Hey Kodak Black, Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?

Hey Kodak Black, Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?

On self-loathing, redbones and white supremacy.

Published June 30th

Kodak Black.

His is a name that inspires disgust on the tongues of Black women who don't care for him and Black men who are indifferent to him. At least for the last two weeks. Personally, I found myself thinking about him recently, since I never have before, after he reasserted himself into cultural conscience once again by restating how much he hates [dark-skinned] Black women.

Oh, sorry. That he prefers "light skinned women" or "redbones." 

After his repeated attempts (and failures) to articulately explain himself, I was left with just one question: Why do Black men like Kodak Black hate Black women so much?

It turns out this question does have an easy answer, starting with this one:

Black men aren't fighting for "liberation." They're fighting for dominance.

Perhaps there should be a "some" or "many" in front of my initial statement, but where's the fun in that? Those words would remove culpability from men who believe themselves to be without blemish and they would ignore this extended critique because "it doesn't apply." And if that were truly the case, there would be no need for this piece, yet here we are... arriving at the chief motivator behind the actions of someone like Kodak Black: an equal playing field with that of Chet (read: white men).

This is unsurprising, specifically if one is aware of the complicated dynamics between Black women and men. It’d be easy to harp on how these dynamics have been affected by the racially charged history of this country (i.e slavery), but we don't really need to go back that far.

Contemporary examples of this dynamic can be observed in Black Lives Matter protests. Look at how many Black men are ready to riot over Mike Brown or Alton Sterling, but cannot be bothered to learn the names of Black femmes who have been slain via police brutality... besides Sandra Bland. And even in that example, Black women did the heavy-lifting of bringing her death to national attention while scores of Black men were too preoccupied with blaming her for her own death, claiming she "had a mouth on her" — something they would have rebuked had a white person said it about a male victim of police violence. 

Social media also remains a real-time witness of this phenomenon. You need only be a non-Cis Black man (more commonly a Black femme) to understand how this works. If you so much as breathe in a way that Black men do not like on social media, you can prepare to have your timeline filled with them calling you everything but a child of God or denigrating you and your appearance in any way that they possibly can, no matter how arbitrary the reason.

See French Montana and his "nappy hair" Twitter nemesis. Unforgettable! But really. 

And they can do this with ease because they aren't as concerned with liberation for all of us as they are concerned with liberation for them. If this includes shitting on the rest of us, that's fine... as long as they get theirs (and theirs really translates into getting their neck from under Chet's boot and ruling in his place).

There is an assortment of ways they can go about gunning for Chet's place on top, but here's how they usually go about doing it:

1. They "get" a white woman... aka white supremacy's ultimate prize.

In the quest for ultimate dominance atop the pyramid of privilege, Black men need only face off against Chet, as the only thing removing them from assuming ultimate privilege is their Blackness. Now, if they wanted to get a wee bit close to doing that OR in the very least, undermine Chet's power game, all they need to acquire is, yes, you guessed it, a white woman.

I say this because they have been denoted as the ultimate prize for all, straight Cis men, especially if we think about this in patriarchal terms.

Both Jenn M. Jackson and Preston Mitchum make a great case for why that is. Despite white women historically harming Black men, not only are they still portrayed as wholly innocent, pure and virtuous women, but they are also the unspoken gatekeepers of womanhood and motherhood. They are also assumed to be weak (more so than Black women) and therefore easier to control. Naturally, none of this is true but it is so historically and culturally ingrained, it might as well be. Going with this logic, with them being the premier women under white supremacist patriarchy, attaining them means "you win"... and the hope here is that you attain some sort of status for doing so.

I can only assume that this is some attempt to opt in to whiteness by way of marriage, if not by actual blood, or, you know, appearance. Of course, this tends not to work for obvious reasons, but mostly because race is not some transferable Chuck E. Cheese token. But that doesn't stop people from trying.

I know what you're thinking. What happens if they happen upon a Susan who is aware of her sociopolitical currency and opts not to follow Kang Ashy Asherton down his path to eventual self-destruction?

Well, there is an alternative:

2. "Redbones" are the next best thing.

As I mentioned, not every Susan is gonna want to buy what an ashy Black man is selling. We can get into that in another story. But when this happens, they opt for the next best thing:

Light-skinned Black women... who are also colloquially referred to as "redbones."

Preference for light skin makes it so that light-skinned women are the go-to Plan B. This is also key here because unlike with a Susan, a Black man could still get with a light-skinned woman and hide any ulterior motives behind said "preference."

Yet, they rarely hide it well. A large example of this is the fetishization that light-skinned women (especially those who would prefer to opt out of this ashy fuckery) have to deal with. Their perceived proximity to whiteness compounds on stereotypes already associated with light-skinned women (being delicate, super feminine, etc). And while it is ultimately to their detriment, this assumed proximity to whiteness is exactly what makes them a suitable consolation prize in the event that said Black man misses out on the Susan parade.

Those whose are skeptical of such need only observe gross (but common) fetishization of multiracial and/or light-skinned children (particularly girls). In the eyes of self-loathing Black men, Blackness is a liability and they would much rather (attempt to) breed it out of their lineage rather than have to deal with it. Why? Because they perceive their Blackness to be a burden and their ultimate stumbling block to true privilege.

Think about it.

What is the difference between someone like Kodak Black and someone like Brock Turner? Besides the obvious “one's a D-list rapper” and “the other is a rich, white kid”?

I mean, both men were barely punished for their crimes against women and were merely outfitted with slaps on the wrists. The only difference here is that Turner's whiteness afforded him the luxury of leniency and assumed innocence in the eyes of the law. In so many words, he gets to return back to business as usual, as if he never raped anyone. Conversely, Black’s sentence was exceedingly lenient as well and he will probably be "allowed" to have some semblance of a career a la Chris Brown, meaning Black won't readily bounce back. 

This is because of the assumed predisposition to criminality that white supremacy has attached to Black skin... innocent or not. This means Kodak’s innocence and character will always be addressed with an asterisk, like [fellow "alleged" rapist] Bill Cosby, OJ, and such. This is the reason why I often side-eye Black men. They are not overly concerned with getting free. It's all about getting even with Chet, in hopes of besting him. And as long as that is their foremost goal, we're going to continue to see self-hating specimen like Kodak Black pop up in our community.

Because as unconcerned as I am about him and his life (since I'm not too fond of Black men who make it their mission in life to denigrate Black femmes), he is symptomatic of a larger disease: white supremacy. That is where colorism, fetishization of lightness, anti-Blackness, and misogynoir stem from. That's the root. But even then, they are very much their own diseases too, because slaying white supremacy wouldn't automatically make them go away.

Indeed. It would be easy to pretend that there is some Chet in a pocket dimension who is pressing some giant red button that is forcing you to call dark-skinned Tina an unlovable roach and/or monkey, or to tweet "white girls are evolving" (implying that Black femmes should take notice and act accordingly) every other week, or to pretend your preference for “redbones” is benign; or to forsake Black femmes, queer Black folx, and trans Black folks on the front lines of Black Lives Matter.

But... it's not that simple. It never has been.

Written by Clarkeisha Kent

(Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

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