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Black Women Divest: Self-Help? Or Gendered Fascism?

Content warning: slurs, racist imagery, transphobia

Being a Millennial Black woman is a strange experience, especially if you are looking for love or sex online. You can oscillate between being inundated with evidence of your alleged undesirability but also overwhelmed by the intense fetishism that can be found in certain NSFW “appreciation” subreddits, porn categories, and forums. To make matters worse, there exists a well-known interracial marriage statistic that indicates on average, Black men marry (and presumably date) at 2 times the rate of Black women, thus causing a gender disparity. These statistics are brought up ad nauseam on dating forums and twitter threads whenever the topic of Black women and dating or marriage arise.

These statistics and the accompanying commentary can be frustrating. Especially when they are weaponized by bad-faith actors to prove that something must be inherently wrong with Black women or Black Americans as a whole. Growing up in suburbia, it was not rare for me to overhear that my Black male classmates were not fond of Black women as dating partners. We are too “dark”, too “loud”, or had “too much attitude”. “Hot Or Not” lists were passed around, but all of the darker-skinned Black female students were missing. It was one thing to hear colorist and racist comments from the White students. But as a Black woman, you are raised to expect different from your Black male classmates. I observed this pattern of racist exclusion or misogynist comments from Black men well into my college years and beyond. I also experienced romantic rejection from Black men simply because we shared the same skin tone and hair texture.

Upon graduating and finding my first romantic partner (a White man), something clicked. I started reflecting on not only why I had a harder time dating than my non-Black friends, but also why my first boyfriend was not Black. I found myself searching the internet with queries such as “Black men who hate Black women” or “Black women who hate Black men”. It didn’t take long to realize that not only do I have some sort of internalized trauma but that the internet is a disturbing looking glass to peer into.




There are rabbit-holes on the internet that are toxic places for impressionable young people to fall down into. Much has been discussed about the “Alt-Right pipeline”on various internet platforms. But there isn’t nearly as much discourse about the fringe reactionary subcultures that young Black men and women may be exposed to.

Some of the terms I will be using:


Black Women Empowerment/Black Women Going Their Own Way

The movement presents itself as a “self-help” community that encourages Black women to decenter male attention, prioritize health and self-care, and to broaden one’s horizons through international travel and intentionally hypergamous relationships — often leading to the promotion of interracial relationships as a form of hypergamy. I encountered this movement years before the “Divestment movement” began appearing on various social media platforms. Most of the smaller bloggers associated with this subculture have now rebranded as either “Divestment” blogs, or as more legitimate self-help consulting firms. Some figures such as Christelyn Karazin have received mainstream media attention.

Some of the most popular figures in this movement are Christelyn Karazin (Beyond Black and White), Brooklyn Bleu, Khadija Nassif (Muslim Bushido), and Izidora Storm (IzzieStorm, Izidora Storm).

Divest/Divest BW (#Divest, #DivestBW)

Divest/ Divest Black Women/Divested Black Women

This movement is derived from BWE, but with a more intentional focus on “divesting” oneself from the Black community, from social justice (#BurnTheCape), and from issues relating to Black male oppression. Self-improvement (feminization training, weight loss, professional development) is promoted as a means of achieving hypergamy. Compared to BWE/BWGTOW, there is more of a focus on colorism and the disparate treatment of monoracial dark-skinned Black women (DSBW). Less centralized, and more spread out across social media platforms, this movement appears to be the most current as well as the most popular iteration of the BWE ecosystem. As I will explain later, this movement is also notable for its idealization of traditional gender roles, and its pointed interest in the perceived failure of Black men (especially in Western countries) in comparison to other groups of men. Predominantly Black neighborhoods are derisively called “Blackistan”. “Blackistan” is a conceptual place where Black dysfunction and violent crime flourish.

The most prominent figures: Chrissie, Divested Zealot, Diary Of A Negress


Black Men Going Their Own Way is a subculture derived from MGTOW ideology. They believe that women’s interest in men is entirely due to hypergamous goals and that men benefit themselves by avoiding women in any capacity (romantic, platonic, economic, etc.). There is documented overlap between MGTOW and incel subcultures, and likewise for BMGTOW.


Save Yourself, Black Men is a movement dedicated to encouraging Black men to avoid Black women in any capacity, but especially as romantic partners. Overt eugenics propaganda is often spread as a reason for interracial partnerships. Black men are encouraged to obtain passports so as to find non-Black romantic partners in developing countries who will supposedly appreciate them more than Black women can. This community stresses gender roles and traditional ideals of female subservience. Issues of police brutality and civil unrest are often blamed on Black women for being inadequate mothers and partners. Predominantly Black neighborhoods are pejoratively called “Communitahs”. “Blackistan” and “Communitahs” are classist and racist constructs where stereotypes of Black dysfunction and inferiority reside. In doing so, the inconvenient historical context of Black economic suppression can be safely swept under the rug.

Some prominent figures: Tommy Sotomayor, MadBusDriverX, Babatunde Umanah, Gyakko Jones


Fascism is defined as a far-right, authoritarian ideology. On the macro level, a fascist society values ultranationalism (with or without expansion), aggressive foreign policy, and criticism of egalitarian economics. On the micro-level, cultural fascism idealizes “tradition” and conformity. Any deviations from these cultural values lead an individual or group to be categorized as “deviant” or of poor “hygiene” (mental, physical, sexual, or otherwise). Fascism is intrinsically opposed to any left-of-center or centrist political ideology.

While most of the BWE and Divestment communities originated from legitimate grievances about the misogynoir and economic challenges that Black women experience, it is my personal belief that these communities often cross over into near fascist-adjacent ideology, due to societal White Supremacist indoctrination.

The most notorious hallmark of fascism is institutionalized bigotry and xenophobia. Divest as a movement and community have evidence of normalized anti-Blackness. Various slurs for Black men exist. Curiously, most of these slurs can also be used to demean Black women. In the case of slurs such as “nig nogs”, “gorillas”, and “apes” they have a history of just that on platforms such as Reddit, Stormfront, and 4chan. The use of these slurs is often justified because there exists a belief that anti-Black racism and police brutality is mostly targeted against Black men and not Black women.

“Bullet bags”


“Nakers” (appropriated from a reporter that said “Nakers” while covering Kobe Bryant’s death)


“Dirty dicks” and other pejorative references to HIV/AIDS rates




“Dindu nuffins”


Disclaimer: My experience as a Black woman has put me in much closer proximity to the BWE and Divestment communities than the SYSBM or BWGTOW manosphere. Due to this, my criticisms of BWE and Divest do not excuse or invalidate criticism of the Black manosphere. In fact, I also believe that SYSBM and related groups have more than enough evidence of fascist ideology. But for the sake of scope, I’m only focusing on BWE/Divestment.

Umberto Eco’s 14 Points of Fascism

  1. The cult of tradition. “One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements.”
  2. The rejection of modernism. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense, Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
  3. The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
  4. Disagreement is treason. “The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture, the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.”
  5. Fear of difference. “The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
  6. Appeal to social frustration. “One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
  7. The obsession with a plot. “The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.”
  8. The enemy is both strong and weak. “By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
  9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.”
  10. Contempt for the weak. “Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”
  11. Everybody is educated to become a hero. “In Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.”
  12. Machismo and weaponry. “Machismo implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
  13. Selective populism. “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
  14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. “All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”

Although I believe that most of BWE/Divest is a small fringe group for reactionary venting, when browsing through this subculture, it isn’t difficult to find examples of most of the 14 points.


With appropriated white supremacist rhetoric and in-group context, this movement has managed to find a small but dedicated following of frustrated young women. Just as the dire material conditions of a nation can foster a ripe breeding ground for fascist ideology, the fraught racial politics of a marginalized group can lead members into a crisis driven by self-hatred and a desire to purge undesirable members. Nazi Germany’s fascism arose due to the strict austerity measures imposed on them by the League of Nations. Once their economic and international reputation became a source of shame, the reaction was a chauvinistic party that purged dysgenic and dysfunctional populations from its society.

In Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon noted this in regards to the colonized person’s condition:

Hatred is not a given; it is a struggle to acquire hatred, which has to be dragged into being, clashing with acknowledged guilt complexes. Hatred cries out to exist, and he who hates must prove his hatred through action and the appropriate behavior. In a sense, he has to embody hatred.

 Black Skin, White Masks (1952)

It has been observed that BWE and Divest are probably not spontaneous, but are actually a reaction to gendered racism from Black males in both real life and social media. Therefore if it is fascist-adjacent, then it did not originate from a desire to purge Black men from the Earth while elevating Black women to whiteness. But rather, it’s for self-preservation. If you were to ask a “Divested woman”, she would say that Black men created the gender war by whitewashing themselves.

Out of the Blackest part of my soul, through the zone of hachures, surges up this desire to be suddenly white.

I want to be recognized not as Black, but as White.

But — and this is the form of recognition that Hegel never described — who better than the white woman to bring this about? By loving me, she proves to me that I am worthy of a white love. I am loved like a white man.

I am a white man.

— Black Skin, White Masks (1952)

What makes “Divest” so attractive?

Stanford Law professor, Ralph Richard Banks, published Is Marriage For White People (2011). It explains the various challenges that make Black American men the least likely group of men to marry, and likewise, Black American women are the least likely group of women to marry. In spite of married Black men choosing to marry Black women the majority of the time (approximately 85% of Black male marriages) Black American men still marry interracially at two times the rate of Black women. For Black American women who seek marriage, Banks implores them to explore their options rather than limiting themselves to their male cohorts.

Even for women who are not pursuing marriage and are more interested in more casual partnerships with men, various studies and analyses have been published about Black women’s difficulties in modern dating platforms such as online dating apps.


Now defunct OKTrends blog on race data

Being inundated by such statistics, TV news programs, and forum topics on the subject can wreak havoc on a woman’s self-esteem. It’s no surprise that when a group of women is told that they are the least desired and protected, that they may become insular and reactionary.

Unlikely Allies and Implications

Platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit are public forums in which anyone can freely view and engage with content. Black women on these platforms who are genuinely sharing pro-White or anti-Black male rhetoric should be aware that they are being monitored and enjoyed by racist non-Black men who may be seeking avenues for performing openly racist or fetishistic campaigns.


Conclusion and Moving Forward

One way to further inoculate against BW Divest rhetoric is to debunk racist talking points and to accept some of their mainstream views of self-improvement within reason, but to reframe the motivation for this self-help. The desire to improve oneself should not come out of insecurity regarding male desirability. Nor should it come out of anti-Black male bigotry. Given how Millennial and Gen Z women consume significant amounts of internet content, they are especially vulnerable to pessimistic outlooks that prey on romantic and socioeconomic insecurities. Black parents should open a dialog with their children on the realities of racial self-hatred just as they would for institutional racism or police brutality. Express to them that they are always more than what society stigmatizes them as.

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