Hi Meltingpot Readers,
Clearly you know I keep watch on all things Black hair related for all of my research for my book, Hair Story. But even if I wasn’t a certified hairstorian, I’d still be completely engrossed in all of the Black hair news being made this week.
First of all, one of the Black co-hosts on The Talk, Sheryl Underwood -who is also a comedian – thought she was being funny (I think) when she derided Heidi Klum for keeping her kid’s Afro hair as a keepsake. Not only did she say that Afro hair was nasty, she suggested that if a White person kept their children’s hair, that would be okay because White hair is silky and nice. What?!?! Poor Sheryl was called all kinds of names and publicly shamed all over social media for saying these things and taking the race backwards some 200 years. Here’s the clip:
Sigh.Clearly, I don’t know Sheryl Underwood and haven’t spent too much time watching The Talk, but the little bit of time I have seen her and based on her comments, the emotion I’m feeling right now is a deep sense of pity. Here’s a woman who wears a wig every day and clearly felt okay saying on national television that White hair is better than Black hair. What kind of person says that except one who has a deep sense of racial and personal inferiority? I don’t want to psychoanalyze someone I don’t know, but from where I’m sitting, her comments point to a little Black girl who never felt pretty and who internalized whatever negative comments she heard as a child. It’s just sad all around.
And speaking of sad, the attacks on Black hair just kept coming this week. Yesterday I read about a little seven-year-old girl in Tulsa, Oklahoma who was sent home from her charter school – a charter school run by Black people – because dreadlocks, Afros and Mohawks and other ‘faddish styles’ are unacceptable for a positive learning environment. First of all, Afros and dreadlocks are not ‘faddish,’ they’re historic, culturally relevant styles, thank you very much. And second of all, what makes dreadlocks or Afros antithetical to a serious learning environment? Maybe if this was a dress code for White kids, because seriously, White people with dreadlocks always makes me do a double take, I’d see their point, but that’s not it. Once again, you have Black people so out of touch with their own history and culture that they want to demonize that which is our own and prize the imitation of European beauty/grooming standards. Dear Lord, how much damage was done during those 400 years?
So, I’m not saying this because I wrote the book, but will somebody please send Sheryl Underwood and the administrators at the charter school in Tulsa a copy of Hair Story:Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America? Education, it’s a good place to start.
That is all.