Watching the video Sh*t White Girls Say to Black Girls brought a refreshing illustration of internalized racism. Out of the many common series of “Shit Girls Say” videos pouring on the internet, Franchesca Ramsey nails the hardly discussed racist comments towards people of color. This video should make you uneasy about the interpretations and stereotypes made for being a person of color. Through TV shows such as Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne”, these stereotypes placed on people of color are exaggerated and the media used to represent people of color are limited. As fellow blogger Kerishma Panigrahi pointed out, “no ethnic group is a monolith, yet the media insists on representing them in that way.” Racial diversity in the media has a long way to go.
bell hooks in her chapter “Black Beauty and Black Power” examines the solution that black activists developed against internalized racism. By creating a movement of “self-love” in the 70’s, black activism worked on interpreting black as empowering and going against the color caste hierarchy which lauded and gave privileges for having lighter features (122). An example of the revolutionary and politicized practice that halted in this movement was the use of chemical straighteners among women of color. Detaching away from the traditionally racist interpretation of natural hair being deviant among women of color, the natural texture of hair was more commonly worn and seen as a political and social effort to destigmatize the offensive attachments labeled on it. This form of reclaiming racial integrity can allow us to move forward from what is deemed beautiful and strip away the deviance assigned non-whites in society. The idea that the body that one was given at birth is not good enough is disproportionately adopted among women of color.
hooks also illuminates the problem that arose with the process of assimilation among people of color into mainstream society. Referring to this practice as “embracing liberal individualism”, she expands on how this worked to weaken black activism on beauty standards after the civil rights movement. Although people of color were “free” to choose how they wanted to carry themselves, especially in the aesthetics sense, it did not stop the self-policing and internalized culture against racist notions of beauty and the self. With current TV media discourse failing to positively shape our perspectives on beauty norms which connect to self-awareness and self-love, we can place our faith in cyber media and independent artists to encourage racial diversity.