That Side Eye Actually Belongs to You: Blac Chyna & White Women Passing
In all my excitement for the holidays and for how I am planning on growing and changing in the new year, I almost forgot that I wanted to write.
I feel like there is a constant whirlwind lately where I talk about Blackness and beauty. Where I think about, discuss, and consider the lightness and darkness of skin and how that is read by others based on eye color and hair texture and hair length. It’s funny to me that this should feel like my life, when this WAS my life when I was in the midst of writing my dissertation almost 3 years ago. It seems like I’ve run a full circle of not having to think much about it, in the academic sense, to coming right back into thinking about in the mental health, relationship, sexuality sense...which I guess is all academic anyway.
Blac Chyna is right now, the base of jokes, and name calling, and head shaking. We the Black folk delegation, who determine who the “good Blacks” are, have determined that Blac Chyna may soon need to be named White Chyna because of her pursuit of bleaching creams to be something, that ultimately she was not born to be. From plastic surgery to hair extensions, those things are fine, but when you cross the bleaching line, and want to take your wares across the sea and speak to others about and sell those products, everyone wants to disown you. It’s funny that this comes to light just on the heels of the white women who have been caught trying to pass as Black women and reaping the Instagram dollars from their lies. It’s ironic to me that both are being so heavily condemned by Black folk, and ignored by white folk like we are not all in this tea. We have decided we are somehow separate from the foolishness, and I want to go ahead and invite people back in to the home that white supremacy built that many a Black folk make sure to maintain. I want to make sure that we all recognize that not only do we have rooms in the house, but our names are written at our places around the table.
I said what I said
WE ARE ALL TO BLAME FOR THIS! White folks gave us all white supremacy, so to me that shit will always be the root and the place to start. The idea that being white makes you better and inherently pretty and god ordained has definitely lead to a certain level of delusion for white people, and POC, have by and large accepted this as a truth to pursue in some ways. Please don’t get it twisted, I recognize and understand that for the sake of living we all do things that we feel we must in order to simply survive. Being Black is not so in right now, that actual Black folk don't recognize the constant danger we are in from the moment we step out of our homes. And let’s be honest, the fact that wypipo can come in, kill you, and your corpse will still be on trial for provoking it with your weed paraphernalia or because you don’t listen to randos who come into your house unannounced thinking they can boss you around where not one bill bears their name. I want you to know that I understand this. I want you to know that nuance matters and that I don’t forget or lie it down to close my eyes and pretend all that shit don’t matter. It does.
But there is also a combo of a blind want/need and a purposeful striving toward white supremacy for many of us Black folk. We are touting out degrees and bundles in the faces of others and showing how much better off we are. That we are the “right” kind of Black. That our blackness with our correctness, and grammar and Eurocentric names and mannerisms somehow makes us better. That we don’t do hard drugs, sell weed, or live in or near a trap house. There is a fear of some Blacks in being seen as too damn Black. Whether it's in behavior or in aesthetics. We are seeking the touch of other so that we can more easily slip into certain spaces or else be praised for how we are the right sounding and looking type of Black. BUT then have the audacity to wonder and be appalled by how wonder bread women slipped through the cracks with a bit of wheat bread dusting OR why a Black women could possibly want to mimic white bread toasted rather than be wheat or rye. Sorry, I got stuck in bread for a minute. But I think it's apt because of all the dough involved here.
The Black hair and beauty industry is worth BILLIONS people. It grows every time someone puts a weave on layaway or when someone decides they need the full Fenty line. We are the biggest consumers of product here. We dictate jobs and livelihoods. We are the bank that others, usually white others, try to find a way to lock down in a vault. So we make some big assed decision with where we put our money.
This biggest funny to me is that with all these choices we are making, we don’t consider that we have also decided that there is a look to be sought. We are choosing to chase the ambiguous looking woman of color and are mad when some women want to make themselves more ambiguous. We have stated in our actions that if it's too Black we are not interested, that if the hair is too kinky with not one edge laid, something is amiss. We did that. We have called people cockroaches, bald headed bitches, nappy headed hoes, tar babies and the like and are now surprised when white devils find their way in through a spray tan, makeup, and the waving of their hair. We are dismayed because one of our own is all about her bleaching cream. Y'all, we are wild and out of line.
We are in the time of Black beauty, and still in the throws of the natural hair movement. But don’t get it twisted, we still have some white supremacist leanings toward Eurocentric beauty standards. We are about baby hair and light skin. We are about laid edges, twist outs to obscure our hair texture, and stretching hair to prove we have length. We are about being the blackest we can be while upholding as much white supremacist beauty as we can get away with. This a monster of the creation of white supremacy which we maintain.
All I am saying is…
that some hard assed looks need to be done inward before we continue down this road where we condemn white women for stealing shine and condemn Black women for trying to lighten up. Because right now, we are the ones calling for the most exotified Black beauties. We are the ones saying that if you are dark, compensate with your hair--make it straight, let it be naturally so, lay your edges and or have light eyes. We are the ones calling for light skin women to still try for “good hair,” but if they can’t to lay those edges and have green eyes. We are the ones who tell fat Black women that they have to have long hair to compensate. That afros and the like are not for their type. Yes, white maters built the house, and in our hope and need and prayer for safety and safely getting through, we maintain the status quo and let it seep in unchecked to our spaces. We can’t create beasts and then be mad. We must learn to stop creating beasts.