I have to be honest, this question always offended me, and I never could fully articulate why until just now.
First of all, it never matters. It's usually said in the context of a man trying to hit on me, or an older woman commenting on my hair length, or/and it's texture. It has nothing to do with the actual nature of the transaction which is "you're attractive" or "you have nice hair". It's used as a justification or explanation as to why me, a "seemingly black" woman has those things, those things reserved for other women. There must be some other explanation! She can't just be black!
Second, it does have something to do with my view of race/ethnicity within the context of minorities. I am tremendously saddened by the fact that we choose to separate ourselves further by use of colorism. I think that all historically oppressed groups should work together politically and socially to reform harmful patterns of thinking in regards to minority relations, and further that distinctions of black, latino, native american, and indigenous are useless to us. An injustice to one is an injustice to us all! THAT IS NOT TO SAY, that these things are not important within ourselves. Our culture traditions, rites of passage, etc must be preserved. My previous thoughts are limited to political and social forces of change. Separate movements do less work, even though the particular issues in each community may be different, the common cause is injustice, and that what we could all come together and focus on.
Lastly, I think it's about credit. It's always some other race that gets credit for my black self's hair, features etc. I look black, so let the credit lie where it is! It's funny to me that in the coming age of "natural hair" and the clear diversity of hair and textures that have been shown ppl still subscribe to the notion that "she must be something else!" or that "most black girls don't have hair like that" look around, we do! How many times are you gonna say it's not normal, before you realize if we actually counted, it is the norm! I just want us to have credit for something. Just give us our hair, just give us our skin. I'm black, don't go crediting some other race, for that which I call myself: black. If I completely identify myself as black, it's rude (couldn't think of anything else) and disrespectful to be like, "yeah that's the identity she built her whole life around, but she gotta be ...white, NA too" Don't do that.
I said all that to say just tell me I look good/attractive/pretty etc...you don't have to/should stop guessing as to why that is or what race makes it so.
P.S. Jesus law school is taking a toll on my writing...can yall even read this "let the credit lie" who says that?