You’re Pretty…for a Black Girl

Thanks to this brave author, Patricia E. Randle, for speaking out in truth about what has also been MY experience as a black woman in white America.  Read on!  Good stuff.


You’re Pretty, for a Black Girl

This comment (not compliment) either makes me laugh or want to slap someone, just depends on the mood I’m in. I mean, what is that supposed to mean? Take note. I’m not talking about simply commenting on the beautiful color of someone’s skin, hair texture, eye color, etc. Like all that is cool. But

“You’re pretty, for a Black girl.”

I’ve heard this phrase so much recently I finally started to try to break down why it rubs me the wrong way.

I realized that it’s the same as saying to someone, “You’re pretty for your age,” or “You speak good English for a Mexican.”

It usually comes from a place of preconceived stereotypes. Telling someone that she’s pretty for a/an (insert race here) usually means that you have never found that race of women to be particularly attractive, which is completely fine. Never have I tried to change someone’s mind about who they are attracted to or find pretty, but if you’re trying to use that as a compliment, IT’S NOT, and never will be. So please stop. It doesn’t make the other person feel pretty or flattered — it’s quite the opposite. Instead it leaves them in defense mode, scraping to find the right words to respond to the compliment you just gave them.

It says about you, the person dishing out the “compliment,” that you don’t normally roll with people who look like me, but that I’ve become your exception.

Why would I want to be your exception? I think I’d want to be around people who found my culture interesting as a whole, not just one tiny part of it.

At the end of the day I’m not ranting about this to beat people down, but to inform. Why can’t we just be beautiful? Why can’t someone just be athletic or smart or well-traveled?

So, the next time you’d like to compliment a lady, tell her that she’s beautiful, period. Not beautiful for a Black, Asian, or Indian.

Just beautiful.

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