Coffee Rhetoric: leave me alone
Showing posts with label leave me alone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leave me alone. Show all posts

December 30, 2011

R.I.P., Officially

As a Black woman who happens to be single, was once exasperated but is now bored to tears with the: Tragic Successful But Still Single Black Woman Who Can't Find A Husband and Isn't Light Enough To Be In A Rap Video or Measure Up to Kim Kardashian And So Should Find Solace in Advice Dispensed by Steve Harvey/Tyler Perry/(insert ill-equipped pseudo-Relationship expert here) meme, I endorse this message. I'm sick of reading about it and I'm tired of sites whose purpose is to supposedly uplift Black women, pandering to the foolio information and quasi-sociological studies about my dating life. Especially since my current purpose (as I see it), is to continue trying to be the best at what I love doing and exploring making a full-time career of it, as well as to ensure that my rights as a woman  (to do, say, believe in what I choose to believe in, and to maintain control over my body) aren't threatened. So without further ado, I bid this meme adieu.



July 25, 2011

Hands Off! -- In Which I Rant About Natural Hair... Again.


Today, CNN.com featured an interesting article about Black women who wear their hair in its natural state and their displeasure with having it touched by stranger-hands. Of course, as with anything in the media featuring Black women voicing their opinion or personal stories about anything having to do with their being, it incited people to chorus. "Can I touch it?" recounted an incident as told by Tamara Winfrey Harris, who runs the blog What Tami Said, in which a woman standing nearby reached out to touch her natural hair as she and her husband made their way to their table at a restaurant, much to Tami's chagrin: “I turned around and she said, 'Oh, your hair is neat.' It just floored me because who does that, just reaches out and touches strangers?"  
The article also referenced blog posts which delve into the issue of Black women with natural hair who disdain having their hair petted by curious people who they have no type of rapport or relationship with, which can be read here and here. The article prompted people to trivialize the subjects' personal experiences by claiming how keen us Black folk are on playing the race card, before going tit for tat about how they as white people suffer the same indignities and suggesting that we should feel flattered about being petted like a goat at a petting zoo by strangers: "Someone wants to touch your hair. So what? I have blond hair, and I've stood in line at a convenience store and have had my hair touched by blacks."  And it empowered them to fan the flames of their bigotry:  "No matter what you say or do, black people are going to get offended and remind you of their enslaved history, as if NOOOO other race was ever enslaved.  Get over it... black pubic-like hair is not the only type of hair that summons curiosity."
Subsequent blog posts followed- (Many written by the Black blogging community) - either further explaining why it's not cool to violate someone's personal space and sensibilities or also wondering; What's the big deal? Accusing the Black natural hair community of being "pretentious" and "uppity."
See, here's the thing… whether people think the article featured a segment of women who're overreacting, the fact of the matter is it's simply not cool to violate someone's personal space and touch any parts of their person uninvited. I've had experiences where I've been asked by curious people, if they could touch my hair so they  can "see how it feels" or have had people reach out to grab or touch... growing annoyed when I denied them access or ducked out of the way. There were moments when I was caught off-guard and have had folks actually grab and disturb my neatly piled puff or pinned bun. For me, the issue of having my hair touched is political and a matter of intimacy as well as vanity. Are people that presumptuous and arrogant that they think it's okay to violate someone's personal space, particularly when someone has expressed their discomfort with it? And of course a few hissers from the be-weaved/relaxed peanut gallery turned it into an anti-natural hair manifesto, knowing damned well if someone ran their hands through their neatly laid tracks or freshly relaxed hair, they'd throw a fit of epic proportions, despite proclamations to the contrary. Why am I pretentious because I don't want some stranger mussing up my 'fro? I can't imagine walking up to some pregnant woman and rubbing her belly or squeezing her breast implants... nor can I fathom ever approaching an attractive man in fitted jeans and softly reaching out to caress his bulge because I think it "looks cool" nestled behind the taut denim fabric. Expressing genuine interest in someone's hair because you're curious about it... asking them reasonable questions and reaching out to touch or tousle it, are two very different things. And the latter is simply ill-mannered. 
Regardless of the reasons why Black women with natural hair don't want their hair touched and whether people agree with them, people should respect the wishes of others and pipe down. No one has the right to demand that someone "just deal" with having their hair touched and their boundaries crossed. How I express myself as a woman who happens to be Black and the way I extend or present my personal aesthetic is my business and no one (in this day and age especially) has authority over or is allowed to commandeer that right. That's my word. 

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More of my natural hair diatribes... 

January 17, 2011

Taxi Tales: The Return of Eubanks ...

The weather here on the northeast has been absolutely dreadful. We got slammed with snow... beyond belief. Even by New England standards it was massive. I suppose it was finally our time this year. In any event, there was one particular afternoon due to piss poor plowing efforts I found myself needing the services of the Yellow Cab Company. A day where I couldn't fathom traveling via public transportation and just needed to get to where I needed to go, without standing out in the frigid air. I just was not in the mood. The snow accumulation was overwhelming and trudging through it proved to be an annoying hindrance to my mobility as it was.
This time around, a yellow van bearing the YELLOW CAB logo, rumbled in front of me. A larger vehicle seemed very fitting considering the elements. I hopped in, grateful to be out of the cold and in spite of the strong smell of onions and spicy ground meat. I reiterated my destination to the driver. He turned around, mouth full of Jamaican beef patty... orange, flaky crust crumbs in the corners of his mouth and said, "I'll take you wherever you need to go!" Suddenly, recognition crossed his face... "I remember you! Yup! Remember I dropped you off someplace, umm... where was it... I remember because I recall you getting called at the last minute, to go there for a meeting... at the um... Where was it??" 
I frowned, perplexed, because I had no recollection as to who he was... when suddenly I got hit with a horrible dose of recollection... I groaned inaudibly... for dear Goddess it was Eubanks!!! Keeper of lucrative corporate secrets. I rolled my eyes and hurriedly scrambled to put on my large, dark shades... hoping to mask the dismay in my eyes (I like a relatively silent ride). 
"Oh. Right." I said dryly. 
Eubanks immediately started in on the opaque, round-about theories and rhetoric... picking up where he left off from before. 
"Yes, I remember you said you were a writer..." he continued. 
"Um, yeah... right" I answered reluctantly. 
"Yeah, because I have all of these ideas, but I don't really know how to reach the people at the top!" He said... gobbling the last of his Jamaican beef patty. My stomach grumbled as he crumpled the wax paper sleeve in his hand... 
"I need a sweet, nice woman... with a good manner about her... to write letters for me and make phone calls for me. I need someone who can get passed the secretaries, because I can't ever seem to get beyond that point!" 
"Hmm. Interesting." I answered ... disinterested and not up to the task. 
"Well... I need... Well, I don't like to tell too much of my business and plans. I'm not sure if you're like me. And I don't want to give too much away, especially to them CEO's, because that's how they make their money... that's how they get rich. Know what I mean?" Eubanks said. 
"Right. They steal ideas." I answered half-heartedly. 
"Right!" He exclaimed. "What I need is a nice young woman, with a sweet voice, who can talk her way passed the secretaries and appeal to the CEO's. I don't want to reveal too much because the ideas I have could make you millions." 
I sighed, then suggested, "Yes. It's best that you don't reveal any of this stuff to me. I don't know a thing about how corporate America works... or even how to navigate it. I've been working for non-profits for most of my work history. So go ahead and keep it to yourself... Ummm... what route are you taking exactly? This ride seems awful longer than necessary." 
"Yes, but you can write, and you seem like you can sweet talk your way with CEO's. I need someone to write letters..." 
I interrupted Eubanks, and reminded him... once more that I know virtually nothing about CEO types... "I'm really not that sweet." I said emphatically. I'm guessing the same, dry monotone I speak in most of the time was lost on him. 
"OK, I'll tell you the companies specifically trying to reach... You know, I'm not just a cab driver. I hold a lot of secrets and info..." He continued on with his proposal...
"Right." I answered. Unfazed. 
"The two companies I'm interested in cracking are Chrysler and American Airlines." 
"Hm. Never heard of those places. Don't ring a bell. Sorry." I lied.
"Information is not free nowadays." Eubanks just kept proposing... emphatically... "You have to pay for information these days." 
"Google costs nothing. I'll be if you punched the name of those foreign sounding companies, I've never heard of in my life, you'd find contact info." I shot back.
"Yeah. Right." Eubanks answered. 
The rest of the ride was silent. I arrived at my destination... and thrust cash at him, and scrambled out... 
"What time you coming out of that building?" Eubanks asked.
"I'll probably be there all day and late into the evening." I lied. 
"You sure you don't need me to drive around another way? You're the Queen of Sheba. You call the shots." 
Without hesitation I answered, "Nope," and got out... but not before Eubanks handed me a small stack of YELLOW CAB cards...
"Call me if you get out early." 
I accepted the cards... but not before letting a couple of them flutter inconspicuously to the floor of the cab. 
I have a feeling this Eubanks chapter is to be continued...