Black Women's Empowerment

Claiming vs. Exclusion Part 2: Discrimination in IRR/BW-centric circles?

I swear when I wrote this post, I thought that it was all I had to say on the matter. And then “diamondgirl” left this comment and son of a gun, there was more to say:


This blog seems to focus on darker skinned black women, but it would be a nice balance to discuss all bw experiences sometime.  Maybe that discussion will be a learning experience when it comes time to deal with biracial or lighter skinned daughters issues. “


The second half of that comment was addressed in the link. But, the first half is a very interesting opinion, because I’ve seen it expressed regarding IRR and BW-centric circles in general: Once you stop being a certain shade of black or an accepted ethnicity of black, you stop being welcome and start being an other, or source of pain and suspicion.


This is an EXTREMELY touchy subject, because as I recently addressed: being a dark-skinned woman is not a walk in the park. And I strongly feel that the sentiments carried over from being verbally and even physically abused for being dark-skinned had an impact on how these BW-centric spaces were formed. Often, they are centered around and created by women who are dark-skinned. Added to that, I believe that many of the black women who are IRR-minded are also dark-skinned. So this combines to create a circle of inclusion for like-minded women who are very familiar with being ostracized for their skin-tone as well as appreciating the positive attention that skin tone brings from persons who do not share it (non-black men).


I say this is touchy, because dark-skinned women deserve a safe space. It becomes problematic when you get women who do not appreciate the particular issues that dark-skinned women have coming into a space and complaining about being excluded. The irony is very powerful if you aren’t paying attention. However, I do feel that while there are definite and valid concerns regarding the motives of some lighter-skinned women in IRR/BW-centric spaces (Part three, and I’m already looking forward to my inevitable baldness following that post…Assuming I make it out of this one with hair.), there is a danger in participating in behaviors that further complicate relations between black women across the color spectrum.


What I am referring to is the divisions between black women along color lines where dark-skinned women don’t trust lighter-skinned women because they feel they’ve some sort of motive and lighter-skinned women cannot ally or reach out because of this lack of trust, even if they mean well and are sincere.


As I stated in the post about dark-skinned beauty…discrimination against dark-skin affects all black women, no matter what the shade. Until EVERYONE is able to acknowledge and work together to fight this particular evil, it will continue to be a problem. There is no reason why that everyone can’t include non-colorist women on the lighter end of the spectrum.


Yes, there are indeed color-struck black women who say and do hurtful things towards other black women. And it becomes complicated when we discuss this in IRR/BW-centric circles, because even though everyone is supposed to be on the same page regarding wanting better for black women or being interested in dating interracially, depending on the topic, you may find people being divided along color-lines in their thinking and treatment of other people.


This is a problem, and I think it’s one of the elephants in the room regarding black women’s empowerment.  There are many demons that need to be exercised by women looking to empower themselves and connect with each other. Demons that can get in the way of empathizing with one another and fearlessly reaching out to each other to support and uplift each other as black women.


Question: Do you think BWE and IRR sites consciously/unconsciously discriminate against black women depending on their skin tone/ethnic identity/nationality?

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