Tuesday, October 13, 2009

“Good” Hair

We need to get to the root of the problems we still have with our hair. Because until we can untangle the mess in our head about what's on our head, we'll never be able to fully appreciate who we are as a people. Black hair, like Black people, in all its various styles and textures is beautiful.

Original Definition

“Good” hair. N. More European than African. Grade A or B only—definitely not C! Straight or loosely curled. Silky. Soft. Gentle. Wispy. Windblown. Preferably shoulder length or longer for females. Bouncing and Behaving. Naturally wavy--pre-Jheri Juice curl days. Relaxers or other chemicals need not be applied, but can be used on C hair to give it the appearance of Grade A or B hair so it can “pass” if not natural. Mimics the white girl toss-and-swing. Straight by any means necessary—axle grease, butter, bacon fat, goose grease. Originated in the antebellum south. Born out of racism. Decisive tool used to pit African American slaves against each other in color caste system of slavery. Product of miscegenation. Evidence of Indian in the family. Lacking kink. Easy to deal with. Compliant. Trained. Mainstreamed. Acceptable. Assimilated. Non Resistant. Superior. Opposite of “bad” hair.

“Bad” hair. N. More African than European. Grade C minus chemical intervention. Definitely D or F. Nappy. Kinky. Spongy. Wild. Wooly. Tightly curled--Home to kitchens and beady-bees. Short, if on a female. Unable to achieve waves even with pomade, brush, and doo-rag. Immobile. Denotes “pure” African ancestry. Hard to handle without aid of chemicals. Non-compliant. Unruly. Screams ethnic. Non-conformist. Antithesis of “good” hair.

Newly Defined

“Good” hair. N. Healthy hair. Well taken care of. Long or short. Straight or kinky. Locked or not. Any texture. Any style. God given. Emancipated. Manumitted. Free to be whatever the wearer wants it to be!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Blood on Our Hands

The blood of our youth that flows in the street stains the hands of the adults in our communities. We can point our fingers at various factors: the music, the media, the parents, society and it still comes back to us.

If we think that some of these children are monsters, then we must take responsibility for being the Dr. Frankensteins that created them. We went into the labs that are our homes, our schools, our churches and our communities and we took the worst of ourselves and molded them into the monsters that are terrorizing our neighborhoods.

We filled our children with self-loathing and self-hatred and tried to disguise it as arrogance and false pride. We gave them indelible minds but no moral compass, and they are lost in the wilderness of a world gone mad; a world that we created. And they are angry because they are afraid and they don't know what to do because we are not there to guide them.

We have failed our children because we lead by poor example. We smoke, drink, drug, sex and shrink away from our shared responsibilities. "These kids" as we like to refer to them, belong to someone else. We have adopted an "it's-all-about-me" attitude of greed and entitlement and passed it on to our children. They may not do as we say, but they always do as we do. IF they are monsters; it is because we made them.

If we want our children to stop being fodder for police blotters and yellow tape; if we want our children to stop being at the bottom of the national test scores, and the top of the dropout rates; if we want our children to stop being statistics for STDs including HIV and out of wedlock pregnancy; we must return to the labs that are our homes, our schools, and our communities and rescue our children. They're waiting for us to be the adults that we're supposed to be.

Otherwise, the blood will continue to flow and no matter how hard we try, we'll never be able to wash our hands clean.