Hair Molestation

File 08-07-2017, 21 08 43So what I’m about to write isn’t new, in the sense that countless black people have written about this issue before, but I’m going to add my two pennies worth to the conversation anyway.  Perhaps my contribution won’t be as articulate as others, and perhaps I won’t bring anything new to light but I’m willing to join the chorus of other people talking and writing about this issue until people get the message and change their behaviour accordingly.

Growing up, I remember countless women lamenting about how awful it was to have random strangers accost them in the street and, with no permission, start rubbing their pregnant tummies.  The women spoke and wrote about how intrusive and rude it was to be felt up by someone they didn’t know.  They spoke about pregnancy being uncomfortable enough without having their personal space invaded by some creepy nutter with no manners.

I think, for the most part, society now realises that it is absolutely not okay to stroke a stranger just because they happen to be pregnant.  This isn’t a community bump, there to be fondled by passers-by who happen to like babies.  It’s someone’s baby encased in HER body which, unless she has said otherwise, is not to be touched.

So why doesn’t the same apply to black people and our hair? Continue reading

Calm Down Dear, It’s Just a Post Code…

pexels-photo-167822In 1984 I lived in a council flat in a dodgy little place called Shoreditch.  As I was a baby at the time, my parents lived there too!

I have very fond memories of our time there; the neighbours, most of whom babysat me at one time or another; the lady next door with the Rottweilers and – for reasons only known to her and her family – a pet monkey; trying (and failing) to ride a bike in the hallway and, best of all, the parties!  It seemed like every week friends and family would congregate at our flat and it would always turn in to a party.  The sound system blaring, the flat packed full of people, alcohol, jokes…It was brilliant!

There were things that I was too young to notice at the time but that I found out about when I was older: the queue of people outside on the balcony waiting to buy drugs from the dude next door; or the fact that one of the kids my parents forbade me from hanging around with had fleas (that kid belonged to ‘Rottweiler woman’ who, I later found out to my eternal disgust, used to let the dog have her puppies on the fur coat that she always wore but never washed).  I was protected from all of that nonsense and even though there were a few… shall we say, eccentric sorts in the area it was generally a safe and really friendly place. Continue reading

A Question of Blackness

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The Mirror

When I was at school I used to be accused by a small group of arseholes of not being black enough.  This was mainly due to my complexion (I have albinism), my obsession with Backstreet boys (AJ was my favourite) and my mostly white circle of friends.

On one occasion I was alone, walking to the bus stop and a girl from a few years below me made a point of saying (loud enough for me to hear) “Urgh!  If I looked like that I would kill myself.  I love my colour”.  She was right to love her colour, she had a beautifully dark complexion but I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself some weeks later when said girl’s ponytail, which, despite the protestations of her friends and anyone with eyes, she insisted was her real hair, fell out in the lunch queue.  Or was it pulled out?  I can’t quite remember, I only remember seeing it on the floor and thinking how strange it was that a person could be so proud and ashamed of themselves at the same time.

Let me pause here for a moment and explain that the ponytail itself wasn’t the issue but rather her insistence on passing it off as her own hair. Not every girl or woman with a weave or clip-on hair has identity issues.
Continue reading

Victims On Trial

 

handcuffs-354042_640.jpg“Former Cop, Daniel Holtzclaw, Convicted on 18 Counts for Sexually Assaulting Black Women”.

What do you mean ‘who’s Daniel Holtzclaw’? It’s been all over the – oh wait. Okay, I’ll fill you in.

Daniel Holtzclaw is a former police officer from Oklahoma City. While working as an officer of the law, he used his position to and rape and sexually assault women. Holtzclaw was very particular about his victims, they were all black and all women who could be described as being on the fringes of society (sex workers, drug users and/or those with criminal records). Continue reading

Who Are You?

self1My hope is that someone reading this may find what I have to say helpful. I’m pretty random when it comes to posts because different encounters, experiences, feelings and moods determine what I write, and while this may not be “professional” (most advice about blogging suggests that the blogger stick to a particular style and/or topic) I continue to blog in an arbitrary fashion because writing is a form of expression and when I do take the time to write something I want it to fully express how I’m feeling at that moment in time. Continue reading

The Burning Giraffe

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A description of ‘The Burning Giraffe:   It was painted in 1937 by Salvadore Dali. 

There’s a body with drawers coming out of its legs and chest. The figure appears to be being held up by some sort of scaffold-like structure from behind.

Behind this figure is another, similar looking one. This one has no drawers but does have the same scaffold-type contraption behind it, but more intense. It also has what appears to be branches growing out of its head. It’s holding something in its hand. A dagger? A piece of material? I don’t know. Oh, and let’s not forget the giraffe in the background that is on fire. The paintings namesake: The Burning Giraffe. Continue reading