Monday, October 26, 2009

Awkward Pause

Our trip to Florida was overwhelmingly positive. The elementary school seemed great, the principle gave me a tour and pointed out the ethnic, cultural & religious diversity of the student body. Routine statement or special notation for one of the few black parents? Probably the latter but I appreciated the sentiment. The local parks & recreation facilities well maintained and active.

We were able to meet a couple of my message board friends and that went really well too. One has a daughter a year older than Mirette, and it seemed like they have the potential to become friends. The mom is a natural birther & breast feeder which I didn't know until we met in person, so needless to say we got on like a house afire.

The black woman I met was sweet and we'll probably meet again but she gave me a jaw dropping moment. Her is mom biracial, her dad black and we met on a SAHM of color board

She nonchalantly said that she hoped her daughter would have "good hair" like my kids. I felt like I was in a time warp or speaking to a 70 year old woman. I honestly had no idea that there were black women who still dropped that phrase in casual conversation. How we really feel about natural hair vs processed hair is another story. But I guess that I've been fraternizing with the black granola set too long. Even my grandmothers know its not considered an acceptable thought, much less one expressed out loud.

Etiquette aside, I just felt sad. Sad that she hated her own hair so much & sad that her adoration of "good hair" was going to impact her daughter's perception of beauty & self worth. I did give a short little speech about loving the hair you've got, embracing the naps, black hair is problematic when we try and make it something it's not etc etc etc but it was falling on deaf ears. But it underscored the need to actively work against such ideas in my family, because the world at large still has a lot of catching up to do...

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