I really have struggled with writing this post. I can’t believe that in 2015 people of color still have to insist on their humanity, much less their beauty. But. In a few short months our hair and facial features have been pointedly insulted in mainstream media. No, we actually don’t all look alike. However, I say “our” because the deep shade Giuliana Rancic threw at Zendaya Coleman and Univision anchor Rodner Figueroa’s disgusting remarks about the First Lady of the United States (!!!) reflect how some individuals see women of color as a whole: as jokes at best…and as animals at worst. Giuliana has apologized, and Figueroa has been dismissed, but what has really changed? Especially when individuals in fraternities like SAE are so comfortable with their racist beliefs that they sing them to the high heavens?
I had hopes for the younger generation until a well-dressed, well-educated young lady said – in my presence and without a touch of shame or irony – “One of my best friends is Black, and he’s completely normal.” The truly sad part is I think she honestly perceived this comment as being complimentary and progressive.
I don’t know what we do about these things. I don’t know how we change them, or if we ever can. But I will keep churning out posts that affirm our beauty and our style. Having transitioned to natural hair, I make it a point for girls and young women to see my real hair so they hopefully get the message that unapologetically embracing whatever makes you, you is important. And we have to keep calling out people who err, educating where we can and forming a serious prayer circle for those we can’t reach. There will always be someone who is so wrapped up in their own biases, “-isms,” issues and/or stupidity that they won’t recognize the exquisite, inherent beauty in our varied physiques, complexions and features. But that doesn’t mean we have to absorb or accept those beliefs.