Change Your World-NOT your Body

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Black to White: The Next Transition?

The upcoming documentary Dark Girls deals with the shame and self hatred dark skinned black women often feel growing up, a shame and self hatred amid an almighty and highly valued white culture backdrop. A shame that runs so deep and dates so far back, black people themselves often value lighter skins over darker skins, especially black females.

As a white person, it had never occurred to me that skin color within black culture had a hierarchy. I certainly was aware it did with regards to whites, but it didn't dawn on me black people measured worth similarly. At least not until about 10 years ago when talking with a black male co-worker/friend about his ex g/f. He and her had been a couple for about 10 years. I asked him why they never had kids together. He looked at me like I had said the most awful thing, then said, "Didn't you ever meet Cheryl?" I hadn't. He then said, "She's darker than me." I didn't quite know what to say. He then said he would only have a child with a woman with a complexion similar to another female co-worker who had a black mom/white dad, i.e. very light skinned.

Over the years since this conversation, I've educated myself as best as a white person could on the subject, and quickly discovered upon that education that color was another area of shame, self hatred and body dysphoria in women. I learned of black females using harmful products that promised to bleach their skin. Not coincidentally that came on the market shortly after film came into being, male media that still primarily features light skinned (and now primarily thin) black women only. 
 
Like the backlash against feminism that has dieted; breast augmented, lipo suctioned, cheek implanted, labia plastied and all around carved women into the perfect hyper feminine white male approved size zero, the backlash against civil rights has allowed similar repercussions against black women with equally devastating  results. Less than 30 years ago, anorexia was a "white girl" disorder. Today, as black females are shoved through the male media grinder and measured against the unnatural barbie-like white female backdrop, eating disorders are claiming more and more black female victims.

There are ever greater demands for black women to do whatever it is possible to fit themselves into a white woman mold, and ever greater means with which to do so- from copious amounts of bleaching kits, hair straighteners to various forms of plastic surgeries which thin lips and narrow noses. All informs black females at younger and younger ages that there is something wrong with them. As can be seen in the video clip, dark skinned black girls thought at their most earliest ages something was wrong with them, many thinking they should have been born white and many blaming themselves that they weren't. 
 
With all the negative messages females are bombarded with from birth, there are no shortage of reasons that female children of all races find themselves thinking that they should have been born in a different body- one of a different sex, one of a different race or one of a different height and weight. In Sylvia Plath's prophetic poem Brasilia, the female speaker ponders the super people with torso of steel...awaiting masses of cloud to give them expression. But we see right here on this very blog with female transitioners, that we need not wait for something so drastic as a nuclear holocaust to give them expression. The male medical machine is doing so every day. Instead of their thick fat fingers on "the button," they have them instead on the plunger of a syringe or the end of a scalpel.

In Dark Girls, we see that female self hatred, confusion and the desire for female body modification isn't limited to "sex changing." If we do not take a long hard look at how misogyny is (mis)shaping females, with a little medical advancement, white America is going to look a whole lot whiter.

dirt



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76 comments:

  1. This is so important for people to be aware of, so thank you tremendously for writing about it. Females everywhere, at such young ages, face self hatred and disgrace from all around them.

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  2. Where have you been Dirt? I have griped for years that the only black people that are news casters, journalist, etc are light skinned blacks. Then look at Michael Jackson.. There is a very evident tragedy of this. The truth is they have caught on they will be less discriminated against if they lighten their skin and I find this tragic.

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  3. The struggle for a person of color is a completely different issue all together. I don't like that it is being aligned/or even inches above some of the posts in this blog. And I don't know how I feel about Dirt speaking on this topic, honestly, as a black person. I find this a bit ridiculous and I feel that this is our issue as a people to work out. This does not need to be addressed in this blog or by this blogger. I personally feel like you overstepped some boundaries here.

    Second of all, do not bring up Michael Jackson. My sister suffers from the same disease. Its called vitiligo and it had the same effect on her skin. It completely erased every ounce of pigmentation in her skin (slowly) and people often think that she is "white" when that is the FURTHEST thing from the truth. She had to go her entire childhood being made fun of by people of her own race and mostly by whites. I can't stand when ignorant people (especially white people) say stupid things like that when they have no idea about the situation or the disease and the psychological turmoil that comes with it. It is unspeakable. It really hits home. Michael Jackson has always been a proud black man and he died a black man. Regardless of the opinions of tabloid junkies. My sister is a proud black woman regardless of her disease.

    Lets not talk about white people who sit in the sun all day to try and look darker...

    I suppose that isn't "the same".

    Christ.

    I suppose this ENTIRE thing rubbed me the wrong way. Good intentions, nonetheless, but inappropriate.

    "The best a white person could" is not good enough. I'm sorry, but it truly is not.

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  4. Once I saw a Tyra Banks show where Tyra had invited little Black girls and their mothers- the subject was little black girls who wanted to be white. These little girls couldn't have been older than 8, and they were saying things like they thought they were ugly, had bad hair, weren't good enough, etc. The mothers said they try to make their daughters feel positively about themselves and have good self-esteem, and be proud of who they are, but the little girls still thought it would be better to be white. I remember this show made me feel sad, and made me think about how society's racism and sexism hurts these children. Very sad indeed.

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  5. @ Anon 7:02

    *applause*

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  6. I'm uncomfortable with you bringing this issue back to feminism and the big bad patriarchy. This sort of thing affects black males as well - the skin bleaching, the concerns about "narrow noses and mouths" and such. This is not an issue of misogyny and you can't blame men (although I know you do so love to claim misogyny and blame men at every turn, for every thing) - this is an issue of racism, and you should blame society.

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  7. @5:49 PM

    Vitiligo is real. People in my family suffer from it. It's a terrible autoimmune disorder which can even lead to serious things like lupus. It is more obvious on darker skin. I have it. I do not have it as bad right now. I pray it doesn't get any worse. It actually bothers me deeply that people ASS-ume it's all from skin bleaching. Never even looking into the fact that skin bleaching will NOT ever make you a pasty white, leave milky white skin patches, or make you appear white skinned like a white person! Never! Michael Jackson's own autopsy report even says he had vitiligo. There's even a newscaster in Detroit, Michigan who wrote an entire book about this skin condition and how changed his life as a person but also as a Black person.


    @ 7:02 pm. You bring up a very good point. The fact is that sometimes we (black and white) focus a lot of attention on how some people of color wish to be more "Western" but lack ever discussing how some whites wish to be more "Ethnic."

    That's why I wish there was a documentary about colorism that involved the whole entire spectrum. All people of all shades have some form of colorism in their culture.

    For those interested check out the Willie Lynch letter (and see where a lot of colorism started), check out the documentary on Jane Elliot with her blue eye vs. brown eye test she did on a class of grade school children. Check out any other information about the doll test and the updated doll test that was done only a few years ago. We are not far from racism or sexism as some of us really wish to blindly believe! :-(

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  8. I know a black guy who will only date white women because he doesn't want to have kids that are dark skinned. He has 5 mixed children with 2 different white girls.

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  9. There are many black girls who won't mate with men darker than them. It's not a feminist thing it's a race thing. One hand it's good that alot more people want to integrate relationships. The problem is it's for the wrong reasons.

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  10. @7:02
    So a man can't write on feminism because he's not a woman? How are we to understand things outside of ourselves if we don't try to grasp difference as best as we can? I'm a white lesbian, but that doesn't mean I don't have opinions regarding people of other races, cultures, or sexual identities. Also, this is a blog about women, so how is it inappropriate to relate, for the sake of helping to explain, the believed misogyny related to ftm transition with the misogyny within a group of people? I don't believe Dirt ment to put one thing above the other or to literally compare them as being the same thing.

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  11. Who cares if you have opinions on other RACES. Which is what you are talking about. As a black individual, it is laughable to see a bunch of white people discussing OUR inner-racial issues. Its despicable to be honest. And we are tired of it.

    You are not us. Therefore, you know not our struggle. You can look upon it, but to discuss it amongst yourselves is not appropriate, feasible, or even logical.

    Our racial issues are a completely SEPARATE issue from feminism. This issue has absolutely NOTHING to do with a feminine struggle. You know nothing of it but what you read. And as a white lesbian, most likely feminist, you are alien to our issues and therefore do not have merit to discuss them like this. Its insulting. I don't care about your opinion.

    These are OUR issues. You have no right to analyze them, critique them, or form opinions on them. You know not our struggle as black people. I can't say it any plainer than that.

    This issue has ZERO to do with misogyny. And being a white lesbian, like Dirt, you have not the slightest comprehension of it or the intricate damages that we have suffered as a people to create the foundation for these issues in the first place.

    I purposely WAITED for someone to make a response like Anon 12:23am. I was counting down the moments for another white person to "study" our inner most issues and "relate" them to something completely outside of it. White privilege in a nutshell, yet again. They have nothing to do with you, your standpoint as a feminist, or your race.

    WHY is it that you must constantly feel entitled to ownership? Why is that...?

    We are not a "group of people" we are a RACE of people. Get it straight and don't forget it.

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  12. " This issue has absolutely NOTHING to do with a feminine struggle."

    Beauty standards have nothing to do with females?
    Hahahaha.

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  13. Anon 1223 from what I have read on this blog (dirt please correct me if I am wrong) dirt doesn't believe that men should be writing about feminism or teaching it.

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  14. This is folly. That is the only word I have for this entire thing.

    White people discussing black issues: the biggest tragedy since slavery and the biggest joke since the 2011 "Rapture".

    And to anon 1:43, the damage within standards of black beauty have NOTHING to do with YOU as a white female. Just to clear that up for ya.

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  15. @1:51- And women's issues have nothing to do with you. You're a "male", right?

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  16. "White people discussing black issues: the biggest tragedy since slavery"

    Wow bigger than the KKK and lynchings?
    Bigger than Hiroshima?
    Bigger than the Holocaust?
    Bigger than the creation of the prison industrial complex?
    Bigger than 9/11?

    Idiot.

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  17. Evade evade evade.

    Anon 2:59...what are you even talking about? Stop evading the fact that you, as white people, are out of order/place for discussing the internal issues of the African American race.

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  18. http://raceprivilegeidentity.wordpress.com/

    See the following topics:

    1. Defensiveness
    2. Dismissal and Attempting to control the terms and tone of debate
    3. I've Got Black Friends
    4. DIVERSION (aka evading)
    5. Undermining
    6. Owning Oppression NOT Privilege

    In short, all of you need to read this entire page. And I do mean the whole thing.

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  19. Anon @ 3:27 you need to read a feminism 101. For real.
    Are you even a woman?

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  20. "In discussions during the weekend, the word ‘racism’ was seldom mentioned. People instead talked about ‘prejudice’, ‘stereotypes’, etc. These are all things that white people can also be a target of. The intended effect was to deflect attention away from discussing racism.

    At both the event and in the white organisers’ statement, racism was defined as a force/structure, (eg. the white organisers’ statement says that “patterns of conscious and unconscious racist behaviour came to dominate the space”), as if racism was something ‘out there’ which magically arrived at the gathering, at no fault of the white people present. To discuss racism as something structural, without reference to how it is white people who create and maintain that structure, is a way for white people to evade personal involvement and investment in maintaining that structure. This definition of racism was maintained on the responses on the blog to the first White Allies Statement. One poster suggested that it is unrealistic to not anticipate future racism ‘given the society we are brought up in and conditioned into’. Talking about ‘society’ and ‘the space’ is a way of not talking about people who are racist."

    Evade evade evade.Taken from the site listed above.

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  21. Talk about evasion.
    ARE YOU A WOMAN.

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  22. Anon 3:38, all you need to know of me is that I am African American, proud, and will not sit idly and watch the intimate issues of my people continue to be discussed and "studied" like lab rats by whites. No matter the intent.

    I will not allow it. Not today.
    I am Black FIRST, before I am ANYTHING else.

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  23. Hahahahaha. Okay dude. Then STFU discussing women's issues and beauty culture. Who gives a shit what race you are? We're talking about WOMEN here.

    Males talking about women's issues. Why it's the biggest tragedy since the witch burnings. Seriously, fuck off "man".

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  24. "I will not allow it. Not today."

    Your male privilege won't do you much good here. Us women will talk about anything we want. And there's nothing you can do about silencing women. Sorry "bro" that must be rough for you.

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  25. "Then STFU discussing women's issues and beauty culture. Who gives a shit what race you are? We're talking about WOMEN here."

    ...have you even read the post? Have you even heard of the documentary "Dark Girls"...do you even know what it is about?...

    Do you not realize that this documentary is NOT a feminist documentary? Do you not understand that this documentary showcases the dehumanization process forced upon blacks BY whites that is RACISM?

    Do you not understand that RACISM is a completely different issue all together than FEMINISM?

    Do you not realize that you are discussing the personal issues of black people?

    What in the world is wrong with you people?....Racist just doesn't say it.

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  26. How dare you tell women what to discuss. What kind of women-hating man are you? Racism is NOT a completely different issue than feminism- not for BLACK WOMEN. It's called intersectionality. LOOK INTO IT.
    Your bullshit claim that white feminists should not be concerned with the issues of Black WOMEN is OFFENSIVE. And RACIST. And MISOGYNIST.

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  27. Why are you so reluctant to admit that it is your race that created this...

    Why must you name-call, curse, and insult me based on assumptions about my sex? When I have not revealed any information about myself OTHER than the fact that I am a proud African American.

    It is the white race that caused the color shame of African American women discussed "Dark Girls".

    Why are you saying everything BUT that? Why are you not addressing racism as a separate entity? Is it your white guilt and privilege? I believe so.

    My case is rested. Continue to discuss the intimate issues of my people if you will. But many more black people will see this blog post. I will make certain. I will make certain that this is addressed properly.

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  28. White people are responsible for racism. Men are responsible for sexism. And as a man you have no place discussing women's issues. Racism is NOT a separate entity from sexism for WOMEN. You would know this is if you were a woman. Many women will see this blog post. I will see to it. I will make certain that your denial of female experience- BLACK FEMALE experience, and your attempt to silence FEMALES from discussion is addressed properly. You won't silence women from discussing our issues.If you really gave a crap about women -especially Black women- you would not try.

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  29. You are more of a fool than you realize.

    I will say this simply. Again. I have not revealed any information about myself other than the following:

    the fact that i'm black.

    NOT my sex. My age. My mother's great grandfather's name. Or my favorite candy. You are making assumptions all by yourself, and proving your posts not only silencing to the struggle of black women, particularly dark-skinned black women, against racism, but using feminism as an evasion away from the true meaning of the issues of the documentary discussed in this post.

    The documentary is about the issues that black women face. As a white person (MAN OR WOMAN) you will never understand these issues. Therefore you have NO merit to discuss them. We are black FIRST. That is what people see about us FIRST. That is what we see in ourselves FIRST. We are black before we are MEN, and we are black before we are WOMEN.

    You are an outsider. And in the company of other outsiders, you are ill-equipped to discuss our issues. You know nothing about them.

    You have done everything on that list a few posts above. You've done them all, almost in chronological order.

    Simple enough?

    Alright then. I'm finished.

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  30. This is for anon 12:23AM and anon 1:45AM and EVERYONE ELSE WHO READ THIS POST.

    All of you should probably have a look at this post from Dirt, herself.

    http://dirtywhiteboi67.blogspot.com/search/label/Tranmen%20teaching%20women%27s%20studies

    From the linked post by Dirt:

    "Given that, how possibly can an unshackled PRIVILEGED WHITE MALE (trans or bio) create a space and provide an understanding of the struggles women/minority women face to other women/minority women with an ounce of authenticity? An authenticity that is needed if women are to over come those struggles! That the very idea cross the mind of a male, whether a real male or a self chemically created one, that he can, refutes everything he says and anything he could possibly teach to women. In America alone we have several hundreds of years of white male colonization, do we now understand and know with a first hand knowledge the lived experiences of say Native Americans past or present? That would be a resounding NO!...If we allow trans/men's intellectual imperialism of women's studies and minority studies to infest campus classrooms, we are implicit in erasing the voices, histories, struggles of women. It is only a matter of time before women's studies will be replaced by trans studies, the way Native America was replaced by White America.
    dirt"

    This is a post from Dirt, if you didn't realize that already.

    I'll just...leave this here.

    If it doesn't speak for itself, God help you all.

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  31. Just to explain the above, for the slower minded,

    It is just as ridiculous for a WHITE PERSON (Dirt/any one else white in this blog that feels the need to discuss black issues) to speak/preach/teach issues within the race of African American women (and men) as it is for a WHITE MAN to speak/preach/teach of minority women/ and women's studies.

    ...according to Dirt herself...

    This is Dirt's hypocritical logic in a nutshell. What Dirt did in this post was not only spitting in the face of me and my race, but she also went against her own principle.

    It's in black and white. Right here.

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  32. "My case is rested"4:15

    "Alright then. I'm finished"4:38

    "I'll just...leave this here"4:54

    Hmmm really?

    OK got it- Dirt should only address specifically white feminist issues, not issues of women of color. When discussing cultural beauty standards, only those beauty standards relating to white women should be considered. Because acknowledging beauty standards applied to non-white women is wrong. Because, uh... Er, or something? According to a man.

    So you want Dirt's blog to be white only? Dream on, there is a rainbow of women here. Your segregation demands: Denied!

    Why don't you leave the concerns of women to women. We'll work out women's concerns on our own. Don't need men to 'splain.

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  33. "I am Black FIRST, before I am ANYTHING else."

    I'm human first. Like the majority of people.

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  34. You don't speak for women. Including Black women. If you were a woman you would have proclaimed it proudly. Have the grace to acknowledge that women have a right to discuss our issues absent of those who are NOT women. That means you.

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  35. I think the bottom line is what people internalize from society. I think it's OK to bring up Micheal Jackson, because I think it really was internalized racism which killed him in the end, why he had all those operations, became addicted to pain killers, etc. I understand how people see similarities between his experience and that of trans people.

    Most African Americans are pretty light skinned compared to Africans, since everyone is a little mixed in America. I think most are very proud of their roots, and I've never run across anyone who wanted to look "whiter."

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  36. A reader, most likely a black woman, had sent Dirt the video and ASKED Dirt to discuss it on the blog because it was important to her. Obviously Dirt's blog has a lot of readers, so this topic would definitely get heard.

    I find it quite telling that everyone is more concerned about Dirt's race than the actual issue. It seems like something nobody wants to acknowledge.

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  37. A few months back there was a loyal supporter of Dirt named BlueTraveler who commented on a Lesbian issue. Dirt put her in her place telling her she had no business commenting on Lesbian issues because she is not Lesbian.

    How is this different?

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  38. Interesting how the ftMs are more concerned with my race, than the issues the post brings up. Wonder why that is?

    dirt

    ps and anon, I dont go to black women sites and comment as a black woman.

    Not to mention the post is a FEMALE issue, not a race issue. Race was clearly a jumping off point to illustrate just how warped the pressures on females are to conform to a white, hyper feminine version of female.

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  39. i'm so confused as to why white people can't discuss issues concerning the black community and visa versa? if we are ever going to DO something about racism and white privilege other than perpetuate it, all people of all races need to CARE about it. and to care about it, they need to be informed about it, because, let's face it, most white people are ignorant to their privilege. that's the nature of privilege - you get to be unaware of it. so if we aren't having these discussions in groups of all people, black, white, asian, latina/o, then how are we ever going to educate racism away?

    think about it.

    my skin is white, but i don't identify with white people very well. i am not black nor do i identify as african american and would never try to claim that, would not even insinuate something like that, but i am more comfortable around black people than white people, and i think it would do white culture a hell of a lot of good to be having these discussions WITH black people - and all other races. we're all just people.

    -m

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  40. Why is there still confusion?

    This has been said a number of times in this thread.

    You are not black therefore you can not understand/don't have the right to speak amongst yourselves about our intimate issues as black people.

    The only way to get you people to understand anything is to apply it to your situations....again.

    It is the same as a non-lesbian woman sitting there with a bunch of other non-lesbian women discussing the internal and intimate issues faced within the lesbian community.

    It is the same as a man sitting there with a bunch of other men discussing the internal and intimate issues of women and feminism.

    IT IS OFFENSIVE. Why did I have to spell it out like this for you people?

    Why can't our issues as black people be OUR issues...why must you all claim an entitlement to our existence to this extent?

    Even as feminists you women still choose to ignore your white privilege and ignore racism all together. You all just interrogated and ignored a black individual telling you all of these things in previous posts. I'm appalled and disgusted.

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  41. how absurd to say that issues may not be discussed outside of afflicted communities

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  42. You guys are disgusting! Instead of discussing the topic you discuss which people have the rights talk about this and which not. You don't care about the topic do you? Fucking disgusting!

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  43. Mouse, it isnt even a black issue/post.

    It is a post highlighting how the male medical machine has already seen fit to drug/mutilate women who do not conform to its standards. Women too this and too that, like gender or weight etc race is merely another area being pressured into a straight jacket through brutalizing means.

    dirt

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  44. Standard policy, not on topic, deleted.

    dirt

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  45. I'm black and I'm not of the mind that only black people can discuss this issue.Everyone has a right to form an opinion about anything, but that doesn't mean that their opinion has any authority.

    Men can talk about abortions, straight women can talk about lesbian issues each from their perspective. As long as they make it clear that it is from their removed, naive perspective I can address their opinion for what it is.

    That being said, this "colorstruck" issue has nothing to do with transmen. Though i wouldn't say it has nothing to do with feminism as black women bear the brunt of the abuse due to their shade as far as i have seen personally.

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  46. Labels: Dark Girls, Delusional Transmen, female self hatred

    Just curious.. Why would transmen be on your labels of "Black to White: The Next Transition?

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  47. 9 black womens pictures on your blog next?May 30, 2011 at 3:22 AM

    Dirt...
    "I dont go to black women sites and comment as a black woman."

    No - maybe not - But you would not be beyond sneaking into black womens membership only forums to see what post you could boldly display on your blog.

    --And you would not be beyond posting 9 black womens pictures who lightened their skin.

    After all, if this is the next transition it would not be too far out of reach to wonder if you would find this your civic duty to do this as you have said about transmen in the past.

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  48. Hmm... lot fuss over what I think is a rather straight forward comparative article. This is her blog and she can talk about whatever she wants (whether you or I like it or not).

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  49. Don't pretend you have any idea about how this feels, and the fact that you're using it to push your hate of transmen further is absolutely disgusting. You want to talk about white privilege? Take a look in the damn mirror.

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  50. that eye surgery to 'westernize' asian features is also depressing and comparable- also iranian nose-jobs.

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  51. Anon,

    Seems you didnt even bother to read the post. Nowhere in it do I "pretend" to know what black "feels" like. I leave pretending to "know" what cannot be known to the trans disordered.

    And I regularly call myself on my white privilege, I do not pretend for a moment I do not have it. And when and where I can I correct that privilege as has been written about here previously. But again, you would actually have to READ to know that.

    You, like the the other ftMs commenting here while pretending to be black women are merely angry because posts like this illustrate your big mistake.

    dirt

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  52. The whole point of this post is that just as even very young black girls have already internalized racism to the point that they prefer white dolls and believe there is something better about being white and as many adult black women try to lighten their skin or straighten their hair, couldn't it be that there something similar about how women can internalize misogyny so deeply that they want to be men?

    The point is not to belittle black girls or women's experiences in any way at all, but to illustrate that internalized hatred of oneself and one's physical characteristics can come about as a result of oppression, rather than as a result of being born in the wrong body. And that those feelings of wanting to be physically different can be very strong and can occur from an early age. That having those feelings from an early age can be a result of the way society makes young black girls feel about themselves, not that they should have been born white or that they have the wrong brain or anything like that. The experiences of these girls and women are heartwrenching examples of the enormous power of oppression, something it appears that many women who are interested in transitioning may not get, that is, that oppression is deeply and intensely personal, can happen from an early age, and can create feelings of self-loathing and intense feelings of wishing to be physically different.

    I have heard so many women explain their desire to transition based on the intensity of their disliking their bodies and the fact that they felt that way from an early age. The point of this is simply to illustrate that such early and intense feelings are not necessarily due to being born in the wrong body.

    IMO, that is all dirt was trying to say. Of course racism is a huge topic, and sexism is a huge topics and there are huge differences in the ways they both play out. It is important to conflate the two forms of oppression--they both function independently, have their own unique features and modes, and must both be separately and distinctly taken into account when looking at social phenomena. Nothing in dirt's post suggests otherwise.

    However, simply taking a clear example of racism and using it to illustrate that oppression, as a social phenomenon, can be felt from a very young age and in an intimately personal way, is not racist. It's just an illustration of the gravity of racism to shed light on the gravity of sexism.

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  53. Important correction: It is important NOT to conflate the two forms of oppression--

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  54. Anon 11:06
    A magnificent overview in my opinion. *Applause*

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  55. I think the issue is probably the double standard. Dirt just reacted to the video. Understandable. She should be able to comment on colorism though. I do believe men should be able to comment on sexism too. I do think whites should comment on racism as well.

    There is no way that we can just discuss Dark Skinned Black girls without bringing up/in White people. They started the drama in the first place. Sad truth is that both groups are reinforcing it sometimes. The fact many comments didn't deal with that at all says a lot! The issue is we need to discuss all forms of colorism especially the double standard. It doesn't just happen in the Black community. It happens to EVERYONE. If we do not remove this double standard. We will not be able to get rid of colorism as a whole! End of Story!!!

    No one is niave to these double standards but I will list a some.

    *There are whites who wish to be minorities and vice versa. This issue with Whites is discussed rarely. Typically, our focus is on the minorities.

    * There are whites who refuse to date fellow whites and wish to have half Black children because mixed kids look "better." and vice versa.

    * We see white women adopting ethnic children. but if a Black woman adopt Russian babies. She is not seen as colorblind. She is accused of wanting white kids, wishing to be white, because white is better. (Of course, some of these women are accused of adopting these kids as a trophy.)

    * Non-Whites are told they are too dark. Period. Whites are told they are not dark enough. Bottom line. (Now on both sides, I have seen Whites who tan very dark who are told to stay out of the sun just as I have seen light skinned and dark skinned blacks who are told the same!)

    *It is not social taboo to tan or use tanning sprays. It is socially taboo to use skin bleaching creams. They are both dangerous.

    * Whites can have plastic surgery without being told they are trying to look less "white." Let a Black person touch their nose or lips it is the first accusation. As if Blackness is in the nose or lips and that the only issues a Black person must have with their face must be due to their race but with whites its not about race at all? (Hence Michael Jackson vs. any rich white woman like Joan Rivers, etc.)

    * I know Blacks who get relaxers and use hot combs. I know whites who get perms and use hot combs. Both groups wear wigs, dye their hair (blond), and wear weaves.

    * There's even Asian eye lid surgery to look less Asian. But there's also butt implants, lip fillers, etc. for Whites who wish to look more exotic or ethnic.

    My point is simple. The standards of beauty are different for Blacks, Whites, etc. but they are all fucked up! We can't focus our attention to one ethnic group any longer. I do understand Dirt's post was about the film. But that is just my overall reaction to the film itself not Dirt.

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  56. Who cares if you have opinions on other RACES. Which is what you are talking about. As a black individual, it is laughable to see a bunch of white people discussing OUR inner-racial issues. Its despicable to be honest. And we are tired of it.

    Is it because you think some white people might be secretly or not-so-secretly ridiculing or feeling sorry for Black people? I mean, I can sorta understand your perspective, and yet I've read quite a few comments by women of color who express extreme disappointed that very few white feminists ever discuss racism. So from my perspective, it looks like one of those deals where "no matter what a white person does, they are always wrong".

    Which is why I finally decided that everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the subject, especially since there doesn't seem to be any clear right/wrong way to view a white person discussing racism.

    Do women get mad when pro-feminist men discuss sexism? Of course not, so why all the angst from some Black folks?

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  57. Are you really comparing gender dysphoria to a cruel system of complexion paradigm? Are you really that dense?

    Just because you have the privilege of white butch doesn't mean you compare things that absolutely nothing to do with each other.

    You are a feminist with no soul. Please go fuck yourself.

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  58. As a Jewish Dyke ethnically, once I broke my nose doing full contact karate at age 15, my grandparents tried very hard to pressure me to have a 'nose job' afterwards. When I would tell people that I'm Jewish, AFTER the nose break, they'd say "Oh I could tell because of your nose." And I'd respond: "My nose NEVER looked like this till it got busted doing full contact!" That initial surgery when it got broke was so painful that I NEVER wanted to go thru that pain again, and I always 'passed' as merely white(gentile), until the break and the whole stereotype of the "Jewish ethnic type" and noses. So many young Jewish women were having nose jobs to pass as gentile white it's incredible...it's the same female hatred, whether it's a black female trying to conform to white standards, or a Jewish female trying to pass as Christian or again xtian 'nonethnic' white standards, or a butch trying to 'pass' as straight to get a job or survive, or staying in the closet, or shamed for being too masculine(which I was along with my bumpy more obvious nose)by my parents and especially my Jewish grandparents. My grandfather even sent me a book "Doctor Make Me Beautiful" and don't even get me started on the diet industry and thinness being 'in'....that pressure was IMMENSE in my child and teenage hood and I wasn't even fat then!

    I always admired big Black women, and I actually feel more comfortable around them because they are way more size accepting than most white women. But that could be a class thing too. Because to get to the upper classes you have to have a certain thin body type, appear feminine and not too ethnic or dark. These are both racial/ethnic AND feminist issues because it is predominately women's bodies for millenia that are going through the ringer, the surgeries, the hair and body products to conform to a certain standard...and it's no different than 'passing' as one sex or another, AGAIN through surgeries, drugs and body manipulations....incurring self hatred in EVERY kind of female keeps ALL females/women down!

    Feminism is about the connections around ALL these oppressions. And true Feminism/Womanism makes the connections and intersections between body hatred whether around body size, racial appearance, femininity/masculinity, lesbianism/homosexuality, ect. ect. that holds ALL women/females back!
    -MasterAmazon

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  59. I honestly do not care what any of you say.

    A man cannot talk about abortions, number one. Show me one man tell ANY woman I know what to do with her body under any circumstances, and I'll show you one man with a broken nose.

    The same principle applies here. Take that as you will. Our issues as black people are not relatable to your white privileged issues as white people. Stop trying to make that so. It's not. And the implication of that is not only offensive but its oppressive.

    "Having an oppression does not cancel out the way YOUR PRIVILEGES can oppress others, and it doesn’t give you a free pass in being oppressive in general to others whether in the context of a call-out or otherwise. Pretending call-outs are always privileged vs. oppressed doesn’t justify your erasure of other disabilities or oppressions. Using your oppressions to “win” a call-out just makes you look like a supremacist."

    Which is exactly how this post comes of. It is supremacism. Completely.

    I don't give a damn how oppressed you are, do not cross our issues with yours. Do not relate them. They are separate and unequal...sound familiar?

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  60. I agree with Anon @11:09 PM...

    You have stooped to a very low level even for you! I guess you are trying to get the black vote but guess what honey, you have no clue as to what goes on in the African American community, so don't sit here and try to preach your ignorance and intolerance. You are a disgrace as a butch, a female, and a white ass pasty who doesn't know shit! Keep your white ass at home! No wonder why FTM's can't stand you because you don't know shit about what they go through and you haven't got a clue as what us black folks go through so you can take your narrow minded ass and try to preach to someone who care because honey, I sure don't give a damn! I'm sure FTM's don't give a damn either!

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  61. "...and a white ass pasty who doesn't know shit! Keep your white ass at home!

    to me, this sounds a lot more racist than what Dirt is saying

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  62. "I don't give a damn how oppressed you are, do not cross our issues with yours. Do not relate them."

    Are you saying that the oppression of black people is so unique that absolutely no aspect of it can be related in any way to the oppression of any other group? Why?

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  63. Mouse,

    Calling me a racist by these white trans disordered kids is just a "look here and not there" tactic because they have no leg to stand on here. If they did, they would discuss the issues being raised and contemplate how best to work toward a resolve. But trans people will NEVER do that because it actually means a real cure for their disorder rather than the attention seeking band aids of transition.

    dirt

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  64. So tell me all readers, what do you make of me?

    I am a white butch dyke. I was born and raised in the projects of the south, where I was the ONLY- yes only white little girl there. I went to head start and school with all my black & mexican friends and neighbors from the projects at school. We were all of course very poor.
    My mom was a single mom, who left me with my 'godparents' (next door neighbors in the projects who are black) for the majority of the time while she worked several jobs and was in school.
    I didn't understand why I was white and all those around me were not- and all those that took care of me were not white. And in fact, I was molested by 3 different men- all white- and learned to fear white men in very real way that to this day holds true.
    I insisted that my hair as a young child be braided with beads and/or cornrowed, cause everyone I was around looked like that. I went to a black church where I was the only white person. I longed to be black.

    I understand now as a adult that there is little I can do to avoid the automatic read of my white privledge.

    Granted I had a unique experience growing up in this way. One that I am so grateful for- as it has really shaped me.

    To this day, as a adult I feel closer to my black 'god-family' than I ever did to my extended blood family that disowned us (my mom and I) when we moved to the projects.

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  65. @ anon 8:15

    we are not a "group"...number one. We are a RACE. I'm tired of arguing this point with people who are not equipped, racially or otherwise, to talk about this and understand where we as a PEOPLE are coming from.

    To you...yeah we are just a "group" aren't we?
    Privilege is something else...

    and @ mouse
    it is UNBELIEVABLE that after Dirt's hypocrisy was made clear as day to you (I know you saw that post about her saying that trans men and men as a whole are IMPERIALISTIC because they teach/discuss issues concerning women and feminism before Dirt deleted it) that you are still gung-ho about her supremacy in this post. You have proven yourself to be simply a blind sycophant. That's sad.

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  66. Why would I agree with everything Dirt says? I'm surely no sycophant; I've my own opinions.

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  67. We are not a "group of people" we are a RACE of people. Get it straight and don't forget it.

    The first time somebody ever said to me that race was a social construct, I had to stop and think about it for a minute. And yet, how else to explain the children of mixed heritage who grow up with one foot (and an elbow) in different cultures? You can't even classify these folks according to phenotype and most americans are mixed to some extent, so referring to someone's self-identity as a "race" seems a bit problematic. My grandma was Black who lived with a Native American Indian out in the boonies, and my mom married an Irish-German. I'm darker than a paper bag and been claimed by a half dozen different ethniticies, but raised in a white culture so where do you draw the line?

    Why can't our issues as black people be OUR issues...why must you all claim an entitlement to our existence to this extent?

    But you ARE entitled to hold opinions about other people. Sadly enough, I suspect you haven't yet given yourself permission to do so. And having an opinion about some other group doesn't seem to be the same as "owning their existence". Oh, you probably mean dominate white power gets to reframe the narrative and set the agenda, okay.

    We are black FIRST. That is what people see about us FIRST. That is what we see in ourselves FIRST.

    So if I have this right, you self-identify as a Black person before any other quality which could describe the sum total of your character, and you do this because you assume everybody else is seeing an inferior person every time they look at you. But what if they're not? What if even some people see you as a worth-while person of value who suffers unfairly?

    I am African American, proud, and will not sit idly and watch the intimate issues of my people continue to be discussed and "studied" like lab rats by whites. No matter the intent.

    Okay, I get it now, or at least close enough. But there's a growing number of white people who haven't seen you as inferior for quite a while now, who only wish you the best, who do see you as a worth-while person suffering unfairly, who only wish you could see yourself as we do -- and that number is continuing to grow even larger. So I don't what to tell you exactly, especially given that racism is still with us... but! How we view ourselves has little effect on how others view us, and yet, to realize at the same time that how we view ourselves will indeed affect our own interpretation of the behavior of others.

    If you start out by assuming that every non-Black is a subversive racist who's out to trip you up, well that's exactly what you're going to see. You won't ever see the pro-Black folks who merely have a slightly different perspective. Anyway, none of this means racism is over, or we should stop identifying, deconstructing and fighting racism. Sorry for the novel, maybe I should start blogging about racism... :o

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  68. "Are you saying that the oppression of black people is so unique that absolutely no aspect of it can be related in any way to the oppression of any other group? Why?"

    Ok somehow my post got "los in translation". i just want to point out that yes other groups can relate to oprression of others.

    The only problem here is that this issue, is both a racism and sexism isssue for black women. While White women can relate to one, and black men can relate to the other. BM & WW do not know what its like to be especially hit by both. There is always the old age debate which is worse racism or sexism between BM & WW, well some people do not have the luxury to choose, they have it both ways.

    A black man or a white men cannot really fully cover this issue, here without bias. Let's face it a BM was to write this he would see this as a racist issue, while a WW will see it as a sexist issue. Neither is wrong but they are both neglecting the other side here. This is an issue for BW to tackle themselves, of course they can engage in dialogue with other oppressed group and even white men too.

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  69. @ Anon 3.16

    There is no African American race you twat. Get over yourself. Why do African Americans think that they're the only blacks in the world. African American race!? Laughing my fucking ass off.

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  70. Dirt, the title says it all, could you be anymore dickheadish? Seriously. I am sorry but fuck you.
    Fuck you. Fuck you. How dare you post some article about our lives so that you priviledged whites can have someone to feel sorry for. What the fuck do you know? You practically lumped all black people into one self-hating category. Am i supposed to be grateful that i have your sympathy, coz that's all it is. i think i can speak for all black people when i say we dont need this post and we dont need your sympathy. Thanks but no thanks.

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  71. @ 1:20 PM

    Not all African Americans think they are the only blacks in the world you twat!

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  72. weird... did any black people even address the topic, or did they all just say we're not allowed to discuss it?

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  73. Nice Jewish DykeMay 14, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I know this is way late but I'm a new reader of this blog and read this post just the other day, and today I came across the powerful below post which I thought was kind of fitting for this post, so I share.

    -----

    A Black Butch Speaks: Addressing Female Oppression by Pippa Fleming

    I've been holding silence for quite some time but now it's time for me to speak.

    When a Black child presents with signs of internalized racism, we want to protect them. We want them to know they are perfect as they are and loved for exactly who they are. If we are conscience Black folks, we try to infuse our young people with the knowledge, skills, wisdom and support necessary, so they may survive and thrive in this racist society.

    If little Lakesha comes home with "mommy I hate being Black and I want to be white" we are shocked, dismayed and sadden by her self loathing and rush to find the source of her oppression. Is it school, the media, her peers, society or all of the above?

    So why when little butch Lakesha comes home with "I hate my body and I want to be a boy" is she encouraged to take on male identity or the subject matter is avoided all together and she is left to flounder in a sea of gender conforming beliefs that lead to dysphoria and a life lived in the shadows?

    From the moment a female child presents as butch she is loathed, feared and rendered invisible by her peers and elders alike. Why are we not outraged by butch oppression and willing to explore gender oppression like we look at race or class oppression? Why is it seen as status quo for young butch girls to hate their bodies the goddess blessed them with? Why are we ushering our baby butches towards male identity rather than exploring the causes of this type of self hatred?

    We are quick to say that a Black person is suffering internally if they want to bleach their skin white or have plastic surgery to look more european... but if a child wants to cut their breasts off and get rid of their vagina this is acceptable! In turn, if I question this as a butch female, I am seen as transphobic.

    I am a gender non conforming female butch, who uses the men's bathroom, is perceived as a man everyday I walk out my door and rendered invisible by society. Instead of expanding the boundaries of female identity to include all of it's nuances, we have fallen desperate prey to that 1% we claim to despise!

    To be Black, female and butch is to be a warrior, let us pray that more of us have the courage to love ourselves wholly and be outspoken mentors to young butches struggling not to conform to the impossible.

    And ain't I a woman!

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  74. NJD,

    This Butch is clearly also suffering from the misogyny she is trying to confront. I would ask her why she would use a mens bathroom and why she considers herself non gender conforming?

    As a Butch whose sex has been questioned since at least age three, and as a Butch who from late teen years onward "passed" nearly 100% of the time, I say there isnt anything "non gender conforming" about me. I'm female. As such I naturally have a feminine body. That I carry that body differently than the majority in no way invalidates my female body.

    dirt

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  75. Nice Jewish DykeMay 15, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Hi Dirt,

    What if she uses men's bathrooms because it's just less hassle?

    Re. gender conforming: I hear what you're saying and I think it's a matter of language and culture. The eurowestern culture is very black/white, either/or, and it hates blendedness and fluidity, and doesn't know what to do with it other than stifle or box or label or invalidate it. What I hear you saying is that you don't want/like Butch women's femaleness negated because they look different than the majority of women, and that masculinity somehow negates femaleness? When I see Butch women I see more masculinity in them than other women, but I don't perceive them as any less female.

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