“YOU’RE PRETTY, FOR A BLACK GIRL”

“You’re pretty, for a Black girl.”

Sometimes said to someone a Black person knows, often said to the Black girl (or woman) herself, this compliment brings with it so much racialized sexist baggage where Black women’s beauty is concerned.

Why would anyone even state such a comment?: What must be their image and idea of what a Black woman should look like?

Is it the subconscious parameter they are working with when they think of Black women that out of all the Black women in America, you stand out as different and better and more beautiful than what they think a Black girl or woman should look like, while saying this to you? Or that Black women, among all women, can never be pretty—that pretty is an aberration for them? That pretty for a Black woman is some fluke of nature? That Black women as a whole cannot possibly be attractive?

My question to the Black ladies:

 
Have you ever had someone say to you that you are pretty for a black girl?
 
Did you consider it a genuine compliment, a backhanded compliment, or a straight-up demeaning insult, if stated by a Black man or even a Black woman?
 
If stated by an Arab, Asian, Native American, Latino, or White  (man or woman) would you consider it racist?
 
Why should Black women’s beauty have to have a qualifier to give it acknowledgement?
 
“Pretty for a Black girl”.
 
Black ladies, how do you respond?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Joy-bryant-bronx
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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45 Comments

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45 responses to ““YOU’RE PRETTY, FOR A BLACK GIRL”

  1. Chichi

    This has been said to me, many times and I always find this kind of commentary exceeeedingly offensive. Black women are beautiful for so many reasons and in so many ways. We are captivating, strong and feminine all at the same time. I do however also find it a little amusing when people say these kinds of things to me because, well quite frankly, take a look at the direction todays modern world is heading in. People are tanning them selves into oblivion, why? to look darker. They are getting collagen injections for fuller lips and but implants to have a bigger booty. All of these things – we all ready posses. So before you open your mouth to say something stupid like “You’re pretty, for a black girl” guess what honey, the whole WORLD is tryna be pretty – like a BLACK girl.

    • Josh

      black girls are stunning like i said id sooner have a black girl any day of week and im white

    • Sue

      ALL women are beautiful! Why always play the RACIST crap? And sorry but I am beautiful as a WHITE girl so please don’t say that the “world” is trying to be pretty like a BLACK girl. But I am sure that us WHITE woman aren’t allowed to be offended here right?

      • Lyssie

        The only thing racist here is your attitude to having your white privilege shown to your face. You need to check your understanding of what the term means if you think that discussing issues of race is inherently racist.

  2. Good for you, the whole world copies everything black people do
    they are jealous and hateful for the most part…but try so hard to imitate
    everything they say is wrong….Sometimes I get so angry I could scream a cry so loud that the heaven’s could hear me!

    • Sue

      I don’t imitate black women sorry and why would someone be JEALOUS? God this whole blog makes me want to barf

      • Lyssie

        Why would someone not be jealous? Do you think that somehow there is no reason to imitate anything about black women? My suggestion is that if this blog somehow sickens you (as your attitude probably does a lot of people), that you stop writing and start leaving.

    • telena

      black women bleach wear blue colored contacts and weaves try and look like the white womens long flowing hair…but it looks a hot mess,and black women also get perms to have bone straight hair.

  3. traci

    i totallt underdstand they look down on you is if your black girl for an example white girls getting braids people getiing buttimplants dating balck men more

  4. Josh

    I actually prefer black girls its all about taste to me black is betifull and there bodies are fantastic as well as lips and hair
    so id say shes pretty for a white girl

    BTW im white

    • telena

      black women gets blue eye contacts and bleach and wear long weaves to try and look like the white women with long bouncy hair…even black men tell white women that black women envy white womens hair cuz they dont have good hair and light eyes and light skin

  5. Adeen Danica Mckenzie

    Aw, Josh, you are so sweet.

  6. rashid

    josh! u are a trip…being all sensitive and understanding on some black female website…and then watching dizzy sistas fallin for your game! slick play white boy…

    i like u jo$h..! lol!

  7. Jordan

    I have never had this said to me by any race. Most of the time men and sometimes women may ask me what race I am or am I bi-racial even though I am African-American.

    I have heard women who are overweight say that men say to them you are pretty for a fat or big girl, which I think is demeaning too.

  8. Jordan

    All cultures of women are beautiful. You just have to ignore the ignorant people because they are not even worth your time.

  9. Sue

    Lyssie

    I am sure the only one my attitude sickens is a racist like you hun. If a white woman were to put this crap out on the internet about how being white makes her automatically beautiful you would call the ACLU and Jesse and Al and have them bring a lawsuit and you know it you hypocrite.

    • Lyssie

      Guess what? I AM white. Your attempt at condescension by calling me “hun” is simply pathetic, as is the rest of your hate-filled tripe. The actions you would take as a blatant racist aren’t those that everyone would take: projection, much? Assuming others are just like you: symptom of white privilege.

      You don’t know a single thing about my possible actions based on what I’ve said here. Meanwhile, the white whining, privilege denial, and just straight-out vitriolic hatred you’ve vomited up here says volumes about your character.

    • slice

      @Sue

      You need to shut the hell up with your immature-sounding self and READ THE ARTICLE—-no one is saying black women are automatically beautiful BECAUSE we’re black—it’s that for centuries, black women have always been put down, and told to hate ourselves BECAUSE we’re not white women. Apparently you didn’t bother to actually READ the article—it’s as if you didn’t even get past a certain point and just started throwing up all kinds of ridiculous assumptions about what it was trying to say. White women have ALWAYS been placed on a pesdestal and told they’re more beautiful than EVERY other woman in the world simply BECAUSE they’re white—now THAT’S what the hell is racist. Oh, course as a white woman,you wouldn’t notice that because you take it so much for granted,since white folks dominate virtually the majority of media in this country.

      So quit whining because your little feelings got hurt, and go out and do some research on racism and educate yourself. Get over it, because no one’s gonna kiss your behind here.

      • Lyssie

        Exactly. I was looking through a bridal magazine recently and there was not ONE woman of colour in it. If my niece – who is Indian – comes over and looks at the pretty dresses with me, how can I, in good conscience, show her that magazine? It’s ridiculous and it makes me very angry.

    • Kay

      Nope, your attitude disgust me as well Sue.

    • Sue if you are in fact a white woman you should be aware by now that the mass media does in fact say in so many ways that white women are beautiful by virtue of being “white”.

      Every person of color on the planet male or female needs to be aware of this.

  10. Cisely Griggs

    I had someone, quite recently tell me I had good hair for a black girl!

  11. Carien

    Yea i’m african, don like the term black, however i must say i love all women from all races, what attracts me is character and personality, the outward appearance is a bonus, “black women” just live your lives as much as other women are, don go datin out of yr race because some black man couldn’t treat you right or he was broke lol, poison to the mind and soul, dating some1 from out of your doesn’t matter as long the see you the same way you see them in good like, if they asked you why you dated them and you said in honesty you said because your green purple or something, do you have any idea how they’d react? at the mean time they have been with you because of your character and personality and character

  12. Carien

    Yea i’m african, don like the term black, however i must say i love all women from all races, what attracts me other women is character and personality, the outward appearance is a bonus, “black women” just live your lives just as much as other women are, don go datin out of yr race because some black man couldn’t treat you right or he was broke lol, poison to the mind and soul, dating some1 from out of your doesn’t matter as long they see you the same way you see them in good light, if they asked you why you dated them and you said in honesty because your green, purple or something, do you have any idea how they’d react? at the mean time they have been with you because of your character and personality and character, black women are beautiful, beauty always at first comes from the soul then outwards, i love my women!!!! but that doesn’t mean i’m excludin other races, cause sadly black women have been verbally put down, but the only way to do that was to go through the black man himself in order to do that

  13. Zack

    I simply can’t imagine someone saying that to anyone. I’ve heard someone reference another that way. “She’s pretty for a black girl.” But I can’t imagine anyone telling a black girl, to her face, that, “you are pretty for a black girl.” Only a brain dead illiterate would think that was a compliment.

  14. Ttyytytt

    We should be nicer to blacks in general, they can’t help the way they look.

  15. RayJ

    While websurfing, just read your article. I’m a white guy who was raised in the Southwestern part of the US where I was exposed to a mixture of all races during my educational years and then later in my professional life. I was never very political, never a racist. I of course noticed beauty wherever I saw it in a woman but I never paid any particular attention to racial beauty …until I fell in love with a hispanic-black girl then … Wow …everything changed. Because I loved her, it was like my eyes opened to see beauty in new ways.
    My love for her opened my eyes to new vistas, new ways, new cultures. Love and Beauty have no racial boundaries but a black woman truly is a work of art.

  16. Exzackly

    That’s crazy and I’m certain they aren’t trying to look like a “black woman.” It it helps your self-esteem though, go on beleiving that non-sense. Its so obvious. Its also amazing how those that are insecure are constantly praising their attriutes, without considering the fact that it gives it away. Of course you should “feel” beautiful but that’s not the point here. It’s about others finding you beautiful. I suppose it’ll only be understood when the modern idea of beauty is that of black women. When that day comes, it’ll be a race other than BW. You are beautiful. What you want is for the whole of society and the entertainment industry to see you as such.

  17. Tell you what, i have never had anyone say the phrase mentioned above, however, i have had white women dissect my hair, makeups etc and label it as “oh you look like a doll”.

    Mind you in order not to be offended, you really have to understand the history of race, gender and how those dynamics do affect black women. We can’t just be cute and be left alone. There has to be some explanation given as to why we are attractive as though this has not been our case for thousands of years…

  18. reportanddeport

    “Pretty for a Black girl”, is not an actual compliment, it is a backhanded way of saying that all Blacks are ugly, but that you are not as ugly as the rest of them. It is a mean and tacky thing to say.

  19. Patricia

    i am a dark brown-skinned woman, who seems to attract more white men then black men…don’t know why. I have experienced that remark and consider it an insult rather than a compliment. What kind of idiot can not see through those words. My response…I find you unattractive…in any color.

    • Dwight A.Love

      Patricia that is an obvious way of that person showing his ignorance.White females have always had that said about them using that adjective of pretty as opposed to black women.It is like the old axiom the darker you are the worse you are viewed and treated in society.

  20. Guitar Slinger

    A funny thing happened to me. Most of my life, I didn’t find black women all that attractive. The prettiest, to me, were those that had classic European features. I didn’t find black women ugly, just not many stand-out beauties. It was the same with Asian women.

    Then I adopted an Asian boy, from Korea, and he was just the cutest thing you ever saw. And suddenly I found myself seeing gorgeous Asian women everywhere. Not mixed-race girls, as before. Chinese, Japanese, Korean…gorgeous.

    And then, after a divorce, I married a white woman with two black children, a boy and a girl, from a previous relationship (we get some pretty funny looks when we’re all together). We became a real family in record time, and I love those kids like my own. And they’re both super cute. And suddenly, I found the world is full of gorgeous black women. And my daughter is one of the most gorgeous black women on the planet (of course; but I’m betting you’d agree).

    So what does that mean, then? I guess it all comes down to what you’re used to, and depends on whom you love. Kind of a shame that came to me so late. There were some darned pretty girls back in high school, and I completely missed it!

  21. david

    guess what some black girls are pretty some are not some white gilrs are pretty some are not. Who cares the person matters not their skin colour.

  22. If you notice the pretty black girls actually have a lot of White blood in them.
    As far as who is trying to look like who, well, skin LIGHTENING cream is a billion dollar industry in Africa of all places and look who straightens their hair and gets extension, Just about EVERY black woman that’s who.
    Trust me a little tan and a slight plumpness to the lips is not to try to look like black women in a million years.

  23. Reynold Tortora

    Black women on a a whole are beautiful in my eyes due to the fact that they will allow their soul shine thru. I find that so extremely stunning,
    it is also my opinion that it takes a real man to appreciate the true beauty of a Black woman. One devoid of pre conceived ideas of beauty. Showing another ones soul is truly spiritual.

  24. Nadine

    I answer. “Thank God you joined the human race because that dog scent that you have been smelling for so long had you confused.”

  25. Nadine

    I answer. “It is nice to smell a human instead of a dog that has been confusing you for so long.”

  26. aquila

    I have had people say that to me too. The first time someone said that to me I was 18 and a 50 year old Ethiopian man was the one who said it. The man actually liked light skinned girls and I have darker skin. But he said that I attracted him despite my ‘short comings’. I would have liked to smack him or something were it not for the fact that you have to respect your elders. I am 23 now and people say that to me with alarming regularity. Just goes to show how free the un-colonized really are.

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