Monday, December 19, 2016

Blackish Episode "Bow-Racial"

This is Tracee Ellis-Ross from the very funny and socially conscious show, "Blackish" in case you didn't know. I love this show, hated the name but I got over it.  Spoiler alert! In case you haven't seen it. Stop reading and watch it, then meet me back here and I'll be waiting for you.
The episode this post is about is "Bow-racial." In this episode the mom, Rainbow, confronts her issues with identity when her son brings home his white girlfriend. Rainbow, who is often referred to as "Bow" in this series has to face her demons about growing up biracial. She, like other directly biracial people, expressed how she always felt the pressure to fit in with either whites or blacks. She recalled how she felt she had to consistently conform to what she her version of each group. When she was in high school she hung around with white girls who were very "valley" so she became "valley." In college she hung with black women who were 90s hip hop-ish, so that's who she felt she had to be. She lamented that she never "fit in" with either group. As I said, she is not the first biracial person to have said this. 

I feel for biracial people. I hate that they feel like they have to chose a side. When I was in grade school and high school, I had classmates of all hues and not one time did I feel like I had to be anyone other than who I was. I am not directly biracial; I am the product of different ethnicities; Hebrew (black), American Indian, Creole, and Dominican. If I were biracial though, I would tell anyone who has a problem with it where to go and how they can go about getting there. I would like to be biracial just so I can say that. On the show, a little girl Bow asked her black teacher which racial box she should choose on some form and the black teacher told her to check black. Well she said, "Girl, you betta check black!" Later in the episode she went to her white father and asked his opinion, he told her that she was a black woman. This shocked Rainbow and she questioned her father as to how he could say this when it virtually cut him out of her existence. He said because that's how the world sees her. That's a cool, selfless message but, I don't think it's ever a good idea to let "the world" define who you are; I thought that was your parents job. Is this what interracial parents have to tell their kids? I think Rainbow was born in the 70s so maybe they didn't have the luxury of being who they were back then they way biracial kids do now. I don't know. My younger brother is biracial but he has always identified as black. I don't think he has ever given it a second thought in his 18 years of life, if he has he's never mentioned it.

South African comedian, Trevor Noah, who hosts "The Daily Show" is biracial. He mentioned how when he comes across a "race box," sometimes he checks white and watch people lose their minds. 
His argument is,"Well, I am just as much white as I am black." I love that because it's a truth people hate to hear for some reason. If you own 50% of a company, you own it just as much as anyone else. Why deny it? To make someone else more comfortable by placing you where they think you belong? When you do this, you are just following the "One drop rule" without any prompting. How long are we going to subconsciously follow these slave mandates? It's insane. And then if you don't "look mixed" then you get a different kind of shade. There was a comedian, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney,
I remember this joke she told on a comedy program. Basically, she said she met a woman who was black and Japanese and who told Stickney her ethnic makeup. It was implied that this woman did not "look" like she had a Japanese father, so Stickney said she should have brought her father with her so that people would believe she was biracial. Of course, the delivery was a little different than my retelling here but you get the gist. Here again, it's about pleasing people. I know it's a joke but we all know people think this way. They think there's a certain way you're supposed to look when you're biracial. Because the mixture has to combine in the right percentages to make people feel comfortable labeling someone, right? I can't even.

And hey, my children may be biracial because, y'all know how I get down. But I plan on adopting, when I do, I have always wanted to have a family like Josephine Baker's, the original multi-ethnic mama, maybe not that big of a family, but the same idea. I won't go out of my way to search for kids by color but if the opportunity is there, I will take it. Like my pastor says of our multi-ethnic church, "This must be what heaven looks like." It may not be for everybody but, I feel like it's for me. But I also think everyone should at least intimately know someone who looks different than themselves. It opens up your world in ways you might not expect. Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's easier to dispel myths and destroy lies that way too. And my kids, I will teach them to be proud of who they are and surround themselves with people whom they can connect with by interest and activity. Those who appreciate them for who they are and not what color their skin happens to be. Maybe this is easier said than done but really, it shouldn't be. Check all the boxes! Let them deal with their own demons. Good show though, check it out.

Helen Willis, The Zebress

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Random Thoughts on "Random Thoughts by Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas"

Okay, I thought the title was cute but this is not a random thought at all.
So a few days ago I wrote a blog post that referenced a video posted by Matthew Hussey on You Tube Who Should Pay on a First Date, Matthew Hussey? It was a reflection on my thoughts on chivalry and the notion supported and encouraged by so-called dating experts like Matthew Hussey.
I, as you may or may not know, am a woman trying to tell any interested party how ladies like to be treated. 

But as what often happens, I got a response to my questions on this topic and I hadn't even voiced them. Two days after I posted the Matthew Hussey article,  I picked up the September 2016 issue of Ebony magazine and read a column. It was written by an awesome gentleman by the name of Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas. Mr. Young, turns out, totally supported everything I said. 
Are we still brushing our shoulders off? If not, whatever the equivalent is, picture me doing it right now. A guy sent Damon Young a question, basically, he had heard dating "horror stories" and wanted to know if women were expecting guys to take them on $500 dates nowadays like he had been told. 

I hope Damon doesn't mind the direct quote but here's what he said:
"My macking strategy a decade ago was to pull out my T-Mobile sidekick and hope she was impressed, so I can't imagine how today's dating scene must look to you [Is Damon a married man? More support for my position]. But fret not! Little has changed in the courting game, and you can still have a ton of fun without spending much money. But that doesn't necessarily mean going to Arby's. If you live in a city, there are always dozens of fun and relatively cheap events - gallery crawls, art installations, live shows, for example, and you can craft great get-to-know-you moments around them. Sometimes you can pack more than one in the same night. 
You just have to make an effort (And no sexting!)."

I'm going to go ahead and say this must have been a gift from Yahweh because after seeing Hussey's video and hearing the same type of garbage over and over again, between you and me, I was kind of bummed if this was indeed the case with today's man. I'm single again for about three months now and I have never paid for a first date, or any date with a man for that matter and I started to wonder if this was the reason my relationships haven't worked. I started to question myself, should I have offered? Should I ask if they want me to? Honestly, if this was the case, I wasn't sure how my story would turn out save for the grace of my Father. I'm a lady and I want a real man or no one at all. 
Like I said, it's not about the money, it's about the effort. And for the record, I have to make clear,
I'm not married or in a relationship so I'm not in the business of giving relationship advice either. I don't think you can give advice on something until it's in your rear view mirror, this way you can tell if you've done a decent job or not. Not everyone who is married is admirable either, make sure that those you listen to have been somewhat successful in their relationships. I prefer those with an upstanding spouse and a little time under their belt. But what I can do, I can... and most certainly will call out crap when I hear it. And if nothing else, I definitely how a lady likes to be treated, anyone other than that, I have no clue. 

I'm glad to know that Matthew Hussey and anyone who agrees with him are the exceptions and not the rule. And to the men I mentioned in my last post who provide great advice, Dr. Phil McGraw, Bishop TD Jakes and Steve Harvey,  I can add a new name to the list. Damon Young, you are indeed a "very smart brotha." All the best to you.

Sincerely, Helen Willis, The Zebress

Friday, November 25, 2016

Who Should Pay on a First Date, Matthew Hussey?

Sigh.....I like Matthew Hussey, I do. I have been following him on You Tube for a bit.  I was on the fence about him because he's not married and I tend not to take advice from people who haven't arrived where I wish to go. Would you take financial advice from a homeless person?
I was on the fence about Matthew after watching his video about the things never to say to a guy.
I found them to be a bit trivial and when I read the comments I saw that there were men and women who agreed with me. Most of the men who commented said that Matthew gives advice for women attracted to "beta" males. I was relieved this was the popular opinion of the men because I've always been attracted to "alphas."

That being said, I watched this video thinking this will tell me all I need to know about Mr. Hussey. First, it was labeled "Who should pay on the first date?" but the question asked was "Should a woman pay for a dinner date after four or five months of dating a man?" These are two different scenarios that likely made this question difficult to answer in the first place. It seemed like Mr. Hussey tried to answer them both at the same time.

Long story short, he felt like a woman should split the bill on the first date and maybe subsequent dates as well. Some comments were for, some were against. The "like" button seemed to indicate that most people were in agreement with Matthew. To me, this is not surprising given the status of relationships these days and the predominant type of man available (see my post on Sebastion Maniscalco's take on the modern man). I happened to notice the couple who live next door to me.
The man was walking behind his wife as she was carrying a big bag of garbage to the trash. Ummm ok. Then I noticed another guy leaning on the hood of his car talking to a woman while she was raking leaves. Ugh, I don't know about you but this kind of stuff is a turn-off, big time. And people like to blame it all on the feminists and men looove to bark about woman's equality, but only in this case.  For my vote, at home, you can negotiate your life as the two of you see fit, it's nobody's business. How many times do men mention they love a woman who can cook? Should this be an insult? I don't think it is. Then again, I can cook. Some men, like Hussey, and maybe women even associate a man paying for dinner a form of "prostitution." Wow. To equate buying dinner with sex is insulting and one sooo does not equal the other. Seems like Hussey is the one who has been "taught wrong." How old is this guy anyway?

My take? I'm glad you asked. I always say, when a man is robbed of the opportunity to be a man, he won't be one. For the love of Yah, I wish people would understand that paying for dinner is not about the money, it tells me whether or not you are or have the mindset to be my provider, my protector, my safe place, someone I can depend on. I am not your best bud, I will be more than that and offer you things I hope your best bud would never dream of. If you are serious about find love and not just finding some available tail. When a woman feels a man becomes all of these things, there is nothing he will want that she won't provide. Men think it's about being superficial, no we want to know that we are worth the effort. That we can depend on you. This is a good start.

I have to add, as a woman, I never ask a man to take me anywhere, but if he asked me out, he should pay. If I ask him to go somewhere with me, that's on me. Now don't get me wrong, I will contribute. When I went to my dates home for the first time, on our fourth date, I brought dessert, drinks, and snacks for his kids because he was making dinner. Then when I invited him to my place, I made a lobster dinner. He is from Naples, Italy and before Matthew I was under the impression that, generally speaking, European men have this old-school mentality that I love, the ones I've dated do. Apparently, that's not the norm.

And look, broke guys need love too right? jk. Seriously if money is an issue for you, find a more creative way to get to know your date. Try and be more creative...frozen yogurt, a picnic in the park or on the beach. If a woman does not appreciate this she might be superficial or at the very least immature. No one asked you to break the bank and if they do run for the hills. The truth is guys these days seem to be looking for ways to get in and get out as fast as they can (no pun intended) with the least amount of effort. If we are honest, this is what all of this is really about. And some women expect the least amount of everything making men think that this is the norm.

In our hook-up obsessed, sex on the first date society, people forget that dating is supposed to be a precursor for marriage. And marriages these days rarely work. I didn't say it, the stats do. Something is going terribly wrong. There's a reason why marriages are failing if they happen at all. Maybe, it's because people like Matthew Hussey are telling everyone that relationships are a "free for all." And what do you know, they like it. Sure if you want a hook up then yeah, you might get annoyed if you have to keep shelling out your hard-earned money for a series of booty calls.
But real men, take a page out of "Sleepless in Seattle" when Tom Hanks' character said he could never ask a woman to pay for dinner and Rob Reiner's character said that women would "throw a parade" in his honor. Don't you want to be that guy? I would. Let me make clear, I'm only addressing and am willing to entertain the men interested in real relationships.

Look, Matthew is cute (he hates that), I think this is the reason women listen to him in the first place. That's why I did. I like his laugh and his accent is super adorable (he hates that too). But he should stick to decoding male behavior, I think that works best for him. As for me, I think I will stick to taking advice about men from married alpha, Christian men like Dr. Phil, Bishop T.D. Jakes, maybe even Steve Harvey; men who seem to know how to successfully manage a relationship with a woman. Cheers.

Check out the update to this post:
Random Thoughts on Random Thoughts by Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas

Sincerely, Helen Willis, The Zebress

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Loving Movie

Interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love and were married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C., but the family ultimately tries to find a way back to Virginia. Loving Movie

I'm well familiar with the story of the Lovings (how cool is that last name?), it's a beautiful and inspiring love story. If you haven't seen their story before, this movie looks like it is well done and I urge you to go see it. Particularly if you have an interracial family but especially if you don't.
Be blessed.

Sincerely, Helen Willis, The Zebress

Friday, October 28, 2016

Black Jeopardy

Okay, so I can take a joke, I think. I was hesitant to watch this video but I love Tom Hanks so I thought it couldn't be too bad. And I was right it was somewhat funny. I know my enthusiasm is underwhelming. It may not surprise you that I couldn't relate to most of the jokes. But my issue is not really with the jokes at all. It's with this skit being called, "Black Jeopardy." Not because it was offensive but because the references seemed "ghetto" or low class to me. All the "sista girl" neck rolling and "umm hum"-ming to the prize of car window duct tape. This just reinforces the idea of too many people, of all races including black people, that "black" and "ghetto" are interchangeable. This underscores the idea that there is only one type of black person and those outside of this parameter are pretending to be something they are not.

For example, many people black and otherwise consider August Wilson to be one of the greatest playwrights of his time. However, I was majorly disappointed when watching an interview of the "Fences" writer. The interviewer asked him to share his thoughts on, "The Cosby Show," which was a hit at the time of the interview. August said that black people like it but they know it's not real because and I quote, "black people don't act like that." He was reminded of a dining experience he once had. He said he observed a Japanese family having dinner at a restaurant. He mentioned how quiet and polite they were. He went on to say the waitress came and they paid the bill and left. He said something to the effect of, had that been a black family, they would have been a lot rowdier. They would have been snatching food off each other's plates, hitting on the waitress, laughing, snapping on each other, etc. My mother would have had my head if I or my siblings behaved that way in a restaurant or anywhere else for that matter. And we wonder why some people react to black people the way they do when this is the type of stuff they hear black people saying about themselves? Here's something else, someone, who I suspect was not black, even called first lady Michelle Obama "ghetto garbage" when she did the rap skit about staying in school with another SNL cast member.
A Princeton and Harvard-educated lawyer, mother, wife, philanthropist and first lady of the free world. Ghetto garbage? Really?

Here's another interesting story I saw a remark from a white woman who commented on an unfortunate video. I will describe it to you. A white woman, not the commenter I mentioned above, was in a relationship with a black thug from one of our great American states, I forget which one.
This woman ended up dead and the story was about the detectives putting the clues together to solve the crime. Turns out, it was the thug who had killed her. Someone commented on this video, " See that's why white girls shouldn't get involved with ghetto trash."  A white woman in a TMI moment commented to this person,"Well, I don't agree. My husband is black, we have been married for x amount of years, we have three kids and he hasn't killed me yet lol." Okay, so I'm just going to ignore the last part of ignorance in her comment, that's probably an argument to include in another topic. But those of you who get where I'm going already know the problem I have with this statement. First, I won't speak ill of the dead but to say they must have had something in common. I suppose it didn't occur to anyone that this particular white woman must have been ghetto herself. But also, to the secondary poster, no one said anything about "black" in the initial comment. The statement was about a "ghetto" person who happened to be black in this horrible story. Now if her husband is a ghetto black man then she should have made that distinction. But given her description of him, it was hard to tell.

So back to the SNL skit. I read a few of those comments as well and those who saw themselves reflected in these characters were quick to remark things like, "See? We are not as different as we think!" My question is, to whom is this "we" referring? Those who were more like me saw a parallel they drew between ghetto black people and the white rednecks in this skit. And that there is a bigger disparity between classes and education than there is simply between one race to another. I did notice that Sasheer Zamata who played "Keeley" had trouble staying in "ghetto" mode. I don't watch much SNL and I have only seen one or two skits of "Black Jeopardy," but perhaps, "Ghetto Jeopardy" would be a more accurate title going forward. I'm sure they'll get right on that.

And for the record, I don't have a packet drawer.

Sincerely, Helen Willis, The Zebress

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Black Girl Was Asked Why She ‘Talks White’ You Wont Expect Her Answer - Ernestine Johnson

This was very thought provoking and I hope others learn from it. My only comment is that I hear this being said often by eloquent black people. I cannot relate because I have rarely, if ever, heard any of these comments from a Caucasian person (and yes, I consider myself an eloquent black person).
I have more often heard black people making every one of these types of comments to and about other black people, myself included. It was a beautiful poem none-the-less.
All the best to you, poetess Ernestine.
Helen Willis, The Zebress

Monday, September 19, 2016

How Black is Black? And Who Gets to Decide?

So I was doing research on interracial couples on Youtube and I found Rob and Ro's video, they are the interracial couple form Newlyweds the first year, Season 3. I think they are super cute.
There was a comment that happens to be the first one that was mostly negative. Now I don't like to be that person who bypasses the majority favorable comment to harp on the negative one. And if I were Rob or Ro, I probably wouldn't but I'm not so I will.
The poster accused Rob of only [marrying] Ro because she " talks stereotypically white and has white interests." She later tried to say she said Ro talks "valley" as if none of us could see the comment that was still there. Ro addressed her nicely by saying something to the effect of, some people actually have the audacity to participate in interests that they like, no matter what "color" they may be. This comment was spicy enough for her I guess. But this is an example of self-segregating that many black people love to do. Let's say I like classical music, which I do, and a white person told me that I was not allowed to like classical music because I am black. That would be a problem, can we agree? But there are black people who say that very thing and go as far as to say, I'm trying to be something I am not by liking classical music. What am I? Do they know? Or is that my choice?
And what is my designated "black" hobby or interest? Do you see how dumb that sounds?
"Talking white" is another favorite. How white is talking white? Does Katie Couric talk white enough? Because she doesn't sound like a valley girl to me. What about Hillary Clinton?
How should a black woman talk? Like Alicia Keys? Cookie from Empire? I have a question, was I supposed to hate "Boo Boo Kitty" because of the way she acted and looked? I was never real sure. Never mind, I didn't make it past the first season.

Anyway, this poster criticized Ro for not sounding more like Michelle Obama. An articulate, black woman who does not "talk white." So we should all speak like Michelle Obama. Got it. I'll email Ro right away. Or should we just allow people to express themselves in a manner that suits them best and is fitting with the type of person they are and want to become? Yeah, let's do that. She went on to say that Rob would not be getting any "brownie points" because he was f**ing a black woman. Charming. I'm not sure who gives out the brownie points and what they can be exchanged for but I do know that Rob is doing more than having sex with Ro. She is his wife, the mother of his new baby and this poster sounds like an idiot. I'm done with her.

Others say that most white men date "light-skinned" black women. Youtube videos can chop this nonsense down to size too. What else? Eve and her white step kids? Well, the man she married had kids before they met. And their mother is white. So maybe now that they are married, Eve can send his kids away so they can look a little better. Eve is outnumbered so she needs to level the playing field right? Ridiculous.

Maybe Eve is secretly trying to turn white, she does tend to have blonde hair after all. Meanwhile, the majority of "blonde' Caucasian women are not really blonde but no one accuses them of anything.
They straighten their hair, no one bats an eye. They tan, get butt implants and lip injections.
All features that most attribute to black women. There are some Caucasian who don't "talk white," oh excuse me, "valley" but no one even knows who they are. And by the way, there are people who say that black women most of the above to appeal to Caucasian men. I argue that if a Caucasian man wanted a Caucasian woman, I'm sure he would know where to find one. Blonde hair, white-talking and all. Most of the Caucasian men who date and marry "black" women do so because...wait for it...they actually like them. They marry them because they love them. Perhaps it is because of their skin tone (I mean what's not to love?) or perhaps it is just because of who they are.
Why is that so mindboggling?
Yah bless Rob and Ro and daughter, Eve and family, Jamie and Nikki and all others like us.
Let the haters hate.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Stacey Dash is Right

Now, I'm not going to pretend that I heard everything Ms. Dash has said but I do agree with her about BET and Black History Month. She gets a lot of flack, my position is always that she has the right to her opinion. Anytime a black person goes against what is perceived to be the "black grain" he or she  is labeled "anti-black." Whether Stacey is or not I have no idea. But what I do know is that I agree that in this new millennium black people should handle these matters in a different way. I know these and other mediums were created out of necessity and maybe frustration that our voices, talents, and contributions were being excluded. That is not to say that the need is no longer valid. However, using terms that alienate others is not helpful to our cause. I think a more subtle approach will do more than a statement of separation does.

I hate terms like "black neighborhood" and "black movie or TV show." "Black church" annoys me every time I hear it. Because in theory, when there exists a "white neighborhood" and a "white church," there shouldn't be a problem right? (And I know these terms are used just as much)
So when a black person moves into a predominately white neighborhood and is told to get out. Should the correct reaction be, "Well it is a white person's neighborhood. Let's pack our stuff?"
Think about it. It's almost like reversed psychology and some black people are falling right into the trap. This goes back to black people being American, just American, and to that end we deserve the same rights as being said American.

Offense is just as powerful as defense. I want to see black history included in our educational materials not an aside for a month. The shortest month of the year at that. No, Black history belongs in the text. Black history is American history. It should be celebrated every month. As should everyone else's history who contributed to this great nation. We need to make sure that is the case. That's what we need to fight for in this decade and those to come.

I won't say that BET doesn't need to exist. In fact, I think it needs to exist. But imagine for a moment if the network was called, the "XYZ Network," and 90% of their programming featured black artists and 10% featured non-black artists (which BET seems to be doing these days). Would anyone dare say, "Why do you feature so many black people?" And if one did ask that rude question, the answer could in turn be, "Why not?" How many magazines feature 90% white artists and 10% non-white artists? And that's ok? Just par for the course? Do they call themselves "white" this or that? Nope, they don't have to and we shouldn't either. I would find that to be a more powerful position than simply throwing up "black-label" barriers. Feature whomever you want but also be welcoming to those who are sincerely interested in stories, features, and entertainment from artists and people who happen to be black. By labeling something "black" by definition the assumption is that you exclusively speak to and for black people. No one can or should try to do that, black or otherwise. This is not to say that BET has ever tried either but to the uninformed, it would appear that way.

I recall reading a recent fan letter in Ebony magazine. Maybe a year or two ago. It was from a non-black person. He said that he had just read Ebony for the first time because his favorite actor, Sam Jackson, was on the cover. I was delighted to find out he enjoyed the magazine overall. So much so that he felt compelled to write them a letter. Wouldn't we like this to always be the case? Non-black people being given the opportunity to enjoy us for being us and not feeling like a trespasser in "Blackland?" Like Ms. Dash said, "Black people need to decide what they want, do you want inclusion or separation?" If others try to exclude us we (rightfully) get angry but when we exclude ourselves, with whom should we be angry? 

"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”- Booker T. Washington.

Helen Willis, The Zebress

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Farewell Mr. Bowie

One half of one of our favorite couples

8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

Sincerely, Helen Willis, The Zebress

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Teen Vogue:Things Black Girls are Tired of Hearing ft. Amandla Stenberg

I have never heard many of these statements. I've had braids, weaves, wigs, my natural hair up to my chin and now down my back. People have thought I many be of more than one ethnicity and no one has ever measured my nose. People have called me "pretty" just pretty. So I cannot relate to most of the comments and I ain't a kid. My teen years are long gone. But the few comments I have heard came from black people which I'm going to assume were not the audience to whom the speakers of this video were addressing. I have a story. I had a black guy see me through the salon window, come into the salon, inquire about my marital status and asked me if I was mixed all while the stylist is blowing my hair out. I said no. He said I had to be mixed "with something" because and I quote, "Black women don't have hair like that." "Fool, didn't I just tell you I wasn't mixed?!"
I thought to myself. Wow.

Anyway, curiosity about the variety of beautiful, versatile hair textures on black women (note I didn't say "black hair") is not a bad thing in my opinion. Some white people have not experienced this type of diversity in their environments. It's like when we were kids. If you are a black woman, you can remember touching your white friend's hair out of curiosity. I know I do. There are white kids who may not have known any black kids growing up so there is a curiosity. When they get to high school or college they might feel more comfortable asking their non-white friend's about matters in their life. Including their hair. That's nothing to get so defensive about. If you are in a position to let a non-black person who you know (or a perfect stranger if you can handle that) touch your hair, I think you should. So the next time they hear ignorance about a black person's hair from other friends or family they can say, "No, my black friend so-and-so's hair is (fill in the blank)." That's how we learn. And by the way, afros are awesome! Who wouldn't want to touch them? I still touch them when I find them. And you do know white people can have afros too right?

I remember a black woman telling me that a white hair stylist wanted to know if she could do her hair so she could learn how to do other textures and cater to a more diverse clientele. The black woman got offended. I thought that was dumb.

I would post the video of Chael Sonnen (white man) asking Sage Steele (black woman with curly hair) if he could touch her hair but the title is too crude for my taste. But here's the summary, she leaned across the table, he touched it and was amazed at how soft it was and they went on with their interview. Ignorance annihilated. You can check it out on Youtube if you want.

And this thing about men not liking curly hair is not exclusive to "race." Patti Stanger tells her clients of every shade, (white and Latin included) that some men, of every shade, prefer straight hair because they can run their fingers through it. Other men have grown accustomed to the fact that with some women, it just ain't gonna happen and go on with their existence. So it's up to you whether or not you give two craps about that. But many, dare I say most, women of every shade can find those who straighten their hair. Even *gasp* white, Asian, and Latin ones. Ever heard of Japanese straighteners?

One of my biggest problems in dealing with negative "race" relations is when people, black, white, Latin, Asian, Pacific Islander, or multi-ethnic, don't take a minute to put themselves in someone else's shoes. Too many people make it seem like it's so hard to see (or even imagine) things from another person's perspective. It's not that difficult. Think.

Things Black Girls are Tired of Hearing ft. Amandla Stenberg

Helen Willis, The Zebress