[Content Note: Racism.]

I don't even know: "Lifetime Fails Its Awful Mission to Bring Out the 'Strong Black Woman' in White Women."
Because black women make great accessories for folks basking in too much white privilege, Lifetime has announced a new show called "Girlfriend Intervention." From the looks of it, the show — featuring four stereotypically "strong" black women (Tracy Balan on beauty, Nikki Chu on "home and sanctuary," Tiffiny Dixon on fashion, and reality star Tanisha Thomas) — will bring out the "girlfriend" in timid white women.
There is so much wrong with this, and Linda Holmes teases out quite a bit of it here. See also: Charing Ball, who notes: "Normally, this trope is occupied by an individual, however the Lifetime Network appears to be going for the Harry Potter-level of black wizardry with its recently announced show entitled 'Girlfriend Intervention,' which totally sounds like a magical negro 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.'"

The "inner" construction—e.g. inner strong black woman, inner fabulous gay man—is always problematic, because it suggests that these identities aren't real; that they are merely constructs. And to the extent that they represent stereotypes, they are. But that masks the reality that (for example) black women's non-monolithic identities are neither constructs nor stereotypes that can be adopted by people who are not black women.

It also suggests that these identities aren't comprehensive and equal, but subsets of privileged people's humanity. As if every privileged person has lurking within them an "inner" version of marginalized people's identities.

I have had the experience of a thin man saying to me that he needs to channel his "inner fierce fat woman" in order to navigate something that was challenging him. Blink blink. Naturally, he intended it as a compliment, but what it communicated to me was that he views "fierce fat women" (and me, in particular) as impervious to harm, as though we're naturally imbued with a feisty resistance rather than having developed by necessity strategies for dealing with a world that hates us.

Identities aren't costumes, and they cannot be borrowed nor lent.

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