Structural racism and sexism lead black women to Romantic exclusion
Note from BW of Brazil: It is a regular theme discussed on this blog and for good reason because it is yet another signal that contradicts the idea that Brazilians see themselves as “all being equal”. Black women have long put forth the opinion that, in the area of love, relationships and marriage, most men place them on the lowest scale of possible partners for forming long-term relationships that lead to marriage and family. According to many of these very same women, this passing over for white women or the light-skinned, near white mestiços, is also a habit among everyday black men. I often read comments by Afro-Brazilian men that disregard this common complaint of black women as simply an exaggeration, but I always respond to this by pointing out that this trend is most definitely true among prominent black male athletes, entertainers and highly-educated, successful black men of a variety of occupations. If you’re someone who lives or spends a lot of time in Brazil, check it out for yourself. How many successful black men do you know that are in relationships with black women? To be fair, this also can be applied to successful black women, but, in my experiences, the possibility of a successful black woman having a black partner is higher than the other way around. With successful black men, it seems to be the rule rather than the exception.
The debate, finger-pointing and accusations ALWAYS attract an argument when the reasons for such choices, on both sides, are discussed in social media. And the conversation has been heating up in recent years and continues to be a hot topic as I will demonstrate in an upcoming article on the recent discovery and subsequent controversy over a pretty, successful black Brazilian actress recently going public with her new white boyfriend. Years ago, such a choice would have passed by without so much as a raised eyebrow by the vast majority of black Brazilians. After all, for decades, embranquecimento, or whitening, was mostly accepted the black community as a means to upward ascension and access to the “mundo dos brancos” (white world). But the atmosphere is changing.
With the rise of new black identity politics, discussions of “black money”, black unity and black representation, people are questioning these choices that clearly don’t work in the best interest of the black community. To be sure, in Brazil, there are still far more people who argue that “love has no color” and that personal relationships should be off limits in discussions of the way forward for Brazil’s black population. But it is no longer an open and shut case and the fact that several media outlets recently felt the need to publish the outcry against the romantic choice of this particular actress is proof that viewpoints that see choices of love across color lines, always promoted by Brazil as “proof” that racism doesn’t exist in the society, as the sign of a progressive society, are starting to question the legitimacy of demanding black advances when many black men and women don’t see any contradiction in “talking black” while “sleeping white”. Needless to say, the discussion is getting deeper.
Structural racism and sexism lead black Brazilian women to the routine of romantic exclusion. According to IBGE, half of them are not in a conjugal union
By Naíse Domingues
The filmmaker Rosa Miranda arranged a meeting with a man with whom she had already corresponded on the internet. During the time they spent together, he noticed that he wasn’t comfortable. As when they said goodbye, Rosa discovered that the reason for the nuisance was the color of her skin: “You didn’t say you were black. I’m not a racist, but not to lie, I’m not going to be with you,” said the man.
Rosa’s story is not strange to black women. Since childhood, they have co-existed with the rejection created by a combination of structural racism and sexism. They grow up feeling excluded because they don’t conform to the ideal of beauty and are not chosen to “kick it” or date. A loneliness that breeds emotional damage and has been increasingly discussed within black feminism. The last demographic census conducted by the IBGE in 2010 proves these narratives: more than half of black women are not in a conjugal union.
“It been like this since childhood.” In the playground, the black child is distant because the others don’t play with her. It is an exclusion that continues into adulthood: sometimes we want a friend to talk to, but we are not easily accepted into the group. In many places we feel alone even if we are the majority. And when we approach the subject, there are people who try to relativize, which generates even more distance,” explains Rosa.
Reproduction of stereotypes, such as that of the unshakable warrior who does not need empathy, and the objectification of the bodies of black women help explain the loneliness they experience. A scenario that worsens the darker the skin:
“The most accepted black woman is one with lighter skin, almost white, within the standard of the mulata stereotype. But, as the poet Elisa Lucinda says, this is not for marriage, its for fucking. “We are not the ideal partner, and this hurts us throughout life,” says Luciana Fernanda Luz, a black feminist a with a Master’s in Communications, who identifies the reason for solitude in various aspects of the black women’s everyday life. “At work, it’s common to face sexual harassment and also morally in the form of racist jokes. In relationships, we are often overlooked for white women. At home, we are the fortresses that find no shelter. There are many nuances to deal with; we have to reinvent ourselves every day.
Fiery, warlike and angry
Racial and gender issues have constructed narratives about black women since the colonial period. The image of the fiery, highly sexualized mulata that creates barriers in the consolidation of healthy affective relationships and also contributes to foster rape culture is part of the social imagery. The Dossiê Mulher, published in 2015 by the Instituto de Segurança Pública of Rio de Janeiro, indicates that 56.8% of the victims of rape in the state are black; among the victims of homicide, they are 62.2%.
These images are not constructed only internally, but are part of a product sold to the rest of the world. Gleide Davis, a black feminist and a graduate in social work, believes that sex tourism in Brazil is deeply tied to the image of the “mulata tipo exportação” (mulatta for exportation):
“Black women are not seen as citizens with rights, we are seen as pieces of meat. The “nega maluca” (crazy black woman) and the like are products that evidence how our image is exposed socially.
The figure of the strong black woman warrior leads to another barrier: the lack of empathy. The image of the fragile woman, so cultivated by sexism, doesn’t seem to be valid for them, who are historically assigned the lowest-paid work and the function of serving. They take care (for others), but are not subject to care, which, in addition to serving as a justification for violence, generates an environment of exclusion and emotional abandonment.
This dynamic can be even crueler when black women are in the spaces considered elite. The filmmaker Rosa Miranda realizes the difficulty of others in seeing her as part of the environments she occupies. She was already been mistaken with the maid of the house and received proposals to turn tricks. By defending themselves against the consequences of this type of caricature, many black women are labeled angry – another stereotype that reinforces their loneliness.
Reconstruction of self-esteem
The consequences of this chain of exclusion also reach health care. It is estimated that 54.1% of maternal deaths in Brazil occur among black girls aged between 15 and 29 years.
“The numbers show that structural racism places black women at a distinct disadvantage in accessing citizenship, but this systematic exclusion also subjects them to harmful relationships that can lead to domestic violence, sexual violence and even feminicide,” says Gleide Davis.
Creating spaces for welcoming and discussing the structural problems that affect black women is fundamental for rebuilding their self-esteem.
“We must reflect on our aesthetic experience in childhood and adolescence to change the self-esteem of the new generations. It is also important to build new political spaces to discuss the transformation of society into a safe space where black women can grow up away from various forms of violence,” says Gleide.
* Trainee under the supervision of Renata Izaal
Source: O Globo
On Skin Bleaching and Lightening as
Psychological Misorientation Mental Disorder
Daudi Ajani ya Azibo, Ph.D.
Daudi Ajani ya Azibo (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an Independent Scholar who has taught at several
American universities. He is a nationally recognized expert in African-centered (Black)
Psychology. His “Azibo Nosology” (Journal of Black Psychology, Spring 1989) is the only
diagnostic system of mental disorders directly linked to African-centered personality theory and is
the 5th most cited article in the history of the Journal of Black Psychology (JPB). He has the
singular distinction, based on content analysis of the JBP, to be the #1 contributor since 1988. JBP
has devoted two issues to Dr. Azibo’s work: May 1998 (v. 24, no. 2) on the Azibo Nosology and
1994 (v. 20, no. 3) on Azibo’s Black Liberation Theology and Liberation Psychology. Dr. Azibo
has received national awards including the “Distinguished Psychologists” in 1993 and
“Scholarship Award” in 1989.
Skin bleaching and skin lightening behavior (SBSLB) is shown to be psychological
misorientation mental disorder. The concepts of mental disorder and psychological
misorientation are explained. SBSLB is integrated into the African-centered culture-
specific Azibo Nosology of mental disorders (Azibo, 1989). Therapy of an African-
centered nature is recommended for persons afflicted with SBSLB disorder.
Keywords: Azibo Nosology, psychological misorientation, skin bleaching, skin
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, June 2011T he purposes of this article are to first establish skin bleaching and lightening
behavior (SBSLB) as a mental disorder of the psychological misorientation type
and second to integrate it into the Azibo Nosology of mental disorders peculiar to
African descent persons (ADP).
On Psychological Misorientation
Historically introduced by Baldwin (1976), the psychological
misorientation construct (Kambon, 1996) has received attention and great
currency in the annals of culture-specific psychopathologies afflicting ADP from
its promulgation in the Azibo Nosology (Anderson, 2003; Anderson & Stewart,
2007; Atwell & Azibo, 1991; Azibo, 1989, 2006; Belgrave & Allison, 2006;
Harrell, 1999; Schultz, 2003). Psychological misorientation refers to the overt
and cognitive behavioral orientation to reality that derives from ideation itself
when said ideation is based in Eurasian concepts, beliefs, and definitional
systems. Literally, the body, pre-bleached of course, may be black, but the mind
is not. Thus we may speak of ADP afflicted as “genetic Blackness minus
psychological Blackness [psychological Africanity]” (Azibo, 1989, 183). Since
people proceed as they perceive, so to speak, a cognitive definitional system
comprised of or dominated by Eurasian elements can only orient ADP as if they
were said Eurasians. ADP negotiating reality with a Eurasian-centered psyche is
how orienteering to defend, develop, and maintain African life, culture, and
phenotype is precluded and militated against. Simultaneously, ADP possessing a
Eurasian-centered cognitive definitional system are oriented to reality in a manner
that sustains, defends, and actualizes Eurasian socio-cultural behavior even if it is
subtlely or blatantly anti-African. An example of such behavior is skin bleaching
and lightening behavior (SBSLB).
It is one upshot of psychological
misorientation out of many. And, psychological misorientation is mental
On Mental Disorder
When interpreting or evaluating a given behavior as psychopathological or
inappropriate or not, culture is the lynchpin. A given behavior may be seen as
appropriate or inappropriate depending upon the cultural perspective employed.
SBSLB is a case in point. In Eurasian cultures, SBSLB by ADP may be
construed as nonpathological individualism. Also, since themes like “West is
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, June 2011best”, “White is right”, and “African is inferior and repulsing” pervade Eurasian
cultures, any movement by ADP that approximates Eurasian orientation and gains
distance from an African orientation is seen as normal or acceptable behavior
from prevailing Eurasian-centered perspective.
However, centered African culture (Azibo, 1992) stands on the two
principles of universal mental health and organismic survival maintenance
propensity (see Azibo, 1996). The former states that all life forms must tend to
preserve themselves as a priority. The latter ascribes normalcy to ADP only when
their behavior is maintaining of the “self” conceptualized Africentrically as
“extended” to include the corporate collective of living ADP, yet-to-be-born
progeny, and ancestors. This is a veritable vertical and horizontal self-extension.
Perforce, behavior that under Africentric cultural interpretation is found not to
reflect prioritization of the defense, development, and maintenance of African life
and culture can only be interpreted as abnormalcy. Azibo’s analyses (Azibo,
Johnson, & Robinson, 2007; Azibo & Robinson, 2004) revealed the paradox that
quotidian African-U.S. racial identity development qualifies for this abnormalcy.
It is not a paradox, however, that when mental health functioning as reflected by
Africentric conceptualizing pervades African civilizations, they fare better
The abnormalcy attribution for behavior of this sort is doubled when the
behavior actually attacks African life and culture. I maintain that SBSLB is
accurately interpreted as a profound attack on genetic blackness and by extension
ADP. Removal, erasure, and making less ADP’s biogenetic blackness are
behaviors that literally and essentially wipe it out phenotypically. Frankly, this
means that psychologically the bleacher or lightener has deliberately eliminated,
discarded, shed, and killed her or his genetic blackness. In gangster terms, genetic
blackness is “rubbed out” (murdered) by SBSLB. Thus, SBSLB is equivalent to
participation in own-race murder. As such, it qualifies as an attack on ADP.
Since it is participating in own-race maintenance that is the sine qua non of
mental health (Azibo, 1989, 1991, 1996), the profound own-race destruction and
disparaging that underlies SBSLB qualifies it as mental disorder.
Another justification for applying the abnormalcy attribution to SBSLB is
the “harmful dysfunction analysis” which posits mental disorder
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, June 2011when the individual lacks an ability that human beings are
designed to possess …. a person ought to be able to do something if
the person would be able to do that thing if the person’s mental
mechanisms were functioning as designed. (Wakefield, 1997, 252-
253, original emphases)
Theory (Azibo, 1989, 1991; Khoapa, 1980) and the universal mental health and
organismic survival maintenance propensity principles (Azibo, 1996) say that
ADP are designed to possess the race-maintenance function. It simply is
something ADP “ought to be able to do”. However, this is not the case
overwhelmingly (Azibo, 2010b; Baruti, 2005) due to the disruption of African
civilizations by Eurasians, not happenchance or innate African inferiority. The
race-maintenance and harmful dysfunction criteria for abnormalcy attribution
establish SBSLB as mental disorder. Also, all abnormal psychology textbooks
list harm to ones self or others as criterion for abnormal behavior.
On Bleaching and Lightening the African Skin
But for faulty responding to Eurasian domination by ADP, SBSLB would
not exist in continental or diasporan African societies. This position is supported
by the fact that no SBSLB as it occurs today has been documented in pre-colonial,
pre-enslavement, or maroon ADP. Something has gone awry, completely
haywire in how modern-day ADP see themselves. It would seem a mental health
imperative for ADP to “recognize the absolute priority ancient Afrikans gave to
Black and blackness …. [such] that black or dark-blue skin was a divine attribute”
(Baruti, 2005, 168). This is doubly so for bleachers and lighteners. Skin
bleaching and skin lightening behavior committed by ADP shall be conflated in
this article. Defined here as the serious contemplation about (specifically,
entertaining the idea three or more times) or the deliberate alteration of one’s
phenotypic skin pigmentation to a hue that is less dark by any nonmedical or
potentially dangerous means (chemical, biological, nutritional, etc.), SBSLB by
ADP today is likely rooted in the Destruction of Black Civilizations (Williams,
1976) which begot the Maafa defined as the horrific experience of colonization,
enslavement, and their aftermaths (Ani, 2004). The behavior, then, is not at all
reflective of personal agency or idiosyncrasy of an African descent individual.
Stated differently, SBSLB is far less an individual doing his or her own thing and
far more a tragically pathetic, yet psychologically explainable, Maafa-borne
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, June 2011The reaction is probably compensatory for feelings of inadequacy and
inferiority which beset new world (Jennings, 2003) and old world (Chinweizu,
1987; Khoapa, 1980) ADP. Welsing (1991), Wilson (2000), and Azibo (Azibo,
2007; Azibo & Jackson, 2004) point out the dysfunction inherent in African-U.S.
people’s usage of psychological defense mechanisms under Eurasian supremacy
domination. Whatever share of SBSLB that does not involve psychological
defensiveness probably involves individual self-hatred and/or race-hatred of ADP.
In both cases, the base motivation is inappropriate and psychopathological.
It is the job of psychologists and mental health workers to examine the
motivational basis for a behavior to evaluate its appropriateness/
inappropriateness. In general, the evaluation of appropriateness or not of a given
behavior that comes from the mental health profession is preeminent to that of lay
society and popular culture. Suppose quantitative and qualitative research
provides data on persons who in their own self-conception and self-reports or as
indicated by psychological tests appear quite “normal” but, for example, also are
without any appetite for food, or with insatiable appetite for food and constant
vomiting after eating, or self-mutilators (cutters and so on). The attributions of
abnormalcy, pathology, and inappropriateness hold sway, not the attribution from
data compiled in research that “these-people-are-normal.” Why would SBSLB be
any different with regard to which attribution should hold sway, the one of
inappropriateness/disorder from the African-centered mental health analysis
versus the “these-people-are-normal” from the lay society or popular culture
Within every culture one might find as an exception an individual who is
radically out of step with his/her culture regarding a given behavior(s). The
notion that there may be individual bleachers or lighteners who engage in the
behavior out of just such an idiosyncrasy and therefore their behavior can be
regarded not as inappropriate or pathological, but as “normal”, appropriate, or
acceptable can be dismissed readily. The behavior of so-called “odd duck”
persons or persons marching to their own drum, so to speak, is evaluated as not
mentally ill so long as it is not anti-self/anti-African in motivation or actuality and
is neither harmful to maintaining African civilization nor the African individual
himself or herself. Harm to one’s self or others is listed as a criterion for
abnormalcy in every abnormal psychology textbook. These principles would
appear reasonable (Azibo, 1989, 1996). Fathoming ADP who bleach or lighten
without violating these principles does not seem possible, especially in light of the
reactive status of SBSLB as occurs under Eurasian domination of Africans.
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, June 2011Like suicide is a category of behavior that ADP are forced or programmed
into even though it appears to be her or his individual choice (Wright, 1985, 16-
22), so too is SBSLB. Since the Eurasian has specified the environment in which
ADP live, they or their civilization, not ADP, are responsible for behavior that
emanates from it. In this light, SBSLB is one of a category of behaviors set aside
or predetermined for ADP as they adjust faultily to the anti-African hostility that
imbues the ecosystem under Eurasian domination. Like hair misorientation
mental disorder (Imarogbe, 2003), which is the “conscious and/or unconscious
fear, anxiety, shame and/or insecurity about embracing one’s African ancestry
expressed by reactions to hair” (213) inferable from “(1) altering or hiding the
natural texture of the hair, (2) engaging in risky or dangerous behavior in the
process …. and (3) discriminating against others [of African descent] based on the
texture or length of their hair” (201), embodies a pro-Eurasian and an anti-African
aesthetic about hair, so too does SBSLB regarding the African skin by definition!
The point cannot be overstated that when SBSLB occurs it is not idiosyncrasy, but
a nefarious accomplishment of the anti-African ethos of Eurasian civilizations.
Admittedly, there is a possibility that some ADP who bleach or lighten
may do so without pathological motivation. They simply do not know any better
because a mental commitment to prioritizing the defense, development, and
maintenance of African life and culture (i.e., psychological Africanity) was never
developed to minimal adequacy in them. It is not their fault either because
psychological Africanity was not taught in the schools or religious institutions,
transmitted by parents and adult socializing agents, nor programmed in the
popular culture. Psychological Europeanism, psychological Arabism, and other
non-African psychological orientations, however, are propagated and learned
throughout vast populations of ADP. Since all things African are so thoroughly
disregarded worldwide in non-African civilizations, many ADP have a racial
group identity void that is readily filled by other human social orientations
(psychological Europeanism, Arabism, and so forth). Thus, ADP with low levels
of psychological Africanity could commit SBSLB as defined above, but not
driven by self-hatred or defensiveness and without conscious awareness of any
problematic socio-cultural issues inherent in SBSLB. Whenever this is the case,
the behavior is still inappropriate as it is driven by a psyche diminished or empty
of psychological Africanity and composed of other human social orientations,
many of which are anti-African. By analogy, imagine an “independent” woman
“doing her own thing”, perhaps the oft mentioned “strong Black woman” (Curry,
2005), whose psyche pertaining to “womanhood” or “female” has been informed
only by or is predominated by societal sexist concepts. She de facto commits
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, June 2011anti-woman behaviors, which in her self-conception are normal and appropriate,
such as in acquiescing to roles promoted by said sexist thinking. Can her anti-
woman behavior, including the transmission of the mindset to her offspring, be
classified as appropriate?
Integrating SBSLB into the Azibo Nosology
It seems that in every fathomable scenario of SBSLB it is accurately
adjudged as inappropriate, abnormal, and pathological. Further, I contend that
pathological motivation will underlie most SBSLB by ADP, specifically
psychological misorientation. Living under Eurasian domination has severely
undercut the ability of ADP to orienteer in their own interests and SBSLB is a
side effect and symptom that reflects psychological misorientation mental
disorder. Thus, very little emphasis should be placed on the hoopla surrounding
celebrity bleachers and lighteners like Sammy Sosa, Michael Jackson, and others.
Instead, the hoopla should be spun as examples of attacks on African-centered
consciousness (Azibo, 2010a).
SBSLB itself should be treated and conceptualized as one more of the 18
psychological misorientation mental disorders originally presented in the Azibo
Nosology (Azibo, 1989) which is a system for diagnosing mental disorders of an
African-centered culture-specific nature in ADP. Specifically, the nonesuch
Azibo Nosology details the systematic personality disorganization that occurs in
the necrosis of psychological Africanity, a subject ignored in the Western-based
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) and the International Classification of
Diseases (ICD) nosologies. It is free-standing and based in African-centered
personality theory as well as the African-centered mental health definition
provided by Azibo (1996). To detail the Azibo Nosology here cannot be
accomplished any more than detailing the DSM or ICD could. The unfamiliar
reader might consult the primary references (Azibo, 1989, 1996) and case studies
that support the Azibo Nosology’s validity and indispensability in psychologically
assessing and treating ADP (Abdullah, 1998; Atwell & Azibo, 1991; Denard,
1998) and Africana-focused textbooks (Anderson, 2003; Anderson & Stewart,
2007; Belgrave & Allison, 2006; Harrell, 1999) that discuss it. The remaining
discussion can be followed without technical familiarity, but presupposes it.
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, June 2011SBSLB will be formally added as a disorder in the Azibo Nosology II (a
forthcoming update of the original). SBSLB was defined earlier as the serious
contemplation (specifically, entertaining the idea three or more times) about or the
deliberate alteration of one’s phenotypic skin pigmentation to a hue that is less
black or less dark by any means (chemical, biological, nutritional, and so on) that
may be dangerous or not for any reason other than a verified medical one. This
definition contains all the criteria necessary for a diagnosis. Future research and
case studies may lead to refining the criteria (elaboration of symptoms) and
perhaps distinguishing levels and types of SBSLB. What is certain in the present
analysis is the disabusing of the idea that SBSLB can be conceptualized as
anything other than mental disorder deriving from predisposing psychological
misorientation mental disorder.
The formal name of this disorder shall be skin bleaching and skin
lightening behavior disorder. Mentacide (Azibo, 1989; Olomenji, 1996) makes
up the etiology of SBSLB disorder because SBSLB disorder is a pure product of
systematic and deliberate stratagem (of Eurasian civilizations) to destroy the
minds of ADP with the intent of an eventual extirpation of them (definition of
mentacide taken from Wright, 1979). In the Azibo Nosology alienating versus
peripheral mentacide is distinguished. Whenever SBSLB disorder is manifested,
perforce is alienating mentacide (a cognitive divorce or separation between
individual me-myself-I consciousness and collective we-us/all-us-we race
consciousness or at least a devaluing of the latter). There appears as well a real
possibility that SBSLB disorder might also be correlated with peripheral
mentacide (discombobulation of the general aspects of personality that do not
involve racial identity).
The nature of SBSLB disorder also suggests the alien-self, anti-self, and
self destructive disorders (Azibo, 1989, 2006) may be involved etiologically. All
three may be present in some individuals with SBSLB disorder, but not
necessarily as either alien- or anti-self disorder alone could underlie it. While
alien-self is likely always present with SBSLB disorder, the hurtfulness to ADP
embodied in the behavior suggests involvement of classic, deeply rooted anti-self
(Akbar, 1981) mentality also. 1
It is recommended that whenever SBSLB is detected, the individual be
referred for treatment to a mental health worker who employs the Azibo Nosology
for diagnosis and an African-centered gestalt for the treatment of ADP (Azibo,
1990). There are two recommendations that the gestalt of the mental health
Hi, i’m from France so sorry for my english. I follow this website since some years and as a black french i appreciate to see and understand the black experience in another country because the difference is so great ! I see the actress you will talk about soon but i got a question, you got already speak about this actress back in the day and she had always been affiliated with white men even she speak about negritude (strange thing), but why people react only now when they did not do it at the time when she was already with white men ?
I got an idea about the actress who had been targeting about her relationship and you will talk soon. But this actress had married a white man before and nobody say something for this i mean there was no loud, so why brothers and sisters wake up only now in 2019 about her choice one more time for the white men ?
Then look for romance elsewhere, marry an African, someone from the Carribean or from Africa. You do not need to wait for anyone’s permission to do that
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