17 Better Compliments for a Woman of Color Than “You Look Exotic”

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Saint Records

Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation when you thought you gave a compliment to a WOC (Woman of Color), but she’s staring at you with a look of irritation? Are you sitting in your cozy apartment, trying to figure out just what happened? Rewind for a second and go back to what you just said. Is it possible that something like, “You look exotic” came out of your mouth? What may come as a surprise to you is that this is actually a racist “compliment” that most WOC don't like to hear.

Maybe you didn’t say the word exotic, exactly, but after you thought you were boosting the spirits of your non-white friend with high-praise, she's just looking like a pissed off Jane Villanueva from Jane the Virgin, but can’t figure out why. Chances are you may have just given a backhanded compliment. While hopefully you and your friend are tight enough that she can tell you your words aren't necessarily appreciated, it's not really her job to check you on your racial sensitivity and honestly, she shouldn't have to. While we're all bound to stumble here and there when it comes to being politically correct a decent human being, I can give you some tips for ways to compliment your friend or a beautiful stranger without some racially charged statement.