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*