Saturday, July 25, 2009

My New Do and a few reactions

Yesterday was my last day with my summer job as a day camp counselor. Saying goodbye to the kids after 6 weeks of fussing, crying, playing, and bathroom breaks was admittedly a tear inducing event. The funny thing about kids is that they are very raw. Joy is felt wholeheartedly, as well as anger, sadness, and jealousy. It's a different kind of purity but one that is able to completely reflects whatever influences that kids have in their life. Kids dont really have a mind screen to make things sound better or worse than they really are. Most of the time, they say or do what is on their mind.
A subject that is strongly reflected in my kids was the subject of my hair. If you are just tuning in, I recently decided to cut off my permed hair and rock a short do. the reasons why is a whole other note that I have written but it involves Malcolm X and my own indifference to looking "good". Anyway people's outward reactions were either along the lines of impressed or angry that a girl like me who had "long good hair" would cut it completely in favor of very short kinky hair. but my resolve to go natural is tested daily by reactions to my hair and how i think people look at me now. people have been less comfortable with my and my social conscious outbursts now that i am a "natural" black young woman. and for first impressions, im looked at with more wariness and caution than before when i was just another light skinned, long haired, girl. whether with long, extension filled braids or my permed hair.
Now the kids at my summer camp reacted in a stronger manner than my peers and other adults. kids still liked me ok (cause im a complete goofball) but i was clearly more intimidating. i was constantly mistaken for a boy or kids would ask me why i didnt look more like a woman. especially the male children. I had one little 6 year old who i had really liked tell me that i should get longer and straighter hair because my short kinky hair looked "nasty" as he slept on my shoulder, i wondered what his parents were like and what kind of people he was surrounded with.
for the first time i didnt feel very pretty. in fact for a few brief seconds, i considered, not getting a permed, but getting extensions again. fortunately that moment passed but i wont forget soon how beauty is looked at and what my going against the grain looks like to other people.

the fact that it only takes me 5 minutes to pick and spray my hair and 10 minutes to wash it though is luxury that i love.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Head and My Heart are ignoring each other

So I just had a conversation/debate with my mother that ended with my saying "you're brainwashed!" to which she took a rather large offense to...
What we were talking about was the Gates case with the idiot white cops that were called for a supposed break ins. also my mind is stuffed with the recent racefails of the past two weeks, what with sotomayor's confirmation, the philly pool incident, and now this. and all i have heard white people say is that everybody (meaning black people) are blowing this all out of proportion and just like to play the race card. and i've had it.

and now i hear my mother talking about if Gates had just stayed inside his house and not yelled at the police officers, he wouldnt have been arrested. which ignores the whole inequity of the police being there in the first place what waiting. but after the argument was over, i felt guilt, anger, and irritation at both my mom and myself. my heart doesnt regret what i said, but my mind does.

So what my head knows is that:
1. my mother lived through the 60s and 70s. so even though she is a middle class child through and through, she stills went through much rougher stuff that i have ever. so for me to judge her feels wrong and that even if i truly believe that she is brainwashed (which i do), i owe her much more respect than i gave her
2. mothers desreve more respect
3. good mothers even more so, and my mom is the best.

My heart feels:
1. being middle class has basically placed my mom in the mindset of most middle class blacks, especially considering her attitude towards working class blacks, her prejudices against other people of color groups, her general ignorance of the world outside where we live.
2. i spend most of my time reading up on the stuff going on.

so im torn and irritated that this is a problem period.