We’ve recently offered suggestions on how people of color can approach their white partner on the issue of race.
When you compliment a black woman in this way, you are implying that we are exceptions to the rule — the rule being that that black women are not attractive, intelligent, or posses any other positive attributes.
While it may be hard for two people from widely different intersections of race and gender to understand each other, it’s not impossible once the more privileged party (in this case, the white guy) is able to recognize their shortcomings and how the intersections of race and gender affect every aspect of a black woman’s life.
A white man must be willing to work toward a better understanding of how race and gender intersect differently for everyone, and he must also be prepared to speak out against the injustices that their partners will endure.
I wish I could say that I’m surprised and appalled by the ignorance that white men tend to show when they approach me, but I’ve come to expect it.
While white men are not the only group to hold racial biases and stereotypes against black women, they tend to be the least informed on the racialized and gendered issues that black women endure.