War of the Beauty: You Can’t Be Part Dutch!

This post is a part of a continuous series on Woman and Beauty.  Read the others you missed here. Throughout this series I have looked into myself and at the world around me. I have went on a journey of deconstructing and then reconstructing my idea of beauty.

There is a strange phenomenon that has begun to take place in America. I don’t know when it started but it is beginning to not sit right with me. It was something I first saw happen when I stayed in California for work. The first time it happen I was hanging out at a bar on the Sunset Strip and chopping it up with a very nice looking young lady. I was giving her my Mack Daddy Five and trying to learn more about her. An exert of the conversation went sort of like this:

Myself: So, where you from? Cause they say everyone that lives in L.A. isn’t from here originally?

Young Lady: Oh, I’m not! I’m German, Manchurian, Dutch, Portuguese, Puerto-Rican, and…. Black!

Myself: Oh really??Your family is from all those country and backgrounds?

Young Lady: Oh no! I’m from Cleveland!

As comical as that snippet of conversation was it is 100% true. The woman listed all of those ethnicities in her background. She wasn’t that much of an exotic looking woman but I was still thinking like damn this girl is the true essence of and a potential “International Lover” like Prince said. But, come to find out she was actually was just from Cleveland Really??!!!! SMH!

The conversation I briefly wrote about above happened a few years back but now it seems like women (particularly black) are trying to identify themselves with everything other than their blackness. The phenomenon I have described above is the idea that some black women feel they have to downplay their blackness like being black isn’t good enough. I understand a woman who is of a mixed race will want to identify with who they are but if your parents/grandparents are from Chicago and Birmingham I am really finding it hard for me to believe that you have all those nationalities in your immediate background.

Every time I turn around it seems I am either reading or hearing a woman who is clearly African-American go on and list off at least four different ethnicities she is “apart” of. So, now just because you kind of light skin or have a somewhat different look you can automatically add ethniticies to your heritage? How are you part Venezuelan and only know ‘Hola’ and ‘Como Se Dice’? It is just strange to me this identity issue when it comes to beauty.I mean I have seen women who are darker than Flava try to add four different nationalities onto their family tree.

Why is someone not comfortable with saying “My Name is Crystal and I’m from Philly .”? Is there something wrong with identifying yourself as beautiful and at the same time embracing your black heritage? Everyone in this country has a bit of German, English, Dutch, and Spanish because of the slave trade but to identify with a heritage that doesn’t even embrace you and have no knowledge of it is very suspect to say the least

Is this part of this new age of black beauty manifesting itself into a new age Imitation of Life? Is this a new age version of “passing” that is happening?

Imitation of Life is a powerful movie made twice in 1934 and in 1959 that tackles the idea of identity race and beauty. I have only seen the 1959 version starring Lana Turner, Juanita Moore, and Susan Kohner. If you haven’t seen Imitation of life, Lana Turner stars as a would-be actress who is raising her daughter on her own. She chances to meet another single mother at the beach: African-American Juanita Moore. Moore goes to work as Turner’s housekeeper, bringing her light-skinned daughter along. As Turner’s stage career goes into high gear, Moore is saddled with the responsibility of raising both Turner’s daughter and her own. Exposed to the advantages of the white world, Moore’s grown-up daughter (Susan Kohner) passes for white, causing her mother a great deal of heartache. Meanwhile, Turner’s grown daughter (Sandra Dee), neglected by her mother, seeks comfort in the arms of handsome photographer John Gavin. When Moore dies, her daughter realizes how selfish she’s been; simultaneously, Turner awakens to the fact that she hasn’t been much of a mother for her own daughter, whose romance has gone down the tubes. (Source)

There was a time where women were proud of their black beauty and men were proud to honor a black woman’s beauty. It seems like now we want to have and do everything unassociated with the culture. I understand a woman wanting to stand out and maybe even can somewhat a woman pushing their exoticism because of the industry but why do you need the exoticism when you are a manager at Macy’s? I have had my identity pushed hence the purpose of the War and the Beauty posts. I also have delved into my own personal color complex situation and somewhat addiction to exoticism in “To Redbone or To Not Redbone?” I understand how even men such as myself can proliferate this idea of exoticism with our ideal of what beauty is. We as men have done our part as well to push the idea of exoticism just as much. Do we as men become more fixated on getting a woman who is exotic looking or “passing”?

They used to say that in the 70s and 80s that the way women would try to display their exoticness was by shouting that they were Creole. Now they just say they have Dutch, Indonesian, Russian, Peruvian, and don’t forget black…

Let Me Hear Your Thoughts…

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11 responses to “War of the Beauty: You Can’t Be Part Dutch!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention War of the Beauty: You Can’t Be Part Dutch! « From Ashy to Classy -- Topsy.com·

  2. I luuuuvvv this!!! A lot of ppl get mad bcuz I’m like no matter what u think u r…..go to the South, ur “exotic” ass will still get treated like ur black lol I’m all for embracing ur lineage but really, come on now, ppl just do too much sumtimes and go overboard. I will proudly tell sumone, I’m all black, THANX!

  3. I applaud you for this post! Every chick wants to be blasian now it seems. But I also like how you put some of the blame on the men for choosing these women all the time kudos!!

  4. The fact that people can’t link “exotic” with being black boils my blood to the fullest. A dude asked me once if I was mixed with another race and I said no…I’m all black…and he said “you don’t look all black…you look exotic”…I politely told him I didn’t take that shit as a compliment…and there is white down the line in my fam…but once again I AM BLACK…love it everyday…wear it proudly.

    • OY! This is a losing battle. When people actually learn the definition of “exotic” especially men. (What am I a plant? )Then talk to me. In America NO ONE is exotic. def: of foreign origin or character; not native; introduced from abroad. If everyone comes from somewhere else here, I guess we’re ALL exotic. And expounding on that, everyone IS exotic depending on where they are geographically at that time. Blacks are exotic in Italy for example. But this “Exotic” notion in America? Oh shut up already with it. Black comes in SO many colors and hues, there is no one “look” to being black. It is so broad. How do you determine one black woman to be “exotic” over another? Because her skin is lighter or her hair straighter?This makes no sense. How is that “introduced from abroad.”

  5. Ugh, this was tough to get through…you have a talent for just sayin it straight up and always in a thoughtful way. Plus the Macy’s comment made me laugh and I was able to finish :) Equating being ugly & undesirable to Black has been going on forever. It’s exhausting! Bringing awareness to the situation with post like these I think is the beginning of the solution though. My mother has always been an example of a beautiful confident woman who embraces all that she is, and I too try to live as an example as a chocolate, kinky haired, educated woman to show that beauty and confidence come in all packages and we all should be respected across the board.

  6. Well said.
    Since time immemorial it has been white is right, black get back.
    The media also proliferates it. The video model are all light skin, long haired.
    Model aren’t Brown. Aside from Naomi, Alek, and Tyra who represents? (yes there are new ones, but chanel ima in 1/2 japanese and light; selita ebanks does rep for us; jourdann dunn perhaps? )

  7. Well, lets just say…because WE have been trained on what beauty is and WE don’t call our own shots (meaning alot of things- what we are and are not taught in school, how we represent ourselves in the corporate world, in society in general) We may have TV shows here and there and other avenues of expression, but there are powers that be who really control what goes on, what we see, and alot of what we hear and think of ourselves. (not going to elaborate too much on that, that’s a whole other post) …But my girl and I, had this convo at BE all the time day about how when the women would choose us for the makeover or even when they didn’t and thats just how we were rotated, everyday, i mean EVERYDAY, we would have women who constantly told us, well…”me” that I WAS NOT BLACK and she was MIXED. Now granted, i’m yellow as hell and her dad is Creole (still Black). We have major issues with having to state what was in our blood line for someone else’s approval. Soooo, the other girls loved to come up behind us (when they heard us going back and forth with the client, nicely of course, yet sometimes sarcastically as well) and they would start to say…”well, you are this and you are that and you do have this and your grandfather is this” because they had asked alot of the same questions and we were all friends so they knew us personally, they would tell the women…”so technically Ur not Black” or “all Black” as they liked to call it. Maaaaannn, I can’t tell you how many times we had to save the other one from saying something that was going to get us to lose our jobs. And that would’ve been unfortunate, but I’m talkin about EVERY damn day, Black was truely not good enough for them (even for the Black women) And that’s nothing new, it was nothing either of us hadn’t faced before, but since it was more of a personal setting and our interaction was probably as close as their bfs or husbands sometmes. They always felt like getting a lil more personal, some would be flat out rude, some ignorant tho. And with her and I both having strong personalities some of the things said U just can’t say to us and expect us to shrug our shoulders, wasn’t who we were. But like I said, this is nothing new (and I repeat) it’s no different from the older women back in the day loving to say they had Indian in their fam and teaching their daughters to do the same. SSDD.

  8. Lmfao!!!!!blacker than flava flav an adding four nationalities!!!!lol!!!!!!.This is so unbelievably funny!and so true,even Spanish women do it to,I don’t think that American women look exotic,they just look plane,I don’t know how to explain it.The most exotic looking women are from the Caribbean and Russia.Which is why ,when Caribbean people come to the US,they’re singled out,commonly asked,where you from?or told how unique their accent sounds,or wow u have such lovely skin.I’m from one of the island in the Caribbean,known for our creole language,the Caribs and Arawaks and our French and British history.Im multi racial,for the most black,French creole and Indian,and it’s a fact,lol,I don’t advertise my heritage,or make them up lol,like some people,haute fou Americans lol,so proud to be black,cause black don’t crack baby ;),and btw I hate when I get teased at times for having what black people call,a white nose :(,I get compliments as well,but what’s wrong with beeing brown skinned and having a straight nose!!!!??!btw BLACK POWER!!’ Jah Bless,bonsoire…..

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