Culture

Goldilocks was Criming While White

A lot of the stories we’ve heard since we were little are really insidious once you pick them apart and realize what was actually happening. As an adult, analyzing childhood lore can piss you off when you realize that the character you were supposed to love was actually a fuckboy. Or when you realize the racial undertones that you didn’t pick up when you were a napping (not woke) tweenager who was trying to be talked to bed.

Let’s talk about one that we’ve heard countless times: the story of Goldilocks and the three bears.

Goldilocks was a little girl, aptly named for her blonde hair. She goes for a walk in the forest and sees a house. When she knocks and no one answers, she lets herself in. She goes to their kitchen and sees 3 bowls of porridge on the table and tries the first two, but one was too hot and the other was too cold. The third was just right. She smashes that doggone porridge. Ain’t none left, B.

Afterwards, she’s tired so she goes in the living room and finds three chairs. The first two didn’t work for her, because both were too big, but that third one was right for her. As she sits down, it breaks.

Then she carries her rude ass to the second floor because all that food has made her sleepy, and breaking the chair showed that she just needed to have an extended blink. Because she has that much nerve. She sees three beds, and lays on each until she finds the right one. The first was too hard, the second was too soft, and the third was perfect. So she takes a nap in this strange house, and you know she ain’t got no manners so her shoes were probably still on.

Nap Right Here gif

She’s in La-La Land, probably snoring loudly when the three bears came home and discover their porridge eaten, and the Baby Bear’s chair is broken. Then they go exploring and go to their bedroom to find their beds unmade, and Goldilocks is still sleeping in the baby’s bed. Homegirl wakes up, sees the bears and freaks out, screaming “HELP!” as she runs out their house. The end.

Bruh. BRUUUUUHHH. Goldilocks ain’t have one piece of broughtupsy. No home training whatsoever. Can we talk about how Goldie is a criminal and she is the worst? Yes, let’s!

How many crimes did she commit? Breaking and entering (the house). Petty theft (the food). Destruction of property (the chair). Trespassing (the nap in their bed).

She does ALL of that, but here’s the kicker. The fact that when she saw the bears, SHE got alarmed and screamed for help. As if she wasn’t the stranger in their house. As if SHE wasn’t the one who violated their space. As if SHE wasn’t the one who was somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be. As if SHE wasn’t the one who wronged them. Goldilocks turned herself into the victim when she was the perpetrator, which is white supremacy and white woman damsel in distress syndrome.

She ran away like the little punk she is, when what she should have done was stand there and profusely apologize for what she did to the three bears. And promise to right her wrong, and pay them back for the damage she did. Nope. Her raggelly ass just ran like the wind.

This tale never sat right with me, because I wondered what we were supposed to take away from this. This little white girl broke into the house of three bears (who were brown bears), and then took and damaged their stuff. And she still felt compelled to be scared of them.Because truly. This story is told and retold over and over again. WHAT are kids supposed to take from it? Were we supposed to find her cute? I assume that’s why they gave her the cutesy name of Goldilocks. Because you know who is easy to side with, in spite of wrongness or criminality? Adorable little blonde white girls, even when they’re being thugs.

So much so that in a lot of pictures and covers, you’ll see with Goldilocks and the three bears, the bears are smiling next to her. Because, you know. When white people violate people of color, we just need to grin and bear it (no pun intended). We need to smile through it and forgive. We need to gee whillikers it away.

NAH. Why is everyone smiling like this little girl didn’t just break into their house?

I will borrow from myself (from chapter 9 of my book I’m Judging You) when I say in a world that rarely protects women, when it does choose to do so, it only protects white girls and women. They have been and are still allowed to get away with murder (literally) for centuries. They are given miles of grace that some of us don’t have even have inches of access. It is part of the function of white supremacy: the presumption of innocence, even when proven guilty with facts.

Goldilocks was the antagonist of that story, but we’re expected to relate to her. Meanwhile, the poor three bears were just minding their business when they were victimized. They never got an apology from their intruder, and they just had to go on living their lives after their house was broken into. Ain’t no reparations or nothing. Goldilocks got away scot-free, and people probably never knew she did this thing. Because: Darth Becky (word to Very Smart Brothas).

Chile, she’s so white woman. And what have we learned after November 8? That all these damsels in distress have just been conditioned to be passive aggressive movers of chaos, without getting the brunt of the blame. White women have been shielded from culpability all their lives and through history. They’ve been able to be active participants in systems of oppression, but they haven’t had to deal with the accountability.

If Goldilocks was a little Black girl named Brownie, this story would have been told much darker. Goldilocks was a criminal. Call a spade a spade.


Have you bought my debut book I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual. Haven’t ordered it yet? Now’s your chance. You’ll love it. Amazon. Barnes & Nobles. iBooks. Audible (I narrated the audiobook myself). Kobo. Books-A-Million.

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48 Comments

  1. April 4, 2017 at 9:24 am

    This. Is. Brilliant. LOL!!!

  2. J
    April 4, 2017 at 9:29 am

    NO lies detected.

  3. Ray
    April 4, 2017 at 9:32 am

    If you think about most fairy tales most are B&E + Thievery!

  4. Alicia Wilson
    April 4, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Goldilocks syndrome is real. Look at all the white feminists who say the most racist things about our community and get away with it? Or how about the pictures in history books of them gleefully attending lynchings, or even causing them? My white history teacher railed on and on about the “pedestal” white women were “forced” to inhabit. I replied that they love that pedestal and protect it vigorously from girls who look like me and Xiomara. WE are expected to clean up the crap that falls from their pedestal while they demonize our men as thugs and label our children stupid. Goldilocks needs a kick in the ass!

    • Andrea Plaid
      April 4, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Preach, Alicia!!

  5. tee
    April 4, 2017 at 9:41 am

    I wish I could put a mic drop gif RIGHT HERE.

  6. Bridgette Wilson
    April 4, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Welp!

  7. Bald Wisdom
    April 4, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Add to that how the bears are depicting people of color. Why a bear? An animal that is feared and fearsome. One has to ponder what the story’s creator was saying about Africans and Afro-americans. That we are animalistic, to be disregarded and given no thought.
    I see these white women in the work place all the time. With narry a talent nor an original idea riding the coat tails of their complexion. Our white Pastor called them white folks as a whole out this Sunday from the Pulpit. Only folks applauding were non-white.

  8. Valerie
    April 4, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Girl, you ain’t never lied! I always wondered why the story didn’t continue with the bears filing a police report. Now I know it was because they knew that if the po-po came, the situation was gonna flip, they’d be blamed, Papa Bear would’ve been shot, Mama Bear was gonna be throw’d to the ground and arrested, and Baby Bear would have ended up in foster care at best or juvy at the worst.

    • Nay
      April 4, 2017 at 11:41 am

      DAYUM Valerie – all too real.

  9. April
    April 4, 2017 at 10:04 am

    LOL. I love this. I will say, though, at least this version of the tale makes sense: http://storyberries.com/goldilocks-and-the-three-bears/. Goldilocks should be scared for life.

  10. Elle
    April 4, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I thought for sure you were seque into a riff on Betty Shelby (murderer of Terrence Crutcher) because if EVAH there was a Goldilocks reference in real like Darth Betty would be it.

  11. Aisha
    April 4, 2017 at 10:35 am

    All true! The “extended blink” line sent my mind a little left recalling that blog you did back in the day about the levels to sleepiness or something like that…It was the first thing I read of yours and has kept me a true and honest fan since.

  12. Chiq
    April 4, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who disliked this story with a passion…I could never wrap my head around how this little thug with blond hair comes in someone’s home eats their vittles and breaks stuff but has the nerve to be scared when they came home. I also didn’t like Hansel & Gretel for that reason. Look yeah I get you were lost and all but how you get mad at the woman (I didn’t like the connotations implied with calling her a witch) trying to eat you when you broke into her home trying to eat up her house just ’cause it was made of food (you know you could have asked for a doorknob or something to nibble on lol). Eh I never liked the Disney-fied versions of the fairy tales anyway. Give me the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales with the actual consequences for the B&E and thefts. If I remember correctly in the original fairy tales didn’t the bears track down Goldy and eat her hmmmmm?!?!?

  13. Eleni O'Neill
    April 4, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Couldn’t agree more! There are, though, some really great versions of this story out now where things work out better, like where the bears are in the right or when dinosaurs eat Goldilocks. 🙂

  14. April 4, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Hmmmm you ain’t neva lie. But of course, this will yield push back, cuz, well, it’s coming from a Black woman. Good for you boo!!! Let’s just that Bih

  15. Julia
    April 4, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I always hated Goldilocks. Whenever I tell the story to my spawn she always tries to escape out the window, falls and breaks her leg, and is then carted off to jail for being an utter dick.
    Sometimes she gets eaten, depending on my mood. 😂

    • Dana
      April 4, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      That is savage! I’m totally stealing this idea.

  16. Valerie
    April 4, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    The more commonly known Goldilocks version definitely has the “Criming while white” stink to it; while the original story by Robert Southey is of 3 bachelor bears and an old silver haired “bad woman”. Pretty insidious that it morphed into a young criming while white Goldilocks / damsel-in-distress and a bear family.
    The original story speculates that the old woman may have broken her neck or was picked up by the constable, but the bears never saw her again.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DnEGsx6WWk

    • Deezy
      April 5, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Thanks for posting this! I was curious enough to click the link, and I’m glad that I did – at the least the ORIGINAL author meant for the white lady in the story to be a thief and a vagrant. You’re right that it’s hella suspect that it morphed into a cutesy little white girl damsel-in-distress type.

  17. BlackBerry Molasses
    April 4, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    i never liked that damn story, even as a child. it never sat well with me and i will NOT be reading it to the mini-queen.

  18. Theresa H
    April 4, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    When I told the story to my son, Goldilocks had to pay for the chair she broke. Then the bears got a restraining order against her so she wouldn’t come back.

  19. Shar
    April 4, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Facts! “no broughtupsy” is right……trifling heifer! Why do I see her as Lindsey Lohan doh?, smdh.

  20. notconvincedgranny
    April 4, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Lord, I thought I was the only one with a suspicious mind. Or knew that tramp was a perp, not a vic.

  21. Kate
    April 4, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    As a kid, I pitied the little bear most of all. Goldilocks was obviously in the wrong. I never thought about relating to her in this story; I was glad when she ran off. She’s not going to last long in the woods, right?

  22. Kate
    April 4, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    You have probably already seen this book and know about it, but just in case. Goldilocks notwithstanding, your point about racial innocence has a long and deliberate history.

    Racial Innocence
    Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights
    Robin Bernstein
    https://nyupress.org/books/9780814787083/

    Goldilocks may have started as a hag, a nasty old woman (or a trickster fox? a witch?) and housebreaker. It’s hard for me to know because the story changed so many times. The bears were probably people at first and the heroes of the tale.

    https://letterpile.com/books/goldilocks-and-three-bears

    What’s interesting, though, is how she became cuter and younger and more sympathetic over time: more innocent, as you say, and much less interesting.

    I like the old versions more. They punished the wicked. Without the comeuppance, fairy tales are not fun.

    • cleojonz
      April 5, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Exactly. The whole point of the old tales was that they had a moral. Told this way? What is the point of the story?

  23. Sue
    April 4, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    And if you think this story is fictional, think again. A friend told me she and her pal both love ghostly haunted places, so they broke into an unused old hacienda on a historic estate in the middle of the night. They spent the night hanging out, looking for ghosts, reading books from the library, etc. They even stole some books. When they left, the gardening crew had already arrived.

    My friend panicked but her pal said “Calm down, keep chatting and walking. There’s no gardening crew on earth who is going to dare question two white ladies who are acting like they belong here.” And so it was.

  24. Sony Loren
    April 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Absolutely brilliant and truthful!

  25. Choc
    April 4, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    I just got my whole life from this! I’m not so sure I was even breathing before I read this. If this ain’t the truth, the truth don’t exist. Goldilocks lying, thieving ass been getting away with her mess forever! Taylor Swifting her way through life and blinking her blue eyes while the world turns a blink eye. Well bitch, the chickens have come home to roost. Goldilocks ain’t no better than Christopher Columbus!

  26. Jill
    April 4, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    YES.

    100% YES.

  27. Flo
    April 4, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Yes. If it were little Blackfro and the Three Polar Bears…well we know that ending.

    • April 6, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      “little Blackfro and the Three Polar Bears”

      Why oh why do I want to illustrate that (but with a different ending)?

  28. April 4, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Most fairytales and nursery rhymes have underlying racism in them. Ez: Eenie Meenie Miney Moe, Five Little Monkeys, Ten Little Indians, hell classic literature in general written ny white authors.

  29. Nellybell40
    April 4, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    I love this…all truth.

    If you decided to do a WHOLE series on like this on fairy tales, I would be ready and willing to read em all.

    Do Beauty & the Beast next…pretty please…

  30. Whatididwhatido
    April 4, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Uh..racheal dolezal..enough said

  31. Laz
    April 4, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Her parents should’ve been arrested for not keeping an eye on their wondering ass child. Child endangerment, negligence, no parental supervision. Her parents should be in a cell with her criminal ass.

  32. Laz
    April 4, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    All of these stories are with white people. Snow White, gala anoint in the forest with 7 lonely men. All of them with Napoleon complexes something to prove. Sleepy Beauty, she was narcoleptic. None of these stories are about other races. SMDH

  33. Amy Harrison
    April 5, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Made me think of that stupid girl that tried to sue her way into UT with her mediocrity, saying that she had suffered discrimination. You do not get to break in and take a spot from a qualified person (who may not be white) just because you have been privileged with your paleness all your life. You’d probably break the chair and sleep in someone else’s bed without permission anyway.

  34. Lorna
    April 5, 2017 at 10:15 am

    “White women have been shielded from culpability all their lives and through history. They’ve been able to be active participants in systems of oppression, but they haven’t had to deal with the accountability.”

    PREACH THE WORD, LUVVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Deezy
    April 5, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Whelp. We won’t be reading this story at my house! Eff you, Goldilocks!

  36. April 5, 2017 at 11:28 am

    There’s a whole generation of white kids from Montana who were in my history classes when I taught there 15-20 years ago who were introduced to historical perspective through Roald Dahl’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears poem, which pretty much sums up what a criminal she was, as you say. Highly recommended. : )

  37. Anretta
    April 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Yes please ! Chewing on my nails as I wait for the beauty and the beast rendition.

  38. Kendra
    April 6, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Soooo “GOLDILOCKS” = Kellyanne Conway

  39. April 6, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I swear my father just spoke through you! LMAO My dad used to say this all the time and don’t even get him started on King Kong. It was tough being the only woke kid in middle school.

  40. April 6, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    It’s like Goldilocks was the inspiration for Kellyanne Conway. Coming in the house, putting her nasty feet up on the furniture, acting like she had some right to be there.

  41. Tami
    April 10, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Oh My gosh! This article blew my mind!!!! Wow…Never thought about the story of Goldilocks in all these years…Luvvie you definitely put a spin on this tale that I never even thought about…Now I have to break it down to my 11 year old grand-daughter, open up her eyes. Goldilocks did break into their house!!! And got the nerve to be scared of them!!! LOL

  42. Bern P
    April 20, 2017 at 9:53 am

    OMG! This detailed “behind the scenes” re-telling of Goldilocks has me hollering. I’m thinking, just how did we miss all of this growing up? Were we so ready to see the good in everything? Now I’m re-thinking every childhood story I’ve ever heard. Was the Boy Who Cried Wolf really a needy lil pathological liar?? Was the Princess and the Pea about a complaining lil princess? How you really gonna feel a tiny pea with 20 mattresses on top of it? Really?? Just always whining! LOL!!