Shades of White

Ren asks:

I know this is old, but I’m very curious about this topic. You grew up with significant exposure to predominantly black environments, so it makes sense, to me, that you like black men and/or black women. But I’ve been noticing more and more that many white lesbians are interested in black women, which is stunning to me because I thought white people were…racist (in the US)…and thought most of us are unattractive. And still think that, which is probably the reason why I am really struggling to understand the attention I get from white women and the reason why I’m pretty much always very suspicious of it.

I wouldn’t doubt it if you’ve experienced some suspicion, especially from black women. Black men usually just turn flips when a white woman is interested, but black women are hardly that simple. But considering that white women have never really seemed interested in even being friends with me as adults and almost never showed that interest while growing up, I can’t fit that and the experiences I had with white people growing up with the fact that probably 80% of the interest I get and have gotten all of my life has been from white women sexually/romantically, a little more than 10% has been from Asians (generally Indian women and usually not from the US, i.e. online) and less than 10% has been from black women. I mean, 10 years ago when I tried to chat with white lesbians online they didn’t want to talk to me 95% of the time, especially after finding out my race! Basically, I’m looking for plausible explanations as to 1) if these white women seriously are interested in/attracted to me, 2) if so, why, and 3) why don’t black women seem to be interested in me (because, honestly, I prefer black women).
<br />
<br />I’m not asking you, but that’s how I got to this post. It’s very easy to find tons of articles and videos online about why white women like black men–there’s tons of focus on that. But you can’t find the same thing for lesbians, really, and what you do find is usually something like “race doesn’t matter,” “there are attractive black people, attractive white people, unattractive black people and unattractive white people,” and “I don’t know why I like black women, I just do” (i.e. your post). I don’t know–looks like I need to consider white lesbians since that’s who I attract in my country, but, at the same time, I don’t really want to start dating one and find out it’s all a huge joke, a big sex experiment, a fetish or they’re bringing me to the KKK for a hanging…sorry, but being real, and if you’ve seen Donald Trump and his supporters, you should understand, lol.

I know you’re “not asking” but you kind of are, so here’s my answer as best I can give it:

First of all, I see what’s going on with Trump and it’s terrifying. I’m writing this right now because I need a break from my FB and Twitter feeds.

Secondly: racism is a spectrum. Racism is so woven into the fabric of this country that everyone is racist to some degree, even if that racism is a form of self hate.

White women are also a spectrum. Now, we know 56% of white female voters voted for Trump. Let’s break that number down: 64% of the elligible voters in the country voted, and if we assume that half of them were women that puts the white woman Trump voters at 28% of the country. Still fucked up, but that’s a little perspective. (Hashtag #NotAllWhiteWomen)

Now, while it’s possible that these white women approaching you are white supremacist fetishists looking to tie you up and call you their “dirty negress”–it’s pretty unlikely. 

It’s much more likely that the white women expressing interest in you are on the left side of the spectrum. Probably somewhere between “I don’t see color” beige and “woker than you” white.

As to why are they attracted to you? Probably because you’re attractive. Why now and not before? I have no clue.

I spent a lot of years thinking that no one could be or was attracted to me–until one day I realized that almost everyone I’ve ever been attracted to reciprocated my feelings to some extent. I’m not saying everyone has a that experience (I’m certainly not attracted to everyone who’s expressed attraction to me) but attraction is weird, and many people are attracted to characterizes far different than the ideals the media feeds us.
So should you try dating a white woman? Only if you mean it. If a white woman approaches you who you genuinely find attractive and seems like a good person, then why not go for it? Could you get hurt? Absolutely. But isn’t potential hurt intrinsic to the beginning of any relationship?

Now I’m not saying that these white women wont ever say something ignorant, but chances are that that just by being interested in you they’ve self sorted to be someone who genuinely is trying to not be racist and has made it a good distance down that path.

As far as experiments go: won’t she be your experiment? Life is about experimentation. Some experiments are a success, some fail, but that doesn’t mean the intentions aren’t good.

Many of the black women I dated were at best experimenting with me, or at worst using me until they could find someone of their “own kind”. Ouch. That hurt! I still don’t regret trying though. 

As far as black men go. Maybe more conventionally attractive women get backflips, but most of the black men (my sweet late BF excluded RIP) who have dated or expressed an interest in me had a kind of entitled attitude that I owed them sex and money. The title of this blog arose from those moments when MOC I dated reduced my hurt feelings (at their bad behavior) and legitimate perspective to being “just another white woman.”

As far as fetishization goes–that’s kind of a hard one. Where exactly is the line? If I’m attracted to women with big foreheads and wide noses–is that a fetish? Or just a preference? 
I felt the most fetishized when a white trans man I was dating showed me a picture of his ex–and she looked almost identical to me. That was creepy!

So should you date a white woman?

If you want to? If you are genuinely attracted to her. If you can put aside your preconceptions. If you can be prepared to possibly have to do some educating. 

Who knows, the love of your life could be an amazing white woman and you’d never know it without exploring it!

Or not. I wouldn’t fault anyone for preferring to date black women. Y’all are so beautiful! I don’t know what the “scene” is like where you live, but there’s a small but vibrant black lesbian community here in Boston that I wish I could introduce you too!

As far as why BW aren’t expressing interest in you: maybe their shy? Maybe they’re waiting for you to make the first move or don’t think *you’re* interested?

TL; DR: if you’re interested in someone–regardless of race, give it a try! Go get em! No reward with out risk! 

Oops!


Still trying to figure out the wordpress phone app. Sorry subscribers for that half-written post!

Family Like This

CN: Emotional abuse 
I think my mom’s bipolar. She was in a manic phase tonight. So sweet and nice like someone who didn’t tell me “fuck you” less than two months ago when I asked for help in a major emergency. 

Ever since I was a child I’ve been more scared of her when she’s nice than when she’s mean. When she’s nice she finds out things to use against me later in her depressed cycle. 
Any miss-step could set her off on a bad day–and I miss-stepped a lot!
But tonight she was nice. Tonight she acted like she cared. It almost felt real.

Diagnosis Fat Druggie

five-lies-women-tell-doctors

I’m crying in the doctors office again.

This is turning into the very worst types of patterns. I feel helpless and hopeless and the woman in front of me couldn’t care less.

The last time I cried in the doctors office it was for a different, yet interlocking reason. It was in another office, with another doctor in the same practice. It was during my first visit with my new primary care doctor, a slender yet very visibly pregnant young woman who somehow looked more like a rock star than a doctor.

That time I was crying because my doctor derailed our introductory visit to ask me the same open-ended question over and again.

“What about your weight?”

She asked, an overabundance of faux concern dripping from her voice.

I told her that all of the women in my family are skinny until they have kids and then look like me afterwards.

“What about your weight?”

I told her how I had gained weight with my first pregnancy, then gained more afterwards, then lost so much weight in my second pregnancy that I was below the chart.

“What about your weight?”

I told her I had lost weight when I had a routine walking schedule, but gained it and a little bit more when my schedule changed and I was unable to keep it up.

“What about your weight?”

I wasn’t crying yet but I was frustrated. What did she want me to say? What kind of question was that?

“I need a doctor who can treat me as a whole person,” I told her, fighting the tears in my eyes, “not just concentrate on my weight.”

She told me I would have a long hard struggle to find a doctor like that. And seemed fine with being an obstacle in that path.

Now I’m crying again in the rheumatologists office. Ever since my diagnosis of fibromyalgia a year and a half ago–I don’t know if my symptoms are worse or if I’m acknowledging them more? But it’s been hard. So much pain! Pain that tracks certain precise pathways, gathering at trigger points and shooting through my forehead like someone took a knitting needle and jabbed it from the base of my neck to my pineal gland, or  crippling me with pain in one shoulder so bad I can barely move only to abandon that shoulder for an equally intolerable pain in other one the next morning.

And when it’s not pain it’s fatigue. An overwhelming fatigue and/or brain fog that drags me down into uselessness and makes my brain barely functional.

The rheumatologist has me on a low dose of Gabapentine. Really low. I’m supposed to take 200 MG but I’m taking 100 because 200 causes so much fatigue I am afraid I’ll hurt myself or someone else, get into a car accident maybe.

But it’s helping. It feels like a blanket muffling my pain, muffling my brain, acting as buffer between me and this evilness that is my flare-ups. I can feel it from when I take it at night, and I can feel it wearing off roughly the same time the next day. I can also feel the sharpness of the pain on days I forget to take it, along with my sharpness of thought, still dampened by fibro fatigue but freed of the drug induced haze.

I told her all of this.

When I researched it online other Fibro sufferers said their doctors prescribed them something to counteract the fatigue. Some people were proscribed adderoll but most were proscribed something else that I can’t remember at this moment. Why didn’t I write it down?

I’m struggling to remember it now because I don’t think it was a classic stimulant and because of the look my doctor is currently giving me. I just asked for something to counteract the fatigue and now she is looking at me like I’m a junkie searching for her next fix. Besides coffee I have never taken stimulants–don’t even really like the idea of taking them but I just want to not be in pain AND get out from under the smothering blanket of fatigue that makes it impossible for me to function at home or at work for hours on end.

“Why do you need to counteract the fatigue, what about trying a different medication?” She asks.

“Well it’s not just the fatigue of the Gabapentine,” I reply, I get fatigue from the fibromyalgia, too.

“Fatigue is not a symptom of fibomyalgia.”She states baldly.

201603_1105_ffehf

Wait–what? My world is spinning. Every bit of research I’ve ever done had fatigue and brain fog as the second and third most reported symptoms after pain. (A quick google search would later confirm this).

“You need to do a sleep study to find out why your so tired. Then maybe they will proscribe a stimulant”

It sounds like too much, at the moment, another hoop to jump through. I had so much hope going into this appointment that she’d adjust my dosage a little bit, and maybe proscribe an extremely mild, low dose something to clear the fog, but no, it’s more hoops, along with disbelief, distrust. Hostility.

Tears streak down my face. It feels hopeless. I feel helpless.

“I’m going to proscribe you cymbalta,” She says, and declines to explain any side affects except that it has a negative interaction with gabapentine. “so take gabapentine at night and the cymbalta in the morning.”

“But what about the fact that the gabapentine lasts 24 hours?” I ask, but I can see the answer in her eyes. “Oh right, you don’t believe me.”

“Just exercise!” She belts out as I leave, a wreck, crying, barely holding myself together. In my head I hear “you fucking fatty!” at the end but I don’t know if that’s what she would have liked to say or if I’m reading into it.

_____

I’m sure both these doctors thought I was a difficult patient. Now I read that doctors are less able to to do their jobs if they perceive their patient as difficult. Since I’m a bad fatty who refuses to prostrate herself to doctors as the bad bad bad bad fatty that I am and who has a basically unknown and barely recognized disease AND whose body responds differently from the textbooks to medications I feel like I will always be “difficult”.  I wonder if I will ever find a doctor who will treat me like a human being? Will I ever find a doctor who I can trust? Have clear communication with?

How can I trust a system to heal me when it sees me as a deathly fat lying druggie?

 

End the Frame-war on Racism

200290212-001

If you ask most white people to define racism they’ll say it is racially based prejudice.

If you ask most people of color to define racism they would tell you that racism is hegemonic systemic white supremacy based on a formula of prejudice+ power.

So who’s right?

Drum-roll please….I’m about to give a brilliant definitive answer…

Both! Neither! It doesn’t matter!

Wait…where are you going? Stick around and let me explain.

First of all, English is a flexible language, and if enough people use a certain word in a certain way–that becomes a legitimate usage of the word!

For example: If enough people use the word literally to mean figuratively–boom! it literally means figuratively–and not in a figurative way.

I would argue that despite either conscious definition, most people use racism fairly fluidly between both definitions, with people “getting” which meaning is implied through context clues. There’s an excellent episode of Blackish (Season 1 Episode 10) that illustrates this nicely. (If you haven’t watched Blackish I highly recommend it!)

But regardless…or irregardless…my point is, that now that we know that both usages of the word are, we can stop frame battling over them, move past the argument of whether or not “black people can be racist.”

Since there is no Black Hegemonic Systematic Oppression, the important conversation is not whether the word racism includes white systemic hegemonic oppression, but what are we–all of us–going to do to make this world a fairer, freer egalitarian society with equality, liberty and justice for all?

What are we going to do to stop cops from killing unarmed kids? Or at least prosecute and jail them if they do? What are we doing to make our schoolrooms and our board rooms representational of the beautiful diversity of this country? What are we doing to acknowledge or privileges and challenge our prejudices?

White people: when you hear a POC say “Black people can’t be racist” just…let it slide. Even if you prefer the first definition–now you know the second one–replace racist with white supremacist in your head and see if you still want to argue  the point. I know, I know, I grind my teeth every time my 12 year old daughter says she “literally died” but you know what, it’s not a battle I can win, or that’s even worth fighting.

If you want to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem, you will accept this second understanding of the word racism, and move on to more constructive conversation.

POC: if you really want to argue with a WP who has just described being beaten up every day at their minority-majority school while being called whitey, latte and snow-bunny that that wasn’t racism–I mean, be my guest–but dismissing peoples lived experiences as just being mean or just prejudice is unlikely to win them over to your side or do much besides give you a headache or a smug feeling of being right.

Post Script: I explained all this to my Girlfriend: Her reaction: “But the first definition is right! It’s in the dictionary!”

Me:

kitty_rage_quit_table_flip_by_shadethenighthunter-d6qs9le

 

I’m On the Bloggess!

Kinda sorta. Scroll way, way down

Getting Though

A black friend on twitter has asked for help trying to “get through” to his white friend, who has expressed a number of troubling ideas that display blind white privilege at best, outright racism at worst.

After a number of people told him to she was a lazy racist who would never be a real friend, he still was looking for answers.

“What do you think I could say to make her understand? ” He asks.

This post is my response, since I couldn’t fit my thoughts into tweets:

First of all: there may not be anything that you can say to make her understand, understanding requires an open mind, and unless your friend is committed to opening her mind, it may not be possible for her to understand.

Your friend is actively engaging people of different races, and doesn’t understand why everything has to be “all about race.” Now I can’t think of a POC who would not like for everything to stop being all about race. Unfortunately, white people won’t let them. POC have responded by creating their own spaces where instead of being marginalized, their voices are honored and privileged.

Based on what I saw, your friend is one of the statistically few white people who has gone beyond the ubiquitous “black friend” and actually entered POC spaces. Once inside POC spaces she realized that within POC spaces, POC voices are privileged. Not only that, but that some POC made assumptions about her based on her race and may have been pretty mean about it. She has discovered what it feels like (within the narrow confines of POC dominated spaces) to be the minority, to feel silenced, denigrated, and (somewhat) oppressed.

Being the only white person in a POC space is an opportunity. An opportunity to learn what it actually feels like to not have your voice privileged, and sometimes an opportunity to see what it feels like to be on the other side of racial animosity. (Prejudice against the people oppressing you seems like a pretty natural reaction to me) But it’s just a shadow, a pale reflection of the white supremacy that POC face every day.

Your friend can leave POC spaces, and return to the white dominated spaces that take up the majority of the country. She can easily find white silos where she can speak as frankly and with as much racism as she likes.

Meanwhile, while your voice may be privileged in POC circles, but as soon as you step into the rest of White Supremacist America, it is not.

I would encourage your friend to take these feelings of silencing and racial persecution, and multiply them: multiply them by ten, by a hundred, by a million. Imagine the experiences she has had expanded beyond words and hurt feelings to include poverty, violence, death,  or the threat of all three.

By gaining entrance to POC spaces, with the concurrent mixture of welcome and antipathy, your friend has a wonderful opportunity–an opportunity for empathy. But only if she can use her imagination, opens her mind, and get over herself.