Single Black Women in Evangelical White Space: Eight Things We Wish You Knew

We’ve all seen the movies with the white protagonist who has a gaggle of sidekicks. One of them is usually the tell-it-like-it-is black chick. She is not the main character in the love story, but she’s in close proximity, offering sage advice and witty comebacks. You’re thinking of her when you say, “I have diverse relationships” but really mean, “I have this one black friend.” Many black women are used to occupying that space.

I was that friend as a single — the brown-skinned girl who stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of white, Reformed faces. I got used to answering questions about my hair (“Can I touch it?”), my skin (“Do you have to wear sunscreen?”), and my views (“Is this racist?”). And I got used to the protective shell that so many single black women living in white spaces learn how to wear when it comes to romantic relationships.

Now, married to the husband I used to pray for, I still feel very deeply the effects of those thought processes and environments I faced as a single woman of color in the church. I still find myself looking back and wishing that my white friends knew — or at least admitted — some of the unique struggles that I had to face and that I still watch so many of my sisters in Christ face every day.

1. We don’t fit the mold.

The other day, I ran into WalMart for some hair products. I scoured the shelves for shampoo that wouldn’t destroy my hair. I doubled back three or four times and passed row after row after row of options before I realized that my products weren’t even on the same aisle as everyone else’s. They were one aisle over, contained on four meager shelves.

My hair does not fit the mold of the industry standard. And while hair like mine is gaining representation, my strands are the perfect illustration of what it’s like to be a single black woman who lives in white space. When you think of the smiling soccer mom who will homeschool your kids or bolster the women’s ministry at your local church, you think of the row after row of white options, not the little ethnic shelf in the corner that you have to be looking for to spot.

2. We are not “the ideal.”

Somewhat connected to that point, there’s a reason people don’t think of melanin when they think of the soccer mom: one of the stereotypes that so many imbibe is the fact that single black women are inherently attitudinal and un-submissive. Claire Huxtable is seen as a poor substitute when the ideal woman is portrayed as being the consummate June Cleaver.

My husband and father were both raised by strong single moms. They worked because they had to keep food on the table. They were strong because there were not men in their lives to bolster them. And yet their brand of strength is consistently overlooked for the stereotype of the docile woman.

3. Black men often overlook us.

Black women are not the only people who find themselves living as minorities in white Reformed spaces. Our brothers of color are learning how to survive these awkward situations as well. Unfortunately, often, that survival mode includes trying to find a wife who looks more like the stereotype than like their mothers.

I have spoken to more than one single black man who winced at the idea of marrying a black woman. “I just need a wife who is going to submit to me.” Not, “I need to be the kind of leader who can encourage and spur on whoever my wife is, regardless of her skin color” – not, “I want to marry a woman of character, and if she happens to be white, black, or purple, to God be the glory.” But, rather, “I want to marry someone who I can control… and a black woman won’t go for that.”

4. White men are afraid to bring us home.

It is natural for us to gravitate towards people with similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds to our own. When it comes to a lot of Reformed black men, this natural inclination is supplanted by a desire to fit in. More often than not, though, when it comes to interracial marriage for majority culture, similarity rules the day.

I have had a courtship turned on its head and wondered if my brownness had anything to do with it. I have been told that, if I were white, I would be such a great catch. I have been attracted to non-black men who were equally attracted to me but did not pull the trigger because of the color of my skin.

The hurt of being good enough to be a friend but not good enough to be a wife still lingers.

5. We are less likely to get married.

This is a statistical fact, but I did not need to see the numbers to know that it was true. In a world where the standard of beauty is not usually a woman who looks like we do (Beyonce and I have nothing in common), it makes sense that black women would get passed over.

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I got used to the idea that I would forever be the side character in someone else’s romantic comedy — because my friends would pair off two-by-two according to their melanin count and I might be left out of the running for future wife, in part, because of the color of my skin. And at the risk of being a downer, it’s not something I ever felt comfortable admitting.

6. You think about the children.

We are black women. My kids were going to be marked by my melanin whether I married a Swede, a Puerto Rican, or a Pakistani. The reactions to the prospect of “mixed” children were often fearful: Will they always feel displaced? Will they have identity issues?

Sometimes, though, they were met with fetish: mixed kids were seen as more valuable/adorable than just “plain” black kids. I should marry a white man so my kids could have blue eyes and fair skin and “good” hair.

Regardless of who I married, I was going to be passing on both my melanin and its baggage, in some degree, to my children.

7. We come with complications.

As I’ve numbered off these issues, I’ve had to fight against the reflexes I developed over the years. Whatever you do, do not make the majority uncomfortable. Do your best to be the cool black friend who isn’t the oversensitive race baiter. Make them comfortable -keep the “black pride” to a minimum.

I feel a bit more freedom to be honest now that I am married because my husband knows what all men eventually find out: it doesn’t matter what color a woman’s skin is, she comes with baggage. It might be emotional, it might be spiritual, or it might be ideological. But trying to avoid the baggage of marrying one of the black women who has spent her entire life hearing society tell her that she’s not as worthy of love as her white counterparts is just adding to her baggage.

8. God Made Us In His Image

Thank goodness we can lay our baggage at the Cross.

And I don’t say that as a pat answer for the unique struggles that my darker-skinned sisters in Christ face. That’s been done before, whenever I have had the nerve to broach this subject. Inevitably, someone will tell me that there is neither Jew nor Greek and that we are all one race, the human race.

However, this Pollyanna view of race relations in the Church would be no more helpful than if Paul had just let the Judaizers run amuck. The way women of color have been treated throughout our nation’s history (particularly black women) still impacts us today.  Those wounds are realities that we don’t do ourselves any favors to overlook.

Sisters: the Lord crafted your skin to bring him glory and honor and to herald his image here on earth. He would have just made you green if it weren’t important to him that you were a black woman. He had a plan for your rich history and your rich pigment, in spite of the hardships it so often presents.

We Wish You Knew

I wish that we discussed these realities more often in our churches. Some of the black women who are sitting in your pews feel this way. Some of these women want to be cherished wives and devoted mothers. Nevertheless, they are consistently thwarted because of the assumptions made about them.

Men reject these women because others seem like they would be easier to deal with. Men overlook these women because their complexities are seen as too nuanced and too large. They often gravitate towards one another because no one else understands or want to understand their plight.

See them. Pray for them. Search yourself for these Gospel inconsistencies and root them out. If they lurk in your heart, you are isolating an image bearer of the Most High God. And it hurts.

Update (April 12, 2017 at 4:48 PM CST)

Jasmine recently addressed questions and concerns about this article via Facebook Live. You can watch it on her Facebook page.

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54 Responses

  1. Sara
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 6:56 am

    Thanks for this great and illuminating article. Have you felt a shift in the way church members behave towards you now you are married?

  2. Cj
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 8:28 am

    Yas!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Amy Mantravadi
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 9:05 am

    I really appreciated hearing your thoughts, Jasmine. I am disheartened to hear some people within evangelicalism treat these issues of race as if they are secondary or simply part of some liberal agenda. This is really about every person being treated as a whole person made in the image of God. The stereotype of black women being feisty and stubborn and white women being docile and submissive is frankly pretty offensive to both races. Every person has their own personality, even if we are raised in different cultural circumstances. But I give you a hearty “Amen, girl!” to the statement that a man should be looking for a woman of godly character, regardless of race. That is the recipe for a good marriage. God bless you, sister, and thank you for your post.

  4. Jessica
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this and speaking on the behalf of black women praying and preparing for marriage from men who see and cherish our value.

  5. Dee
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Wow! Yes!! And yes!! I love the truthful non-abrasive tone of this article. So true! I smiled as I saw myself, or rather my experience, so well reflected. Add to the mix that I am Canadian of Haitian descent and it seems I was justifying my existence on all sides even if just to myself sometimes… Wow! Thank you for putting us on the map, so to speak. And expressing our heart in such a godly way. GOD bless!!

  6. Ann Marie Moore
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Jasmine,

    Thank you for this article. It has been an eye opener. I never thought of my own sister’s​ struggles. She is actually my half-sister, (same mom different dad but I just never liked calling her a half-sister) She grew up with me in an all white home of women, Mexican too because of our grandma. Now I’m curious to hear her perspective.

    As a writer you got me wondering what authors out there write inspirational stories where black women are the protagonist.

    Again thanks for the article.

    • Tempress
      Reply
      12 April 2017 at 9:22 am

      I wrote a story on my blog in which both my main characters are black. I didn’t want anyone to allow race to be a hindrance to the story so I left their description out. You can read the story here on tempresslove.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-plans-of-man.html?m=1

  7. Jeff Lyle
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I’m so grateful that I was able to read this. I’m a white man, deeply concerned about race relations in the Church. I speak with black men every week about the ineptitude in the Church at fostering racial reconciliation, but I have never had a single conversation with a black woman about race relations. In a million years, would the things which you wrote of have occurred to. me. I will be thinking about what you wrote and sharing this on my own feeds. Thank you for writing it raw, but not self-pitying. Really, really helpful

  8. AJB
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 9:21 pm

    This is the truth and I appreciate the way you expressed what we experience.

  9. Patrick
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Hi Jasmine, great article. Thank you for writing it. You mention in one portion about saying “we are all one race, the human race”, is a Pollyannish view. But I remember your dad preaching a sermon on that very thing. I believe it was from Genesis. Would you then disagree with his view on it? Not trying to be argumentative, I’m really just curious.

    Blessings,

    • 12 April 2017 at 6:22 am

      Hi, Patrick —

      I’ve never heard my dad use the truth that we are all one race to silence the pain or invalidate the struggles of a particular ethnicity -but if he did, yes, I would disagree with him.

      Those phrases, used out of context, are incomplete. To hide behind them when faced with probing questions is the Pollyanna view I was talking about. We should instead unpack them and wrestle with their implications, and use them as jumpstart for discussion of their Gospel implications -not silencers of conversations that make us uncomfortable.

  10. Jamie
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 9:56 pm

    I love this. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Bill
    Reply
    11 April 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Concerning 3: Where are these Black single women? As a single Black man in his late 30’s I don’t think that I am overlooking them; I hardly ever see Black women in the Reformed or Evangelical churches that I visit. To those reading, can anyone tell me where they are in the state of Texas? Or even which online dating sites they are on? Have a single Black woman that is 30 to 37 years old, who is a faithful Christian that is looking for a husband? I am willing to travel.

    • 12 April 2017 at 6:24 am

      Don’t play with me, Bill!! =) I am now thinking of about 10 women, ages 25-39, all single and all feeling this way in Reformed churches across America. Send me a message on FB -I love playing matchmaker. 😉

    • Rahmah
      Reply
      12 April 2017 at 7:56 am

      Come to Washington DC Bill! There are PLENTY of us. LOL Seriously though, I’ve heard this quite a bit from black men recently vans I’m wondering how we’re all overlooking each other. Maybe we all need to pray that the Lord will open our eyes to what’s in front of us.

      • Bill
        12 April 2017 at 9:44 pm

        I actually visited D.C. back in 2010 for the Ligonier conference. Thabiti Anyabwile was one of the speakers and I met Eric. C. Redmond and a few other Black men. A number of members from the church where the conference was held also attended but I don’t remember seeing any Black women. The church was majority Caucasian though so my thinking is that part of the reason why Black men and women are missing each other is just due to context; those that attend majority Caucasian churches in majority Caucasian areas just won’t see each other regularly.

        I recently moved to Texas for work and I thought that perhaps there would be more Black people in the Reformed or Evangelical churches in the area but I am not seeing that many.

    • Angela
      Reply
      14 April 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Bill I have at least 5 friends in the north Texas area, good women lol they’re out there

      • Bill
        15 April 2017 at 12:54 pm

        What churches do they go to? I am seriously looking; I’m not playing around. Now, the woman that I marry doesn’t have to be Black; I want whatever God’s will is. There would be certain advantages if she was in my case though.

    • Antonia
      Reply
      27 April 2017 at 5:50 pm

      Come to England! 😀

  12. Janelle
    Reply
    12 April 2017 at 8:53 am

    Very encouraging! Thank you so much for your perspective!

  13. Madison
    Reply
    12 April 2017 at 9:17 am

    This was eye opening!! I’m so sad at not being aware of the struggles my sisters in Christ were facing and now, armed with this knowledge, I pray I can be a different voice at my church!! Blessings!!

  14. Javon Blackshear
    Reply
    12 April 2017 at 10:08 am

    Jasmine, I am a married black man, and a Christian. It is very true what you say about adapting to majority culture, especially if you are in reformed churches (i.email. the only brown face in the whole church), but from my perspective many black women are still committing at least two common errors in the dating scene, that is also hurtful to others. First, many black women after their conversion are still looking for “the bad guy” look. I interpret that to be the cocky guy who isn’t afraid to offend people, and has a tough guy image. This is by far the number one thing I see many black christian women pursuing in droves. The “nice guys” unfortunately finish last. Maybe because they are boring and seem like no challenge or because they are perceived weak especially if she considers herself strong, which brings me to the seconomy point. Single black women seem either reluctant in some cases or unwilling to repent of the “strength” of the black woman. Now, I have no problem with a strong woman of any race, but the stereotype of the black woman which is usually embraced by black women (I didn’t see you speak against it) is not the sort of strength scripture heralds as excellent. The most attractive trait any woman can possess is humility. This one trait can improve the appearance of anyone. But, unfortunately many black women prefer to embrace the stereotype and expect men to “get over it.” Men have common sins we must repent of, and I believe women do too; black, white, Hispanic or any other. I invite your response.

  15. Maria
    Reply
    12 April 2017 at 10:15 am

    Jasmine. You are killing it. Love, all the way from London.

  16. Reinesha Jarman
    Reply
    12 April 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you! I have talked many a time about these things, but have not really felt that I have been able to do it justice. It is hard and isolating, because I feel the need to fight it. I feel as though I have to be strong enough to get past all of it. Your words have helped. Much love.

  17. brad
    Reply
    12 April 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Good article. If i weren’t so old. Happily married. (almost 40 yrs) and ugly. i would definitely consider marrying a black woman that i loved. i’ve tended to live where that was not likely – Imperial Valley – (that would’ve been a latino there, lol) Northern Minnesota on the border – don’t think there were more than two blacks in Ely at that time – at 7,865 feet in the Rockies – 16 miles out of town, West Virginia about 3 miles from the nearest neighbors and a mile from electricity…

    So think about how unavailable guys like ME are, lol.

  18. Rhonda Stoppe
    Reply
    12 April 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Jasmine! Thank you for this amazing article and awesome insights!!!

    Your courage to address these points helps me better minister to women.

    NoRegretsWoman.com

  19. Joshua
    Reply
    12 April 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Jasmine, I am not from the US and find your article fascinating.

    Do you think there may well be an issue in reformed theology itself that causes some of these cultural problems. My study in cultural approaches to framing thought makes me think reformed theology itself is a VERY western white male approach (it systematic approach is highly detached from eastern approach)

    As someone who works in eastern culture, the actual approach in reformed theology is literally foreign to a middle eastern view of community, power and position.

    I know the point of this article is not reformed theology itself but a number of your comments indicate fruit that is concerning

    • 13 April 2017 at 8:02 am

      Hi, Joshua,

      My parents and siblings actually live in Zambia and minister in Reformed churches there, where these issues don’t exist. I think it’s more of a Western thing and less of a Reformed thing, honestly. I can’t see how Reformed doctrine could lead to these issues, but western evangelical culture certainly could -it’s easy to get them confused.

  20. Stephanie
    Reply
    13 April 2017 at 6:21 am

    Thank you for sharing this. As a single black woman in my 40s, I feel that ALL churches do a bad job ministering to the needs of singles. I feel that even black churches miss the mark when it comes to dealing with the reality that singles, especially single women face. Often the message that comes from the pulpit in black churches is to “wait on the Lord”, “Jesus is your everything”, and “Jesus is all you need. ” While well meaning, this advice is not very practical and can be quite disheartening. In fact, I have found Sunday mornings at 11:00 am to be one of the lonliest times for me. A time that I am reminded that I am alone. And it is for these reason that I no longer attend church on a regular basis.

    • 13 April 2017 at 8:09 am

      Stephanie,

      That is so sad to hear, sister. I will be praying for you. It is so important to be plugged into the local church and experiencing the means of grace among other believers and under the authority of sound preaching. I hate to hear that this is barring you from regular fellowship. I urge you to seek out a church where you can be fed. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s so important!

  21. John Williams
    Reply
    13 April 2017 at 8:06 am

    Great article!

  22. Dami
    Reply
    13 April 2017 at 9:14 am

    As a black man in a purely white evangelical space, I cannot help but marvel at this article. You list 8 issues black women have to deal with in predominant white church settings and 6 have to do with relationships, marriage and procreation. All of which by the way are things that only God can sort out. You have no business with men who want to control you or those ashamed to bring you home anyway, so those aren’t losses as the prayer should be that God should pair you with an earthly partner embodied in His love for you. Where is the room for God’s favor in a strange land like it was with Esther? Where is the room for promotion and election like it was with Joseph? Where is the room for divine relationship connections like it was with Rachel and Naomi? Issues such as representation in Church leadership and administration are more cogent issues people of color face in white church spaces. These issues are things that faith driven prayer can resolve easily. So you have written this, then what? Take this to God in prayer, don’t make it seem like women of color don’t understand the role of prayer and the power of God to sort out these issues. The survival mode of black men is ” trying to find a wife more like the stereotype than like their mothers”. Speak and pray about what you know. God has given us the spirit of power, love and a self control.. there’s no room in there for self-pity. Be proudly black and boldly approach the throne of Grace.

    • 13 April 2017 at 10:38 am

      Hi, Dami!

      Thanks for commenting.

      I understand the role of prayer in finding a spouse. I am married to the man I spent several years praying and waiting for. He is everything I asked the Lord for and more. However, that does not negate the pain I often felt in waiting on the Lord to provide him, and in dealing with these 8 things.

      We serve a God who cares about our longings, who cares about our hardships. Was David self-pitying in his laments? You mention Rachel -was she self-pitying in her open longings for an open womb? You mention Naomi -was she self-putting to name herself “bitter” when she felt bitterness?

      The call for compassion does not negate the responsibility for prayer and trust in Christ to provide and to know and to hear.

      One of the reasons I wrote this article as a married woman is because time and again, single women are pushed aside and labeled as bitter and self-pitying when they bring these things up. I’m leveraging my wedding ring for them. 😉

      And as far as what I said about black men goes, I’m married to one, and I’ve discussed these issues with many of them -I did not write speculation. I wrote what I have been told.

      Take care!

  23. Bitia Buenrostro
    Reply
    13 April 2017 at 9:57 am

    Oh my goodness, this was so good. I’m not black, but I’m a brown, Mexican, first-generation immigrant that is part of majority culture, reformed church in Austin, Texas. The last year has been especially hard, and I’ve felt exhausted just explaining myself time and time again. In my experience, I feel white men desire the Eva Longoria or Sofia Vergara type. Yes, I’m very curvy, but very short. My skin is brown and my features are not European. Sometimes I feel that my immigration story is also something that makes people uncomfortable (I was undocumented for a large portion of my life). And the thought of never being married is something that I still struggle with so much! I recently went on a date with a white man (thanks, online dating!) and he went on about how he always saw himself “married to a cute little hispanic woman” and although at first I saw that as endearing then I began to think…is that just a weird fetish? I’m SO much more than that! Anyway, I think I’m rambling. Just know there’s a 5’1″, curvy, Mexican immigrant woman in Austin, TX that felt validated and blessed by this article!

    • 13 April 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Bitia,

      Oh, girl. I know conversations like the one you had on your date!! How awkward!! I relate to so much of what you said.

      I’m so glad you were encouraged and will continue praying for you. Take care of my beloved home state. 😂

    • Deanna Easterling
      Reply
      28 April 2017 at 10:44 pm

      Hi, Bitia, I also live in Austin…what reformed church do you go to? We should fellowship together!!!!!! It would be good to find some like minded Christians; our church is really small. Please please please contact me! My email is deanna.easterling@gmail.com.

  24. ava
    Reply
    13 April 2017 at 11:26 am

    You are beautiful Jasmine, and you seem brilliant too. I am a white girl, also married with kids who honestly wants to help with this issue. The problem is, I know lots of things not to do…lots of things that are wrong…but few things to do to help. I’ve read articles like this before, I’ve heard friends talk about these things in bigger groups, I just don’t know what to do about it. I feel like I’m the problem, you know? There may be feelings of guilt and fear that slow me down…But I want to help solve it. You mention talking about these issues…I don’t even know how to start this conversation without hurting feelings or offending. I guess I’m afraid I’ll say something wrong? Strangely, I find it easier to talk to my white friends about these issues than my black friends. I feel sort of paralyzed on the issue. I feel like I’ve offended someone just writing this comment…I don’t want to offend. I want to help. Sometimes silence feels like the most helpful thing, because i don’t know what to say or do. Any advice there?

    • 13 April 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Ava,

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

      I think the best thing to do to diffuse awkwardness is to just admit that a conversation might be awkward. Disarm defenses by saying, “Hey, this is difficult to know how to say, but…” I would also make sure to keep these one on one conversations confined to relationships where you’ve shown how much you care in other areas. Being open to listening, being empathetic, and forging encouraging relationships (and not just encouraging im ethnically specific ways) where you treat singles with respect and concern will go a long way!

      You seem like a really caring person –in the right context, it will come across! And that care and support is such a big part of walking through people’s hurt with them. As is correcting this wrong thinking when you see it.

      I hope that helps!

  25. Joanne
    Reply
    13 April 2017 at 3:46 pm

    I really appreciate this post and where you’re coming from, and I was definitely there and felt everything you’re talking about in my single years. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m married now and on the other side, so to speak, but my heart breaks reading posts like this now, because I feel the powerlessness of those moments and wish I had never allowed myself to feel like that. I understand all the differences between myself and my fellow “white, blonde hair blowing in the wind” typical picture of a soccer mom, but I’m not going to live in that headspace because it’s not good for me, or my kids. I’m going to be as present as Jennie from down the street who doesn’t have to worry about her skin color, or her hair texture when she walks out the door. If I keep living in my insecurities and in the world’s injustices, I’m never going to LIVE. I live in a white small town, I’m one of 4 black people in a 10- mile radius, do people look at me like I don’t belong when I’m at the grocery store, sure they do, but I’m done letting that stop me from living my life to the fullest. Please forgive me if I didn’t understand the heart behind your post and took it the wrong way, I just had to get that off my chest and offer a different perspective.

    • 13 April 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Hi, Joanne,

      Thank you for sharing. So relate to a lot of what you said!

      I’m married now, too, but I still very much empathize to the way that single women process these feelings. I certainly think there’s a time to call our insecurities and re-cement our identity solely in Christ (and I’ve done that before: http://jasminelholmes.com/strong-black-woman-reflections-feminism-womanhood/). I also think there’s a time to show compassion, as God so often does for our struggles. Sometimes, we can stop and live in that uncomfortable and awkward moment of acknowledging real hurt before moving forward into healing. Sometimes that balance isn’t in every single blogpost, and only one side can be represented at a time. =)

      I live my life plenty -and I’m sure a lot of single women in these circumstances do, too, in spite of working through them.

      Thank you again for your comment!

  26. Sarah Yepishin
    Reply
    13 April 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful post. Wow. I am definitely guilty of blindness or naivety on this subject. Your words are so helpful to me as a white woman, ensuring that I don’t completely miss the struggles of my black sisters and thus unwittingly keep them from a full sense of inclusion in the evangelical community. Your openness is INVALUABLE to people like me. I only wish I had asked my sisters questions that you answer here so I could have heard and understood the struggle sooner. This post has opened my eyes — without words like this helping us know one another fully, how could we truly become united in Christ? Also — guhhhh, can we please purge this June Cleaver image? My home and my person with two toddlers running around does NOT reflect June Cleaver — and let’s be honest, it never will.

  27. Becky
    Reply
    14 April 2017 at 10:16 am

    Wow, #3. Really? I don’t question your experiences and thoughts as a black woman. I have not walked in your shoes. But I am often struck in these types of articles – where the person wants to raise awareness of stereotypes and make others think twice about their attitudes towards people based on race – when the author themself uses stereotypes of other races. White women will submit to men? White women are soccer moms and June Cleaver is our representative? These are stereotypes of white women from the 50’s. I know Christian white women who are willing to submit to God, but most women I know aren’t willing to submit to anyone or anything. I feel like you are comparing yourself to a made up idea of white women that isn’t true or realistic. I think your points about people not wanting to navigate cross-racial relationships is valid because this is a hard thing and most people don’t want to do hard things. But your stereotypes about white women in general are just as wrong as any that people have about black women.

    • 14 April 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Hi, Becky,

      I think you may have missed the point: these are stereotypes, not truths. And they aren’t my stereotypes. I think they’re silly. I have said elsewhere that they’re equally insulting to white women (check out the video link at the end of the article, around the 37 minute mark), but that’s not the focus of this article. I’m not under the impression that all white women are docile and gentle and all black women are loud and angry, but, unfortunately, a lot of folks are. And that’s a shame. I am not comparing myself to these stereotypes, but unfortunately, I and plenty of other women have been compared to them. This isn’t speculation -these are things I have been told verbally.I’m sure another article could speak to how those false perceptions affect white sisters in Christ, but that was not the purpose of this piece.

  28. Megan
    Reply
    14 April 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for writing Jasmine! I really enjoy all of your articles. I’m white and married, and similar to Ava above, I often don’t know what to say to other women when these topics come up.

    I think one thing that definitely continues to confuse me is that I often don’t know if women of color want me to notice their differences or if they would rather I pretend that race doesn’t exist at all (colorblind for lack of a better term). I think many of us in the millennial generation were raised/educated to celebrate and even highlight differences instead of hiding them. (Especially true for me growing up in diverse Southern California). Your example of someone asking questions about your hair was a perfect example. I almost asked a black friend of mine a question about how she cares for her hair, but stayed quiet for fear of offending her. In reality, I just thought her hair was so beautiful! And since it was so different mine, I just wanted to understand her better. Asking the question might have led me to better understand that it’s frustrating to roam aisles filled with Caucasian hair products, etc.

    I think overall many of us do not like the divisions between us that make people feel isolated or stereotyped, but we are also somewhat terrified of sounding racist, especially with how much that word seems to be thrown around in our culture.

  29. Nathan
    Reply
    15 April 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I enjoyed this article. Thank you for writing it.

  30. Jess Connell
    Reply
    16 April 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Hi Jasmine,
    I’m watching your FB live response video now, too, to get a more full picture of where you’re coming from. I appreciate you sharing this, so openly, so we can learn from your experiences.

    I am wondering how much of this comes from the Vision Forum-style portion of homeschooling culture. VERY June Cleaver, VERY Pollyanna-ish, very Deep South, very out of step with both the surrounding American culture, and the surrounding evangelical culture.

    Reminded me of the Gothard style in the 90s. Both had a very narrow view of what was “normal” that doesn’t fully relate to what the average evangelical in not-family-integrated-pews might experience. I wonder if that’s the difference that some people aren’t getting? Because VF/Gothard/quiverfull-style homeschool culture interacts in very distinctive ways that may have some connections to the mainstream evangelical culture.

    I skimmed the comments and didn’t see that anyone else had asked this, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

    • 17 April 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Hi, Jess,

      Actually, I’ve experienced this just as much -if not more -outside of conservative homeschool culture. Most of the people at my current church haven’t the foggiest what Vision Forum even is -most of them don’t homeschool -most of them aren’t quiverfull. And yet my pastor (who used to be in college ministry at JSU) said the article was his exact experience working with minority women in evangelical culture.

      I haven’t been in VF culture for a long time -and most of the women of color responding to this article have never been in it. But the experience definitely carries.

  31. Travis
    Reply
    17 April 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you. Still unpacking and wrestling with many implications as I come to better understanding of things I never really thought deeply about. Pastor Mason pushed me and others are helping. Uncomfortable is good. That’s when I know God is working on and through me. Blessings.

  32. Nicole
    Reply
    19 April 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Jasmine:
    Thank you for penning some of the nuances of daily life for many underrepresented women in America. I am mixed-race with light-skin and “good hair” which made it easy for me to dance along the line of demarcation growing up in mostly white neighborhoods and schools. I figured out how to be white enough for my white friends and black enough for my black friends, without ever really fitting in completely with either group – which I am OK with. I’ve embraced the word “exotic” as a compliment, and don’t ever mind answering the inevitable question about my ethnicity because I always want to promote breaking the mold (or mixing the palette, in this case). I know what it’s like to always have to try 4-5 different stores before I can find one that stocks my shade of makeup (the darkest shade in most stores is typically some variation of beige); or the hassle of finding a hair stylist who can handle crazy, mixed girl curls without giving up halfway through the appointment. And on a deeper note, I understand the ongoing identity crisis that comes with being that “other” race that is just different enough to stir up a hesitation in others that leads to dismissal. After all, there is comfort in the familiar. But as a German-Irish-Scottish-Kenyan blend, I am not familiar, I am not prevalent, and I am certainly no majority. And yet I absolutely love this life, because I know that “He would have just made me green if it wasn’t important to him that I was a (half) black woman”. Thank you for your wisdom, thank you for your insight, and thank you for your encouragement.

  33. Melissa De Soto
    Reply
    20 April 2017 at 11:40 pm

    I am half Puerto-Rican. My dad is brown, a “typical” latino. My mom is French blood, blonde & blue-eyed. I can pass for white, and that’s brought me a lot of identity issues. Because I feel hispanic but I’m treated as “white.” the stupid thing is that in Argentina and España, most people look like me! But, our country doesn’t recognize “white hispanics.” So, who am I really? My last name is Spanish and my face is white. Trust me, just because you’re brown doesn’t mean people like me don’t suffer, Yeah, it may be easier because we’re white, but we cry, too, to be seen and recognized for who we are.

  34. Ruby
    Reply
    29 April 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Amen! Thank you for this Jasmine. Praising the Lord for raising up a wise, godly woman of color that is courageous enough to speak out on these issues.

  35. Curt S
    Reply
    17 May 2017 at 8:27 am

    Thank you for sharing.

    I am particularly saddened to have read this comment, “I have been told that, if I were white, I would be such a great catch.” I am sorry someone said that to you. that’s not okay.

    I honestly do not know how and where men get the idea in reformed circles that it’s their God-given right as the head of the family to control their wives and lead through giving orders as opposed to a servant heart. I can see where the temptation comes from, given I am a man and a sinner. But how any Bible reading, Christ-loving man could think this is beyond me.

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