Am I a self-hating Negro?

I would imagine that if your friend wants to play “blacker than thou”, she will always be able to come up with a way to win. And the more you succeed in your life, the more opportunities there will be to lay race guilt on your shoulders.

The only question is why you want to play. What’s the pay-off for you to try to appease your friend’s opinion of your racial self-identity?


I have a “mixed” heritage myself. The quotation marks are used because although you can tell by looking at me that there’s a lot in me other than black, neither my parents nor my grandparents “qualify” for anything other than black. Like most black Americans, there is nothing pure about my stock, and I look biracial because of it. Just so you know where I’m coming from.

I take issue with your friend’s comment, but not for reasons that other posters have stated. Just because your skin is not darker than the sky in rural Georgia at night doesn’t mean you are immune from the trials of being a stigmatized minority. Your “black experience” is just as real as hers. But because she looks darker than you (?), she may have experienced things that you may not have experienced, which shapes her perspective in a way that may differ from yours. In her mind her experience represents the real “black experience” because it is one shared by a lot of people with dark skin; and this belief may be bolstered by the fact that she has no apparent non-black ancestry to act as a “mitigating” factor in her racial identity. Because you do, she may assume things about your experiences that are not true (and some things that may be true?), and for that reason, in her eyes, you are not seeing the world through the same kind of eyes that she is. And she is probably right, true be told. That may be the message she was trying to get across.

But this is all conjecture coming from a person who is often told herself (usually in a teasing way, though) that she is not “truly black”. I think you should try to understand where she is coming from with her opinions, even if you disagree with them.

And also, please please please don’t take this the wrong way, but generally speaking, I don’t think white people “get” this particular issue well enough to give you an educated opinion about where you girlfriend’s head is at. But that’s just my own opinion, of course.*

*yes I ended that sentence w/ a preposition. And?

Not to nitpick or anything, but Puerto Rican is not a race. Saying you are black and Puerto Rican is like saying you are black and American. As if American = white. Get me?


I’m not sure it is really fair to expect any more out of them then you would others but I don’t see it as a sign of self-loathing.

It isn’t self hatred. I could just as easy have the same feelings about some rural white folks out here in Arkansas. Of course it wouldn’t occur to anyone to say I was a self-loathing white.


Having these feelings makes you more–not less–black.

Black people who have to manuever daily in a mostly-white situation (which most black people have to do in order to be financially successful) have the same feelings, whether they want to accept it or not. It’s all a part of the Black Experience[sup]TM[/sup]. I have no cites, but I’d bet there hasn’t been a black person born in this country who has never wished that he or she could be white or who hasn’t been ashamed of their blackness in shape or form at one time or another.

(Not saying that you have had these feelings, or that you have to have these feelings to be truly “black”. I’m just saying that your feelings don’t make you bad. They make you human.)

Anecdote that may or may not be relevant:

I was bussed to schools growing up, so that even though I lived in a very black city (Atlanta), I was often one of a handful of black kids in my classrooms. One day in the fourth grade, after the entire class pissed off the teacher, all the black kids were called out into the hallway. The teacher–a black woman–cussed us out. We embarrassed her. We were were shameful with our laziness and incorribleness. We didn’t deserve the opportunity to come to a good school because we were bringing it down. We were wastes of skin. She might have very well have said she hated us. I remember I was afraid the other kids in the class would overhear her crying and hollering.

Then she said she was talking to all the black kids except for me, since I was the best student in the class.

Sometimes I think Ms. Fourth Grade Teacher was a self-hating bitch who should have been fired for degrading her black students like that. After all, the white kids in the class had fucked up too and they weren’t getting trashed. And instead of inspiring me to work harder, it made me feel like there was no hope. Even though I was the best student in the class, I would still have to be grouped with all the “bad” kids in the class, just because we were the same race. I remember hating myself and my race ROYALLY that day. Whenever I hear about the black AIDS stats or the crime stats or the whatever stats, I can’t help but feel the shame Ms. Fourth Grade Teacher had instilled in me.

But as I’ve grown older, I’m starting to be more like my fourth grade teacher in some ways.

I struggle with wanting to be an individual–free from the bonds of race–and wanting to be a great Redeemer, shouldering the burdens of my “bad” brothers and sisters, feeling guilt when they screw up, apologizing on their behalf, hating them for always make me look bad. Hating them for being grouped with me. It’s so much simpler being a raceless individual. Too bad that’s an impossibility.

So yes, you’re self-hating. But all black people in the US are self-hating. My self-hating started in the fourth grade, when before that I was just another little girl. Self-hate is our perculiar neurosis that other people may not get because they experience lives as almost raceless. They are lucky.

But the funny thing is is that I love being black. I’d rather die than be anything other than what I am: full of contradictions.

Well, that’s a tired argument. You should have slapped her for saying that.

I want to live in a neighborhood where no one bothers me or feels compelled to move away after I move in. I don’t really care about the race of the people as long as they treat me neighborly. But I don’t think you’re wrong for wanting a racially diverse atmosphere. Too bad there aren’t more racially/cuturally diverse neighborhoods out there.

It’s unfortunate that someone would be stupid enough to speak street slang in a job interview. But I’d hope that wouldn’t happen often enough for that to be something to get riled up about. Since I haven’t conducted a job interview before, I wouldn’t know.

You know, I always hated the saying “It’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand” (another self-loathing instinct?) but the more I read these responses, the more I think it may be true in this case. It’s hard to understand the mixed emotions involved if race plays a much smaller part of your life. It really is hard to explain.

**monstro, I gotta say that this:

is perfect.

I don’t get it. How can you be a self-hating Negro if you’re not really black? How can you self-hate something you’re not? I think Girlfriend may be contradicting herself.

I’d tell you what I think Biggirl but I doubt you’d understand as you’re only partially white and therefore can’t understand the full white experience.

I’ll try anyway, in the hope that the white part of you may somehow understand. Chances are that most black people in this country have some mixed blood. Most don’t have a 100% African heritage.

The fact that they cling exclusively to their blackness while denying the whitey inside, means that they are self-loathing white people.

The rest of us or normal genetic mutts. Based on mitochondrial DNA we all have as our common ancestor a black women. Though I’m about as Lilly white looking come, that makes me partially black and partially white. The fact that Buddy Holly sang the blues is enough to prove that inside every Texas white cracker is a colored kid looking to come out. Similarly there’s a whitey deep inside every negro.

Tell her to stop being ashamed of and repressing her inner whitey. She should stop being Black, or white, and just join the human race.

A-friggen-men, Scylla. I know the Board frowns on these posts, but there’s really nothing I could say to top that. Plus, I agree with it 100%.

monstro wrote:

You’d be surprised how many white people get this debate. Particularly (and perhaps ironically) white Southerners.

Every time someone who shares my hillbilly accent makes a racist comment or spouts other ignorance on TV, I cringe. Every time the latest round of SAT scores come in, and I see my state at or near the bottom of the rankings, and I have to start thinking of ways to explain to non-Southern friends why Southerners perform so poorly, I feel your pain. Every time I see another ad for company promising to help Southerners lose that accent that’s holding them back, I know exactly what you mean.


After reading your post, one thing is clear: you are a sensitive human being. Now that makes you a member of the best minority group on earth.

My request for membership has been rejected four times.:o

Interesting OP biggirl. Let me add two anecdotes before adding my own comments.

Right after the first Rodney King, while they were rioting in LA. The SFPD was trying to prevent a similar occurrence in downtown SF, where I worked. The next day everyone was on edge, we had a large storefront, and police cars could be seen speeding to all points and confronting groups of gathered people. My Boss, a white man in his sixties asked me why ‘we’ (meaning us black people) didn’t understand that not everyone thought like the jury in that trial.

Last year my son broke one of my neighbors’ windows. It was in the evening, so I had to call out an emergency repair service. The neighbor happened to be the same one I trade books with on a regular basis. So while the guy was fixing the window, we took the opportunity to trade about 20 or so books. The man fixing the window was of Arab descent, but obviously second or third generation, was watching while he fixed the window. After he finished, he said to us that he’d never realized that black people read and talked about books like that.

I’ve experienced other instances of the same, but I used these because both left me feeling conflicted. Outraged that I wasn’t looked at as an individual while at the same time, that I seemed a reasonable spokesperson. Upset that the only examples the Arab guy had seen of black congregating was on street corners, happy that I could show him a more positive example. But more to the point was exasperation that any of these things should affect me in the slightest.

That would be Bulworth, I believe.

“Inner whitey.” Heh.

Now I know how the fundie’s feel, trying to explain something to people who know they are right, have never experienced and just plain don’t believe what I know to be true.
It shouldn’t be a conflict, but it is. We don’t live in a raceless society no matter how much I wished we did.

Try being an Indian sometime — a racial minority and politically powerless.

Hello Biggirl… my first post. Well, technically my second.

Interesting opening. Just wondering why you would use such generalizations and assumptions if you really don’t have issues with your self identity. If you do feel that blacks have to work twice as hard to be thought half as good and that the acts of white people aren’t reflected on individuals then perhaps there is something there. These kind of belifes can affect us all if we choose to believe them.

We used generalities because we were talking in general, with a few specifics thrown in for emphasis. You know, how you talk over dinner. And that blacks have to work harder to get less is not an assumption. Which is why I think there is something there.

Welcome to the boards Blivit.

Blivit wrote:

Technically your second? How’s that?

Ahhh… I made a test post. Funny… it must not count. ???

The statement that blacks have to work twice as hard to be thought of as half as good strikes me in a very peculiar way. Could you give something to back up the assumption of others thoughts? In order to understand I would like to be sure of where you are starting from. Thanks.

Exactly. Especially the part in bold. I just don’t think it’s healthy for anyone to feel that much pressure, which is why I’m trying to get to where I can let people be themselves and let me be me. Okay, so the black lady standing in the checkout line has six bad-ass kids in tow and is using food stamps to buy hog maws and Newports, but why should I let what she is doing with her life cause my blood pressure to rise? Why should I feel embarassed for things that I haven’t done? Mr. White Nationalist may see her and think bad things about me, but that kind of prejudice is unfair, right? If I let myself feel ashamed because of someone else, in a way I’m permitting the irrational ideology of Mr. WN to infiltrate my psyche.

Black people do have to work to get the same benefit of the doubt that others receive for free. But I don’t think we will acheive that benefit of the doubt by getting overly angry/embarrassed/defensive whenever other black person do stupid things. We beat ourselves up too much for things that we aren’t even doing. It may be a natural reaction, something that comes with the territory of being a minority, but it shouldn’t exactly be encouraged, either.