…you should definitely ask someone else about. Because I attempt to fill the role of ally, creating space to people who are directly affected by their oppression to speak on it, and it’s not for me to tell you what their oppression is like. There are tons of people out there who have written about it.
But I get that you may not even get that these things exist. Thar you (and I) exist in these systems of oppression and are privileged by them. That you may not have access to learn about these things — or more accurately, that you think you don’t have the access or ability to learn about these things.
Trust me, as long as you have Google, you do.
So let me tell you about some ways that we’re being jerks.
I don’t know about you, but my timeline is flooded with prom photos. And 8 out of 10 of these gorgeous Black girls that are slayin’ prom are thin. Of the few fat Black women that I see, I also see fatphobic comments. It absolutely enrages me.
Fatphobia is horrible. You are a horrible human being. You are literally making a judgment on appearance and dehumanizing a person based solely on physical appearance. Sounds like an r-word that I talk about often huh? That’s probably because they’re both oppressive ideologies y’all need to cut. Out.
I follow several activists that have various stances on this… and for the most part they follow the rhetoric that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being fat (fat-positive). For loving your fat. For loving who you are period. If you are about to use “health concerns” as your basis for your fatphobia please know that all people have “health concerns” regardless of their body shape and your argument is oppressive.
I was on a date where a fat couple sat down next to us, and let me tell you, they were slayin. One person had their makeup LAID and both rockin’ the cutest grins. Obviously on a first date. My companion made a comment about fat people being disgusting. All I saw for a second was red, blinding rage while I explained to him that not only is that incredibly offensive, but mean, insensitive and oppressive. Thankfully we hadn’t ordered yet.
Keep in mind that workout bros and thin people do this all the time.
They are so deeply and comfortably ensconced in their privilege that they don’t even bother contemplating how they could be oppressive jerks in their fatphobia cuz you know “they could just do something about it.”
Follow them instead:
Radical Black Fat Femme.
Queer, Agender Baddie.
Writer, Body+ Advocate, & Activist.
Ratchet, Blessed, & Ain’t Shit.
A blog dedicated to encouraging and showcasing media of fat (and non-“straight sized”) people of color. We are anti-racist, anti-ableist, anti-classist, anti-queer hatred, anti-transphobic, and generally an all inclusive space.
I’ve always considered myself brown to dark-skin because in Omaha, that’s what I was told I was. Recognizing it was partially dependent on how much sun I got, I was a brown to dark brown. More hot chocolate than caramel or coffee. (Fetishizing Blackness is a whole ‘nother issue.)
“I avoided the sun because I knew that as soon as my skin started to darken, I would inevitably be on the receiving end of jokes such as “Oh, sorry I couldn’t see you because it’s night time.” Those jokes about my skin were a dime a dozen during my childhood in a predominantly white environment.”
Childhood was rough y’all. So now that my skin has mellowed to this beautiful brown (and I’ve learned to love and embrace my Blackness) I have had some really enlightening conversations on colorism and all the many facets of Blackness. I’ve traveled. I have actually seen places where there are Black people every single place you look. Like do a 360 and there are Black people in every angle of your vision.
I didn’t even realize life could be like that y’all.
As I traveled people kept calling me light-skinned. Well actually, light-skinneded, but I’m keeping my slang to a minimum. I realized I am now in an… interesting spot, where in other places of the United States, I benefit from light-skinned privilege. I know that I have what eurocentric beauty standards deems to be “attractive” features, and that plays into my privilege as well. And so I have learned to take a backseat on conversations of colorism and try to make space for others who have experienced the oppression of colorism. I realize that my experiences are relevant only to my specific set of circumstances, and do not have a great benefit to the larger narrative of extreme anti-Blackness that exists within our society.
I say all of this because I want you to understand I am not the person you should be talking to about colorism.
I am not a person who should be centered in this conversation.
I still benefit from the structure that this oppression is based upon. (ForHarriet did an excellent article on this, called Black Women Who Benefit from Colorism Must Confront Their Privilege.) If you want to learn more on colorism, I’d start with the hashtag and see the many, many stories of Black people who have had to and still do struggle with this specific intersection of oppression, compounded by anti-Blackness and racism.
Follow them instead:
Black queer feminist scholar, writer, and activist, notable for creating the term Misogynoir, which describes the specific type of discrimination experienced by black women.
Friendly neighborhood radical. Creator of Black Millenials. Black feminism and hip hop. Black Livies Matter NYC is Family.
These are just two of the trending topics that you should really be listening to the experts on. I’m just referring you to them. Basically be conscious of what your existence is like. Look up the -isms. Look up the many ways that privilege exists. And be aware that you’re probably being a jerk.
A Recovering Jerk