The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

Kudos to Kiri Davis for producing a thought provoking film short “A Girl Like Me” about the biases that continue to exist in our community as it relates to skin color. Hello! This is 2006 and we (black people) are not comfortable in the skin we’re in.
While viewing the short I was brought to tears because we still haven’t learned, but at the same time I wasn’t shocked because I witness the racism we exercise on our own people daily and the way many of our women are so unhappy with their hair that they regularly spend hundreds of dollars to have “human” hair braided in, sown in and glued in so that they can have bouncing and behaving hair.
I’m also confronted regularly with the statement “Well you have good hair”. I don’t think it’s good – it’s just what was passed down in my gene pool and heaven knows their are many days I would prefer thicker, coarser hair.
I have a relaxer in my hair to manage it. For many years I overprocessed my hair as many of us do going to the Shop every six weeks for a touch-up, but then I changed hair stylists and Tammy and I constantly battled over the chemicals. She would greet me with “I’m not putting any chemicals in your hair” to which I would retort, “Well I guess you’re moving in, cause I can’t get up every morning blow drying kinks out of my hair.” We eventually reached a somewhat happy medium and limited the number of touch-ups to about 3-4 a year.
Over the last four years Ms. Ericka has been keeping my tresses in shape and she taught me the importance of using the right products on my hair which has probably cut me down to about 2 relaxers a year along with color which also helps to get rid of the waves.
My problem now is I want the waves. I want to be able to put a little creme on my hair and get up and go but it doesn’t work quite the way I would like it to so only on extremely hot days in the summer do I revert to this.
The most heart wrenching part of this piece however was the doll test. Why in this day and age have we not taught our children that black is beautiful and it is not bad. White is not always right and it sho’ ain’t always good!
I often believe that I write these little ditties to release some of my frustrations and that no one is really reading them, but if you are reading I implore you to hug and beautiful dark skinned black girl or boy today and tell them how beautiful they are. Help to eradicate the negative thoughts that are permeating within our children.
We are all God’s children and we are all beautiful in our own skin!

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2 Responses to The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

  1. Sharon says:

    I saw the video, too. The test where the children selected the white doll over the black one was the most disturbing. Thanks for the great commentary.

  2. Lori D. says:

    Shelley, I’ve only watched a small portion of the film. But like you, it saddens me that so many of us harbor negative feelings about our hair, our skin tones, etc. It’s almost as if what God blessed us with ain’t good enough (smile). If we are to be honest though, no one should be all that surprised that in 2006 our young sisters are still “choosing the white doll.” Isn’t most of society doing the same on some level, whether literally or figuratively on a daily basis? One book that delves into this topic is entitled: NAKED: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips and Other Parts.The editors (Ayana Byrd and Akiba Solomon) have put together a fascinating collection of essays by a diverse group of women, among them, Jill Scoot, Tracee Ellis Ross, Melyssa Ford, asha bandele, Iyanla Vanzant and others. I highly recommend it–not only for adults, but youngsters as well (teen and above, both girls and boys).

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