Aaaand We’re Back!
Hey folks! So I take a few measly days off to do this thing called “birth my daughter” and it seems like the politics surrounding natural hair just BLOW UP!
Yes, you heard that correctly. #BabyGirlFavors made her arrival! She is a six pound seven ounce chocolate drop of awesome and #HubbyFavors, #LilDudeFavors and I have been spending some time getting to know her and enjoy our new family configuration.
And yes, she has a head full of hair! I know, I’m sorry but I couldn’t resist! LOL
But anyway, as I was saying over the past few days there has been a ton of stories about the politics of Black hair. For one thing, comedian Sheryl Underwood was forced to apologize for denigrating Black hair as “nasty.” No really. She said that. On national television.
Trust I will address that incident in its own post.
It also seems that another school district has decided that Black natural hair is something White people and White institutions can regulate. Yes. Seriously. A small part of me mistakenly thought that the last time a school determined that Black hair was “inappropriate” when worn in its natural state that a lesson had been learned.
After all, the school district in that earlier incident was forced to change its policy banning natural hairstyles once the power of Black women on the web showed its lovely natural head. But it seems that this is a lesson that needs to be reinforced on a regular basis. So here’s a reminder for the Deborah Brown Community School in Oklahoma. This is the school that banned a straight A student because her locks were “faddish” and banned by school policy.
As I’ve said before:
If you are White and my hair makes you uncomfortable—you need to assess your racism and process that in your own space. But using your power to make policy that discriminates against my hair is a violation of my civil and human rights (aka it’s racist). If you are Black and my hair makes you uncomfortable—you need to assess your internalized White supremacy and work that out on your own time (That was for you Hampton University!). But using your discomfort to make me uncomfortable is a throwback to Black overseers and is a powerful reminder of the injury self hate can cause.
And finally, there’s the case of the Black female, natural haired pastor who declared that only “white people” would be allowed to greet church attendees. Yes. Pastor Makeeda Pennycooke executive pastor at a predominantly Black church, sent an email that informed
volunteers that fall is one of the busiest times of year for the church. “We anticipate having an increase in the number of people visiting and attending Freedom House over the next few weeks,” Pastor Pennycooke says in the email. She then says that “first impressions matter” and says the church wants “the best of the best on the front doors.” “We are continuing to work to bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line,” she continued in the email. “So we would like to ask that only white people be on the front doors.”
Now this story doesn’t address natural hair specifically. However, when you see the picture of Pastor Pennycooke, it is clear that she is a very pretty naturalista. I’ll have more to say about this in its own post, but for now just know that we need to remember “all our kin folk ain’t our skin folk.”
There are a lot of folks who presume that just because a woman wears natural hair that she is “down for the cause” or on the right side of race issues. Let this be a warning to you. There are some folks who wear Afros the size of igloos who will sell the community out. And there are some folks who wear perms that lay flatter than pancakes who will ride or die for their people.
Alright folks, that’s my brief recap for today. I hear my newborn crying and it’s time for her to eat. But I will be back to address all of these (and more) issues in future posts. Looking forward to reconnecting with you!