The brains and beauty discussion is a topic that usually comes up when black women feel like they have to dumb it down so to speak when dating, but I recently came across an article from a self-described bleek (black geek) who, at “30-something” feels it’s difficult to encompass both brains and beauty on a daily basis as a black woman.

After describing her affinity for watching BBC and other foreign language movies, playing chess, and listening to international music, she makes an interesting point: “In this Facebook society, it’s a struggle for me as an African-American woman to simultaneously be attractive and brainy. In a society where black women are expected to be ghetto and immature, one has to be brave and be more intelligent than anyone else.”

The latter point is a black woman’s daily burden living in a white society that’s just waiting for that angry black woman stereotype to erupt, but that’s not the struggle Carol Poston is speaking on. She is referring to the discrimination she receives from her own race. She adds, “It’s sad that the black community in general rather not recognize precious and intelligent black women who fancy themselves not with meaningless gossip, but with the meaning of life. It’s lonely to be smart, but it’s about making it work. It’s in everyone’s nature to crave attention, especially African-American women, but sometimes being a quiet bleek is what gives us true value. It can be lonely at the top, but in the end, it pays off.”

To be honest, I haven’t felt the way this woman does probably since I was in high school. I remember there was a girl in one of my classes who always had a stank attitude anyway but was especially cold to me. Later down the line we had become somewhat cool through a mutual friend and she told me she used to not like me because I knew all the answers in that class. Rather than feel like I needed to dumb down whatever smarts I had, my reaction was more so, oh, that whole nobody likes the smart kid in class phenomenon really exists? *Shrug*

  • Trisha

    I was labeled as weird.

  • http://www.cosmeticdiet.blogspot.com Joanne_

    well written article and i agree, before reading i was already thinking,”hmmm, maybe she feels this way because she’s turning her nose up to those she thinks are less intelligent than she” i know that there are plenty of women who completely disregard this ‘i can’t be smart AND attractive’ nonsense and that’s a great thing. what i think is getting in her way is her higher than thou attitude and not what society deems as appropriate

  • Dee

    It’s only hard if we make so.

  • minna k.

    Question. Is the woman in the photo the author you are referring to?

    • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com chic noir

      *chic noir reaches out to give minna K a dirty slap*

      First the chick in England, now this lady. I think she should’ve called it blk and classy.

  • lyn

    I have the same question that “minna k” asked.

    • minna k.

      ok. I read the original article about being a “Bleek” ( and I gather that IS in fact the author’s photo), and i think we have a situation here similar to the woman from England that is so beautiful that other women “hate” her for it.

  • binks

    I think I know what she is trying to hint on but she is only scrapping the superficial surface, personally she should have left appearance out of the equation. A beautiful person is a beautiful person, whether they are smart, dumb, blind, deaf, black, white, etc. And to my knowledge being beautiful is rarely a negative thing or this giant curse people shun…let’s be honest our society is very superficial. Now I would understand if she went on a tangent how our community doesn’t place higher value on academics, other activities that is usually deemed “for whites folks only” i.e. the Chess, or how we don’t focus on these exception individuals in the media and our neighborhoods but the complaining about looks and brains is a woe is me scapegoat those two things aren’t mutally exclusive. As Minna K said above, this remains me of the British lady article. Furthermore, the article of the original piece fail to note the attractive and smart beautiful trailblazers black women we praise now. The only highly intelligent and attractive black woman(if you find her attractive) is Condoleezza Rice but many black people don’t like her for other reasons not because she is smart and pretty (again if you find her attractive)

    • binks

      *oops correction* the only highly intelligent and attractive black woman (if you find her attractive) that people hate on is Condoleezza Rice but many black people don’t like her for other reasons not because she is smart and pretty (againt if you find her attractive).

  • Micki

    When I read the article the lady from England immediately sprang to mind. I am going to cast aside the whole “beautiful” thing and just focus on this narrow minded view of “intellect”.

    What exactly is she telling black women? Obviously she doesn’t know very many black women because we don’t find it difficult to navigate in a world that values beauty. When I look around I am always surrounded by cultured (if you consider watching BBC as culture *smirk*), worldly, intelligent, sudoku solving women. We don’t regard it as being “geekish”, we view it as living our lives.

    Also most people appreciate the “bleek” when it is coupled with wit and humility.

  • Bronze

    Great article. I’ve encountered a lot of immature gossipy black women in high school and at meaningless low pay jobs. As I entered college and now grad school..it is NOT a problem. Higher education is an anathema to immature gossipy black women.

    I am attractive, reasonably smart and ferociously ambitions. And when you are in the zone to do something with your life….. po butt sistahs with no game are the least of your problems. The White/Asain/Arab/ and any other man is your main obstacle. White women will sideline and play games. But that is life. When you are smart, educated and work in an educated environment; the back bitting rat race filled with lies and half truths don’t deter you. don’t take it personal. It comes with the pay, the freedom, the duties of becoming the best you can be (educated/self-employed–whatever).

    I really don’t have time to dumb myself down for mindless women. That is what no good men are for.

  • edimontrealchick

    As I can only ever speak for myself, this is a total non-issue; I know a lot of intelligent Black women, in my family, circle of friends etc.

    While i appreciate the article, i sometimes (**again this is a personal opinion) feel that American news, bloggers etc., throw things up in the air (ex. colour complex, men and women issues, interracial dating etc). To see if what they write or say, will fly or fall down. I think this is the latter.

    Come on look around you, mothers, grand-mothers, if you were fortunate enough to meet your great-grandmother, these women are and will always be trailblazers, venturing into territories full of trepidation but blazed ahead nonetheless

    Would non people of colour make this an issue? They take pride in brains and more importantly they love beauty.

    Meh, just my two cents, have a great one!

    • LN

      I totally agree. This is an absolute non issue and kind of baffling to me o_0 Never in my life have I encountered an attractive black woman who felt it was hard to be smart at the same time.

      It sounds like this woman has internalized beliefs about black women being ghetto, so she feels some kind of internal conflict because she’s smart and black. Which is kind of weird TBH.

      My husband and I are both black and we’re both pretty brainy, but it’s never impacted us socially in any way. *Shrug* Sometimes we make something out of nothing.

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