Black Women's Empowerment

Being Prejudiced and Hostile Hurts You The Most

Let’s see how this one goes over…


Here is a definition of prejudice from an online dictionary:

A (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.  B : an instance of such judgment or opinion. C : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics. (emphasis added)

I think that some Black people can be very prejudiced. I thought that I would highlight the word hostility in that definition because I believe that this hostility is seriously harmful to Black people. I’ll go out on a limb and state that people don’t like hostile people. When someone acts or looks hostile that spells ‘danger’ to most people and they want to avoid hostile people. Here is a definition for hostile:

A : of or relating to an enemy <hostile fire>. B : marked by malevolence : having or showing unfriendly feelings <a hostile act>. C : openly opposed or resisting <a hostile critic> <hostile to new ideas>. D (1) : not hospitable <plants growing in a hostile environment> (2) : having an intimidating, antagonistic, or offensive nature <a hostile workplace>.

That doesn’t sound good does it? You wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who appears hostile. In fact you might not want to approach someone who even has a reputation for being hostile. This would not be the type of person you would want to strike up a conversation with, ask for directions, or hire for a job. No one likes hostile sales people or waiters. No one likes hostile teachers or bosses. No one likes to be around someone who is openly unfriendly, opposed, intimidating, antagonistic, or offensive. So, if this is the case then why in the world do some Black people act so hostile? Isn’t it in their best interest to not appear hostile so that they can get along in society without being treated like a threatening enemy?

Now I know some people will immediately launch into the usual excuses. For example, “It dates back to slavery. Black people should be angry and hostile because of all the racist things that happened back then and even today”. Or, “It’s a defense mechanism because many of us live in hostile environments and this keeps others from bothering us”. Or, “We aren’t hostile, ever since slavery White people have thought of us as hostile and nothing we can do will change that”. Or even, “What do you suggest, we should start shuckin’ and jivin’ so we don’t upset the White folks”?  The most common one I hear is, “Well people are hostile to me so I’ll be hostile right back. I won’t let people walk all over me and do nothing”. Well in the words of Dr. Phil, I have to ask, “How’s that working for you?” (see I don’t even like Dr. Phil but I still learned something from him).

I remember a time a few years ago when I was pretty hostile towards White people. I was reading a lot of African American history and I was really angry. I stopped listening to White music, stopped watching White shows, and I was always talking about racism and injustice. I was also being hostile towards White people and everyone I worked with and went to school with was White! So, what ended up happening? Well other students and coworkers developed stronger friendships. When I needed help with things I usually didn’t ask because I feared I would be rejected. I didn’t hear about important opportunities because I wasn’t hanging out with the other students/coworkers. People thought I was aloof and didn’t care. I was the angry Black woman always talking about racism, activism, how she didn’t fit in, and how she was different. Surprised??? Fortunately I came to my senses and realized I was angry about things that had not happened to me personally and I was taking it out on people who had done nothing to harm me. I was being hostile to people who I needed and I was lonely because I saw the people around me as enemies instead of allies. Thank goodness I wasn’t too horrible and this behavior did not harm my career! I think that things would have been much better though if I had had people looking out for me and if I had their support along the way. The hostility I had did nothing but keep me in a negative mood, keep me from making friends and having fun, and keep me from making important career connections. It was not beneficial to me AT ALL. It wasn’t working for me so I stopped. I hope you can stop too.

The actual reason why I wrote this post is because the hostility I see in Black women towards non-Black women is really making us look bad! It comes off as jealousy, petty bitterness, or just meanness and unnecessary hostility. For example, a post was done about lessons we can learn from Elin Nordegren (Tiger Wood’s ex). The post said she was a European beauty and made a point to show a beautiful Black woman as well. But one comment stood out to me. The gist of the comment was, “She’s not all that, she just looks like a plain White woman” (it reminds me of this previous post). I just wonder why do some women/people feel the need to be negative and hostile like that. Why bother to say that at all? It just sounds like you feel obligated to bring the other person down. I’ve noticed this a lot and it bothers me. When someone says something positive about a non-Black person, some Black people just go out of their way to say something negative and dismissive.

Unfortunately, this inter-racial hostility is even applied intra-racially. For instance, people love to comment on how bad it is to be dark-skin shamed or fat-shamed but being prejudiced and hostile towards light-skinned and skinny women is condoned. One of the excuses is that light-skinned women get White privilege because their skin color is closer to White. The hostility I see towards light-skinned women is just horrible! The same thing goes for skinny women, they are ridiculed for having a body shape that is attractive according to Eurocentric standards (or Hollywood standards). Don’t even get me started with the strange phenomenon of Black people complaining that every highly attractive Black woman has “White features” and doesn’t represent “real Black beauty”, so Black people should reject her (e.g., Beyonce). It’s as though because light-skinned, allegedly Eurocentric looking, and skinny women are lauded in the mainstream media and by White people then it’s the duty of Black people to be hostile towards them to even things out! In my opinion, the hostility doesn’t even things out at all, it just makes the hostile people look even worse because they are picking on people who are well liked. It totally backfires.

Let me put it this way, think back to childhood about the most beautiful and popular girl at school. Now was it better for your status to be a friend to that girl or her enemy? Was it beneficial to be mean to that girl or would it backfire when people came to her defense and rejected you for hurting their darling? No, it was always better to be in her friend, learn her methods for getting people to like her, and to be in her circle of the best people at school and benefit from the association. By just associating with or enhancing your similarities with the most popular, attractive, influential people you become that by association. By being hostile to those people you just make yourself look bad and ruin any chance that they will help you to achieve your desired status or goals. Black people do accept some non-Black people who they think are “down” and have earned their “Black card”. Well they earned that by being open and accepting of Black people. How do you expect non-Black people to be open and accepting of you if you are so consistently hostile towards them?

So the point I am trying to make is that it’s not in Black women’s (or Black men’s) benefit to be seen as hostile, difficult, angry, or mean. We won’t be seen as the “nice girls” (or guys). We will seem like bullies that no one wants to support, help, or protect.  Instead, we should be open to learning from other people, regardless or race, if they have achieved what we desire. We might actually have common interests and that is the basis of many friendships. Instead of automatically acting hostile and rejecting non-Black people we have to be more open to learning and making useful relationships. These people can help you to improve your life (even by just observing them). Now this doesn’t mean you have to put all of your trust into them, tell them all your secrets, worship them, let them mistreat you, or be their mammy! I’m not saying  let these women be mean to you and just grin and bear it so you don’t end up on their bad side. I’m ONLY saying, don’t be prejudiced and hostile to people just because they aren’t Black. I’m also saying don’t be prejudiced and hostile to Black or biracial people just because they don’t look “as Black” as you think they should. Your life will probably take a turn for the better if you are more open to new experiences and new people!

Warning: Just as a Black person can end up being a bad influence, jealous, a backstabber, a frenemy, or someone who betrays your trust and hurts you, the same thing can happen with relationships with non-Black people. Relationships are relationships. Some people will like you and want to be your friend while others will not. There are some people you shouldn’t try to be friends with so use your common sense and judgement about that. Black friends can get on your nerves, be insensitive, and hurt your feelings too. Just as you could have a long, positive, and life-changing relationship with at Black person, the same could happen with a non-Black person. Inter-racial friendships/acquaintances may be no better or worse than inter-racial friendships/relationships, just try to get as many of them as you need, want, or can handle. Considering that this blog is supportive of interracial romantic relationships, if you date interracially you will obviously come in contact with non-Black people. If you are hostile and prejudiced towards them then your dating relationships might not last and you will never fit in with your partner’s family and friends.

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