Put Some Respeck on Gabby’s Edges

I really wish that people on social media would actually get a life. I don’t usually rant on the blog…or maybe I do… but I’ve had enough with seeing comments made by black women about Gabby Douglas’ edges. After all the collective that we’ve seen for unity in the past few months, some people could not give up coon-ish behavior and allowed their coon tendencies to reveal themselves on social media. I’m not aware if this is because they are jealous of Gabby’s achievements, are ignorant, or are really that superficial to take a few seconds of degrading comments on social media commentary to tarnish the positive accomplishments that Douglas has achieved. Whatever the case may be, if you are supposedly down for the cause, then stop it. Your attempt at comedy by making fun of someone who is accomplishing something makes you look ignorant…therefore making the jokes that you craft in tweets and Instagram memes, on you.

Let me educate you on something. If you sweat, your edges will not lay down. You can have a black beautician carefully style your hair for hours. You can relax your edges until you get chemical burn…but if you are an athlete who is active more times than not, then your edges will not lay. I am certain that the people who are making these comments do not lift anything but a fork and have the time to sit in a salon for hours while doing nothing in between.

I’m only on here ranting because I’ve been hosting this blog since 2011, and I’ve been natural since 2010. I am tired of hearing ignorant comments made by people about something as superficial as hair in an athletic event. If Gabby were modeling for the cover of Vogue, then I wouldn’t be as upset about these comments…but she wasn’t. She was involved in an athletic event that involved constant movement which involves sweating.

These same people expressing outrage about Douglas’ edges were silent when different states were trying to get away with passing discriminatory Voter ID laws or when the Justice Department confirmed everyone’s claims about Baltimore Police targeting black residents. It’s a shame that we sit there and try to mandate beauty standards for people who are actually taking the time to use their talents to make a more diverse world for us to live in. These same mandates that the social media judges are making are the same ones that black women struggle with every day…the same ones that make black women uncomfortable with the hair that they have or the skin color that they were born with.

You may think that these comments are indeed jokes, but they have a deeper context than just that. We can have our opinions about anything and everything, but before you go and try to make fun of someone doing something good, take a look at yourself…take a look at the conditions that black people have in this country right now, and make an educated decision before you conform into coonery by bashing something that someone cannot control.

Until Next Time

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Guest Blogger Post: PERCEPTION vs REALITY

You all know that I love posts from guest bloggers.  Today, I will be sharing a post from one of my favorite male feminists: Robert Isaac.  He had somethings he wanted to share with you guys and upon completing my first review of the article, I knew that you would enjoy.  I hope that you read with an open mind and motivated heart: 

PERCEPTION vs REALITY

We know that the deck has been stacked against us for as long as we have been in this country. We know that the value placed on the lives of people of color, in this country, is minimal at best. Two sets of rules have long been the standard when it comes to interpreting the rule of law: for these reasons, it is imperative that WE stop worrying about the latest shoe that’s coming out, the hottest song on the radio, the latest drama on the Real Housewives…the list goes on and on. We have to focus on the things that will actually make a difference for us: EDUCATION… In addition to working to elect politicians who have a sense of what the needs of African-Americans are, we need to actively prepare our youth to become these politicians. Instead of steering clear of police officers, we should be preparing our kids to go to the police academy. Instead of fearing the practices of judges who legislate from the Bench, we should steer our kids to an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, and motivate them to go on to law school to become the next generation of lawyers…and then the next generation of judges. We have to put an end to the way people perceive us by showing respect for ourselves. Pull your pants up! Speak clearly and intelligently. Promote the good being done by people who look like you instead of spreading the negative things that happen. The news does enough of that for us.

I know that not everyone has the financial means to go on to college, but that isn’t the only avenue to pursue higher learning. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to grace the halls of an institution of higher learning, it is our responsibility to spread that information to anyone who will listen. We have no right to withhold this information from our neighbor who wasn’t able to go to college. At the same time, we have no right to waste our time waiting on other people to do things for us. If you stand by and do nothing to make things better for us as a whole, then you are just as responsible for the dismal conditions and the continued faux perception placed on us as those who are actively trying to make the world see us in this light. No, you won’t be able to do it alone. But if you reach out to a few people who are undoubtedly in your circle of friends who could benefit from your knowledge and each of your friends did the same, then it won’t be long before you notice that everyone close to you will be in a better situation on some level.

The “trial” of George Zimmerman in Florida should shine a spotlight on “perception vs reality”. The perception of “us” was on full display by the defense attorneys throughout the case, it was on display on news channels like FOX News, and it was on full display via Conservative talk radio. Instead of making the case focus on Zimmerman, they successfully put Travon Martin on trial as if he was to blame for his own death…And they won because the perception of what a black person is all about in this country overruled what we as African-Americans know to be the reality…no matter what “Reality TV” suggests. Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO was portrayed in the same manner. Conservatives often suggested that Mike’s death was his own fault and immediately pointed to his actions BEFORE he had even encountered the police officer in the street. The reality is that what matters is what happened while he was in the officer’s presence. Unfortunately, perception won the day. Conservative talking heads in the media are doing the very same thing with Sandra Bland. It has even been suggested that her refusal to put out a cigarette was the catalyst for the escalation of events on the day she was pulled over for a traffic violation. The perception is that she was non-compliant, when in reality, the police officer overstepped his boundaries, violated the public trust, and used his lawful authority in an illegal manner. While we have been, and continue to be, wronged in our supposed just society, we must also look inward to whole-hardheartedly change the perception of how we are viewed for the sake of our friends and families.

Our lives, and our children’s lives, are literally at stake.

Robert Isaac

That’s Right…What You Decide to Do with Your Hair is Your Decision

So why do people believe that I am the ultimate Nazi for Natural Hair? I mean, I keep this blog to document my Natural Hair journey and to turn negative conceptions of natural hair to the side. I never thought that keeping this blog for so long would turn me into a Non-conforming natural Hair Nazi, which I am certainly am not…but I’ve been treated that way recently and decided to sit with you and talk about it for a bit. The whole purpose for me taking time to document my journey was because at the time, there were opportunities for outlets such as the blog to be created to give readers a diverse method for research for their new and existing journeys. I never return to one source for research and I thought that my methods (whether failed or not) would be able to help other Naturals as well. I also had it in my head that I would document how beautiful natural hair was. When I first started on my journey, I had a lot of people telling me that their natural hair was not beautiful and because I had ‘good’ hair, I was able to complete the journey of going natural. I decide that even if you are not comfortable with your hair in its natural state, you should still love what naturally grows out of your head and not consider your hair which is a part of yourself as ugly.

Eventually, I started this crusade to show black women that despite what people say, under all of the makeup, weave and falseness, our natural beauty is just that—beautiful. My crusade was to show black women that despite our shade of brown, despite the texture of our hair and despite the shapes of our bodies, we are all beautifully made and we should conduct ourselves as such. I had no idea that this would turn into people saying that I am a purist and that I want people do what I say. Just because I believe in something doesn’t mean what I believe in is right. All I ever wanted was for us to practice sisterhood and collectively believe we are all beautiful despite what we do to alter our beauty. I’ve noticed during this journey, that women will use what I am doing as a way to further separate themselves. They will say, ‘well, I guess you are not my friend anymore because I relax my hair’ or ‘Kimba, I know you will hate me because I did this to my hair.’

I am writing this today to lovingly tell these people who I do not care about what you do to your hair. I want you to know what you do to yourself should be something that you do to satisfy yourself and you shouldn’t look to any one for affirmation. I will neither love you more nor hate you because of the decisions that you make. I’ve highlighted my natural tresses more than one time. A lot of Nazist Naturals shunned me for my decision, but at the end of the day, I was happy about the decision I made because it was something that I wanted to do; and deep down inside, I knew that with the highlights or not, I felt beautiful. I encourage you all to do the same. Whatever decision you make in your life, make sure it’s something that you want to do; and make sure that the decision is made to complement the beauty that you feel for yourself and not something you do to mentally make yourself feel beautiful.

In parting, I just wanted to say that I love you all, despite how you sport your look. Girl, be confident, be unique…be you…and I will be me…and as long as we do not pass unwarranted judgement toward each other, we will be moving more toward the key to sisterly love and mutual respect.

Until Next Time

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Petition

I usually do not make any petition requests through the blog or try to stay transparent about my feelings regarding certain things. This I cannot do. I personally have been harassed by the police simply because of the color of my skin. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a threat to anyone and that in itself works enough inside of myself to help the cause to bring justice to the legacy of Michael Brown. What happened to Michael is happening to everywhere and in the words of Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Let’s begin by helping to bring justice to one American Community to start transformation of American Communities everywhere. Visit Move On.org to sign the petition to ensure that a non biased a Special Prosecutor investigates the murder of Michael Brown.

Use your voice.
Promote change.
Make justice transparent.
Help to turn America into the country we always try to make ourselves to be but has never been.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”  Dr. King

My Story: Racism in Social Media and How it Impacts Nonconformity and Racial Progress

I had no idea that a simple photo that I took while having lunch with friends would be used to make fun of not only my image, but also the image of Black Americans as well. It all started on an afternoon that I sat with a couple of coworkers and good friends in a PoBoy shop and one friend decided to snap a picture of my other friend and I together having lunch. She posted it to her Facebook and a few weeks later noticed that my image was used for the profile picture of a young white male that she attended school with a few years back. My phone buzzed this morning with screen shots of my image attached to this unknown person’s profile. I then read the comments made by his friends who described my natural hair as cotton puffs and my handmade African Print earrings as Polka dot earrings from JC Penny. Upon discovery of this, I was slightly angered. I knew that this was not the most flattering picture of me, but why was I chosen to be made fun of in such a manner? I would not have cared if they made fun of my ‘nerdiness’ in the photo or used the entire photo, which included my white male companion. The mere fact that I was singled out because of the darkness of my skin and my nappy hair was enough to anger me…enough so that I decided to share with you guys that ignorance still exists and it exists in this generation.

I gathered facts about this boy and a lot of the people who I talked to who went to school with him told me that he was a closet racists and covered himself by taking on the persona of Black Culture. I looked through his Facebook page and saw that he had a hip hop style that mimicked Black Culture and I knew that his infiltration was only that…and he used that to spew hate on his page. The other thing that really bothered me was the comments provided by his friends who also showed their 21 century racist attitudes. Black skin and kinky hair is not anything to make fun of. I am proud of my heritage and the color of my skin. I do not wish to be light-skinned or to have straight hair. I am happy black and nappy and will be that way until I die.

This whole experience was not only an eye-opener for me of course, but it was a lesson that I wanted to share with you guys. Racism is still alive and well in this country, it just takes shape in a different form. I adore people of every race and culture, but others feel the need to make fun of Black American culture. This ‘joke’ not only impedes progress for Black Americans, it impedes progress for America and I will not stand for that. This country was built upon the BLACK hands of my ancestors and for me to just lay over and allow anything of this sort to happen is an insult to their struggle, and the struggle of those who fought and died for us to live in a society free of stereotypes, insults and jabs at the one thing that makes us unique…our heritage…our culture.

One of my favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson and I challenge this guy, whoever he is, to comprehend it and attempt to live his life by it: “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore it if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”

I live my life through nonconformity and that’s why I’m singled out and laughed at, but I’ve learned to “Absolve” me to myself, and I “shall have the suffrage of the world”.

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Until Next Time

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