I know this post title is going to upset some people, but know that what I’m discussing is not about race. It’s about culture. And as a more of one fully black and two biracial girls, and a board member for an organization to fight the degradation of black girls and women, I feel I have to be more specific about this description.
In the earlier post reporting Jazzy Lowe, a University of Hartford student who was the victim of insidious, systematic bio attacks by her white roommate, I mentioned this:
Stories like this make me fume and make me sad. Some white women have a cunning so foreign to black women that cultural differences don’t allow us to recognize it. While black women express their anger outward and obviously, white women are often quiet, deliberate, and silent in their hatefulness. When confronted, they often play innocent and count on the assumption that their “white purity” will give them the benefit of the doubt. I honestly didn’t know how expert many were at this level of bullying, but…let’s just say that the movies like Mean Girls, Cruel Intensions, and Carrie don’t come from nowhere. Young black girls and women unaccustomed to this level of bullying hardly see this coming, and it’s deeply wounding. I’ve been a victim of it more than a few times.
What do I mean by that? Do I mean that white girls are inherently more evil bullies? Are black girls any LESS evil when they bully? Absolutely not. Some black girls can be the most vicious and violent verbal and physical assaulters you will ever see on MediaTakeOut. While the behavior is unladylike for sure, expectations and mores in our culture allow for the outraged black women to be unleashed (a la Waiting to Exhale)–it’s very much worked against us, because we become a mockery of a cartoon of a parody.
On the other hand, white girls and women are still taught to be delicate flowers that need protection, and bullies who fit this identity use it to their advantage because their bullying is often done covertly, secretly, and over time. More often, the perpetrators are believed when they deny the behavior when confronted. If you’re a black women on the receiving end of this abuse, it’s the worst kind of gaslighting. It is systematic.It’s also extremely confusing for a young black woman, who perhaps is entering a university or workplace that is predominately white. We simply don’t understand the nuances of that passive bullying. It is a cultural difference that we need to learn, talk about and share. Not so we can do it to others, but so that we can identify and protect ourselves.
To reiterate: This issues is the TYPE of bullying that is more cultural and learned by the people around you–parents, friends, etc. White girls and women are much more passive aggressive in their bullying, while black women, who aren’t any less capable to bullying, do so in overt, aggressive ways. Our outrage radiates outward, much to the detriment of our reputation, and why we’re deemed “angry black women.” What I’m trying to say is, there is a level of cunning in the type of bullying that this young black girl experienced that was probably utterly foreign to her, because when black girls want to get you, you know right off the bat. Brianna did was systematic and passive aggressive. That’s a cultural difference many of us don’t always understand.
So THAT’S why we need to talk about it. THAT’s why we have to make the distinction. In the end, the acknowledgement of these cultural differences, both negative and detrimental in their own ways, can lead to understanding and identifying the issue so that we can, indeed, move Beyond Black & White.
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