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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:15 AM

‘Red Bone Girls,’ ‘Chocolate Legs,’ and Eric Benet’s Color-Complex Payday



“Redbone is one of several identities that are [mainly] about a racial mixture. It allows people to be a few steps away from blackness,” says Blay, who has interviewed several generations of self-described Creole women in her native New Orleans about the relationship between color, hair texture and their culture. “For the so-called redbone, her value comes from the European and Indian parts of the mixture. In this way, the woman is a trophy. She becomes social capital, particularly for a black man who doesn’t have this genetic makeup.”

Even worse, says Blay, is what the use of the “redbone” label in the song says about the humanity of the woman at the center of it. “The assumption is that you know something about a so-called red bone just by looking at her body. In that way, she’s still on the auction block. The message is, ‘You ain’t sh#@t ouside of what I can see.’ And by the way, I see ‘chocolate’ the same way—it reduces people down to something to be consumed. That kind of thinking robs us of all of our humanity.”

For all of my snark and Blay’s wise words, I know that Eric Benet is winning right now because we’re actually talking about him. And that’s what I resent the most here. Colorism is a legitimate problem in our communities. But it’s certainly not about whether Benet, Lil Wayne or your cousin and them are willing to give brown women play. Really, who cares what arouses them?

The tragedy is that once again we’re playing out internalized white supremacy, a system that keeps so many people of color —and white folks—hypnotized by flawed and dangerous perceptions. We only make this cursed system stronger when we celebrate aspects of it in our music and our merchandise—especially when we put it on sale for the low, low price of $19.95.

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Reply ‘Red Bone Girls,’ ‘Chocolate Legs,’ and Eric Benet’s Color-Complex Payday (Original post)
redqueen Aug 2012 OP
seabeyond Aug 2012 #1
redqueen Aug 2012 #2
PassingFair Aug 2012 #3
seabeyond Aug 2012 #4

Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:30 AM

1. Fifty Years Later, Black Girls Still Prefer White Dolls


Last week, ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) brought back the famous doll experiments by sociologist Kenneth and Mamie Clark. Originally conducted the 1940s, the “doll experiments” studied Black school aged children’s attitudes about race by giving them identical white and Black dolls and asking which one they’d prefer to play with. Half a century ago when the original study took place, 63% of Black children studied said they’d rather play with the white doll.

Good Morning America’s findings 50 years later resulted in more Black children preferring and identifying with the Black doll. Although the slight improvement is a sign of progress, ABC only looked at racism as an interpersonal issue and failed to mention the more powerful forces of instititutional and structural racism that children of color also “unconsciously absorb”.

These sorts of studies make me wonder if these findings should be considered a sign of progress or interpreted as a sign of how little we’ve moved. I’m conflicted because I don’t think the doll studies are meaningful. This is shallow journalism, but I can’t help but be saddened when a young Black child has negative feelings toward a Black doll.



this was so so sad. i remember hearing this previous study. the new study is very interesting. i had not heard this.

work to be done, especially with girls. wow. people have got to quit being so shallow to believe this does not matter. or i want to hear nothing about their ability for empathy and a feel for humanity, if ignoring this.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:49 PM

2. IMO the root of it is the obsession with superficiality.

Skin color, facial structure, weight, height... all the focus on appearance sends the message that it is meaningful and important.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 11:47 AM

3. Had the opposite experience with my daughter when she was little.

The JL Hudson Company used to have great restaurants.
I grew up with my Aunt taking me to Hudson's restaurants
whenever she took me shopping with my Grandmother and
the shopping trip always included lunch on the top floor of
the store.

They had "Clown Ice-Cream" for the kid's dessert, which was
basically an upside-down ice-cream cone decorated with a clown face.
After lunch, kids could go up to the "Treasure Chest" and pick out
whatever toy they wanted. I LOVED it!

Flash forward thirty years, and I'm there with my Aunt (Gramma
was long gone). I have my own two children with me, and when
it's time to pick the toy out of the Treasure Chest, my youngest
picks out a black baby doll (we're white).

My Aunt insists that she choose another toy, but Bea will NOT
give up the doll. Eventually, I have to get all up in my Aunt's face
about Bea being able to pick what she wants, and that there's nothing
wrong with wanting the black doll.

It was a learning opportunity for my Aunt...

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Response to PassingFair (Reply #3)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 12:22 PM

4. isnt that all so interesting passing fair


your daughters choice, which is the coolest but the expected reaction of your aunt. good for you all, experiencing that.

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