re: gabby douglas, its just hair, or is it? Addressing the African-American perception complex
Its the talk of the town, Gabby Douglas, 16 year old Gold Medalist, isn't being celebrated by a great deal of our (African American) community because too many people are focused on her hair?
With me barely being able to keep my strands constrained when going for a light walk in the neighborhood I couldn't imagine the perplexity of maintaining tresses during gymnastics.
I get it I get it, she's representing for African-American women to the world but seriously, the comments are becoming a bit small minded. Its just hair, or is it?
Stop me if I'm digging too far deep into this but historically I feel that African Americans have a complex about perception. I think the mental oppressions of our past as a collective has caused this underlying tone of the need to maintain a certain apperance so that we aren't judged as poor or weak, etc.
Its not just our appearance but the way we carry ourselves as well. I've heard countless comedians joke about the differences in how African Americans discipline our kids vs. white parents. I think of the words "you need to learn how to act in public", we beat at home to show that we're in control of our household. We attempt to control the stereotypes to make sure that our kids aren't and will not be who "they" say they're going to be.
The perception complex is a fear of non-acceptance based on the historical cycles of having to fight for platforms, for seats at the table, and back then in order to get in you had to make sure you fit in, by being, doing, and acting, what we believed gained us acceptance.
I think it needs to stop. As many believe Gabby's hair should be permed because the world is watching... are the very people that need to know the world is watching. When yahoo news addresses Gabby's hair we know for sure we've failed ourselves. The hair commentary is glorifying the very ideologies that we try to dumb down of us as a people by giving off the impression that we are not unified in supporting the fact that a young African American women has made history in a positive way, and that our thought process doesn't go beyond appearance.
Gabby offers our youth a glimpse of hope beyond wanting to be what they see in music videos. She's in London, she's on a cereal box. She's doing amazing things...so its time we drop the perception complex, contradictary to this being a hair blog, lol we are focused far too much on the exterior. I love Gabby's testimony and the testimony of her family.
Check out fox sports interview with Gabby, who says, ''I'm going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.''