Response: It Happened To Me…

The following is a response to It Happened To Me: There Are No Black Women In My Yoga Class…with references from At the Bar, KazzleDazz, A Belle in Brooklyn and An Open Letter…

Let me start off by saying upfront that I am not a woman, a womanist or feminist, and I am not here trying to speak for black women. I will not assert my male privilege on a current hot topic, but if I do, I apologize in advance.

But anyway, the hot topic comes from an article from XO Jane from Jen Caron, a white woman who went to yoga class. This woman seems to have had an uncomfortable day, because there was a heavyset, young black woman behind her. Why would she feel uneasy? Read this:

It appeared she had never set foot in a yoga studio—she was glancing around anxiously, adjusting her clothes, looking wide-eyed and nervous. Within the first few minutes of gentle warm-up stretches, I saw the fear in her eyes snowball, turning into panic and then despair. Before we made it into our first downward dog, she had crouched down on her elbows and knees, head lowered close to the ground, trapped and vulnerable. She stayed there, staring, for the rest of the class.

Call me crazy, but wouldn’t the ‘fear’, as Caron puts it, come from being in a yoga class for the first time surrounded by white women. But maybe not the way the writer thinks. Perhaps it’s due to the strong possibility that – I dunno – there are white racist women in the class, including herself, who would take one look at this woman and all the classical conditional racism would spring up. Maybe, just maybe, most of these women didn’t want her in class not because she’s heavier, but because she’s black.

Also, why would the Caron think the woman behind her was staring at her? Maybe she was looking in her general direction, perhaps at the instructor in order to know what to do.

Moving on:

Because I was directly in front of her, I had no choice but to look straight at her every time my head was upside down (roughly once a minute). I’ve seen people freeze or give up in yoga classes many times, and it’s a sad thing, but as a student there’s nothing you can do about it. At that moment, though, I found it impossible to stop thinking about this woman. Even when I wasn’t positioned to stare directly at her, I knew she was still staring directly at me. Over the course of the next hour, I watched as her despair turned into resentment and then contempt. I felt it all directed toward me and my body.

You know what’s funny? White women seem to think that black women are jealous. They think all sistas do is think about white women and how they want to be like them. Yet, we see articles and letters from white women boasting how they’re above black women. We also see white women get tans, braid their hair and get lip and butt implants. Who has who on their minds?

Butt implants gone horribly wrong

What I got from this paragraph sounds a lot like white female supremacist egotism. But when you read shit like this from white females who try and fail miserably to garner sympathy and understanding, as you read in the article in question, you will find something even more crazy. More on that in a minute.

But in the midst of all the fake white liberal outpouring, this part caught my eye:

I was completely unable to focus on my practice, instead feeling hyper-aware of my high-waisted bike shorts, my tastefully tacky sports bra, my well-versedness in these poses that I have been in hundreds of times. My skinny white girl body. Surely this woman was noticing all of these things and judging me for them, stereotyping me, resenting me—or so I imagined.

That part reminded me of the infamous letter to black woman written by a white woman. You know the one:

I am a White female who is engaged to a Black male–good-looking, educated and loving. I just don’t understand a lot of Black females’ attitudes about our relationship. My man decided he wanted me because the pickings amongst Black women were slim to none. As he said they were either too fat, too loud, too mean, too argumentative, too needy, too materialistic and carrying too much excess baggage.

Before I became engaged, whenever I went out I was constantly approached by Black men, willing to wine and dine me and give me the world. If Black women are so up in arms about us being with their men, why don’t they look at themselves and make some changes. I am tired of the dirty looks I get and snide remarks when we’re out in public…

…Right now I’m a little angry and that is why I wrote this so hurriedly. Don’t be mad with us White women because so many of your men want us. Get your acts together and learn from us and we may lead you to treat your men better. If I’m wrong, Black men, let me know.

I noticed that in the entire letter, the woman gave no explanation whatsoever of why black men would want her ass. Instead, all I got was a diss to all black women because they, according to her, can’t compete with white women, namely her.

In the paragraph I spotted, I noticed that Caron admits to recognizing her body as being skinny and white after she suspects the black woman behind her was looking at her, tearing her down in her mind just for that reason, or so she writes.

Going back to white female supremacy, which is expressed in the XO Jane article and the letter to Sister 2 Sister Magazine, I saw a connection. Both white women placed white female privilege and supremacy based one fact, that they’re white females. One woman showed off her privilege in yoga class after feeling like she’s silently targeted by a thick black woman. The other, in the letter read and responded around the world, just defended herself from “angry” black women by throwing them under the bus for not being or behaving like white women in a white female supremacist tone.

It seems to me that the Caron was going by assumption alone. She assumed the black woman was jealously starting at her body. To me it sounded more like paranoia than anything else. And that anxiety may be due to her racist assumptions regarding black women, one of them being that they hate white women for their bodies. I wouldn’t be surprised if Caron thought the woman was going to kick her ass.

My only advice to the writer of this hit-and-miss article for race relations is to make sure she check’s her racism and not jump to conclusions. The black woman she thought about probably wasn’t thinking about her or how good she (the writer) looked. This black woman also probably wasn’t ashamed of her own body. (Maybe she just wants to do yoga like the rest of you in that class.) But Caron thought she was based on only her presupposition alone.

The premise is a nod to the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype which is a byproduct of racism. Caron can not make such judgments and then proclaim to be concerned by getting in others’ faces with your privilege, especially if you assume too much. If this woman wants to contribute to social change, she has to realize one irrefutable truth. White women are not God’s queens of beauty. And neither is she.

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39 thoughts on “Response: It Happened To Me…

  1. Great article and so true. I never get along with White female because they think they are above me and always right. One deleted me off of my Facebook because I spoke out against White supremacy. Some are nice but they are the minority. Anyways, White women are NOT the friends of Black people and belong to her White men.

    1. I learned the hard way in college how White girls really are. They’re two-faced, petty, phony, and back-stabbing. They’ll drop you like a hot potato in a minute, and you won’t even know why. That’s why I really don’t like White women now.

  2. rofl the twerking response was hilarious. Some people are so full of themselves, just because a black woman was new to a yoga class and was staring did not mean she was jealous. more like maybe she was scared and didn’t know what to do and was looking at what others were doing trying to figure out what to do, but no it can’t possibly be that she had to have been staring that white woman down and envying her body.

    sidenote, that sista’s body in that yoga pic in that link is on point, now that is a body I would be jealous of lol.
    A lot of black women don’t want to be skinny but healthy with curves in the right places, did these people not see how some black people were going in on Jennifer Hudson after she lost a lot of weight and saying she was too skinny, and her husband said he liked her before. do they not see how black women without those curves are teased. But no, everybody is supposed to want to measure up to the white standard of beauty.

    This is no different than white women thinking all black men want them. Their pedestal really goes to their heads sometimes, just because u are on a pedestal does not mean everybody likes u or wants to be like u. The people that really like u are the ones that put u on that pedestal in the first place.

    1. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Rubenesque, curvy figures with junk in the trunk. Society places so much emphasis in being skinny instead of healthy. You can have thickness and still be fit. And there’s nothing wrong with being skinny. But, people come in all shapes and sizes and I love pear-shapes. 🙂

  3. I have not heard or read about the letter from a white woman engaged to a black man, but it seems a lot of them assume black women care. I personally do not care nor give them the time of day, but some of them always have to bring up black women or stare us down when they are with black men. Please live ur life and the people u need to be staring down are white men, as black women have never kept u away from black men nor have we killed black men that were with u.

    “Get your acts together and learn from us and we may lead you to treat your men better”

    bahwhawha., ohh my goodness, u mean learn from u as in allow a man to go around raping other women and enslaving people and standing by them oh oh lord. or accusing black men of rape and getting them lynched, oh yes that is how u treat a man better. oh or getting with a man that talks badly about the women that look like him so that we feel better about ourselves and feel superior. or trying to do things that the original woman has done and then throwing them under the bus. I tell ya some white folks get off on thinking they can do everything better than blacks including black marriage, raising black kids, rapping, twerking,etc. smh. what’s next are they going to say they can be better slaves than black folks and play the roles of slaves in movies.

      1. What she also doesn’t know is interracial history. If it wasn’t for a Black WOMAN and a White man, she would not be able to marry anyone Black.

  4. I have been seeing this article about this stupid white women all over the black blogosphere, my first reaction was to roll my eyes, all I could think was bitch please give me a freaking break, I thought it was so stupid. This to me is white priviledge.

  5. Seriously, I’ve noticed a trend in net-publishing that has reduced the level of the “village conversation” to twaddle and chick-shit that is best reserved for the truly dim followers of Snooky. A concerned publisher might write a few articles about the anti-nutritional plague that is killing black people; diabetes, high blood pressure and the cancers associated with embracing modern fast food diets.
    Here’s a simple cure for fat people: EAT LESS FAT, period. See…problem solved without resorting to cultural stigma baiting. Instead of talking smack, make sure that the TV programs your kids are watching aren’t full of subliminal self-hate (Meet the Browns and all things Tyler Perry) messages or the pro-fat propaganda brought to you by McDonalds, Popeyes and the Koch Bros.
    OK…??

    1. A concerned publisher might write a few articles about the anti-nutritional plague that is killing black people; diabetes, high blood pressure and the cancers associated with embracing modern fast food diets.

      Or, now just hear me out, we can talk about how it’s a problem killing Americans, and how the stress from being in a racist society contributes to it. Just a thought.

      Here’s a simple cure for fat people: EAT LESS FAT, period. See…problem solved without resorting to cultural stigma baiting. Instead of talking smack, make sure that the TV programs your kids are watching aren’t full of subliminal self-hate (Meet the Browns and all things Tyler Perry) messages or the pro-fat propaganda brought to you by McDonalds, Popeyes and the Koch Bros.
      OK…??

      It’s not that simple. There are several factors that contribute to the hunger for less-healthy foods. Why would people eat food that it would be harmful, especially in mass quantities? Even though media advertising is partly to blame, there’s a lot more to it than just showing them a picture of a four inch hamburger stuffed with beef and grease.

      But anyway, I see you’ve missed the entire point of not only the article, but the whole reason why people are laughing at a faux attempt at white liberal sympathy. You may need to re-read the articles and response articles, and then, you can see what the point is.

      1. I didn’t miss the point of there being all types of genetic predispositions for obesity. I didn’t miss the point that women, children and men can be “schoolyard” cruel. I didn’t miss the point of racism being endemic in America and most of Europe. I didn’t miss the point of SNL, Friends and Girls being forced “at gunpoint” to “look like America”. I didn’t miss the point of SI’s (White Goddess) Swimsuit Issue and the porn industry shunning black women. I didn’t miss the point of Tiger, Bruno, Halie and the new mulatto normal being more acceptable to white folks. I didn’t miss the point of there being more fast food outlets in the “hood” than ” affordable” grocery stores. I didn’t miss the point of the McDonald’s “dollar menu” and Subways “$5.00 Foot-Long” being an easier alternative to the working poor than spending 2hrs in the kitchen to prepare a meal. I didn’t miss the point of Jennifer Hudson’s “slim-down”being the f”inincial and career driven” exception and not the rule. I didn’t miss the point of Hypertension and Obesity being the leading cause of non-violent mortality in our community that to a great extent WE can control.

        But, self aware free people make choices about what goes in their mouths. No one is force feeding any black (women) people in America to eat their way into premature death and self image unhappiness and passing those self destructive habits to the next generation. WE ARE FREE AND WE CAN CONTROL WHAT WE EAT, PERIOD. Buying into a Eurocentric image of beauty is an individual CHOICE. Being exposed to “bitch-shit” is a reality both inside our community and outside of our community. Let’s be clear, some tribal cultures in Africa praise obese women and some don’t. Self esteem and self control usually go hand in hand. WE CAN CONTROL WHAT WE EAT. We aren’t slaves anymore and Ol’Massa ain’t serving us table scraps and road-kill as our only nutritional alternative. Being a good parent means more than parking your child in front of the TV with a Big Mac. FTR, I didn’t miss the point of there being no safer place for some of our children than being parked in front of the TV. BUT, parents can control what our children eat, period.

      2. In your last response, it seemed as if you’re making it seem as if it was a case of black pathology, than anything else. So, I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

        I agree that we are not being force fed into ingesting shit more harmful to our bodies than helpful. Still, why we eat the things we eat is still the question because what we want is in question.

        Even though we have more freedoms now than before, many of us still have that slave mentality or outright ignorance. It’s not something that can be turned off and on like a switch. It takes a hell of a lot of work to resist. Even though it comes from one decision, staying away from fast foods and sweets is a challenge. And even though racism is a factor, there are others that run across issues such as depression or loneliness.

        Yes. Parents should control what their kids eat. And there are some that do. And there are those who submit to what their kids want and encourage them to eat themselves to death. Literally.

        I agree. It’s a definite problem in the black community. But we can’t go about thinking that it all it takes is one choice and that’s it. It also takes ways to make that choice happen and continue.

    2. Oh, and one more thing. The only cultural stigma baiting didn’t begin until the black lady set foot in an apparently all-white female yoga class with at least one of them threatened by her.

      1. Stupid fuckin’ white preppy bitches don’t deserve this much conversation. This is being elevated to a level of analysis undeserving of the time it would take for “Ms. Black Hurt Feelings” to tell that preppy bitch to “fuck-off”. It really doesn’t “take a village” to handle a snotty bitch. Handle yo bit-niz and don’t come home cryin’ cause some preppy ho copped an attitude based on her not-so-latent poor self image issues expressed through her only avenue of delusional superiority, white supremacy. My point is that this is the same “catty’ shit that people have been doing since their first day in high school gym. Men do it in the showers and locker room and laugh about penis size and body shape. Women do it about whatever they feel are their own (breat size and shape, cottage cheese, ass-o-matic, plate-o-beans, no-ass-atoll, serious kitchen (nappy neck) disorder, lock-stank, weave leave, etc) self-loathing issues. Adults haven’t gotten any better at “locker room insecurity” just because they now pay to go to the gym. If anything it’s worse because now economic status (self-worth) is tied to which “it” gym you belong to and which “fad” workout (yoga, step, tap, martial arts, etc) you participate in. IE: It’s all some FAKE-ASS BULLSHIT from the jump. The moral of the story is: Love yourself because there are always going to be folks who will TRY to project their poor self image issues onto others. Get over it. You don’t need blue contact lenses to feel good about yourself, Kanye.

        PS.

        Shout-out to Bro. Wolf for providing a space to explore these issues. Venting on this site may have just saved some preppy snob from a serious choke-down at the local “foo-foo” gym.

  6. If I had a dollar for every time I dealt with a White girl who thought her skin color alone was sufficient enough to “elevate” herself over me (and/or others)… let’s just say that I would have a LOT of sawbucks, heck I’d even be able to put cheese on ALL my friends burgers! lolol

    1. All you would have to do is let her know that she is a n****r in her own race, which is the only reason why she would use her skin color to elevate herself because that is all that she has going for her. If she’s ugly by white standards, she has no other choice but to put other POC down to feel superior.

  7. @Brothawolf It’s more than likely a (primarily) chick-type thing, so since you’re a man the odds are very slim that you may ever catch a real-live “bitch-fest” goin’ down (unless you happen to accidentally walk into a women’s bathroom, lol)-because that is one of the main locations this type of things happens at, with the exception of the nail/hair salon, gym locker room, etc. of course. But, yes it happens more than a lot of men realize (and quite frankly, if I were a guy I wouldn’t bother being in the middle of that drama either), heck I’m very much a woman and I still don’t relish being put in those catty situations myself! lol

    @Herneith I am trying hard to breathe and keep the tears (of incessant laughter) from falling from my eyes, due to your Kerchief presentation-please thank yourself and take responsibility for causing me to be in this condition! X-D hahaha

  8. Oh yes, dear Brothawolf it does (and then some)-if we ever happened to cross paths outside of the blogosphere, trust you would be able to view this type of situation for yourself, especially with some of the petty, insecure gals that occasionally like to act catty towards me-some chicks are really silly! lols

  9. Oh wow! How did i miss this one…now you know imma chime in *smile*.

    What i have learned is that WHAT is actually TRUE about a Black woman is often times warped into what the racist white woman wants her to be.

    For instance: i have been in several professional situations with white women who can be quite aggressive and demeaning, but when i mentioned this behavior to one of them calmly by saying “i think you took my statements the wrong way”, I quickly became the aggressor, and the one who needed to be tattled on to the supervisor.

    I will bet anything that the Black woman in the Yoga class was not “fat”, “thick” but in fact physically fit, perhaps slender and quiet. If it is ONE thing that racist white women hate is a Black woman whose body they CANNOT stereotype based on the said Black woman’s factual image (e.g. she is kind, average to slim built, long hair that is naturally hers) is ALL it takes for white women to find illogical excuses as to why that particular Black woman is against her.

    This is why i advocate Black women being the shy, feminine, and innocent women that we really are. It simply drives white people nuts and the quicker they loose balance, the sooner white supremacy can be weakened.

    If anyone needs me to expound on my post–i will be most happy to.

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