Thursday, June 1, 2017

Backhanded Compliments (Insert Eye Roll Here)

Let's give it up for the backhanded compliments. The ones that are meant to uplift you but when you truly think about it, they're pretty offensive. Here's one that I get and it really makes my blood boil.

"You're so pretty! What are you mixed with?"
or the
"Wow! You can't be fully black" 

Can we insert all of the eye-rolling emojis here? All of them times a million! Not only do people say that, they seriously look at me waiting for me to explain some type of alien exotic mixture that no man has ever heard of. Waiting on my next word as if I'm some type of art project. Or something that should be entered into the science fair. Or some type of being that needs to be examined by the best doctors in the world just so they can discover my DNA.

Then it hit me, people who say that have no idea why it's so offensive. There's so much ignorance in this world and a lot of people are walking around uneducated but prance around like they are. Well friend, that is why I'm here. To help you understand the offensive nature that is you and your "compliments". 

Why do I have to be mixed to be beautiful? As if I can't  just be black? I have to be something else. I was ranting about this to a friend and he said "But Ebony, you are heavily mixed, you even posted your ancestry results."  It was clear that he didn't get the point either, which was 

 Why can't me being black define itself as beautiful?

I mean there are people who try to get darker by tanning, get injections on body parts that come naturally to me, copy the dance moves, music and whatever else that was created in Africa but put a different face on it. And my favorite, people who steal my ancestors styles and call them a trend aka corn rows and stiletto nails to name a few. But no, you have to assume that I have to be mixed with something because of the Hollywood portrayal of my kind, and what's high lighted on the news is all that you chose to believe.

If black wasn't beautiful, then why is it copied on a daily basis? 

But then again, this is a place where a black woman can sound uneducated and ghetto and society drags her through all kinds of hell. While someone like Danielle Bergoli aka 'cash me outside' from the Palms in Florida; can drop out of elementary school and make a living off of mimicking that very black woman who's torn to shreds by society. 

There's always a double standard between races, body type, sexes and ages. The back handed compliments are no way, shape or form limited to race. A girlfriend of mine received one that said "wow you're so pretty for a big girl!" So as I write, I realized that I'm not offended by the "compliment" instead, I'm embarrassed for the people who say. Would you be offended if someone said that to you?

And to go back to what my friend said about me being mixed. This is America where being mixed means absolutely nothing because my skin in brown. Just because they have a new box when you take tests or apply for jobs that say "mixed" doesn't mean that people will stop looking me as just another black woman. That doesn't mean that the sales associate won't follow me in the isles. That doesn't meant that the random pat downs at the airport will stop. That doesn't mean that the objectification or expected stereotypes will disappear. That doesn't mean that the stares when I enter into an all-white facility will stop. That doesn't mean that I won't end up like Sandra Bland one day. That's doesn't mean that my rights actually matter or that my life does. Because honey, no matter what's in my DNA I'm black, and I'm proud of it; just like how everyone should be proud of who they are and where they came from.

A post shared by Ebony Williams (@ebonyonair) on

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