The rise of BWE (Black Women Empowerment) blogs has been beneficial in helping many Black American women live their lives for the better and look out for their well being. Many of these blogs provide helpful tips in improving one’s lifestyle for the better and avoiding destructive life choices and decisions. Reading Black Woman Empowerment blogs such as Evia Moore’s Black Female Interracial Dating and Marriage, Khadija Nassif’s Muslim Bushido and Sojourner’s Passport, Faith Dow’s Acts of Faith and Love, Halima Anderson’s To Date A White Guy and One Less Soldier’s Not Your Girl Friday has been beneficial to my emotional and mental well being due to the fact that I learned to put myself and my own interests before I can help others. However, the messiness, back to back drama, worship of White men among other things has lead me to stop frequenting such spaces. Hence, I believe many women in Black Woman Empowerment spaces are trading in one form of oppressor(Black man) for another(White man).
Black Women Empowerment blogs started in 2007 amidst the controversy of the rapes and violence that occurred in the Dunbar Village. Blogs such as Khadija Nassif’s Muslim Bushido and Faith Dow’s Acts of Faith and Love wrote about the horrors of what went on in the Dunbar Village. These bloggers used this incident as a way to inform other Black women about the dangers of residing in predominately Black areas. As a solution to facing the dangerous living conditions in Black residential neighborhoods, these bloggers suggested that Black women leave ”Blackistan”, the name whom BWE bloggers gave to Black residential areas. Instead, many of these bloggers promoted Black women and children to move into safer, neighborhoods and making allies with genuine people. However, what many of these blogs have failed to address, is how to navigate White and mixed arenas while still holding onto pride in their race. Growing up in mostly White areas isn’t a guarantee that a woman would be much safer and more accepted. Merely moving into a non Black area isn’t a guarantee of a happy and more fulfilled life. Living in non Black areas also comes with it’s own disadvantages as well. I know this from experience because I grew up in mostly White and mixed areas. On the other hand, I do believe that Black women and children should definitely move out of Black, residential areas because the majority of those areas are dangerous to their safety and well being. Personally, I highly suggest moving into well maintained, racially mixed area, where everyone looks out for one another and respects racial and cultural differences of their neighbors. Though the original BWE founders mean well and actively promoted the safety and well being of Black women, I don’t think their stragety of moving into White neighborhoods and expecting to be accepted and treated with respect is realistic.
These blogs also promoted that Black American women remove financial support from misogynistic Black male entertainers such as Kevin Hart, 50 Cents, DL Hughley due to their lack of respect and reciprocation to Black women’s interests. Many of these entertainers have put down Black women in the media or on social media. Many of them have used sexist and colorist standards to judge Black women. Yet if it wasn’t for Black women, these entertainers wouldn’t even be famous because it was Black women who financially funded and supported these men’s careers. These entertainers would marry interracially and take the money that they earned and bring the money to the communities of other races instead of their own communities. Worst of all, these Black males don’t pay any mind to Black women’s interests or issues despite Black women’s devotion and dedication to Black men’s plight in society. Hence the reason why BWE bloggers promote Black women removing financial, emotional and physical support from Black men and their projects. When it comes to where I spend and put my money, I hardly ever watch Black centric movies nor do I listen to Hip Hop or R & B due to the blatant misogyny, colorism and sexism these Black male entertainers express in the media.
There is controversy over BWE bloggers’ insistence that using biracial women to portray Black American women in the media is erasing Black women’s image in the media. Many people feel that these bloggers are attacking biracial women instead of counteracting colorism. However, I believe that these BWE bloggers are trying to promote the distinction between biracial and Black women to preserve the authenticity and phenotype of Black women. Their concern was over the fact that Black women’s phenotype is being erased and promoted by biracial and non Black women portraying them in the media. Nonetheless, many Black Americans insist on including biracial women in the Black category to justify and cover up the fact that many Black men aren’t attracted to women who reflect his image. And to erase Black femininity and uphold White women as the symbol of beauty. Personally, I do agree that having biracial women and racially ambiguous looking women erases Black womanhood because it upholds White supremacist beauty standards. That isn’t right. Thus the reason why it is important to uphold, protect and define the image of Black women in America and on a global scale.
Promoting weight loss to Black women was another form of advice in many BWE Empowerment spaces. Weight isn’t a huge concern to me because I am naturally slim and always been that way. My size is seen as the ideal in mainstream American society. Unfortunately, weight is a concern for many other Black American women. As a collective, Black American women are either overweight or obese. 82% of Black American women are either overweight or obese. Out of this percentage, around 56.6% of these women are obese while the other 25.4% of these women are overweight. That was why weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight was highly promoted in these spaces. But many women complained that these BWE blogs shamed overweight Black women and promoted Black women to be slim. However, there is some truth to the rampant fat shaming in these spaces, because I saw it alot when I used to frequent them. One of these bloggers even went as far to say that White men wouldn’t even look in their direction because White men ”don’t like” fat girls. Though I am not overweight or obese, I find much of the fat shaming repulsive because shaming wouldn’t force a woman to lose weight or maintain a healthy and balanced diet in an effort to lose that weight.
Interracial dating and marriage was promoted by the likes of Evia Moore and Halima Anderson on their blogs to encourage Black women to broaden their dating and marriage options. Way too many Black American women limit themselves to Black American men and refuse to look outside of their race. Yet the ratio between Black American men and women is 4:1 . Many Black American men aren’t interested in dating Black American women. I believe that broadening their dating options to include non Black men in their dating pool and vetting men based on their character and compatibility is a better alternate instead. Expanding your dating options would higher Black American women’s chances in finding a decent man to settle down with. There isn’t anything wrong with preferring your own race but limiting yourself to a specific race hurts a woman’s chances in finding a decent man to settle down with.
Here is an example of an ”ideal” coupling in BWE Empowerment spaces
At first, I found reading and frequenting BWE spaces helpful and meaningful to my growth. I was happy to find other Black women, that were interested in bettering themselves and other Black women. For the first time in my life, I found a Black orientated space that catered to Black women’s interests and it was refreshing. However, there was always an underlining current of messiness, drama and White male worshiping that I ignored until it was too late. And I believe that this undercurrent will back them in the back one day.
The Slow Decline of BWE Empowerment
Christelyn Kazarin, a newcomer into the BWE blogsphere, came into the picture. She is everything that BWE Empowerment bloggers have suggested Black American do and emulate in order to succeed in society. Christelyn Kazarin is attractive, slim, educated Black American woman married to a White American man named Michael Kazarin. This woman runs her own blog called Beyond Black and White and created a campaign, No Wedding No Womb. No Wedding No Womb was a campaign where she encouraged Black American women to wait until they are married to have children. This was her effort to advice Black women to stop having children outside of marriage and set boundaries when it comes to finding a mate. Christelyn Kazarin’s mission was to help Black women broaden their options to include White and non Black men in their dating pool and vet them based on their character. Nonetheless there were some cracks that were beginning to form in the movement even before Christelyn Kazarin came on the scene.
I used to watch Christelyn Kazarin’s videos and frequent her blog. While I do believe she means well, she is hurting her own cause by responding to Black male misogynists on social media. Why not focus on Black women finding love and happiness with men of other races instead of responding to Black male misogynists and internalizing their horrid views on Black womanhood? Also Christelyn Kazarin doesn’t promote vetting non Black men that show interest in dating and courting Black women. On her site, she promoted a former White supremacist, that was an inspiring artist on her blog as a suitor just because he was in a relationship with a Black woman. Ironically, Christelyn would never promote a blue collar working Black man with a criminal record as a suitor on her site, which goes against the message of her blog. But she would promote a former White supremacist on her blog as a potential suitor. Neither a blue collar Black man with a criminal record nor the former White supremacist are good suitors for any Black woman. It just shows you the depths of Kazarin and her followers’ fascination with the color of a man’s skin instead of his character. Kazarin even promoted older White men, who were divorced with adult children, as suitors for younger Black women, such as myself on her blog. She said in one of her videos to choose character over color but her actions tell otherwise.
Last year, Kazarin put up a few videos that chronicled dates between a White man named Wes and a Black woman, Carrie. It was obvious that Wes wasn’t interested in Carrie because he cancelled on their date twice. Wes even asked Carrie if she were a prostitute once. Yet Carrie still continued to pursue him. At the end of the clip, he rejected her and decided that he didn’t want to pursue a relationship with her. I was disappointed that Christelyn Kazarin would make Black women look desperate in the pursuit of a White man that didn’t want her. That and the trolls on her site always putting White men on the pedestal was the last straw for me.
As of recently, Kazarin was in another incident where a White Youtuber, VeGainator do a Google Hangout with her to discuss why he chooses ”not to swirl”. Kazarin invited this man on her video to try to convince him to consider dating Black women, because she believed that he was being influenced by Black males to not consider Black women as options of mates. Then Vegainator made a video putting Christelyn Kazarin down after his Google Hangout with her. And he saw his subscriptions to his channel skyrocket. Many people on Youtube particularly the likes of Tommy Sotomayor got notoriety through bashing Black women on there. Vegainator even made a Google hangout with Tommy Sotomayor. Kazarin made a video where she was crying because she expected Black men and Black people to come and defend her against the Vegainator. It is ironic how she and the BWE wanted Black men to come and defend her when she had made videos bashing Black men and bashing the Black Community for years. You don’t put down others and then expect them to come to your rescue when something goes awry. Worst of all, followers of her blog, Beyond Black and White were begging Vegainator to consider Black women as options of mates on the comment section of Youtube and got him fired from his job. Ironically, Vegainator is in a relationship with a Black woman right now. Though I no longer look at her videos or frequent her blog, I had a few friends, who did, tell me about this whole situation. Incidents are unfortunate and only ruins the validity of her blog and brand even further.
There was always some women in BWE Empowerment blogsphere who bickered and went back and forth with one another. Many of these women would call one another names such as Mammy to put down another woman whom she disagreed with. Or they would stab one another in the back and spread rumors about one another. I experienced a lot of dissent, drama and backbiting while I frequented such spaces. There was even rumors that I wasn’t a Black woman because they felt that my Facebook profile was fishy so I couldn’t be a Black woman in their eyes. And I used my government name on my Facebook profile and posted pictures of myself. How am I not a Black woman? Craziness. There was a time when this Black woman got mad at me because I had a disagreement with her over Marilyn Monroe. And Marilyn Monroe is a dead White woman.The pettiness and drama also turned me off from these spaces to the point that I would deactivate and leave my Facebook to focus on school and get away from them altogether.
Many of the women idolize and put White men on a pedestal. There is nothing wrong with interracial dating and marriage but White men’s character needs to be accurately vetted when it comes to relationships too. I do believe that Black women will benefit from dating and marrying interracially in the romantic sphere however I don’t believe that marrying a White man would solve the racism and sexism Black women face in society. In fact, it was White male colonization, slavery, racism and apartheid policies that has had negative effects on Black women’s condition in society. It was and still is the White man who puts his woman and other non Black woman ahead of Black women. If you don’t believe me, look at R&B singer, Nick Jonas’ casting call that only asked for Caucasian, Indian and South American women and excluded Black women. It is obvious that other races of men will always put their women first and foremost. Other races of man always protect and defend their women regardless of who they mate with. So many women in the BWE spaces have such low self esteem that they want to seek a non Black male who is willing to put down his race and woman to make themselves feel better. No, that will never happen because most non Black men have a sense of pride and dignity in their racial and cultural origins unlike Black men. Marrying White and non Black men isn’t a life accomplishment or medal of honor like many women in BWE Empowerment make it out to me. If a Black woman happens to find love and happiness outside of her race, I am fine with it but it is also important to have pride and dignity with yourself and your own racial and ethnic group.
In many ways, the actions of many Black men has added fuel to the fire. Colorstruck and misogynist Black men put White women on a pedestal because of their own internalized racism and self hatred. The reason why many Black men are so preoccupied with and set on mating with non Black women is because non Black women represent femininity, beauty, purity and womanhood and are protected and defended by just about everyone.They want to have the White man’s woman and have the power, resources and respect White men have without actually working for it. Also many of these Black men see having a White or non Black woman as a status symbol or trophy. As a collective, Black American men are defeated because of the fact that they fail to see beauty in their own reflection(Black women) and fail to build functioning communities for their women and children to grow up in, work in and thrive as individuals. Again, I understand the aghast and anger many women in BWE spaces have towards Black men but I don’t necessarily believe that marrying a White man will solve all the problems that Black women face in society. In all, I believe that both White American man’s patriarchal, racist, classist and capitalist infrastructure and Black American men’s misogynoir, colorism, intra racism and sexism structure in the Black collective has played a role in the Black woman’s state and condition in this country.
A few week ago, I deleted my Facebook profile to get away from such women and spaces. While I learned a lot about putting my self interests and needs first, I believe that it is time to leave BWE(Black Woman Empowerment) spaces behind. It is best to expand my mind and keep my mind open to other ideas and possibilities. It isn’t good to think one way and then expect others to think like one and promote group polarization. And I don’t have time for all of the drama and pettiness because I need to focus on doing well in my classes and complete all of them for an Associates degree. Hence the reasoning why I no longer frequent such spaces and will worry more about myself and the livelihood of Black women in society.