Looking at me you might think I’m a white girl from an all white family who immigrated to America from some all white country that highly prizes white bread and mayonnaise. You would be wrong (like most people who make assumptions about skin color). My mother’s mother was born in Jamaica to missionaries. Her white brothers both married black women, which was highly unusual for a time when interracial marriage was not legal in many places, and they had children with skin the color of coffee and cream and springy, beautiful hair. Thus began the very diverse family that is my own. I’m the only white person I know whose grandmother speaks patois. I have cousins of all colors, whether through adoption or marriage, and we have had our share of hearing disparaging comments from friends and strangers. Racism exists and it’s ugly no matter where it comes from.
Today’s depressing addition to what’s wrong with America is an article written by a black mother who sent her daughter to school in a headband without tying her hair up because she ran out of time. (Story of my life, lady. I get it. It happens.) What is shocking and sad about her diatribe is what happened when her little girl asked her white teacher to put her hair up for her because she was hot. The teacher complied and tied it up the best she could. But when the mother saw her daughter had been touched by a white person, all hell broke loose:
I was furious. My blood was boiling, and there were no nice words I could find…While I’m 100 percent sure the teacher had no ill intentions when she decided to do my childs [sic] hair, but more so just wanted to get her hands in some Black hair. Against my better judgment, I assumed the unspoken rule about not touching Black hair was well known. Needless to say, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how tired I am, that hair gets braided down daily! I refuse to allow my child to be mislead into believing her beauty, and worth are defined by what pleases the pale faces of the world.
What is this vile garbage? It gets worse.
Would I feel as strongly about this situation had her teacher been Black, and decided to do her hair? Nope, because to me that would of been a sister looking out, a homegirl hook up because of the unspoken understanding all Black people share. Is that biased, ignorant, racist? Call it what you want, but because of the history of the Black body, in relation to White people, (ownership, and exhibition) I will never be ok with White hands in my childs [sic] hair.
Today, there seems to be a growing number of blacks who appear to want to regress and self-segregate by their own choice. This mother is teaching her child to hate and revile her white teacher and to shun any white person from touching her as if that person is dirty or tainted. (And don’t get me started on calling an authority figure a “pale face.”) This is disgusting. It is wrong.
It seems this guy didn’t get the memo about the “unspoken understanding” in the black community that hair is a no-go zone.
If we are to overcome this race issue that threatens to tear us all apart, the anger and the hatred need to be killed and buried for good.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)
He who says he is in the light but hates his brother is still in darkness. (1 John 2:9)
When my middle daughter was two, she was very interested in black people, fascinated by their skin and she was loud about it. The choice we face as neighbors and fellow humans was illustrated perfectly through my innocent toddler. We were sitting down to dinner in a busy restaurant and a black family walked in and sat next to us. The matriarch of the family came in last and walked by our table and my two-year-year-old shouted out in her loud voice, “Mommy, her skin is so beautiful!” I agreed with her that it was and tried to smile at the woman, hoping to ease any awkwardness. She glared at me and turned away. Choice.
A few days later we were in the grocery store and a black man stood behind us in line. This same toddler was staring with big eyes at his dark brown skin. She seemed to know better than to blurt out what she was thinking this time, but it was written all over her face. He leaned down close to her and said “Do you want to touch it?” and he held out his arm. She smiled and stroked his hand. “It doesn’t come off,” he said “God made it that way.” My toddler laughed and held his hand and wondered over this man, whose skin was so different from hers. They chatted for a bit and she patted his face and blew him kisses and we went on our way, smiling, laughing and happy to be neighbors with such a wonderful person who would take time out of his day to answer the questions of a small child without being angry or hurt. Choice.
Children are not repulsed by skin color. They naturally love God’s creativity and rainbow palette. Stop teaching them to revile and hate. I am praying for this mom, I’m not angry with her. I am genuinely sad for her that she harbors such hatred and mistrust of her fellow humans who are lighter than she. It’s a bitter pill that will poison her whole family and community. She had a choice that day and she chose anger and hate when she could have chosen laughter and love. She could have teased the teacher about her bad hairstyling skills. She could have told her how to do better in the future. She could have thanked her for trying.
Our differences should be celebrated and talked about. Our similarities should also be equally celebrated and talked about. Segregation and fear will only lead to more and more racial unrest and unhappiness. Like my pastor always said whenever issues of racial upset would strike our area of Chicago, “The Devil is a liar!” The people of God are meant to love one another. There is only one race. The human race. Stop this madness.