Everytime I’m embracing a Black woman, I’m embracing slavery, and when I put my arms around a White woman, well I’m hugging freedom No other group in America has so had their identity socialized out of existence as have black women….
When black people are talked about the focus tends to be on black men; and when women are talked about the focus tends to be on white women.
Within the binary thinking that underpins intersecting oppressions, blue-eyed, blond, thin White women could not be considered beautiful without the Other—Black women with African features of dark skin, broad noses, full lips, and kinky hair.
Race, gender, and sexuality converge on this issue of evaluating beauty…
Because controlling images are hegemonic and taken for granted, they become virtually impossible to escape (Collins, 2000: 89-90).
The characters who populate these worlds are black men and white women.
Here in the UK, the visibility of black women in representations of mainstream Black British culture is such that you might be forgiven for thinking we are an endangered species.The near erasure of Black British women from this terrain, which is in the main dominated by black men and white women, is rarely commented upon, despite its prominence. Is this some manifestation of the quite frankly ridiculous Eldridge Cleaver quote above. The (ahem) ‘urban’ (we know what they really mean) landscape that provides the basis of so much of Britain’s somewhat depressing representations of mainstream youth culture, borrows heavily from black culture, yet sometimes both seem almost entirely devoid of black women.There is no love left between a black man and a black woman. I’d jump over ten nigger bitches just to get to one white woman. But a nigger bitch seems to be full of steel, granite-hard and resisting…I mean I can’t analyze it, but I know that the White man made the Black woman the symbol of slavery and the White woman the symbol of freedom. It’s just in me so deep that I don’t even try to get it out of me anymore. There’s softness about a white woman, something delicate and soft inside of her.
Faced with the contradiction between the reality of the situation and a stereotype, this young man still succumbed to the latter, repeating the tired, black girls = ghetto, white girls = status, prestige, and success, narrative.
This story is writ large within British popular culture, in which we can find a wealth of examples that illustrate perceptions of what differently racialised women represent. Here, the absence of black models- in preference of white- is stark, yet this is far from an isolated example, rather it is an all too common feature of UK Black British popular culture.