Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yep, I'm talking about hair.

I know this has kind of passed, but I keep thinking about it. So here I go.

I think we need to talk about hair. The hair of black people in particular.  I’m sure everyone has heard about the hoopla regarding the state of Gabby Douglas’ hair.  The black hair blogs were all in a tizzy over it and frankly some of the comments were down right nasty.  I know that many white people (and maybe a few black folks) are confused as to what the big deal is.  Sigh.  Before I explain what and why there was any deal let me say that Gabby Douglas is phenomenal. She is lithe, adorable, the finest of athletes super bendy and flip-tastic.  While watching the Olympics I thought about a lot of things, depending on the event.  I had a steady running dialogue in my brain the whole time. It went a little something like this:

Swimming:  God, he looks like a porpoise. I wonder if these men shave all their body hair. I heard swimmers can eat whole turkeys. Ugh, is he spitting?  Phelps did it! Oh wait, no he didn’t.  That is one goofy girl. She reminds me of a tranny. But good for her, bless her heart.

Track:  I need someone to explain to me why they don’t line up evenly.  That seems unfair.  Why are they wearing make up?  Hahah look at how their faces jiggle.  Those are some short shorts. Good lord Usain Bolt is fucking fast! How is that real?  Oh… is he really going to do pushups? Go Jamaica!

Diving:  That was one hell of a flop. Love how the Chinese bow.  Go Italy. (I don’t know why---she seems nice) Aww Malaysia! How cute are you?

Gymnastics: Poor guy from the Bronx…oh well.   Hey! I didn’t know the Dominican Republic had gymnasts. I wonder if Haiti will ever have gymnasts. How does one become a gymnast?  God, that looks scary. Hmmm what’s with the eyebrows on these girls? I wonder if they wax or shave?  God, she’s tiny! Look at her go. What’s with the sparkly hair spray? Russia looks pissed. What’s up with Gabby’s hair? She must live with white people. She’s awesome though, oh wait no, there’s her family.  That must be a 10 or close to it!

Ok so I’ve let you in to my brain and the steady stream of dialogue that goes on in my head. Let me just say, that it is constant. I can’t seem to turn it off, I think about a lot of things a lot of the time.  I’d like to believe that I am not alone in these thoughts. You can’t help that sort of thing.  Oh. You think I can?  You think I have a touch of the ADD?  Well whatever, it is what it is.

On to hair. Oh how to start…Hair is big deal among black people. Yes, that is a general blanket statement. I am sure that not EVERY single black person is preoccupied by hair. But, many are. Why? Frankly, I’m not sure that I can begin to describe all the reasons in an eloquent way.  But let me say this. Imagine being in place where the standard of everything, really is set by people who do not look like you. Imagine having to try as hard as you could to just fit in. That’s what most of us want correct? To fit in with whatever the standard of beauty is. For years, that standard has been Anglo.  
There is a reason why the most popular plastic surgery in Japan is eye widening surgery.  You know who buys up most of blue, green, grey colored contact lenses?  NOT white people, I’ll tell you that.

In the The ClarkExperiment , black children were shown two dolls, a black one and a white one. Both dolls had the same hair, expression etc. OVERWHELMINGLY, black children chose the white doll as the nice doll, the pretty doll etc.  This experiment was repeated in 2006, with similar results.  There was a movie in the 80’s School Daze, a Spike Lee joint.  The movie took place on the campus of a fictional HSBCU.  There is a musical number in the movie, likely one of the more popular scenes. The women sing “…talking about good and bad hair, whether you’re dark or you’re fair…” “Dontcha wish you had hair like this, than the boys would give you a kiss…” I will tell you right now, that scene resonated with black women.  At some point or another, most, if not all, black women have had angst over their hair. That feeling that your hair isn’t “nice” or “good”. Or frankly, the guilt had telling another black woman that no, it’s not a weave or no it’s not a chemical treatment, it’s natural.  And that uncomfortable feeling when she looks at you like you are liar.

So what about Gabby’s hair? Some people thought it looked bad. (I did) I know that she was busy being amazing and everything, but her hair looked bad.  A lot of people noticed and commented. We live in an age where the moment you think something you can’t get it out to millions of people.  Doesn’t matter what is, you could be full of total shit. But it’s out there for the world to see.

At the risk of sounding like separatist or a racist, here is what bugs me about this media shit storm. In general, I don’t think that white media “gets it”. So when I see articles labeling this issue as “ridiculous” it pisses me off.  What do you know about this? This is cultural issue that you don’t understand.  Which is fine, there are things about many cultures that I don’t understand. It doesn’t make me bad or stupid, I just don’t get it. 

Labeling this issue “ridiculous” is the wrong way to go. It’s not. It is a small part of a bigger picture that you aren’t able to see clearly.   

1 comment:

  1. i think it is about time i blog with another girl from new york, i happen to think girls now living in new york are neat<>><<>i previously blogged to lorin christie up in northern ny, patchaqueie, and she is still a lot of fun on her blog<><><>dude where are you or something like that><><>and of course my very hero is christine from colorado springs, deliberate life and of course amber, so now there is april who is not april, oh well i am putz who is not putz, i am really david, but do not worry about me, because i am too old to cause you or anyone any harm at all