Wednesday, 11 November 2009

On-going debate

Good hair vs bad hair.....Light skin vs Dark skin

I wasn't sure I wanted to get into this subject on my blog. I do have discussions on this in my personal life. That allows for immediate responses: off the cuff truthful answers. Which then lead into debates.
We can all prepare and make ourselves look good with well thought out answers but do you get the truth.Even in face to face debates, people are not prepared to be honest: not with themselves more importantly.
Having this discussion recently, having to admit certain truths to yourselves will often leave you feeling stupid and who purposely wants to feel this way?. 'Truth hurts as they say'.

As we have seen in recent months with the Chris Rock movie 'Good hair' and the recent channel 4 documentaries regarding race. Tyra Banks deciding to no longer wear weaves and Sosa lighten complexion, and Lil Kim, who has been so for awhile now. So in-light(not intended) of what's going on, I thought I will touch upon the subject briefly.

Historical context

House Nigger VS Field Nigger

"House Nigger"

One who is of lighter complexion,looser hair texture. Will be the child of the slave owner and slave worker. Privileges for that offspring; they were in the house, eating the good food and better dressed..

"Field Nigger"

One who is of darker complexion, tighter curl patter;often refereed to as 'kinky' or 'nappy'. Will be found in the field, picking cotton, cutting down sugar cane,or picking corn etc. Ate whatever was thrown to them. Foods that are still cooked today.

"The house Negro will be the one to keep the field Negro in-check if they ever got out of line." Malcolm X..

That is very brief historical reference but highly relevant. We can go back a lot further and look at a vast amount of historical events that have influenced the negative depiction of black people. Or even more recent depictions can be found. Scientists, anthropologists and all of the other "-ists" that you can think of have been used over the years to encourage and 'prove' the other (us) as the lesser kind.

So you can say a lot work has gone into making black people feel like 'savages', 'primitive', less intelligent and all the rest.

So when I hear comments like " I relax my hair out of convenience", "I like different styles"."I just find light/white skin girls more attractive, it' s my preference" or "I don't have good hair. that's why I relax". Are we just becoming a culture that it's more and more integrated therefore, doing something different, liking something more than the other, is just part of the process?

But then I question:

How much of the historical context can we ignore? Can we truly say decisions we make are no way impacted by the years 'conditioning'?
And do we as black people really understand the effect.?

Watching the race documentaries on Channel 4, 'Nip, tuck and bleach, the white beauty myth'. The young lady called Jet who was on a mission to lessen her nose from looking 'African' to looking more 'European'. She felt her black nose made her look poor.
Further into the show at one point she went for a brief moment of anger, when she realised she was putting her life at risk to try and fit in with white society. That soon faded and she was elated after the surgery was complete. As she put it, "she felt her nose went with her clothes" shopping at Waitrose , basically her overall lifestyle, work etc. So ultimately her life was made more convenient by looking white!.

We can look at white society and see how blind they are to racism. That was shown on the other documentary 'How racist are you:the event'. One guy said, I quote " I don't have a problem with calling you gollywog". Well isn't that something?! He doesn't mind calling me gollywog, well thank you kind sir.

Nevertheless, comments that were made about the show 'the white beauty myth' on Twitter were by black females. The common trend found amongst the black women; dare I say it, they had very long weave, blonde colour hair, some with just blonde highlights and other colours, commenting on the fact they don't understand how black women are not happy being black.
Now are we saying hair doesn't count as part of the idea of not looking black. If we refer back to the previous historical context looking black, i.e nappy hair was bad.So is this idea of just changing your style, which are usually different European styles, that simple of an answer.

You can even further look into the damaging affects of relaxer,hair dye etc, not only to your hair but your inside as it's a toxic chemical. Is Jet the only one who is wrong in that case?. Is her honesty more damaging or are the black people who do questionable styles but don't see any correlation ?

What Jet did was undeniable trying to look white, she said it herself. Is this matter of what we see as trying to look white?
If your aware of something only then can you change it, if you don't see a problem how would you know to question yourself.


Are the decisions we make, that may appear to be looking less black. I.E Hair colour, hair texture-from wavy to straight. Wanting to look more European in shape. Wanting to date women or men who look less black.

Are these just choices??

Watch the comedy sketch below from the show Little Miss Jocelyn.. I have meet a few black people like this in my life

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