“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
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
Until someone challenges them.