Please Don’t Tell Me I’m “Pretty For a Black Girl”
As time went on and I blossomed into who I am today I noticed the ongoing confusion with people trying to compliment me.
“You’re pretty for a black girl” is a phrase you would think is easily perceived as racist, but no. I’ve heard the back handed compliment from just about every type of person there is. Every time I hear it I have to figuratively restrain myself from slapping some sense into the person saying it.
“You’re pretty for a black girl” immediately lets me know that you don’t find people of my race physically attractive, but I am a stunning exception on your behalf. Not only are you insulting me, but my entire race as a whole. This kind of “compliment” presumes supremacy over another group and reinforces the direct endorsement of the privilege that our society places on European female beauty standards.
Women of color have been put on the back burner of beauty for centuries. Our noses are too big, lips too large, or our skin is too dark. We are haunted by skin bleaching and constant misrepresentation and we have had enough. With the recent exploitation of other cultures done by popular public figures such as some members of the Kardashians, Amina Blue, Marc Jacobs, and more, the rise in acceptance of ethnic physical features is higher than ever before.
If anything we’re trending right now. So thank you for looking past my glowing melanin and noticing my “redeeming” quality that is my beauty. Thank you for noticing that not all women of color fit into their presumed stereotypical depictions and thank you for letting me know about your subconscious bias toward my race.
If you ever feel the need to compliment someone on their physical appearance and feel yourself about to say ______ for a ______ don’t be surprised when the immediate response is “And you’re nice for an insensitive racist asshole.”