Dec 17, 2009

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Good Hair

good_hairEven the most oppressive tyrannies have their jesters. Comedians, particularly Black ones, are about the only people free to draw attention to what the rest of us are obliged to ignore. A White man would barely be allowed by law to explain the difference between Black people and “niggas” in public, yet Chris Rock can do it on HBO. Dave Chappelle was making tens of millions of dollars with his hilarious, provocative, and insightful take on race relations before buckling under the weight of his own conscience. For better or worse, Black comedians in our society can honestly explore politically incorrect topics with minimal self-censorship or threat of harassment.

Good Hair is Chris Rock’s exploration of the remarkably complex, controversial, costly, time-consuming, and even toxic world of Black female haircare. While Imus was fired and subjected to a Two Minutes Hate for casually referring to some college basketball players as “nappy-headed hos,” Chris Rock has extended the same point into a two hour documentary which gets featured on HBO, gets shown at film festivals, and achieves critical acclaim.

As it should have.

It was an honest and balanced documentary that was done by a Black father whose young daughter asked him “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” He focused on it as a community issue, refraining from the histrionic whining about Whites imposing European standards of beauty on them. He didn’t even mention the notorious “doll tests” from Brown v. The Board of Education case. I was waiting for it, and it never came. Maybe he wasn’t aware of it. But I think he deliberately intended to keep the focus where it belongs: on what his tribe is thinking and doing.

Readers of this blog should be warned that Al Sharpton is featured multiple times in the documentary, but they’ll find him in a different mode than they’re probably accustomed to seeing him. Frankly, I admire Al Sharpton and wish we had more men in our own community as committed to speaking up for us as he is for them. He’s admittedly too quick to cast blame on Whitey, but an advocate who’s a bit too protective is preferable to an advocate like Bill Cosby who spends his time scolding his community for failing to integrate and deracinate. This is where Chris Rock strikes a nice balance, wholeheartedly embracing his race and culture while frankly analyzing how it should cope with its challenges.

But the analysis ultimately falls short. It fails to honestly explore WHY Black women struggle so mightily to look White. Both Sharpton and Rock leave the lay viewer with the impression that Black women are merely being vain or stupid and should cut it out. As simple as that explanation is, there’s a darker reason, an uncomfortable one that casts their monomaniacal pursuit of “good hair” in an entirely different light.

Half of the reason is biological. As a group, Black women are objectively less attractive than White women. White women are literally loaded with deceptive indicators of youthfulness: light hair, light skin, light eyes, and big foreheads. The politically incorrect (and hurtful) truth behind the notorious “doll test” is that the preference for the lighter dolls is culturally universal. Toddlers instinctively find White dolls to be more aesthetically pleasing. Pornographic cartoonists in Japan, driven by a very competitive profit motive to produce the most attractive females possible, draw caricatures of youthful Caucasian girls (with admittedly smaller frames, chins, and noses than our norm).

But this biological issue wouldn’t be that such an issue if it weren’t for the sociological issues: Black imprisonment and interracial relationships. The bottom decile of potential suitors are incarcerated by the government. W. E. B. DuBois’ talented tenth are chasing blonde women. The product of these variables is a high-stakes competition between Black women over the relatively few Black males who are willing and able to court them. The relative importance that men in general and Black men in particular place on attractiveness pits them in a sexually selective race condition between one another to look as objectively beautiful as possible.

Telling the Black women with a weave who’s unable to pay her rent to change her priorities is akin to telling a cheetah that’s dying of exhaustion that it ought to slow down and catch easier prey. It betrays a fundamental ignorance of the bigger picture, won’t solve the problem, and blames the victim. If Chris Rock is serious about making the world a better place for his adorable daughters, he’ll need to step out of the barbershop and onto the golf course.

From Occidental Dissent, December 17, 2009


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  1. In the 80s remake of King Kong, starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lang, the African chief wishes to trade eight virgins (more or less) for the white girl (Jessica Lang). I pointed out the obvious racism in that scene to a friend of mine — it went nowhere . . . that’s not the type of racism you preach, he said. I doubt Hollywood, black males, or anybody else but black women saw the absolute nastiness of it.

  2. My wife works with Black women that are self-aware of the fact that they are biologically unsatisfying to their male counterparts when compared to, well, blondes like my wife. The infamous “doll test” during Brown vs. BOE, as you point out, is indictative of “whiteness” being the form of human beauty.

    Good Post!

  3. Black Hair Industry ROBBED and Dominated By Asians

  4. I bumped into an aquaintance shortly after Michael Jackson died.
    She’s black, from the Caribbean. While exchanging pleanstries she mentioned MJ’s death and how sad it was.
    She then said, word for word. “And all those people busting on him. You know, he did was every black person would do if they could. Well, maybe not every, but a whole lot.”
    Naturally I asked her what he did that they would do if they could.
    And she said, “Get their hair straight and turn their skin white.”

    There was something about the way she said it that really stuck.
    She was just so comfortable, so matter of fact, so…”of course!” about it.

    If she’s right it would explain a lot. Like their resentment and hostility, which are traits that belong to those who are unhappy with themselves.

    This girl by the way has no resentments toward Whites.
    Apparently she’s just disappointed she can’t be one.

    As for Chris Rock, I would watch him from time to time on youtube clips cause he can be funny and he says what we’re all dying to say, publicly.
    But there was one special where he tears into poor Whites with such cruelty and viciousness that it was dark, twisted, sick, and creepy. Especially when you couldn’t tell if the audience, mostly White, was really applauding or if it was piped in, by you know who.
    In fact, it was that kind of thing that drove me to sites like TOQ.
    I’m glad you guys were there.

  5. Even Sammy Sosa can attest to legitmacy of the “doll test”

  6. Even Sammy Sosa can attest to legitmacy of the “doll test”

  7. Well, the Mohammedans have a neat solution to the problem: Put the women in bags!

  8. @Dr. Johnson

    I’m flattered and honored by the repost.

    @Robert & @Dedalus

    It’s been my experience as well that Blacks are dramatically less delusional than the media and academia portray them to be. More impulsive and criminal, but less obnoxiously self-deceived.

    As a side note, one problem with Black male and White female interracial relationships is that the White mother of a Black daughter is invariably incapable of appropriately handling the hair situation. They might have the sense to read a book on proper skincare for the child, but they perceive weaves to be vain, “ghetto”, and prohibitively expensive. Even in the (unlikely) event that the father is present, this folk wisdom is passed along exclusively from female to female.

  9. Here is what Malcolm X had to say about good hair….

    Apparently, a conk is a demeaning practice amongst the negros beacause, as X points out, it makes them an “emblem of shame.” This, he claims, is the negro mindlessly conforming to white standards of beauty.

    I think, he thinks, what a Negros should do is refrain from all things occidental, if that is the case his language, clothing, any hair cut at all, store bought groceries, etc. should be abandon by negroes. If that were the case Malcolm X would have had no standard by which to argue against “whitey” simply because his entire political career presupposes the Truth of our worldview.

    I guess it sucks being a negro . . .

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