Love to know your thoughts, KK, after you've heard the NPR discussion.You're welcome. So cool. I have to listen to that in a little bit, didn't catch it when it was on.Did y'all hear us mentioned on NPR today?! Our thought-provoking discussion was fodder mentioned on the show "Tell Me More".
Awesome job, gals. Way to keep us current and at the forefront of important discussions!
Okay listened to it and I have a lot of thoughts.
1. The salon owner talks about seeing pleasure on the caregiver's face. I see that too. That nasty little smirk that cynthiarf did a dead on imitation of.
2. For me I could see where Susan's mentality was going to be at -I tell the children it's going to hurt to "get those kinks out of your hair." A lot of things wrong with this and other things she said that indicate to me she is still of the mentality that nappy hair has to always hurt to some degree. Especially not to see that it's not the fact that kinky hair hurts inherently, which she implies several times, but any hair which is being changed from one texture to another is going to hurt. This was a revelation of mine recently that we expect so much of kinky textured hair, it gets changed to the completely opposite hair type- straight- on a daily or at least weekly basis for many people and they are all surprised when they incur pain and then blame it on the hair type. It's bad. But how often do we try to transform straight hair to afro hair? I imagine that would just as painful and damaging. It's what we are doing to the hair, not the hair itself.
3. I also agree with RCC that it's not everyone who went through this who is agreeing it's not abuse. There are people on this thread and others who used similiar experiences they had to define this as definitely abuse. I saw people saying it happened to them so it's okay but I think that's only with people (not talking about anyone specifically) who don't like to think they suffered abuse (if it happened to them as a child) or they are perpetuating that suffering on their child (if they are mothers combing their child's hair anything like this woman today). It's definitely not what Dani is suggesting that only people who know Black hair can comment (as I heard from her use of the word "understand" or maybe she was using that to say only mothers can understand), Either way, I didn't realize there was anything to understand here except being able to see a child in pain.
4. Dani also brings up intention in a way that makes me believe her definition of child abuse is it has to be intentional. Not at all. What makes something child abuse is the result on the child's body and psyche, child abuse can come from ignorance or even good intentions. This is not the last thing I disagreed with this commentator on, throughout I would say she was identifying with this hair brusher to the point of reaching or imposing herself onto her, just because they are both mothers.
5. What would this young girl think to see her mother removed for abusing her for doing her hair? Well the woman who says this neatly sidesteps the emotional and verbal abuse, making it all about the hair and I also wanted to address the issue that people think reporting this or other things as abuse is going to automatically lead to the removal of the parent, jail time for the parent. Not necessarily. I would think (becuase I am no expert but this seems logical) that the very last resort is removing the child from their parent or locking the mother away. I imagine child services tries to work with the parent, they aren't out to get mothers who make mistakes every now and then, had a bad day, practiced abuse out of ignorance. They want them to change if they can. So if this is unserious as she likes to think then there should be no problem with a social worker stopping by the house on a regular basis to check on the little girl. Or just providing a voice for the little girl and in some cases they can probably HELP the parent become a better parent with classes and education, like controlling their anger issues. And if it's as serious as I think it is (24/7 emotional and physical abuse), then the little girl would probably be greatly relieved to be away from this woman.
6. I like that Michel Martin then brings it back to the idea that this is not just about hair because it is true, the verbal commentary on the video makes it clear there are deeper issues at work here.
7. I find it interesting the salon owner talks of ignorance because she herself comes off as somewhat ignorant to me still and it frankly scares me a little to think her concept of natural Black hair is actually better than some. She specializes in natural hair with her salon and she is saying things like "I have scars on my hands from children in pain who grabbed my hands". Good Lord, that doesn't make you reconsider the method which you are detangling the child's hair that they are holding onto your hand, in such pain they pierce the skin? As I have already stated, I have some experience with that amount of pain at salons doing my natural hair who were combing it completely incorrrectly. Except the skin I pierced was my own as I silently sat with tears streaming down.
8. I like that the salon owner calls parents on degrading their child's texture though.
9. The debator Teresa is correct that it stems from slavery and being compared to a more westernized ideal. It's a cliche certainly and has been said many many times and will be said many many times more. But that's becuase it's true.
10. "I draw the line when you start to judge a mother." That pretty much says it all for why some people refuse to see this as abuse, for them mothers are above reproach or questioning. I mean what is that even supposed to mean? And it's actually quite ironic becuase she is judging this woman, she is judging the mother to have to done nothing wrong. I guess she meant to say "I draw the line at negatively judging a mother." I understand mothers have challenges and responsibilities and makes mistakes but if anything judging them and their parenting technique is paramount when any ignorance or willful sadistic intent on their parts can damage or end a life that is in their care. Mothers are no more above judgement than anyone else, and certainly not one who purposefully put herself out there on the internet to be watched and judged on youtube. The hair brusher probably thought she would be judged favorably by public opinion and just because she wasn't, doesn't change that intent of having purposefully put herself out there in the public eye.
11. Though the debator who is a mother does bring up a good point about the parents who refused their child medical attention. How were they not child abusers to let their child die? I guess that was a news story I missed. And true, there is an ill defined line between what is discipline and what is abuse but that's where JUDGEMENT comes in.
12. "I know she loves her daughter." Nope you do not know that, many have said we can't negatively speculate on this 5 minute video (which is more than 5 minutes BTW which many people seem to make the mistake of, there are two others now lost that run a total of 10 minutes and it's still not over by the end of the third video) but apparently she feels she can positively speculate. I see no evidence in this video to suggest this woman loves her daughter (if in fact this is even her daughter) and far more to suggest she doesn't, as long as we are going to speculate.
13. Good points on the weave. I agree. Also on the fact that I don't know any Black women who managed to escape some emotional baggage surrounding their hair.
14. And to what Teresa Wiltz said at the end- I do think that it's getting better. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way, what with ALL the media (songs, books, documentaries, websites) that has come at this good hair, bad hair nonsense and lack of hair acceptance, which in turn is linked to general problems the Black community has with self actualization. And it STILL exists in far too many homes, salons, and minds. But like she said with her niece who loves her braids and hair texture, for every Autumn there is a little Black girl in some other home tonight, who has others who love her hair and who herself loves her hair, with an appreciation most of my generation didn't have. Weren't told we could have. And my mom's generation there were even less love, and my grandmother's? Forget about it. My grandma HATES her own nappy hair, she hates mine too, puts it down constantly while begging and offering money to me if I would straighten it. Telling me I will never get a man, a job or respect with nappy hair. But I don't blame her because what I went through and am still going through regarding my texture (and as much baggage as that is) it probably is only a small fraction of what she went through and now carries around. So I think it's getting better and we can make a difference, little by little. This little thread reached NPR.
Last edited by KinkyKeeper; 08-06-2009 at 02:30 AM.