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White Women are Weak and Docile?

Post on January 2nd, 2010 in Social & Legal Issues | 21 Comments

Many have heard the stereotype imposed on white women in interracial relationships. You know the one… white women are meek and mild.  They do whatever a man (or more specifically, a black man) wants. They don’t talk back. They cook and clean and know how to make their man happy no matter how he treats her. HA! As a strong, intelligent, and independent white woman with many similar pigmentally challenged friends of the female persuasion, I can say this is a CROCK! However, when it is espoused by some* black men (usually to black women) it is presented as some sort of attribute, a complement even. LOL So, I often wonder, why is it put out there? What is the purpose of the stereotype?

I have black women friends that tell me that they have heard this stereotype told to them many times by some* black men who date white women. The men, I am told, often say this in context of “explaining” why they date white women (like there needs to be an explanation). In promoting this stereotype, they often also stereotype black women as unusually demanding, loud, unsupportive, etc. So, when we look at this, it is actually a huge dose of sexism levied at women in general. I have never spoken personally to a man that pushes this theory, but I would like to, because I would expose it for what it is, flawed and filled with ignorance. Does this mean that there are no white women that are weak-willed? No. I find that when women are insecure about themselves, they may have a tendency to be more tolerant. Does it mean that there are no black women that can be loud and inflexible? No. However, you find this in reverse as well. Why do black men, who have felt the sting of negative stereotypes themselves, feel compelled to advance them against their women, white and black alike? Additionally, for this article I am not even addressing the same types of things, but magnified, said about Asian women.

So, back to my question regarding the purpose of the stereotype. I am not a black man that promotes this thought, so I can’t really know why it is done. However, I’m going to throw out a few theories for your consideration.

  1. Black men that support the stereotypes may feel that they need to explain why they would date outside of their race. They have to find something wrong with black women, to justify them being with a white woman. If this is the case, it appears it would come from a place of insecurity about their decision to date white women. I don’t think I would want to be with a man that is feeling these type of conflicting emotions over being with me.
  2. This stereotype may be used to manipulate black women by targeting their need/want to be in a relationship with a black man. Possibly there is the thought that if these black men keep talking about their choice of white women because they are more docile, this will encourage black women to behave in the same way.

One of the main detriments of this stereotype, in my opinion, is that it pits women against women. White women in interracial relationships know that some of the more piercing looks of disapproval regarding their relationship often will come from black women. Can you blame them? I know if I was constantly told that the men that I wanted a relationship with were not with me because they thought white women were “better” I wouldn’t react in a positive manner either. Additionally, possibly because of that hurt and anger, some black women turn the stereotype around from a (false) positive to a negative. Thus, the white woman whom the black man says is sweet/docile regardless of what is done to her, then by black women become labeled as doormats and “can’t handle their business,” spineless, etc, while the black men that are with them, become labeled weak because they “can’t handle a REAL woman.” Ohhhhhh, it gets ugly, doesn’t it?

These stereotypes need to come to an end. They need to be challenged. They are detrimental. White women, it is not a complement. Black women, do you really believe this mess? Black men, if you are dating only white women because you “think” there is something flawed about black women, you need to check yourself. Women, remember when we were young and we vowed to our girlfriends not to let boys divide us? Well, that was good then and is still good now.

*emphasis made to note that this writer is only referring to black men that engage in this stereotype and is fully aware that this does not pertain to most black men and should not be interpreted as such.

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21 Comments

  1. Suzy (Mixed and Happy) January 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    You hit on so many great points. Thanks for posting this! I am going to share with with my FB friends now.

    Sincerely,
    a strong white woman:-)

    Reply
  2. Ebony January 4, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Hi Lorrie ~
    First, congratulations on finding love; it’s a cold, cruel world out there. Having a supportive man in your life is a Blessing; and, nurturing that relationship is hard work — often harder when dealing with the disapproval of some.

    Certainly, there are stereotypes — there’s no way around it. Yet, often people rely on stereotypes to explain reasons why…fill in the blanks.

    If you know CoCo — rapper Ice-T’s wife — you know she is not weak or docile. She’s very opinionated and extremely proud and protective of her marriage.

    For many Black women, watching the few eligible Black men marry and date outside of the race is painful — primarily because of the numbers. There is a saying, “When they achieve, they leave.”

    Intellectually, Black women understand chemistry, attraction, connection, opportunity, and all those things we can’t explain when it comes to meeting someone and moving that initial attraction to the next level.

    It’s a process — more Black women are at least OPEN to exploring relationships outside the race…especially if Black women want to share their lives with someone. However, it takes two.

    And, with those ugly stereotypes about Black women —> if your own men don’t want you, what’s wrong with you…it may take some work on society as a whole.

    Be well

    Reply
    • Lorrie January 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm

      Thank you for your reply, Ebony. I absolutely hear what your saying. I agree working on society is a good thing. :)

      Reply
  3. Kerry January 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    You make many good points Mrs. Hinton, but in a effort to prove your points I believe you’ve added more to the stereotype BY throwing in the word weak. I rarely hear white women described that way, although I have often hear them described as mild and meek (along with docile, which can simply means gentle). I must disagree with you in your belief that those adjectives are negative. I see those traits as positive and at the risk of inciting a riot, it appears to me, on average, that white women “seem” to be a little gentler. I base this on observing women interact, not just in relationships.

    In my limited experience with both races, it “seems” that white women become so attached to the part of a man they consider good that they more easily overlook or accept his inadequacies. This can have good and bad consequences. On the one hand, a man who has many shortcomings can feel encouraged to continue improving himself and his relationship when his woman shows him love even though he’s not fulfilling all his duties as a man. On the other hand, some men take that love as a given and don’t strive to improve.

    When it comes to black women, it “seems” as though they look at the WHOLE man and are not as accepting of his weaknesses (especially if they don’t see any improvement). As you can imagine this too can have good and bad consequences. Some men understand that it is easier for a women to love a “complete” man and so they strive to be a man in every sense of the word. Many others take the path of least resistance and seek out a woman who will accept them as they are. This is where the stereotype begins. An “incomplete” man searching for a women who will accept him as he is, instead of focusing on becoming a complete man.

    Having said the above, whether the stereotype is true or not, the fact remains weak men will seek out women they can control, regardless of race. And although I consider myself a strong man (who happens to be black), I prefer women who are “docile” and “gentle” regardless of her race. Not because I want someone to control, but because I want a peaceful home environment. And unlike weak men, I know it is up to me to provide a loving home that a woman wants to be a part of.

    I have learned that if I want a successful relationship it is my responsibility to be a “complete” man (emotionally and financially), BEFORE I begin a relationship. This is something most men don’t understand.

    Although slightly off topic, I don’t believe anybody is truly “independent”, as you described yourself. You didn’t have your children “independently” and hopefully you’re not raising them without assistance. We all depend on others for something, even more so when we’re married.

    Reply
  4. Lorrie January 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Kerry,

    Thank you for your response. You stated that I added the “weak” to stereotype of white women and that weak is not the same as meek and docile. Allow me to provide you some definitions:

    Definitions of docile on the Web:

    * willing to be taught or led or supervised or directed; “the docile masses of an enslaved nation”
    * ready and willing to be taught; “docile pupils eager for instruction”; “teachable youngsters”
    * easily handled or managed; “a gentle old horse, docile and obedient”
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    * Yielding to control or supervision, direction, or management; Ready to accept instruction or direction
    en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Docile

    * docility – the trait of being agreeably submissive and manageable
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    * docilely – Submissively or obediently
    en.wiktionary.org/wiki/docilely

    Meek:
    # humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness; “meek and self-effacing”
    # very docile; “tame obedience”; “meek as a mouse”- Langston Hughes
    # evidencing little spirit or courage; overly submissive or compliant; “compliant and anxious to suit his opinions of those of others”;”was submissive and subservient”
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webw

    Per these definitions, yes, docile and meek, can be synonymous with weak.

    You say that you have “limited experience with both races”, but yet you opine. Because you haven’t experienced something “in your limited experience” doesn’t really mean it isn’t true, right?

    Regarding the stereotype being negative or not, that is certainly subjective. In my opinion it is quite negative. Your opinion and some others may be different. That’s fine. Value judgments vary depending on culture, geographic region, religion, etc. I stand behind that for me, and many other white women in the American culture, it is a negative stereotype.

    ‘ I prefer women who are “docile” and “gentle” regardless of her race. Not because I want someone to control, but because I want a peaceful home environment.”

    I guarantee you sir, a woman does not have to be docile to live in a peaceful home environment. Now, if you mean a home environment without a woman that will question when concerned, express opinion, contribute to ideas or show normal human emotion, well I suppose that is a different story.

    Regarding independence, you’re right, as humans we are all somewhat dependent on other humans in this world, but you knew that wasn’t really what I was referring to when I said I was an independent woman, right?

    Take care and Blessings to you.

    Reply
  5. Kerry January 25, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Lorrie, before I respond to your post please know that you will have a hard time finding anyone more supportive of women than myself. I have encouraged men for years to treat women (and females in general) with respect. In other words, not to use foul language in their presence, to open doors, to protect them. I will anticipate your response and say that “independent” women who don’t want to be treated differently have that right. It is also my right to treat women like queens which is what I do and encourage other men to do as well. So if you or your female friends don’t want to be pampered by me, run when you see me coming because I always open doors and always pay for all meals. I am as old-fashioned as they get. Now on to your post.

    I couldn’t help but notice that the word “weak” was not in your definition of docile and meek, which was my point in my first post. So unless your middle name is Webster and you know something I don’t, docile and gentle are not synonymous with weak. Although “meek” does have weak in its list of synonyms, that doesn’t mean they are always interchangeable. If you look to your bible you will find that everyone (men and women) are encourage to be gentle, mild, meek and kind. We are all encouraged to be manageable and teachable. Jesus was described as meek and humble, docile and gentle. Surely you don’t believe women shouldn’t be! Or that imitating Jesus is a bad, negative thing!

    Jesus showed how humble he was by washing the feet of apostles and Moses “was by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground.” Do you believe that these men were weak? I could give you countless examples throughout the bible of men and women who were described as gentle, docile, teachable, humble, mild and submissive, all synonyms of meek. As you can see gentle and meek are indeed positive traits.

    Finally, although my experience in dating women of different races is limited, it is more that your experience as you have never been a man who dated women, and yet YOU opine! :-)

    I wish you the best and will support you and all women (and men) whenever I can.

    Reply
  6. Lorrie January 25, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    LOL It appears that you attach different value to the terms than I, and that’s OK with me. Other readers can also come to their own conclusions.

    Reply
  7. temple January 26, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Kerry–
    Lorrie’s response to you on Jan. 11 was thoughtful, honest and informative about one of the stereotypes she faces as a woman who’s white. Well actually, that’s what her Post itself is about.
    I’m mystified by your reply to her. Independence is about being accountable for your own welfare & your own actions in the world. A trait all individuals should aspire to. I once went on a date with a man who was very gentlemanly the entire evening, held the door for me at my building at the end of the date & then tried to force himself on me (if I saw him today I would definitely run). Not everyone is as they appear–no disrespect to you. Also, Jesus was strong in character . He spoke directly & firmly of his beliefs & withstood all the storms that came his way. That doesn’t imply meek or docile–at least not to me. By the way, I have no idea what the bible has to do with Lorrie’s very insightful Post, but I aim to please.
    Actually, I’m not mystified, but disappointed that you don’t seem to have considered Lorrie’s reply to you with her same thoughtfulness when you replied.

    Reply
    • Kerry February 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm

      Hi Temple, I hope you don’t think I am against Lorrie and her cause. I fully support her. I simply stated that I rarely hear white women described as weak, although I have often heard them described as gentle and docile. In fact, it doesn’t make sense that a man would like a weak woman, but it does make sense that a man would love a gentle woman. I have never heard a man say that he liked a woman because she was weak, but I have heard many men say that they liked a woman because she was quiet or gentle or kind. Our minor disagreement comes in our beliefs about the merits or lack thereof of being considered gentle and docile. I believe being gentle and docile are valuable traits for both men and women, at least as it pertains to marriage. This is when I brought up the bible as a source of several examples of men and women exhibiting those very qualities. And if I may “educate” you, Temple, Jesus was described SEVERAL times as either gentle, kind, docile or meek. You are correct that he often showed great courage, but even in the face of challengers he remained calm and treated his enemies with kindness. In other words, although he was indeed humble and meek, he was in no way weak. Which was my original point with my new friend Lorrie; that weak and gentle are not the same. And that gentleness and kindness are qualities that God wants us all to have. As for your dating experience, although you said that you would run from him if you saw him, I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply that the date was bad because he was a gentleman. Had he remained a gentleman I’m sure your date would have ended better.(Actually I’m not sure what point you were trying to make.) As for your thoughts about independence, I don’t believe it helps make marriage better. Yes, we should all be accountable, but that’s not being independent. Independence means separation, freedom, autonomy or self-reliance, almost the exact opposite of marriage, which means alliance, a union, merger or monogamy.

      Reply
  8. pharmacy tech August 11, 2010 at 10:58 am

    nice post. thanks.

    Reply
  9. Lorrie August 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Thank You, pharmacy tech! If you haven’t already, please join us at our facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/BishopCDMiller#!/interracialfamily?ref=ts

    Reply
  10. Lorrie August 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    ooops! that link turned out wrong. this is the correct link for the interracial family organization on facebook. http://www.facebook.com/interracialfamily?ref=ts

    Reply
  11. Liquiscence August 23, 2010 at 8:35 am

    I just came upon this page and enjoyed the original article written by Lorrie. However, I ended up enjoying the posts from the individual “Kerry” even better. I think he proved his point and educated the readers as well. Kerry, you did a wonderful job teaching Lorrie the truth with such a detailed counter that made her original post (and her reply to yours) seem somewhat diminished in scope and value. I think you ought to have your own column and post some more informative insights. Readers would definitely appreciate it.

    Liquiscence

    Reply
    • Kerry August 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm

      Hi again Lorrie (and Liquiscence, great name by the way), I visited your Facebook page, but I couldn’t find you, are you (and your family) on it? When I saw those beautiful kids it reminded me that I didn’t mention that I also have a gorgeous biracial daughter (whose mother is also biracial). I read somewhere that girls get their self-esteem from their fathers, do you find this to be true?

      Liquiscence, I did not in any way mean to diminish Lorrie’s goals. I hope we can all learn from each other, as the bible says, “iron sharpens the face of iron”. I don’t plan writing a blog, but I hope to have a book published soon (Title: The 24: Hour Man!). If you or any of Lorrie’s readers would like to read a few chapters send me an email: faxxess@gmail.com

      Thanks Lorrie

      Reply
  12. ALLEYCATZ September 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Why do some women even care what men think of them? Of White, Black women? Who gives a damn? It’s a man’s world and women are oppressed and have to fight and assert themselves all the time. Of course men will always talk down about women to bring them even more down and CONTROL them. Their power in the world is slipping away. Rather thank thinking of what they think and say of women be concerned with having fun and don’t give a damn, and stay fit and strong, and athletic (like our body desin requires) don’t be weak.

    Reply
    • Laura Stillman September 18, 2010 at 10:15 am

      I read all of the comments you made on this one post. They all had the same type of message. I just approved one, but I appreciate your passion in responding to the subject.

      You mentioned several times that women shouldn’t allow men to open the door for them, they can do that for themselves. Of course we all can. But my husband was raised to be a gentleman, and that is how we raised our sons. I see it more as respect and affection. I have never opened my own door when I have been with my husband, for the last 10 years. It is his way of caring for me. And I do many things in return to show my care.

      We should not care what a man thinks. But one of the issues brought up in the article is that black and white woman have not been seeing themselves on the same team. And I think some blame that dynamic on the other group of women. This was to point out the flaws in that thinking.

      I do not feel oppressed and that this is a man’s world. I know where power lies, and the one with the loudest voice isn’t always the person in control. My husabnd is the head of household. But trust me. He and I both are clear on where control lies. Equally between us. And my soft power, gets me whatever I want.

      I hope you continue to join in on our conversations! Welcome to the IFO!
      Laura

      Reply
  13. Mixed and Confused August 16, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Well being from a family with a white great-grandmother and a black great-grandfather who hated all things black (both of them), I can say that I have hands on experience with the devastating effects of two people who came together out of equivalent insecurity to form an alliance against those that they both hated and felt inferior to. My Big Momma (white), may God rest her soul, said the most disparaging things about black people in general and my Great Grandaddy (black), may God rest his soul, agreed. As a lighter skinned black female with straight hair, I do know that black males have gravitated to me in place of my darker skinned sisters. I too, have heard negative things out of the mouths of black men toward the females whose image is most like theirs. I’d also like to note that where I see white women with black men, they (white women) don’t seem to have many black female friends. And I’d be remiss to exclude the phenomenon whereby black male/white female couples are somewhat unattractive, but amusingly enough, not the offspring they produce…yes, even in my Great Grandaddy and Big Momma’s case.

    Reply
  14. Tony February 16, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Very interesting post, thank you!

    I’m a Caucasian and my wife also is (we are different nationalities).

    Well, stereotypes are usually 70 % false and let me tell you that I haven’t really met a more proud, straight talking and no-nonsense woman than my wife.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tony

    Reply

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