Self-Hatred

I have been thinking about self-hatred a lot for a few weeks and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. If you’ve been following this blog at all you can imagine that my musings have stemmed from the dialogue generated by my post Brothers (in the other sense of the word) in which I kick around the idea of inter-racial dating.

The comments evoked by that post have really caused me to want to dig deeper into an examination of my perspectives on race on tons of levels. And, there seems to be no more logical place to start than an examination of my thoughts about my own. Let me give you some background.

By any reasonable persons phenotypic assessment of me, I am Black. Call me African-American if you like, but that’s where things start to get problematic for me. I contain healthy doses of Black, Irish and Native American. And while I can give you the names of my Irish and Native American ancestors, I’d have a far tougher time distilling out the “pure” Blacks, or Africans, “pure” African Americans (if ever there were an oxymoron). I’ve always been frustrated by that term because it says so little about who we really are as a people, or better yet as peoples, and still there are so many stereotypes that resonate with its utterance. I prefer Black. That’s me.

Despite anyone else’s assessment of me, I can honestly say that I am at a place in my life where I love me. I believe I am beautiful. I wouldn’t trade my hips, hair, breasts, lips, thighs or nose for anyone’s (though I am committed to shedding these pounds I’ve packed on over the last few years….another post all together). I love being a Black woman. I love the rhythm of our music, the soul in our essence, the bond that makes the only two Black people in a room talk to each other like they’ve grown up together. I love our beauty, our diversity, our tremendous determination to survive…and more than survive, to thrive. I love that Black female preemies have the highest survival rate of any premature babies. We’re fighters. We’re survivors. And I love that.

I hate that there are aspects of our history and of our very real present that have forced us into survival mode. I fear that much our potential as a people and as individuals has been squandered because we’ve learned to live in survival mode and we think it’s normal, we think it’s all there is. I hate seeing our people living life on the defensive, carrying chips on our shoulders that weigh us down, hold us back. I grieve for those of us who have no other option than survival. I am frustrated with those who choose not to exhaust all available options to thrive.

And it’s precisely this frustration that has me thinking about self-hatred. So, I looked it up and here’s what I found. The quote is from Wikipedia, “the encyclopedia anyone can edit”. But I thought, what better definition than the one that resonates with the culture. Here’s what I found. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

You may be visiting this blog and identify as something other than Black. Please don’t hesitate to post your comments. You are safe here. Your voice is welcome.

Self-hatred literally refers to an extreme dislike of oneself, or being angry at oneself. The term is also used to designate a dislike or hatred of a group to which one belongs. For instance, ‘ethnic self-hatred’ is the extreme dislike of one’s ethnic group. Accusations of self-hatred are often used as an ad hominem attack.

The term ‘self-hatred’ is used infrequently by psychologists and psychiatrists, who would usually describe people who hate themselves as ‘persons with low self-esteem‘. Some people think that self-hatred and shame are important factors in some or many mental disorders, especially disorders that involve a perceived defect of oneself (e.g. body dysmorphic disorder). “Ethnic self-hatred” is considered by some people as being a cultural issue, to which psychological theories have limited relevance.

Black self-hatred
Black self-hatred is generally defined as a Black person who hates his Black racial identity and may try to distance himself from this identity. Like Jewish self-hate, there is some disagreement as to what it means to be Black. Some Black people feel that those who demonstrate a preference for clothing styles, music choices, etc. that have been predominantly associated with white culture are self-hating. Thus for them being Black is more just one’s skin color. Some, such as journalist John Carlson, have suggested that gangsta rap is a form of Black Self-hatred. In his view, when Black rappers portray Black women as “bitches” and “whores” and Black men as “worthy of respect only in relation to their capacity to kill or maim others” they are essentially expressing a form of self-hate with basically buying into and propagating, through their music, racist stereotypes about Black people. This term has been used by Black supremacist groups to defend racism.
Black self hatred can show itself in the form of embarassment or shame in those things that are culturally identified with African heritage. It is ingrained in subtle ways from childhood. A person becomes reluctant to share or perpetuate activities or traditions that have in the past cause them pain. They come to hate those things and in extention themselves.

What do you guys think? What is self-hatred? What does it look like in any form? How easy is it to spot in others? In ourselves?

Les deseo Self-Love!

Lexi

52 thoughts on “Self-Hatred

  1. Okay, Alexis and I just had the following conversation about this entry. Maybe this will add some fuel to the fire for you…

    katrice0321: Wow… I need to think before I respond to the Self-Hatred blog.
    alexis_dickens: take your time.
    katrice0321: Okay. This is something I have never thought about and I’m sure there’s some feeling I have about it.
    alexis_dickens: like i said. take your time. a line in Kwesi’s poem really compelled me to post what i’ve been thinking about for a while. He said to reject a man by the color of his skin is racism.
    alexis_dickens: can you be racist against your own race?
    alexis_dickens: i doubt it…so what’s left?
    katrice0321: I don’t know. I think you can be racist against your own race.
    katrice0321: Racist is a broad term for me.
    alexis_dickens: but if you are racist against your own race, aren’t your racist against yourself…therefore, self-hatred?
    katrice0321: Yes.
    katrice0321: And both can be present at once.
    alexis_dickens: ok. i’ll wait
    katrice0321: okay, cuz I need to think
    katrice0321: Kwesi thinks I’m a racist.
    katrice0321: I always deny it, but I need to really examine my thoughts.
    alexis_dickens: ok.
    alexis_dickens: towards others or us?
    katrice0321: Could the fact that I automatically assume all white people hate me until they prove otherwise be racist on my part?
    katrice0321: Toward others, definitely.
    alexis_dickens: possibly.
    alexis_dickens: i want to explore black racism in another post.
    katrice0321: My feelings toward us vary. I am probably more likely guilty of excessive self-love, but does the concept exist? I think absolutely so.
    katrice0321: But black people can have an awful tendency to drive me nuts though.
    katrice0321: I hate to hear loud people in public places and see women with their hair in rollers walking to the store in house shoes.
    katrice0321: But I ascribe this to a ghetto few, so I don’t think that’s racist.
    alexis_dickens: i think we have to be able to distill out where self begins and ends…
    katrice0321: and where hate begins and ends
    alexis_dickens: part of the SH argument is that to hate others “like” you is to hate yourself.
    alexis_dickens: now we’d never wear rollers in public, but is there any self represented in what we reject?
    katrice0321: hmmm…. See this is my dilemma. When does it become hate, and when does it become race-based hate.
    katrice0321: I could hate to see people in rollers because I think it’s uncouth and someone else could hate to see it because they think that’s one thing wrong with “those black people.”
    alexis_dickens: if you see a white woman in rollers does it produce shame? what about a black woman? what’s the difference?
    katrice0321: Exactly. I hate to see anybody do it. But I feel invested in it when it’s one of us.
    alexis_dickens: right
    katrice0321: For the same reason I feel shame when fellow Christians meet you in the store and break out in lou tongues in the middle of telling you how they’ve been.
    katrice0321: *loud
    alexis_dickens: exactly. let’s add Christian to the Self-hatred discussion.
    katrice0321: It embarrasses me because we wear the same name.
    alexis_dickens: Save this IM and post it!
    katrice0321: LOL!
    katrice0321: I will.

    • All so called black people from this country and the caribbean and south America came from Africa so “That MAKES YOU ONE AS WELL” 90% of all African American women can trace their roots through DNA straight to the mother continent which is called Africa or Kush. 75% of so called Black males can trace their roots back to Africa, the ones that cannot are mixed with other races or through slave rape. But if one uses DNA on his or her mother side they WILL 90% 0f the time through DNA find they are genetically African. Be it as it may you want to be called Black, genetically you are still an AFRICAN WOMAN, American with a US nationality that is why you are called AFRICAN AMERICAN and please take note at the start of the revolutionary phase in American his-story so called Negros did not want to be called black. So with that said i hope this was helpful and lets work to unite our people God bless.

  2. Racism can be turned towards your own race. Intra-racism is another term used. It is seen as a form of self-hatred. Feeling as if a white person has to prove themselves to you does not mean you are racist, but you may not help the fight to end racism. There are degrees of racism or “cultural competence”, if you will. Those who help perpetuate it, those who avoid it and those who fight it. There are two others I can’t think of.

    Self hatred is so broad. Race or ethnicity is only one of so many things a person can despise. Does dating outside of your race equal self-hatred? Hardly; unless pre-meditated. If you purposely do not date a person because they are Black and only because they are Black then yes, you are looking at self hatred. But if you do not date a Black man because of past trauma from another Black man then you are looking at something entirely different.

    If you do not want to be asociated with anything that may lead some one to associate you with Black people or being Black then you may be suffering from self-hatred. Or maybe you have ben deprived of your cultural heritage and simply do not know Black American traditions. There are som many what ifs and possible situations. Can you readily look for and identify self hatred in an individual? Would you say a female with relaxed hair is suffering from a form of self hatred? A person who wears their foundation a shade or two too light? A person who refuses to use or respond to any black southern dialect?

    I do think the definitions are accurate except for the rap issue. I do not agree that gansta rap is self hatred. Negative, albeit, but I would not agree with it being self hatred.

  3. Pardon me, this may seem a bit impolite but I am made to tire. Self-Hatred! Racism! This all seems so ignorant to me. Racism is defined as follows; prejudice or animosity against people who belong to other races. Self-Hatred is defined as follows, hatred or contempt for your own weaknesses or innate characteristics such as ethnicity or race. Do you know how race is defined? It’s defined as follows; any one of the groups into which the world’s population can be divided on the basis of physical characteristics such as skin or hair color. Okay so all of this bunk over hair and skin.

    The beginning of racism is the defining of one based on one’s hair, skin or the slant in one’s eyes. If we really want to deal with racism we must stop defining people this way.

    I think not being able to see a person beyond their skin and the color of their hair is self hatred. I think the inability or refusal to forgive others who have messed up just like we have (based on the skin color groupings) is self hatred. I think to define me based on the color of my skin is hatred, hated of me and hatred of the one race that God created, human. When does it end? When do we stop aligning ourselves with the skin of other people and do the hard work of getting to know people? We are to darn lazy!

    Heck! If you think you can know me based on my skin or my size or my hair, please! How can you not identify with all the skin groupings? Here’s a bigger problem, if you don’t love all the skin groupings, all the hair groupings, all the size groupings, all the skill groupings, you can’t love God. Does that then mean that self hatred is equal to God Hatred? Answer that.

  4. Struck a nerve, did we? lol

    In an ideal world, love would have no color, right?

    The only problem is, we don’t live in an ideal world. But failing to change contributes to the broken state of the universe.

    So the question becomes, when do we each begin to contribute to changing this flawed society we live in by changing our own views? I, for one, have to learn to give all God’s children the benefit of the doubt.

  5. OK, now we’re talking!!

    Anonymous, thanks for your insight. One of your definitions is the one that resonates the most with me:

    “If you do not want to be asociated with anything that may lead some one to associate you with Black people or being Black then you may be suffering from self-hatred”.

    It’s this blanket rejection that is rooted in shame that seems to be what makes the most sense to me when we talk about this. We are all annoyed and disgusted by people all the time and just because they happen to be the same race as us does not, for me, constitute self-hatred.

    When I was sharing the piece I decided not to post about black men (re: Great Guys post)I was really struggling with this topic. I think I’ve concluded that there’s nothing wrong with me being upset with ignorance and stupidity. Speaking of which, I watched about 15 miniutes of Baby Boy this weekend. I couldn’t handle it. I was SO disgusted. Is that self-hatred? I don’t think so.

    Hey Kwesi, thanks for sharing! LMBO!!

    Race does not exist biologically. NIH has spent tons of billions of dollars on the Human Genome Project and when it comes to race, there is not a single gene that exists solely in one “race” to the exclusion of the others and people are often more genetically similar to people from another race than individuals of the same race. We made this mess up!!

    I agree. It’s all about phenotype (what somebody looks like) and a society that gets to exalt preferences. The “preferred” becomes the norm and thus the standard and all deviations become pejorative. It’s the same with language, but THAT’s another post too. (ie, who get’s to say that the King’s English is standard and not ebonics, or Spanish Spanish as opposed to Chilean Spanish). It’s a matter of preferences. But the truth is that preferences matter. Ebonics is not going to get you a job, neither will wearing rollers and house shoes to the interview.

    I feel the challenge to see people as people. But it’s hard. We are not colorblind. We were not socialized to be. It’s much easier said than done.

  6. I know that its long but please everyone read this blog…

    It is June 30, 2007 far from when the original post concerning black self hatred was discussed. However, I rarely read blogs and usually never respond to them. Until I read the less than commonly known fact that black female preemies are the most likely to survive at birth. Yes we are naturally born fighters. And being that I was a biology major in college I know that white males are the least likely to survive premature birth. I often drop this little known fact and here it was in this blog so I felt moved to respond. Black self hatred is such a silent epidemic I liken it to a plague or disease that slowly robs you of not only your body but your soul, your past, your present and your future. There was once this young black male that I loved. He was beautiful inside and out. He was physcially strong but emotionally weakened by the colorism that existed in his family. I spent years trying to love it out of him and nuture him back to seeing his awesome brillance. My God this man was beautiful. But he hated himself, and though he would be the first to say the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice he would only date white women. Sistas I know you feel this. His skin was dark and flawless. His nose was broad and strong. His bone structure was like a african statue but he hated them all…secretly. I waited patiently and prayed that I could crack the code by educating him about black history and constantly complimenting him but ultimately it wasnt him but his family’s influence that ended us. They beat it into him at a very early age that he was too dark. His oldest sister married a blond blue eyed white man. His oldest bother married the same in a white women. And his next brother followed suit. Can you imagine sitting in a room where none of the kids resemble any of the parents on purpose? But I was the “black girl” a token amongst my own people. I am beautiful, esthetically pleasing and I know it but in this family I was simply the black girl. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that I can never love him enough to heal the wounds he suffered as a child-when he needed his mother to hold him. And that there is no black history lecture to soothe his pain when his own sister said that his penis would be too dark. Yes she really did. I still love him to this day, I love his soul, his smile and his heart but unfortunately I know that he can never fully love me. Sometimes I shutter at the thought that eventually his african beauty will fade into the racial ambiguity of an interracial child and only then will he be satisfied having erased those features which he so loathed.

  7. @ loving his soul

    Thank you so much for reading this post and reviving it with your comments. What a heart wrenching story. It’s so hard to love oneself when all of the messages you receive are that you’re unlovable.

    I’m going to add a “Recent Comments” widget so that others will read what you had to say.

    Welcome and please come back.

  8. Uh-Oh, but here I Go!!! I was one of those self-hating blacks. I truly say was. I was born in the south and excelled in school. I was forever teased about trying to be “white” and only when I would purposely make mistakes was I considered “cool”. My own brother would call me white chocolate for being an honor student. When I was young, I didn’t understand why so many of my peers didn’t try to excel or consider college. Now where I was from the adults worked or didn’t have a house. There wasn’t any government housing in that part of the country and value/morale teachings were at a high. Yet, my generation seemed to be the start of the Me Generation.

    After reaching my young adult years, I joined the military, finished a degree, and did very well. I still didn’t understand why many of the other Blacks, especially those from urban areas, didn’t do the same in droves. I admit at the time I found it shameful when I struggled to speak proper english while they glorified in slang when doing professional work or got loud at times it would have been better to remain calm. I dated outside my race (white, latin, and japanese), and only admitted in later years I did so due to running from my own race.

    It took years of traveling, studying, knowing other, and finally knowing myself to come back full circle. I learned I didn’t have to hate my own or feel ashamed because those who did shameful acts who JUST HAPPENED TO BE OF MY RACE, didn’t fully represent my race. I took pride in our past Black heros/heroines, current ones, accomplishments, and Blacks that are making a difference today. It took a while, but wisdom comes with time.

    Loved this article and Thanks.

  9. I remember black.
    I remember Santa brought white dolls
    If you were lucky.
    And fruit and multi-colored swirly candy,
    And maybe a little trucky.
    I remember that we conked our hair,
    If we could afford the lye.
    It burned like crazy,
    ‘Til it made us cry.
    We bleached our skin
    ‘Til sores were left;
    A small price to pay
    To improve ourself.
    We pressed our hair
    With straightenin’ combs:
    Hot from the stove
    To make short naps long.
    I remember black and proud.
    I remember we said it oh so loud.
    I remember what happened then:
    It started a black love trend.
    We cast aside our white pursuits;
    ‘Cause by then who gave a hoot.

  10. I am a 38 year old black man who for most of my life (from as far back as I can remember) always identified more with Caucasians than I did with black people or black culture. I have always had Caucasian friends and speak perfect King’s English. For reasons that I can not truly explain, I have always hated the fact that I am black. For most of my life I have always felt like God was playing some cruel joke on me and I felt like a white man trapped in a black man’s body!

    • Ignorance, intellectual laziness and crudness are not exclusive negative characteristics to any one race.
      All races and nationalities have a segment of society that embraces these attitudes. I think you are equating the black race with low life and those of us of African lineage have been vilified enough. We, like every member of the human race are composed of individuals and no one individual represents a whole. The individual owns the behavoir.
      Think more like a human first, then like a man, then like an american man, then like a black or mixed american man, so forth and so on, you get the gist of the proper premises.
      You can be proud of the race or races that are within you based on your behavoir alone and realize you are not the only one.

    • Wow that seems so unreal. Why do you want to be white? What made you hate yourself because you were black? Is it because you were rejected by your own people? Nobody taught you about Black culture? You were told to hate your blackness? You grew up surrounded by white people only? You never related to any black person?

      I feel bad about that. I’ve never loved the black blood I was thought to have and I wished I never had black blood. I only liked being a mestizo and always will. I felt like I would hate myself if I were black. Sometimes I wish I had Indigenous, European and Asian blood. That would be nice for me. For some reason I don’t accept the African blood because it’s seen as a stigma in South America.

      It you wanted to be white, you never have thought of plastic surgery and skin lightening creams. Or maybe if a wishing we’ll existed, go for it.

  11. Scott Gray
    I am a 38 year old black man who for most of my life (from as far back as I can remember) always identified more with Caucasians than I did with black people or black culture. I have always had Caucasian friends and speak perfect King’s English. For reasons that I can not truly explain, I have always hated the fact that I am black. For most of my life I have always felt like God was playing some cruel joke on me and I felt like a white man trapped in a black man’s body!

    I have a idea of what you mean. I don’t necessary think I’m a white man trapped in a black man’s body but I hate the fact that “my race” is full of failures. I hate the fact that as a professional, I have to always prove to myself to my white counterparts in order to get accepted. its bullshit, why can’t black people function like the jews. Even if the ‘world’ doesn’t like us, we still do what we have to do as a group.

    I think we need more black billionaires, more black own business. Really, racism will fade once black people gain economic equality but that will be handed to us. we have to apply all our creative energies into other things besides music because its all about intellectual property now a days. LOL the only way to can even with someone rich is to take their money.

  12. I’m a white guy, and I think most white people are miffed by the concept of black self-hatred. Their unwillingness to even try to understand it is probably even more insulting to blacks. How the beauty of black people got subverted, in my mind, is one of the greatest crimes of the human race. I think slavery almost pales in comparison to it, when you look at it’s long-lasting effects. Sometimes I think I feel this way because I’m a musician. No musician, popular music or otherwise, can not have an opinion on race. I know black people hate getting stereotyped by the music/sports thing, understandably, but to me, music is a whole different level. It’s without a doubt the most powerful, mysterious, and unifying thing in the universe. It’s the language we spoke to each other before language. And to guide and have more influence on something like that more than any other race–by a long shot–to me, I can’t understand why it can’t be a more unifying source of pride for black people. I guess maybe it’s most people, even black people, view black music as being “tribalistic” or maybe even primitive. Most people who aren’t musicians don’t understand that jazz musicians like Charles Mingus or Thelonius Monk took the 400 or so years of Western music, the slowly evolving geniuses of Bachs and Mozarts, combined it with African polyrythmns, and ate the whole thing like candy in a matter of years. I’m in constant awe of that. The whole subversion of black genius, as well as physical beauty, really is one of the greatest crimes of all time. Especially so that black women take the worst of the whole thing. Science can now prove that every human on the planet is related to one woman, who was black. To say the situation is ironic would just be insulting. Anyway: I hope some of ya’ll appreciate my love letter :) Peace.

  13. While doing some Googling for discussion points on black self-hatred I ran across your blog. It caught my attention and provided fodder for my on-going discussion with a wise mentor of mine. He sent me the stuff below as part of our dialogue and published on the NPR website in 2005. I so glad that you do what you do. I may come back and look at other stuff On Secong Thought. Thanks

    Allow me to weigh in with the following:

    Book Excerpt: Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas of Social Power by Kenneth Clark

    The Psychology of the Ghetto

    It is now generally understood that chronic and remediable social injustices corrode and damage the human personality, thereby robbing it of its effectiveness, of its creativity, if not its actual humanity. No matter how desperately one seeks to deny it, this simple fact persists and intrudes itself. It is the fuel of protests and revolts. Racial segregation, like all other forms of cruelty and tyranny, debases all human beings — those who are its victims, those who victimize, and in quite subtle ways those who are merely accessories.

    This human debasement can only be comprehended as a consequence of the society which spawns it. The victims of segregation do not initially desire to be segregated, they do not “prefer to be with their own people,” in spite of the fact that this belief is commonly stated by those who are not themselves segregated. A most cruel and psychologically oppressive aspect and consequence of enforced segregation is that its victims can be made to accommodate to their victimized status and under certain circumstances to state that it is their desire to be set apart, or to agree that subjugation is not really detrimental but beneficial. The fact remains that exclusion, rejection, and a stigmatized status are not desired and are not voluntary states. Segregation is neither sought nor imposed by healthy or potentially healthy human beings.

    Human beings who are forced to live under ghetto conditions and whose daily experience tells them that almost nowhere in society are they respected and granted the ordinary dignity and courtesy accorded to others will, as a matter of course, begin to doubt their own worth. Since every human being depends upon his cumulative experiences with others for clues as to how he should view and value himself, children who are consistently rejected understandably begin to question and doubt whether they, their family, and their group really deserve no more respect from the larger society than they receive. These doubts become the seeds of a pernicious self- and group-hatred, the Negro’s complex and debilitating prejudice against himself.

    From Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas of Social Power by Kenneth B. Clark. Copyright © 1965 by Kenneth B. Clark. Wesleyan Edition published by Wesleyan University Press in 1989. Used by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

  14. Thanks Sean,

    Its refreshing to see that someone knows how black women are not only victimized and hated by each other, but by every other race and most devastingly by black men. That’s the what I hate. Can we talk about that?

  15. Real Brother here.

    There’s no question about it 90% of American Blacks(99.9% of Blacks in the UK, Canada and Nazi Germany) hate themselves their Race and think of Whites as Superior. Black Self-hatred (including the hatred that 90% of Black women have for Black men) is the number one problem we in America face.

    The Solution? We need an immediate and pervasive moritorium on all Self-hating Sellout Behavior which would mean for the next hundred years or until such time as the Self-Hate Index(SHI) drops to below 90%. From this day forward or until further notice no Black should HURT and or HARM another Black and no Black shall DATE and or MARRY outside of the Black Race.

    We must first address and end the BEHAVIOR that stems from Self-hatred(Blacks HURTING and HARMING other Blacks and Blacks DATING and MARRYING outside the Race) which will lead to an erosion of the Self-hate, Sellout Mentality that causes the Sellout Behavior.

    No Sellout.
    TKCAL

  16. Real Brother here.

    Black Butterfly, we as Black people have to stop buying into the lies and nonsense that Black Man Hating Black Lesbians are telling.

    While I’ll admit that its difficult for us as Black men to love any group of women who HATE us understand that if Black women stopped hating Black men tommorrow nobody would be happier then Black men.

    Women and women only CHOOSE who they date and marry and have a baby by. Only in rare cases of rape do women not get to CHOOSE. Due to the lies of Black Man Hating Black Lesbians Black women rarely CHOSE Black men who love them, want to marry them and want to raise families with them. Most Black women use Black men for money and for sperm to raise the child alone or with the other Black Man Hating Lesbian.

    All the lies about Black men being all in prison and all on the Down Low and there being a shortage of Black men and Black men abandoning Black families and wanting a White woman are all lies started by Black Man Hating Black Lesbians.

    Let’s expose the Black Lesbians and we can end the lies and MYTHS that they are starting about Black men in order to recruit the 30% of Black women who aren’t gay.

    No Sellout.
    TKCAL

  17. Hello,
    I am not an African American Black. I am person with dark skin, born into a low caste, and I live in India.

    This is a wonderful post; it addresses some of the agonies I have been going through these days.

    I have a feeling that only the fair people are attractive. I have been trying to prove to myself that I am wrong for, my belief means I am not attractive, which is not something that boosts your self esteem.

    I love a girl, and I am afraid to tell her just because she’s fair, and comes from an upper caste community. The more I think about it, the more I hate myself and my origins.
    The fact that I have been disadvantaged just because of my skin color ,( I am good at almost everything else) just rips me apart!

    And I believe this rejection from the beautiful in life is what drives us crazy. Natural selection as it were.

  18. @ anonymous

    Although I wrote this post 2 years ago, it continues to get comments. I am thankful for yours today.

    As synchronicity would have it, I was just reading about Hinduism and the caste system yesterday. I can’t imagine your agony. I am reminded, however, that you are not your skin color (or your hair, or your job, or your caste). You are the beautiful spirit within.

    Namaste

  19. Caribbean trees bear new strange fruit.
    Black blood brothers at the leaves,
    Black blood brothers at the roots.
    Black bodies drop—somebody ge shoot!
    We grow youth who never know
    The blacker the berry, the sweeter the fruit
    Strange fruit dropping while hips keep hopping
    Festival never stopping, guns keep popping
    Killing one another, never having love for each other,
    For their brother, sister, father, or mother
    Calling them nigga, ho, punk and bitch
    Self hatred is what they pitch
    We lynch ourselves—no need for white man!

    Beautiful scenes of these flambouyant islands;
    Turquoise seas, sun-drenched sands,
    The scent of frangipani, sweet and fresh
    And the sudden smell of rotting flesh.
    Here is the fruit for wailing parents to pluck.
    For the news media to sell sadness
    For the preachers to bury—but on lives the badness.
    These young Black berries never live to be ripe.
    I’m too angry to cry, so tired of the hype.
    Who of us will stop the strange and bitter new crop?

    But who are we to moan and to carry on so?
    What we reap is what we sew.
    Young Black berries we never taught to live
    So what we get is what we give.
    We watered them with Coca-cola;
    More sickening than Ebola.
    Think 65 grams of sugar adds life?
    Just ask that dead diabetic’s wife.
    Sunned them from the light of the tell-lie-vision.
    Never sitting them down and listening to their visions.
    Taught them to value gold chains
    They’re only prettier than the slave’s chains.
    Fed them with back-biting,
    Then don’t expect school fighting.
    They never knew themselves from birth;
    Jealousy only thrives
    When you don’t know your own worth.
    Taught them to wine-up in jouvert,
    But forgot to teach them how to pray.
    Throw our money into name brands,
    Instead of a few dollars to put books in their hands.

    What happened to the values we used to carry on our cloth…
    Adinkra and Kente; written languages carried close to heart.
    Young, Black berries,
    You can nea onnim no sua a, ohu; make learning a way of life.
    You can sesa wo suban; begin again.
    You can sankofa; go back and fetch the history your hearts are yearning.
    You can umoja; unite!
    You can kujichagulia; achieve self-determination!
    You can imani; have faith!
    You can believe with all your heart in your people, your parents, your teachers, your leaders, your children, yourselves and the righteousness and victory of our struggle!

  20. Um… I’m White and male. I’m dating and living with a Black female. Aside from the fact that she prefers Black musicians, tv shows/movies with Black actors, gossip about Black celebrities and books by Black authors, we get along just fine. Oh yeah… there is the complaint that I don’t cook greens like her mom. Or sweet potatoes like her grandma. No complaints about the cornbread though. Thank you Marie Callendar!
    Sometimes I can’t understand her English so I have to ask her to repeat herself. She absolutely hates it when I correct her grammar. She can’t use a spell checker in software to save her life. She’s seems oblivious to Western History, famous works of literature and basic knowledge of America like where cities are or why the Civil War was fought and by whom. Oh yeah. She’s a schoolteacher. She’s trying to get a grad degree too. I’m a scientist.
    We get hate stares from Blacks when we go out in public. Some guys walk right up and hit on her in front of me like I’m not even there. Friends of her friends use the N-word indiscriminately in front of me. When she forgets that I’m in the room, I hear comments about White people’s behavior. She had a debate with her mom about the need for a Black Santa when we have kids.

    I guess I really don’t understand the circle the wagons strategy. I’m willing to learn, experience integrate with Blacks. What will it take for the reverse to be true? There are Black politicians at every level of government. There are Black doctors, scientists, engineers, businessmen, executives, artists, actors, athletes, super models, tv celebrities, civil servants, military personnel, astronauts and entrepreneurs. Why are these successful people overlooked? If the goal is equality such that decisions should be made by personal preferences not prejudices taught from others, then why the insistence on drawing borders and putting up Keep Out signs?
    It seems to me that the Civil Rights movement already accomplished what it intended. Opportunities abound. If the issue is why haven’t 100% of Blacks taken advantage of the opportunities available, I wonder if that is a fair question. I don’t see 100% of Whites, Asians or Latinos availing themselves either. If the issue is why do Black men choose non-Black women, I wonder if that is a fair question too. If Black males date Asians or Latinos, does that cause equal amounts of frustration? If Black females choose not to date non-Blacks, are they denying themselves opportunities by their own choosing?

  21. Interesting article- and I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been thinking about this topic for a few years, as I have a lighter skinned son with straighter hair who everyone always compliments, and a darker skinned daughter with kinkier hair that is always ignored.

    While I don’t think either of my children have really noticed the differences in how they are treated (son is 5, daughter is 8), I have been thinking about how I would really like to surround myself around strong positive black role models that promote a positive self image. The problem is, I am having a difficult time finding such people. I live in Austin,TX which is definitely not a Houston or Dallas. I did join a natural hair group where the black women all wear dreadlocs, twist outs or simple afros, and that seems to be helping, but even some of these ladies are colorstruck.

    I think this is an issue in the black community that we like to ignore and deny, but that is unfortunately very real.

    Thanks again for your article – much needed.

    Rita

  22. All so called black people from this country and the caribbean and south America came from Africa so “That MAKES YOU ONE AS WELL” 90% of all African American women can trace their roots through DNA straight to the mother continent which is called Africa or Kush. 75% of so called Black males can trace their roots back to Africa, the ones that cannot are mixed with other races or through slave rape. But if one uses DNA on his or her mother side they WILL 90% 0f the time through DNA find they are genetically African. Be it as it may you want to be called Black, genetically you are still an AFRICAN WOMAN, American with a US nationality that is why you are called AFRICAN AMERICAN and please take note at the start of the revolutionary phase in American his-story so called Negros did not want to be called black. So with that said i hope this was helpful and lets work to unite our people God bless.

  23. Pingback: Jamaica – I Hate Me, So I Hate You [JCF kills citizen in cold blood] « Nubian News Network's International Blog

  24. Oh dear, I don’t know where to start. I just finished reading the blog entry and every single comment.

    I’m a “Black” female, living in White Scandinavia, Denmark. The reason I put black in quotations, is merely because of all the other nationalities mixed in me, though the dark skin being the most evident, thus apparently making me “Black”.

    My father is a Black man from South Africa, and my mother is a very light mulatto; her mother being a white german/danish woman, her father being African-American/Native American. Both me and my mother (and her brother) were born here, raised in the white part of the family.

    My family is HUGE and everyone besides me, my mother and her brother, is white. I don’t know my father, and my mother doesn’t know hers. So yeah, everyone else is white, I being the darkest.

    I’ve never really distinguished myself as being different from my family. Everyone loves me, vice versa, and race has never been a problem with anyone in my family, ever. So I’ve never felt unwelcome in my family, or treated differently. No, not at all.

    However, I was teased in “kindergarden” for being Black and look different from the other kids. It made me sad; my mother remembers times where I came home, crying myself to sleep.

    Now, as I’ve grown up (I’m 20 now, btw) I realize that all my friends have always been white, hispanic, meditarenean, pakhistan, arabic(?), etc. Basically everything that isn’t Black-black. All my dates and relationships have been with white men. Now, that is not because I’ve deliberately chosen white over black, but because I’ve always been “the only one”. Seriously. In my current studies, I am the only Black person, and it’s pretty much always been like that.

    It’s so extreme, that I’ve for all my life, been surprised when I’ve seen other blacks where I hang out, study or whatever. SURPRISED!! That really says something. When black people walk up to me and talk like we’ve been chums for life, I am like “wtf?”. I’ve never had that black-bonding thing, so I get all weirded out.

    When I watch a “gangstah” movies, or watch rap music-videos, I have a serious hard time relating to it. I believe that is because I simply didn’t grow up with that culture, thus making it “weird” and alien to me. I do not mind it, but it’s just as foreign to me, as for example Jewish culture or Pakhistanian cultures.

    But recently I’ve been thinking alot about this self-hate matter, and though I have not grown up in a Black cummunity, the self-hate thing is starting to become a trait I can relate to. If we look out of my family, I’ve always felt self-conscious for looking different. I’ve always felt sort of alienated because of my color, but it’s only recently it has started to become a problem for me.

    I can’t stand racist remarks. There was a time where I would just shrug it off, but now, I can’t. I can’t even take the jokes. It doesn’t matter if it’s a white person or a black person telling the jokes, I can’t have them. I feel sick, I feel attacked and I get depressed about it. I am not sure why this is suddenly happening, but at this given time of my life, my color is starting to be a huge problem for me.

    Yes, I call it self-hate, but not because of Black culture in general (since I’ve never known it and can’t relate) but merely because of the fact, that I look absolutely different from everyone else here.

    Well, I realize this just turned into a rant, so I’ll end it here.
    Peace.

  25. I have a question? What should I do if I have been treated unfairly by blacks my whole entire life? School, church and on the job. I was raised to accept all races, God made us beautifully in His image. I’m black, but feel ashamed just because I’m differant. Men tell me I’m not black enough for them, coworkers say I’m too proper, and not to be rude – I don’t understand the termanology of what people are saying. I feel like I’m from another planet. Sometimes I feel like I need to a Black 101 class. HELP!!!!!

    • You sound normal, the others have issues which they are trying to project onto you. They are not going to behave fairly towards you because they are not behaving fairly towards themselves.
      You can’t help them feel good about who they are.
      To those who accuse you of behaving too proper my question is ” in comparison to what?” or better still I would respond “Kiss or bite my backside I can still hear you as your’re walking away”.
      Stay an individual. Ultimately that is what you are.
      Identifiy yourself as human first, female second, race and or nationality third, etc.
      Accept how others think and keep moving. Associate with like minded people and limit your exposure to more limited minded people.
      I share your background.
      Hope this helps.

  26. Please everyone get a copy of “Brainwashed” by Tom Burrell. Visit this website: http://www.stopthebrainwash.com/ and begin the discussion of why we hate ourselves. Tom Burrell explores the roots of what we in the Caribbean call “mental slavery”. By examining the causes, we can begin to apply the cures. The last chapter in “Brainwashed” is a call to action for enlightened Black people to begin to change the attitudes of our people. A must read!

    “Question, Analyze, Unplug, Reprogram!”

  27. I hate black people(Americans who were born in the U.S.) . they disguist me. When I see the ugly obnoxious things walking down the street I avert my eyes and want to puke. Black guys are the worst, they gross me out. I have black girl friends and when I see them with black guys I’m like…why?? And they date white guys who are “hood” that’s just moronic to me. If you’re gonna date a guy he should be up to your worth. Mkay the worst thing of all is I’m African (have brown skin), but i don’t like to associate myself with black americans for the most part. ALL the ones
    i encounter are appalling! they’re just rude. But I would date a black guy who was classy like shemar moore. lol wow. Stepping outside of myself, I wasn’t me, I would hate myself right now. But that’s how I feel, must have been since childhood (I used to prefer blondes in everyway: teachers, dolls, friends, boyband members etc.) Also my excessive need to be beautiful, luckily I think I have a pretty appealing look then people remind me that i’m dark and i want to kill myself. I guess you’ve found me. I’m a girl with self hatred.

    • I am so sorry you have experienced such pain and disrespect from society, and specifically your black brothers. Yes, we should be leaders of our society, industrious providers, treating our women with respect, yet so many of us hate ourselves, and treat everyone around us terribly. We are like crabs in the bottom of the bucket pulling ourselves down, blaming each other for the predicaments we find ourselves in. I, like you, think blondes are beautiful, but so are dark skinned black women and men. Beauty is cultural as much as it is physiological, so don’t forget that this nation rose to it’s height due to the immense wealth that was attained by having free labor from people like us. Hate had to exist in order to abuse a people so extensively. That hate permeated most aspects of American society. No, that’s not an excuse for current, low life behavior, but it is a reason. So with knowing that, seek out black people that you can respect and see as beautiful and reach out to them. Have pity, yet protect yourself of course, to the black person who has not had the benefit of your experience to know we are not inferior. I hope the best for you, and I hope you can love yourself. Only then can you truly love someone else, regardless of what they look like… And they might be blond. I am a respectful, good looking (I’m told), educated, American born from Southern states, black man, and I hope if we cross paths you can see me as a nice guy and not hate me.

    • I understand. However, I trust people who think this way as yourself can come out of their rut a little more and grow up so they can have the discernment to see people through personality instead of the eyes. However, It sounds like you WANT the excuse of the horror of black American failures to mask your hate for not being whiteskinned more than you want the black community to be better… I am horrified by the dynamic of this sort of hate because I have 3 beautiful children who are raised well, but are innocently not rich or ghetto. They are taught to just enjoy life & treat people well and do their best to be as positively benevolent emotionally &spiritually.

      Yet people who choose to think like you will see them as disgusting…..

  28. I am so grateful to have found this blog. I am a 38 year old black man, that is suffering through this issue of self hate. On one hand I am an ultra liberal, that can clearly see how institutionalized racism has damaged our people, and how any people would have the same reaction, had they been terrorized and hurt, not just physically, but emotionally. Nowadays, the racism is alive and well, it’s just so much more subtle that only those who look at things from a clear, historic view can even recognize it!

    With the same breath that I hypocritically say that, I date white women almost exclusively, and feel so embarrassed by the behavior of lesser refined black folks. Women: I think black women are beautiful, but I won’t even look at a black woman unless she has natural, un-permed hair, a great body, is educated, and engages in activities that are stereotypically “white” that I enjoy, such as swimming, hiking, reading literature, etc. I went on an anti perms and weaves campaign a few years ago, saying why should I date a black woman who wants to have white hair when I could get a white woman and have the real thing? But, that is an excuse. It’s not just the hair, it’s the privilege and education that I am really attracted to.

    Black men: When I see black people acting out the stereotypical expectations, I cringe. I think mainstream black culture has been deceived into thinking wealth and the consumption of products equal success. I thought that also, until I was around whites intimately and realized that no one is impressed by trash with money, regardless of the color. I am not impressed with the millionaire entertainers that are promoted as positive black role models, that spend millions on the latest trendy crap. Yes, whites do it too, but there are so many respectable, educated whites in all spectrums of our society, that the rich, foolish ones are insignificant. We are a genius people, I just wish WE believed that.

    Honestly, I want to see black people assimilate. No, not marry whites and get plastic surgery, but to have black families that are educated and successful, not rich and famous. I want to see black women demand their men wear condoms or marry them before getting pregnant. I want to see black men go to the libraries and read books and ask questions, and take classes and go to college, and work hard and pull your pants up and not pull out a gun to kill a man that looks like you. I want black men to know that we are NOT inferior and can contribute much more to society than our penises. I DON’T believe the percentage of black gay, DL men is greater than other ethnic groups; I believe that sex is used by us to feel in control of our lives. A white man can have more money, influence and power, but he is lesser when you’re bending him over or he’s on his knees in front of you. (Sorry for being so explicit) I want to see us learn to speak english fluently AND keep our ebonic dialect. I want us to eat collard greans (w no pork!) and grits and take our art and poetry and dance further, while also enjoying Thai and Indian, and French cuisine; mastering the culture of others like they have ours. And finally, I want US… I should emphasize this… I want US to have faith that there are educated, beautiful, sane black people out there who want to live complete, happy and full lives, just like everyone else. Never lose faith in ourselves!

    Thanks for listening.

    • Thank you for sharing, Michael.

      And, by the way, I love world cuisines as much as collards and grits. And if you look hard enough into the bounty of the world’s foods — African Americans are neither the first nor the only peoples to eat either.

  29. post my teacher would made us read. But then i read it and I just want to thank you for this post. It has inspired me…not because I hate myself; actually, its the opposite!!! People try to put me down, not because I am black, but just because I am different.
    I am not like the other kids nor do I want to be like them. I love myself because I am different. I have a different sense of humor, have different dreams, and a completely different fashion sense. You could not be more right! You have to love yourself first if you expect any one to love you!!! So again, thank you for the insperation to kepp going on!!!

  30. If you notice most people identify themselves to land, because land is the basis of power. So when someone identifies themselves as Japanese (or Japanese American), you think Japan, Chinese – China, Irish – Ireland, etc. So when you identify yourself as an African American, you connect to Mother Africa, the Cradle of Civilization. The term “black” really has no power in that sense. And really, you are not really “black”. Black is a color. And most of us are more “brown” than black. Anyhow, most people that don’t like to be identified with Africa (as in African-America) do so because of the negative images that the media portrays of Africa. They have drunk the Koolaide.This ignorance is the root cause of “Black” self-hatred.

    • Hi Antonio,

      Thanks for participating in the discussion. I wrote this post many years ago and I am thrilled that it is still a vibrant discussion. Maybe I’ll update my view on the issue soon.

      • I think you should update. I commented this back in 2010 and I’m still subscribed and read comments. Go for the update! (:

  31. Hi,
    There is no doubt about the selfhate in the “black” community. However, there is an annoying unspoken subtitleness of the forms of hate. One form is just in normal civil exchanges. Most of the time for me, I get a cold welcome from other blacks when I give a civil greeting. But you see the same blacks that so-call “keep it real” & blacks that are or appear highly affluent continue to speak up and try to civil around whites. They do this with a smile but not with other blacks-like me who aren’t on that stupid crazy mess our community needs to come out of. Another form I see is ofcourse the hair. You know a black childs hair-if it’s not naturally straight, is only considered done or looking presentable after mom has spent triple the time other mothers spend on their children’s hair to make it look as far away from nappy as it can. One other one, the older generation and younger generation can’t wait for the opportunity to talk about the 1 person in their family who is either mixed or not black. No only that, you still see them giving favor towards “them” even if they do nothing any more,special than anyone else. Just a little tid bit.

  32. There is no ‘black racism.’ Racism (also known as White Supremacy) is a global system and power dynamic in which people who classify themselves as White dominate, manipulate, intimidate, people whom they classify as non-white in all 9 areas of human activity: economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war. Black people do not have power in any of these areas and can therefore not be racist. They are victims of racism and self-hate is a by-product of racism. So color sickness, hair sickness, and feature sickness, etc. are all by-products of the global system of Racism/White Supremacy.

  33. Well, self hatred is worse than the trans atlantic slavery. Personally for me tho, i can’t stand it, when some light skin AA think they are are light b’cos they must be carrying a caucasian DNA. There are millions of “pure” africans who look just like ALICIA,BEYONCE AND HALLE, who are not mixed. Black in the western hemisphere, are wallowing in self hatred, b’cos they have been taught
    a negative history of where they came from. In doing so, their history is destroyed, and their future is already crippled.I recommend to all black diasporans, the teachings of minister FARRAKHAN. You don’t have to join the NOI. Just listen with an open mind, and your life will never be the same. To the white media in america, a black person loving and embracing thier blackness is uncivilised…we know who we are!!!

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  37. I have always been ashamed of being Puerto Rican and try to get white racists in Topix to accept me as one of their own.

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