Sunday, August 14, 2011

Isn't That The Pot Calling the Kettle "Ethnic"?

One of the positive things about growing up in a large, diverse city like Jacksonville, Florida is that the numbers of opportunities to discover something new are endless. I further realized this when I was fortunate enough to visit Root Harmony, a hair salon that specialized in natural hair. The salon is run by LaTesea, a dread-coifed, beautiful, full figured woman. I had the pleasure of meeting her and her two gorgeous daughters (their names escape me, I apologize). It was there that I had my first real "salon experience:" where Black people sit around and talk about events, life lessons...and each other. It didn't matter what their backgrounds were, or their financial status; there was so much love in that room. And not the fake, selfish, narcissistic kind either. This was the kind that existed in the 70s--where Black people had a sense of pride and identity. It was refreshing to find these type of people still existed. What was most interesting to me was the caliber of woman (or man; it's a unisex shop) that came and sat their advanced psychoanalyses in her chair. It made me wonder was there an intelligence correlation to those Blacks that didn't chemically treat their hair. Did the relaxer destroy brain cells? The jury is still out on that one.

However, my issue came when I returned home, singing the praises of the shop to my mother. I told her some of the things we discussed, ranging from our shared hatred of cats to some Black people's sense of entitlement since we have had a Black president. My mother proceeded to tell me of a coworker that, in my mother's opinion was, "really Black." This wasn't in reference to her skin color, but rather her behavior. This has always puzzled can someone "act their color"? I proceeded to correct my mother and give her a more politically correct term like "ethnic" or "more culturally inclined."

Where is our race's accountability? Where is the person to correct my mom's coworker who, undoubtedly is putting down her race, enumerating the ills of the future of us as a people? Civil rights leaders (and followers) fought and died for our little piece of the Declaration of Independence. You know the one. Sadly, now we yearn to be singled out because our president is Black (even if our Lambo is blue or not). Have our needs as a race generationally changed or are we, subsequently, culturally confused?

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