Friday, April 8, 2016

Long Rant: Your Hair, Don't Care

Hey, white woman... with corn rows

Hey, white(?) woman... with box braids.

Hey, white woman... with dreads.

For all this talk of "cultural appropriation" and white individuals donning hairstyles widely used by black people, I both agree with some of the sentiments, and also remain largely indifferent to the whole "issue."

One, and most importantly: 

It's fucking hair. It falls out, it grows back, we crimp it, braid it, dye it, blow dry it, frizz it up, lay it, put extensions in it, twist it, shave it off... and then we die. It's hair. It's a symbol of who you are? In your subjective world, maybe. But, objectively, it's made of keratin and grows on your head and your body (unless you're Brazilian, and then it only grows if you want it to... I've heard). Many arguments I've heard about seeing white people with hairstyles made popular and prominent used by black people is that they are stealing our culture while pretending that it is something new and original.

I mean, hell, twerking's been around for decades, but let Miley Cyrus and her violently shake her bony pelvis  twerk and all of a sudden, making it clap is mainstream. And even though twerking was seen as grotesque and unseemly to the puritan crowd, the fact that a white girl was doing it made other white girls want to do it... ad nauseum. 

I get this argument about "cultural appropriation", even if I don't fully agree with it. It gets annoying seeing things that were popular in black communities get a white makeover and suddenly become successful. It happens with fashion, with music, with dialect... everything but the actual stigma attached to our skin color.  And even if that stigma becomes attached, it can easily be unattached from the white demographic: remove the hairstyle, the clothes, the way you talk, and you just become regular Joe.

I can take that shit off, but I'll always be black ass Laurence, the guy who gets "complimented" on the way he speaks because apparently I'm a fucking unicorn for knowing more than 6 big words and having a college degree from an accredited university in IT Project Management... and not African American studies. 

Anyway, I'm sidetracking here. I don't care how you do your hair. No one should care. Imagine how exhausting and unhappy your life would be policing the appearances and actions of every single person you felt was hijacking your culture. You'd never get any sleep, and offense would be taken on the regular. Who has that kind of time? Now, I will say that aside from Bo Derek, I've yet to see a white women rock cornrows or braids successfully, but that's just me. 

You have to understand that some black people have gripes about this because they feel like there are parts of their culture being co-opted by another race, but that they have to deal with the bullshit that goes along with their skin color (racial profiling, stereotyping, etc.). But then there is the social justice warrior types that are militantly opposed to anything deemed "black" being used by other races, even benignly. These are the individuals that have a lot more shit going on internally, and white people just seem like an easy way to unleash. A lot of these guys don't need social justice activism... they need pure D therapy, because that hashtag isn't gonna solve their problems. 

In conclusion... so what? With all the the talk of racism and diversity, it would appear that getting all pissy about Justin Bieber wearing dreadlocks indicates that the social media crowd needs to get their life, and log the eff off. And really, what is Twitter? What is Instagram? Facebook? What are "controversies"? Media, you need to chill the eff out, too, because most of this is on you. There are millions of users on all kinds of social media sites, and I promise you, you can string together any kind of posts, tweets, or chats, and create any narrative you want. Being offended on social media isn't a thing... it's an annoyance that we've given legitimacy to, and now all you have to do is say "I'm offended", tweet it to your followers, and wait for your post to be shared on Washington Post, or Buzzfeed, or Yahoo, or anywhere else. 

It's hair. That's it. What other people do with their hair ain't hurting you... unless they scalped you and are wearing the top of your head. 

We really need more after-school programs in America.

Okay, I'm done. 

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