Diary

When Hair Becomes a Civil Rights Issue

I recently read an article- I do not remember where- written by an African-American woman decrying what she calls cultural appropriation.  I did, however, manage to copy and paste into a folder some interesting quotes from that article.  I swear that even though I cannot remember or even cite the article, I am not making some of this stuff up.

It started with an article this person wrote explaining why it was problematic for white women to wear black hairstyles.  She states:

I got hundreds of messages from angry people asking, “Well, what about black women straightening their hair or dyeing their hair blonde?” First of all — there are, gasp, black people in the world with naturally blonde hair and blue eyes.

This young author needs a basic education in anthropology, genetics, demography or all of the above.  First, it is generally accepted that people of the negroid race- yes! that is an approved anthropological term and the fact spell check did not underline it in red as I type this proves that fact- states:

Among the Caucasoid, hair color is light brown to dark brown, texture is fine to medium and the form is straight to wavy. The body hair among the Caucasoid is moderate to profuse. Among the Mongoloids, the color of hair is brown to brown black, texture is coarse, form is straight and body hair sparse. Among the Negroids, hair color is brown black, texture is coarse, form is woolly or frizzly and body hair, sparse.

If this goofy author had- gasp!- used this thing called “Google,” she could have easily discovered this fact.  There may very well be “naturally” blond and blue eyed people in the negroid group, but that is because they have bred with members of the Caucasoid race at some time in their past.  If the author can produce a single blond haired, blue eye African native, God bless her.

Like most reliable goofuses, she then states:

But that’s besides the point. The need to flip the script when it comes to cultural appropriation is wrong because it willfully removes context and history from the equation. Black people conforming to white or Western standards of beauty is the product of a need to survive in a society in which wearing hair in its natural state can cost black men ans women their jobs and even their educations.

To translate, according to author, these anthropological facts are besides the point.  Black women  have to change their hairstyle to get a job or an education.   Hmmm…

The author then goes on to say, digging herself a deeper hole of doo doo:

Things like Black History Month, BET, and Black Girls Rock are not “reverse racist” against white people, they’re not examples of a double standard in which White History Month, The White Entertainment Channel, and White Girls Rock would be considered offensive. “Why isn’t there a White History Month?” you ask? To repeat a very true cliché — all history is white history. Most black children in America will learn they are descended from slaves before they learn they are descended from ancient African civilizations.

Not all history is white history so let’s dispel with that myth.  Working in the public school system, I can safely say that world and American history courses are no longer Eurocentric despite the objective fact that Europeans (that is, whites) discovered and colonized America.  In world history, an inordinate amount of time is dedicated to African civilizations despite their, relatively speaking, minimal contributions.  As for being taught about being descended from slaves, that seems to be the thrust of modern history education.  Most textbooks leave out fundamental, brutal and important, but racially inconvenient facts about the African slave trade.

This is not to minimize the fact that slavery existed and it seems at odds with our founding principles that “all men are created equal.”  But, it is usually at the insistence of black leaders that education emphasize the stain of slavery.

Getting more on point, most history is white history because whites colonized the country.  Our founders were white.  And here is another mind-blowing historical fact- they were men.  And yet another mind blowing fact- they were religious, specifically Christian.  When historical fact is equated with “cultural misappropriation” then education has really gone off the rails.

She then ends her screed with the following:

These institutions are created out of necessity, and the argument that they should not exist speaks to the pervasiveness of white privilege. Donald Trump actually took issue with the show “Black-ish,” complaining that the show was racist because: “Can you imagine the furor of a show, ‘Whiteish’! Racism at highest level?” Yes, Mr. Trump, one of the few black family sitcoms on TV, produced and written by a black person, playfully dismantling racial stereotypes and striving to include everyone in the conversation, is ‘racism at its highest level.’ Or maybe it’s just long overdue?

First of all, I would hardly call the show “Black-ish,” Black History Month, BET or “Black Girls Rock” institutions.  I will admit I like that sit-com, but it is not one of my “go to” shows for laughs.  Anthony Anderson is a good actor- sort of a black Christopher Walken- who seems to pop up in everything.  Personally, I think his best work was in Malibu’s Most Wanted, that Jamie Kennedy movie which is replete with black cultural appropriation where Kennedy, whose name is Brad, changes his name to B-Rad in order to get a rap music recording contract.  Seriously…it’s a laugh a minute.

What is not a laugh a minute, however, is articles like this one I failed to officially cite.  Hairstyles are not a manifestation of white privilege nor are they at the top of any civil rights leader’s agenda.  Nor are they a symptom of institutional racism or anything else a young black girl learned in her Critical Race Theory (CRT) class at college.

All of these things are non-winning arguments.  In effect, blacks are all still suffering from the aftermath of years of slavery which is the whole basis of CRT- a theory of victimization.  These are the purveyors of the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” philosophy who have embarked on an “it’s never enough” mindset.  If racism was magically erased from America tomorrow, there would still be cries of “racism.”  There is money and fame to be had from the racial tension generation mill.

Is there work to be done?  Of course there is.  Does racism exist?  Of course, it does.  Is it a negative and should racists be called out?  Absolutely!  But I can guarantee one thing: it does not involve one’s hairstyle.