians would argue that men were attracted to black women innately because they made up a small percentage of the population. “We tend to value what is rare,” they might say.

Men would proclaim that white women deserve sexual objectification because “flat buttocks” allow for deeper penetration. In ghettos across America, men would stand on street corners and yell “Damn! You got a flat ass!” to remind white women of their sexual status in society.

Upper class women would be afraid that their “asses looked flat” since it would represent animalistic and sexual deviance, like white women. Black women’s buttocks, said to protrude farther from the body, would prove that their natural vulnerability made them “less equipped” to handle hardcore sex and rape like white women could.

“I need a strong white woman!” would become a popular “empowering” slogan for exploitative men who rationalized the emotional, financial, and sexual overburdening of white women.

Overweight white nannies would become the “acceptable white women” in popular culture as they do not pose a threat to black female superiority and privilege. Conventionally attractive white women would serve as a sexual threat to black women for single-handedly breaking down the beauty hierarchy.

Hip hop videos would feature men throwing money at “white bitches” bent over in front of the camera to showcase their white asses, eager for deep penetration. Entire songs would be devoted to hatred of “white gold digging bitches” who believed that they were entitled to the financial security in marriage to which black women were entitled. “Penetrable white asses” and “pale-faced hoes” would become the cash commodity for selling entire musical genres.

White women’s “hard” bodies would be deemed more “capable” of fighting off sexual attackers, while the soft curves of black female bodies would become worthy of police protection. White women, despite being at high risk of being victimized by violence and sexual crimes, would not “need” police protection.

Movies would feature black women as the main objects of men’s desire across racial lines while stereotypes of evil, bitter, and oversexed white women would further prove why men of all races simply did not prefer blonds. “We can’t help those to whom we’re attracted,” men would say. “Preference” would become an unconcealed acceptance of discrimination against white women. White women’s anger towards and sadness about the status quo would show their unreasonable jealousy of the innate superiority of black women.

Republicans would ban abortions to protect the virtue of pure, black motherhood and liberals would advocate increasing the number of abortion clinics in “low income” neighborhoods where white women would be the majority. Liberals would claim that white women had “culturally” approved of sexual objectification and were “safe enough” without outside help since they were warned not to touch “in-group issues” with a ten foot pole.

And so on and so forth.

The most important reality is that black feminists would eventually grow tired of being seen as innocent and vulnerable in patriarchy and would fight to erase the commodity of black femininity. “The innocent, submissive, and vulnerable representation of women is what puts us in danger. The rigid category of femininity has contributed to our oppression,” they might argue.

In the back of every black feminist movement we would hear the quiet and dignified pleas of radical white feminists. “But, we do not represent femininity. We are considered strong, incapable of feeling pain, and sexually deviant—but all this has done is increase our likelihood of being in danger. And aren’t we women too?”

As Gloria Steinem wrote, “In short, the characteristics of the powerful, whatever they may be, are thought to be better than the characteristics of the powerless – and logic has nothing to do with it.”

What remains universally evident is that the many justifications for power and privilege are always inherent, always scientific, and always permeate society to the point that they remain deeply buried within our collective consciousness.

Until someone challenges them.


20 comments to What If Black Women Were White Women? (Things That Make You Go Hmm…)

  • … and white men would be angry at white women who spoke out about their lack of protection, love and respect even from their own men; and white women would feel bitter, sad and lonely as they complain that there are no decent white men to date…

    And the world would still keep turning.

  • Ha! and some will read expired copies of “This was`nt suppose to happen” by author – Susan Bacous and transmit power beams to the home planet of putrid hatred.

  • definitely made me go hmmmmmmm… this would also be a good format for a spoken word piece. hmm…

  • ashlynn

    I\’d be lying if I said I didn’t close my eyes at one point and just dream a little bit. It\’s nice to feel, believe, and know I matter, even if in a fantasy piece…

  • ethereal

    This is a great piece. It really made me stop and think. Thanks for a wonderful post.

  • Nyrobi

    Just imagine if black women were white women, Where do I begin, I can go to a store and know my color makeup will be there. If Kanye West interfered with my acceptance speech, I can go from a unknown, and all of America will come to my defense and villfy him…my intelligence will be respected and I won’t come of as a angry X______ women. If I go missing, it will be covered on all the news stations. Shall I go on…

  • I agree with everything that’s been said. Thank you VERY much for actually posting my essay, I’m glad for all the feedback.

    “… and white men would be angry at white women who spoke out about their lack of protection, love and respect even from their own men; and white women would feel bitter, sad and lonely as they complain that there are no decent white men to date…

    And the world would still keep turning.”


    “you could cry in public and people would ask if you’re OK rather than assume you must be crazy…”

    I’d add you could have a baby, a stroller, and six bags and people would ask “Do you need any help ma’am?” instead of being angry because you’re “in their way”.

  • clicktrigger

    …black women could say whatever we wanted, unfiltered, anywhere. If any white person disagreed with or upset a black woman (or even just seemed like they MIGHT upset her) everyone would jump in to remind that person to sweeten their tone, or how could they expect anyone to listen to them? And if that pissed them off, well that’s just that typical white oversensitivity, amirite?

    …there’d be a whole new kind of nose job.

    …the default colors for underwear would be black, brown and tan. Dead-white bras would barely even exist. You’d have to order those off the internet or something. And black cotton panties would be a symbol of feminine innocence.

    …the irreversible skin-darkening (and iris-browning) caused by the prescription drug Latisse would go from being a heavily downplayed, barely-mentioned negative side effect to being the primary selling point. It would be sold OTC, with little to no regulation or FDA input. Everyone would just shrug and say “why would anyone put that dangerous stuff on their skin/in their eyes?!” even as dark skin and brown eyes are aggressively promoted as the ideal.

    …there’d be ribbons (ie: awareness/funding/research campaigns) for lupus. And for fibroids. Medical issues that tend to strike black women less often or less severely would lose funding and public interest, and the rate at which white women suffered and died from those conditions would spike. Nobody would care.

    …the meanings of certain words would change. “Fair” would simply mean
    “light-colored.” The “beautiful” meaning would fall out of use, and the archaic word “ebon” would come back to replace it. Poets would pine for their muses with “ah, she was so ebon, so ebon!” (We’d also go back to using the word “just” instead of “fair.” Kids would whine, “He got more than me! That’s unjust!”)

    Okay, I’d better stop. Sorry.
    But, damn. I could do this all day.

  • msb

    staticians would not report tales of disease infested women who make up the majority of HIV/AIDS cases…..the tales of the Angry Black Woman would be eradicated and more accurate tales of the “Gold Diggin’ White Woman” would be reported…the idea of social allegiance would not rest entirely on her demise, but rather on celebrating her for her philanthropic, artistic, compassionate ways versus assuming she needs a handout. And FINALLY, she would not be consistently rejected by her own man because she was not light enough, slim enough, indifferent enough, sexually available enough, or because she was assumed to be a threat to his survival….they would actually seek her out, because they would know that without her they could not have or feel the greatest of their gifts………….

    KUDOS for a thought provoking, and ‘womanist’ view on the issue of race and femininity. I’ll leave with this: Alice Walker is quoted as saying: “Feminism is to Womanism what lavendar is to the color purple”…..

  • Wow. That was a really great post, and incredibly thought-provoking. I’m linking to it. Thank you!

  • Love this post. Adding: \"nude\" would be varying shades of beautiful brown instead of peach or beige.

  • COLE

    Archaic, not thought provoking. I am sorry that any woman allows herself to feel less than she is because of media stereotypes. Women of all races need to end the objectification and not depend on their bodies or men to make their way.

    • Yeah, all that media stereotyping over the last few hundred years…

      You’d think any woman that ocassionally actually doubts herself and her abilities must be mentally retarded… or maybe a little tired of being talked about as though she weren’t in the room.

  • Mark

    I’m not going to apologize for favoring white women. They DID define the standard for femininity, it’s not a matter of socialization. There are plenty of beautiful black women too, but don’t tell me I get my impressions from the TV or the media.

    It absolutely DESTROYS any appeal to a black woman to hear her talk ghetto-trash language. NOTHING could be worse for a black woman than to act like that. I mean, black MEN can actually sound kind of cool doing it, but God it’s so unattractive to hear women talking like that.

    I once knew this one wigger white woman who talked like that…like nails on chalk. Anyway, that’s my little rant.

    • PlusSizedWomanist

      Yeah, it IS because of socialization and racism. Ever wonder who the white woman was compared to when they wanted to show the ugly disgusting, wild and hypersexual she beast? BLACK WOMEN. They used the backs of black women as the pedestal for their pure white woman to sit upon with the creation of the cult of womanhood. White women defined the standard of femininity for the WHITE SUPREMACY. Don’t get it twisted.

  • Mark

    I just reread my comment and have to admit it sounded repugnantly chauvinist…I regret not censoring my own attitude on this matter, given that it was not constructive in any way…

    Sorry about that.

  • Julie

    wow, Mark you are so transparent. Wigger, really? i guess it takes to many brain cells to just say ignorant white woman.

  • Cinnamondiva

    Thank you for setting him straight, PlusSizedWomanist.

    Listen, Mark…I do NOT speak like “ghetto trash”. I happen to be an attractive biracial woman who believes that Black is beautiful.

    I’m both black AND white, but I don’t allow anyone to disrespect Black women in my presence.

    I don’t know whether you are black or white. But I know that not only do you sound chauvinist, you sound flat-out RACIST toward Black women.

    You don’t have to apologize for liking white girls. But why do you feel the need to insult Black women? Not all Black women are ugly, unfeminine, loud, bitter…and not all white women are beautiful, sexy, sweet, feminine.

    Do you believe that every white woman in the world is beautiful and feminine? Because I will assure you that this is not true. No offense to my white sisters, I’m simply telling it like it is.

    Maybe you should spend more time reading about what Black women have had to deal with before you start making comments about how unappealing and unfeminine they are.