Note from BW of Brazil: It’s a long, ongoing debate that we’ve touched upon on this blog on numerous occasions. It never fails. Black man. Famous? Educated? Money? White woman. Many black Brazilian women believe that this has in fact become the rule. Before diving into a topic that won’t be dying down anytime soon, let’s first recognize that official statistics according to the IBGE show that about 69% of marriages in Brazil feature two people of the same race. But there are several other important factors to consider beyond this data. First consider the official color categories in Brazil. Branco/white, pardo/brown or mulato, preto/black, amarelo/yellow or Asian and indígena/indigenous or Indian.
Among whites, 74.5% marry other whites. 68.5% of browns marry each other. 65% of indigenous people marry within their own group. But among blacks, only 36.9% of the men marry black women while 50.3% of black women marry black men. This means that among black men, 63% prefer to marry brown or white women. To be clear, pardos, according to Brazil’s Movimento Negro (black movement) are considered part of the black population. Thus, many of the women that black men are marrying are from the pardo group. But the phenotype of this pardo group runs the spectrum from very fair-skinned or nearly white, to brown-skinned. But a large percentage of women they marry are also from the white group. As such, women who consider themselves to be black clearly have a point in terms of black men marrying outside of the group. One doctoral thesis found that in the city of São Paulo, out of 50 black male executives (already an extreme minority), 48 or 49 were married to white women.
But the stats don’t tell the whole tale of the situation. Anyone who has ever spent time in three of Brazil’s largest cities, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, can attest to the fact that on some days it seems difficult to even find black couples! A report out of the majority black city of Salvador, Bahia, also attests to a growing trend in that city. Statistics may show that nearly 70% of all married couples in Brazil are of the same color, but this number includes all age brackets. Taking this into consideration means that excluding the couples who have been married for, say, 25-30 years would most likely increase the number of interracial marriages quite a bit. Other studies confirm the difficulty of black women finding life-long partners and spending longer periods single.
The stats also don’t figure in the opinions of numerous black women who share the belief that black men mistreat them, ignore them, only have interest in sexual relations, abandon them with children for white women and many other horrific situations. These are regular discussions that happen among black women in social networks. The response of most black men to the accusations? “Amor não tem cor”, meaning ‘love doesn’t have color’. In a sense, it’s become the standard response to the accusations. But is ‘love’ the only thing that’s going on here? For many black women, this is simply not the only reason for so many black men crossing the color (1). The piece below gets right to the point! And if that’s not enough, check out some of the comments included at the end of the piece!
Does love have a standard?
by Scarlett Rodrigues
If you are a white woman, thin, rich, straight hair, you will say that love has no color, that you are attracted to people and not by color and I have advance warning: GET OUT OF YOUR BUBBLE.
Come on, analyzing the scale of society: where do you find yourself? White men are first, the highest peak, then we can say that white women and then the black man and finally, yes finally, the black woman. And I say this covering “x” items such as money, sexuality, social position, status, housing, education, etc.
And restricting this logic to the case of relationships, we come across black woman (lesbian, bisexual, transgender, fat, short …) always last in preference of society – in which the number of lonely black women and who have a history of abusive relationships, loaded with prejudice and racism is notorious.
The black woman, lesbian, bisexual, single mother, older, fat, trans and even heterosexuals suffer more than anyone else in this society. And I will explain why:
The black woman is not seen as a PRETTY WOMAN for the simple fact that due to white culture being predominant, seeing that the same was the most cannibalistic culture – promoting their culture through the theft of others, it said what is beautiful and what is not.
And today this standard is notorious: WHITE, THIN, LIGHT-COLORED EYES, STRAIGHT HAIR, RICH.
This would be the ideal woman seen by society and everything that goes against this is ugly, dirty, and we see this in EVERY TV commercial, in movies, in the street advertisements, in modeling runways, in pieces of clothing. Where the black women are never successful, are always employed, waitresses, single mothers. Always white models. Commercial for shampoo: have you seen a black showing off their blacks (afros) and their crespos (curly kinks) and cachos (curls)? NO. Have you seen shampoo for cabelo crespo (kinky curly hair)? Have you ever seen on TV a black protagonist that was not objectified? The famous mulatas, that is not empowering, which is exhibition, the sale of bodies, objectification of black women, why don’t we have this with white women? Why always in those programs of fixing up the woman do they always leave her looking more similar to what is beautiful for them? Always with straight hair, light makeup to make them closest possible to the standard.
Black women mutilate themselves daily to achieve the standard. They use chemicals, straighten, chapinha (flat/straightening iron), use lighter makeup, do crazy diets, all for what? TO FIT WITHIN STANDARD. And to please whom? AS MUCH FOR WHITES AS FOR BLACKS. Why? BECAUSE AS MANY WHITE MEN AND WOMEN AS BLACK MEN AND WOMEN PREFER WHITE MEN AND WOMEN. And why do they prefer white men and women? BECAUSE THE STANDARD, PRE-ESTABLISHED SINCE colonialism, SINCE THE EARLY DAYS, WHERE WHITE CULTURE COMMANDED AND IT BECAME ENROOTED IN PEOPLE UNTIL TODAY TO SAY THAT BEING WHITE, THIN, TALL, STRAIGHT IS WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL.
A BLACK woman is simply seen as a woman good for sex. A woman of a “caliente” (hot), fiery color, that fucked a lot in the era of colonialism (aka raped), who has a well designed body, who likes sex and has sex well, since this is the view given by white men. A fruit of colonialism.
The BLACK woman suffers in relationships whether or not they are hetero-normative because the black woman as I mentioned already was not made for serious relationships but to have sex. White society says so. To present a black woman to the family no one wants, to present as a girlfriend nobody wants, even more so if the relationship is interracial.
The BLACK woman suffers from loneliness more than any other woman, because when she relates to white men or white women they just want, in a hidden way, to have sex. But the black woman doesn’t serve to occupy the post of girlfriend, only lover, because allllwwwwaaayyysss white men will prefer the standard because of status, to display a girl that is seen as beautiful to society. With this, he earns credit, status, fame (sexism and racism together). And when the black women relate to black men or women the same thing happens, the black men and women tend to prefer white women for the same reasons. And another crucial reason is embranquecimento (whitening), because of the idea that blacks were cursed because of being born black and if they would marry with white women they would not be born as black and would not be so cursed, where the logic behind it all was so strong that it permeates even up to the present day. Unconsciously or not, black men and women still use this logic to justify the supposed “attraction” for white women and white men. Thus, they prefer white women, leaving the black woman alone again, behind.
These are the basic points that are behind the loneliness of black women. However, putting the vision more to the group, can you see how the system is oppressive to us? How painful and suffering all of this is? And that love has color, yes! Love does have a standard, yes!
When you choose to relate with someone, this person needs to have besides intellect something physical that attracts you, and that is where the color palette that says who you should and should not love comes in. I’ve known cases of people who ended a relationship because they didn’t want to see themselves at the side of a black woman, but she said that she loved her – but color always speaks louder. How many black women mutilate themselves to please you whites? To try to fit in and manage to be perceived and dear to you all? Without knowing THEY WILL NEVER BE!
What I saw participating in a feminist group was the exaltation of an already pre-established standard of beauty that I already cited above. I could see how the reactions to seeing photos of girls totally deified by society were. The accolades were different in comparison with the few black women that pronounced themselves. And what does this provoke in us? Besides that idea that European feminism does not contemplate us, is that in a space of deconstruction, of the acceptance of your body, of what you are: it does not happen!
Many girls have problems with their bodies, and then think, “Look a group is super-welcoming, I will introduce myself also.” There are faced with “x” standard exaltations of “the white”, “the thin”, they give up from posting because they did not fit in this and believe that they would not be well received and that would end their self-esteem. So, do you see the seriousness of this?
And another thing that this problematic reverberates with us is that with this we are forced to want that they notice us, and we began to talk like you, to act like you, to praise you, to deify them to see if you notice us, to see if you integrate us into the world of you all that is quite different from ours.
Only that many black women who submit themselves to this don’t manage to see the logic behind it, where we black women can walk among you, talk like you, YOU WILL NEVER bbuuttt, and NEVER WE BE YOU ALL, and NEVER WILL WE BE A PART OF YOUR WORLD. Because in one way or another, you whites “put us in our place.” In other words: don’t mix, it’s all a facade, the black woman begs for attention, begs for love and the white woman pretends to give it white and then the black woman is disappointed when they are exchanged for a standardized one.
To conclude I want to say: no one here is begging for attention from whites. I’m not asking, “White woman, look at me, want me.” Because it is to request that you deny your standards of beauty which for many is painful. The only thing we’re hitting on the keyboard here is for you to review your concepts.
You preach so much the idea of de-standardization, of chubby women we accept you, we accept you black women, but all this has a limit, I even accept you as a friend, but relationship, no. I accept you up to such a point.
And still they come to tell me that love has no standard? It does! And this standard is visible, and everything that does not fit in it is neglected, then what feminism is this that you all preach so much? Intersectional? Are you sure? I’m not saying that whites are obligated to love blacks. For me, really? Fuck the love of whites! But I demand respect, I demand that they revise their concepts, not having to love something that is not of the standard, but recognize this monumental failure that you have in saying that love doesn’t see color, it doesn’t see body, it doesn’t see financial situation, that love conquers all, surpasses all, my ass!
I see a lot of black woman suffering because of a man and because of a woman, suffering within feminist groups who claim to be welcoming, but when a black woman exposes herself they don’t care, they prefer to give attention to white women because it is already something ingrained in you all.
So therefore, the only person who can change this concept, this ideology is you yourself that is reading this text. You with your intimate, asking yourself: why do I prefer a white woman? Would I be scared, ashamed to date a black woman? A fat woman? An older woman? Why would I? What leads me to say and to exalt the white woman? Answering this you find the exit.
Only in this way, don’t come demanding patience because we have no obligation to massage words in order not to hurt anyone. Why do I have to have that concern and you don’t?
Every white is racist, understand this too! You reproduce racism daily, having maids, that are usually black women (which is a problem much bigger than just racism), the suspect that you have in seeing a black man on the street, white women with straight hair that criticize the crespo (curly/kinky) of the irmãs (sisters), it’s that thing: I think it’s beautiful, but I wouldn’t, objectifying the black woman only for sex, mess around a little and the rest she’s not good for, and so on, there are so many things that you white people do and don’t even realize, you think that racism and prejudice is when it’s all in a shameless way, but those that are veiled, masked are the worst these hurt much more!
And it is noteworthy that using arguments like: I’m not racist I’ve already dated black men or black women or I’m not gordofóbica (anti-fat people), I have a fat sister, or have a tatatataravô (great-great-great grandfather) that is black so I know the oppression that blacks go through so I can speak of the struggle, I just say: SHUT UP. This doesn’t give you the right to speak for the protagonists, and having dated a black man or black woman does not make you less racist, have dated a chubby man or woman proves nothing of how prejudiced you are, it’s just one more excuse, so don’t come using relatives, friends, situations of your life to illustrate its justification when you were trapped by racism, gordofobia, transphobia … it will not minimize the fact that you have prejudices and are racists.
And to finalize I already said that I don’t brown nose for any white, for any wealthy, it’s not prejudice, simply a reaction of who has been oppressed forever, so I don’t demand such of the sisterhood (which is a white word, because I always see white women preaching sisterhood among only white women) with racist people, transphobics and gordofóbicas.
Because this here is something I don’t do is sugarcoat for anyone! I am radical yes, I don’t like to see my sisters suffering and subjecting themselves to please whites in order to be inserted in the society and in a group. I say more: WE DO NOT NEED THAT, we are descended from RAINHAS (QUEENS), from Egypt, from Africa, we do not lick the floor of whites to be inserted in society, because it will never put us in, and I don’t brown nose for whites. Whoever has a debt with me are they, not I, as they always breastfed from the breasts of our ancestors, they laid their bodies on top of our ancestors without their permission, and today, on their behalf, by the strength and endurance that these thousands of women had is I don’t kiss the floor of whites, I don’t suck white dick and not even white coochie for them to let enter me in their context.
I just want respect and if you don’t give it to me of free will, I’ll take it by force, you put a finger on the wound, burst our bubble, it’s because of this that we always have to scream, talk loud in order not be silenced. Here is a resistant black woman, yes, a black warrior, yes, and that will not let cheap and not even let pass unnoticed standardization and racism and other forms of oppression! What feminism is this that you preach? You all lack a re-reading of many things that you say!
Note from BW of Brazil: Here, we present just a sample of the endless debates that happen everyday on this theme. To be fair, the vast majority of Brazilians one meets will surely tell you that “love has no color”, but the comments below represent only a snippet of the conclusions that many black Brazilian women are coming to after decades of the “racial democracy” myth, “we are all equal” rhetoric and the belief that “love has no color” which in some ways avoids a serious dialogue on an issue that is leaving hundreds of thousands of black women alone at the altar waiting for a “shining black prince”. The comments below are not direct responses to the above article, but are in fact opinions that deal with interracial relationships, the perceived attitudes of black men, and black women being “left out in the cold”. (Comments in the original Portuguese included at the bottom)
Ene: In Brazil normally the men with a stable financial situation don’t marry a black woman
Itala: Here in Brazil it’s becoming the rule. The black man with a white woman, whitening is happening and the black woman always remains in the corner as much with the white man (that one already expects) and now with the black man. This song defines this!
Itala: “White woman for marriage, black woman to have sex” (2)
Ene: We are fans of various black singers and none of them married a black woman
Itala: I removed black singers reproducers of racism from my list of music. One thing that I hate is a sell-out black man.
Ana C: Not all black people that are with white people are sell-out sand I don’t think that’s non-admirable intellectually only because of this fact. I see this type of thought with prejudice and distrust. On the other side, I agree that in a society in which the white is the standard, the beautiful, that unconsciously many black people seek a white person, even with this idea of whitening the family. I consider myself a well-educated person of good intellectual instruction and on racial questions but that during my trajectory I almost haven’t had contact with black men. What do I do in this case – wait for a black man to appear? And who said that he would be an honest, working, intellectual man who is not afraid of a decisive, feminist woman with a “strong” opinion? I think this type of thought is a little extreme, although it makes quite a bit of sense everything that I ended up reading.
Hirlanna: I believe that love doesn’t classify you but it’s a fact that more than 80% of the black men are with white women! Whitening in relationships does exist, we cannot be hypocrites!
Dulce: I believe in love. When one thinks that a black man can’t be with a white woman and vice versa then intolerance begins. My daughter’s father is white. We were married for 12 years. Is there any problem? No. He is a person and I am another. This is the most ridiculous idea.
Heloise: People, as some have thought, we’re not dealing with a case of intolerance with “interracial” relationships, which would be a stupid thing as with any other type of intolerance. We’re dealing with (re)thinking of the construction of our identity and our choices from this point.
Deise: And what would the middle class black woman’s option be in the middle of all of this? Because middle class black guys don’t even seem to notice your presence and among the white middle class guys some will notice your presence and will make a question of speaking to you. I had a very concrete opinion in relation to this, but ultimately I started to change because what should be done? I should keep waiting for a black man to give me the value I deserve? To notice that I exist and recognize my beauty as some white men appear to do? This is the issue.
Leonel: Using the cliche term “love has no color”, when there are numerous data that prove the solitude of the black woman is like blocking the sun with a strainer. This romanticism diffused with the basis in miscegenation shouldn’t have a place for those that pride themselves in not following common sense. At the most, I believe in afro-centered love as one of the forms, if not the greatest of redeeming our identity as black people. In the meantime, don’t close my eyes to, as I emphasized, to the solitude of our sisters and I understand their reception to whoever seeks them for something that goes beyond superficial contact, regardless of ethnicity. Love does have color!
Ana: The article is revealing (as always). In terms of relationship and formation of family, black men desire any “accessible” woman and black women desire a “black man” more committed to his family and his ethnicity. We blacks are influenced by Brazilian racism to love whites. And the love of the white is generally conditioned by economic condition or by the ideology of “good in bed”. The black man should recognize the value of the black woman and intend to form with her a STRONG BOND. Only in this way will we advance (in my humble opinion).
Andreia – Good commentary as I already said and everybody knows and sees in the great majority of times 98% of the Brazilian men of African descent opt for white women with shame and rejection of their own race.
Domenica – I dream of dating a black man, but haven’t had a chance! Each year that goes by it’s more difficult!!! It’s a shame, our black women are very beautiful!!! But still I have an ounce of hope.
Grazi – I confess that my worst deception of love was with a black man that is the father of my son that doesn’t even call the boy and traded me for a blond when he got money in his hand. I dated white men and when they decide to accept a black woman they treat her well but it’s not all that are willing to face the prejudice of society or from their family. Being this way makes it complicated for us black women stipulate a color to have a relationship. We have to opt for what is good for us in that we like more, in my case a black man….LOL. I have faith that I will find one that loves me, respects me and stays with me until the end of our lives.
Souza – Indeed…They see how many beautiful and cute black women that are in a group full of beautiful black women, of all ages, degrees and complexions and the black men above continue preaching “love has no color”, in other words, I’m with who I wish meaning that they are really wanting to use their GAWW (grab a white woman) card. The majority of them are men raised without a father…a great, battling black mother but that goes years or her whole life without hearing ‘I Love You’ or making love or getting a hug and/or being called beautiful. There it is Carlos
Nzinga – For me, love has color indeed! I will never lay down in bed with an oppressor, but to each his own.
Souza – Our group is not against interracial love but in favor of Afro-centered love. Knowing this, it would be very good persons would avoid keep saying this all the time because we are not obligated to keep reading little lies. Interracial love is not lacking because this IS ALREADY THE RULE…They don’t see that what we are doing is an act of consciousness raising? It’s not NORMAL black men choosing the white women and the white men also. The day that this data were equal, as many white couples, black couples, interracial couples, we would stop speaking. I am the owner of the group and if I were ‘against’ it I would have to kill my own mother. Daniela
Jessica – Girls, regardless of having suffered disillusions with white women, they will continue opting for white women. Why do we have to keep on with this talk of this black man disappointed me? White men are not the solution of our problems, they are the collaborators.
Grazi – (There’s) nothing better than opining on what you have experienced. I have leftover reasons for not accepting a black man in my bed but I will not judge all because of one…I love black men, I want to have a black family and I want an Afro-centered love indeed, I want to love above all!
Souza – This is not an excuse. Your black man traded you for a blond because he is an alienated black man. He didn’t learn to love himself and because of this the color white is his target. Not even because of this can you take it out on all because of one. And if a white man were was really all of this, you wouldn’t even be alone.
Comments in original Portuguese
1. Also important to note here is that a number of high-profile black women are also married to white men in Brazil. In the numerous social network debates that this writer has analyzed, black men are quick to point this out. The difference that I note is that I rarely if ever see debates initiated in which black men complain about black women marrying non-black men. Usually this accusation is only stated when the accusation is first made of black men. Among the general population, the statistics support the argument of black women. The attitude of black men in this respect seems to be it doesn’t really matter who black women marry or if they don’t if fact marry because they, as a group, will continue to marry who they like regardless of any accusation.
2. A well-known Brazilian saying that has appeared in a number of posts.