Wednesday, October 29, 2008

oh my nappy hair

A reconstructed conversation from the office this morning:

BA, a young black woman: I'm just saying that this country isn't ready for it. A black family in the White House?? Y'all thought I was joking but the first time Michelle or the girls are in a photo with a 'do rag, or with their hair in twists there's gonna be a whole lotta 'What?!?'

ES, a Boomer white man: Really? You don't think folks will be ok with them?

BA: I'm just saying that most people in this country have never thought about it and so they're going to experience mild freakage.

Ding: You have a point. It's going to be like bringing your first black friend home. Or you visiting your first black friend's house.

ES: But I think that people are generally ok with it. (he pauses) However, when I was dating an African American woman and brought her home I know that it was a strain for my mother.

BA: Exactly. How many people really live integrated lives? Like Ding said, it's like a big sleepover with your first black friend - for four years. For the whole country. And you know anything we do with our hair, our bodies - hell, anything - codes political.

JD, another young black woman: It codes angry.

Ding: Yeah, I don't really have a lot of faith in the American people to avoid falling back on the 'wow, black people are so different' discourse.

JD: In college, my white friends were generally very polite about it. It takes some time.

Ding: You're from Canada.

JD: We're not that polite.

Ding: On the other hand, remember when Cherie Blair was photographed answering the door in a nightgown, no makeup, just out of bed? She was totally totally hit. Britain didn't exactly crumble from the realization that the Prime Minister's wife looked like everyone else in the morning.

BA: But that's white privilege.

ES: But we've seen Oprah looking like a disaster. America didn't seem that startled.

BA: But that's class privilege.

ES: Well, there I agree with you. But don't you think the Obamas would also be considered privileged by class?

Ding: Not on the same level as Oprah.

ES: I don't know. I give people more credit.

BA, JD and Ding: Hm.

BA: I swear, if people are going to start asking to touch my hair again...

JD and Ding: Girl...

1 comment:

Robert P said...

lol, that made me laugh this morning