Today, a casting call for the highly-anticipated N.W.A. movie “Straight Outta Compton” was posted on the Internetz for all the world to see. The post called for girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors. As diverse and inviting such a notion could be, it was clear that a celebration of female diversity wasn’t in the works. Take a look…
That’s right. Categorizing women from Type A to Type D, light-skinned, racially ambiguous, big booty women were rated “hottest of the hottest,” while dark skinned women were relegated to the lowest of the low.
Infuriating doesn’t express my angst. Exasperation barely captures my annoyance with *some* Black men and their subservience to white dominance. Pity and shame nearly espouses my convictions towards the Black men who perpetuate white supremacy by devaluing the beauty of Black womanhood.
Black women know the struggles we face. From our hair to our looks, we’re constantly poked, pinched, and prodded by racist patriarchy designed to subvert the very nature of our being. Our human texture is constantly corroded to varying degrees based on not only our race or ethnic heritage, but the actual color of our skin.
The casting call highlights, underscores, and italicizes the potency of language. Intersectionality. Colorism. Two words that unpack the complexity of racism. Two words that I am grateful to have approached, learned, and ultimately confronted.
This incident is not one-dimensional. It is not insular nor singular. It’s an intricate fabric of history, self-hate, oppression, sexism, privilege, and patriarchy sewn together and knotted nicely under the quilt of racism.
Shall we take a trip down memory lane to the days of plantations and slave ships? To the days when light skinned mulattos were deemed pretty and acceptable enough to work in the house, while the darker, more “mongrel” of us worked in the fields? Shall we traipse through cotton fields and find Black female bodies so ravaged and mutilated so as to produce more and more labor for her white master?
A distant memory, in the 21st century we try (and fail … horribly) to move away from how brutal and thorough slavery was in establishing, maintaining, and concretizing racism. The most fantastically disheartening aspect of racism is how it’s inflicted and perpetuated by our own communities… namely by our men. Who we trust to protect and provide for us (thank you patriarchy).
What are Black women left to do when our own men will not support us?
It’s not surprising that *some* don’t… that *some* have fallen into the trap of white supremacy. But it is odd… you’d think that ALL Black men would have some awareness about how the proximity-to-whiteness maxim is yet another result of aged oppression. But they don’t. Instead, they ok stupid posts about hottest of the hottest women being as close to white as possible.
This isn’t to say that one can never call a light skin women beautiful, or even be partial towards them. The issue is the coupled devaluation and disgust with dark skinned women being perceived unequivocally as “less than.”
This post was stupid, offense, and probably disingenuous (I smell clickbait and free publicity) . But, at least for me, it revealed just how little progress has been made in the Black women’s fight for intersectional justice.
Arielle Newton, Editor-in-Chief
Get at me: @BlackMusings