Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"You Don't Understand, You Don't Understand"

The headline is a quote from 9/11, when Zuba called me from her walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and explained to me how I would never, ever understand - "There's no Towers!  There's no Towers!"  My instant response was, No, I don't understand.  I never could, I never would.  But the fact that she reached out to me - from that Bridge, no less, has always been my bridge, my way to at least reach for comprehension.

Being the child of privilege, there is a LOT in this world I will never understand.

(T)he care taken with a black girl’s hair signaled that she was loved and cared for, that she belonged to somebody. Having one’s children out in the world with unkempt, uncombed hair has always been considered a major form of parental neglect in black communities.
Those of us who have “liberated” our hair are quick to think of the continued black cultural investments in long straight hair, perms, weaves and ever-more ubiquitous lace-front wigs, as evidence of a kind of pathological investment in European standards of beauty that will always elude us.

This article is a remarkable look at the heritage and the politics of Black hair in America, particularly Black women's hair.

Beauty and fashion are important.  The choices we make, the looks we project, those fashions or styles or statements we make, passively or not - the things we subscribe to by choosing to literally wear them - have never been trivial, and arguably are more fraught than ever with intention, meaning, and power.

Just ask noted collaborator and anti Semite Coco Chanel, whose fashion house has spanned two centuries now and made billyuns and billyuns in profit worldwide.  Ask any juror who ever let a rapist off based on the altitude of a victim's hemline.  Ask LinkedIn, that purveyor of articles I refuse to even link, tut-tutting the idea of a woman IN SHORT SLEEVES, attempting to give a presentation and expecting to be taken seriously as a professional.  (I am not kidding, this was in my "latest updates" today, and it was not a joke.)

What the United States Army is doing to Black women is unquestionably racially-specific, political, historical, clearly painful.  Please read the Salon link.  It's a great education.

Even for those of us who will never, truly can never, actually *understand*.  Because even if I went through airport security with my hair Jacked Up to Jesus, it would NOT get patted down.  Because there's no Towers, Diane, and no amount of frienship, love, sympathy, and deep pain will ever let me see them now.

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