Explaining to non-Black people why asking to feel a Black person’s hair is strange, at the least rude, at the worst racist, and almost never happens to people without natural hair
This really shouldn’t be that hard to explain. Who else’s hair do you ask to feel, or feel motivated to feel, that isn’t an animal?
I know there’s 400 years of slavery that we’re unique to, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to understand personal boundaries, or how frequently they’re broken, especially for Black women.
I’m not looking for the deracialized MLK quotes and moments today
I’ve seen quite a lot of “deracializing” of MLK through some of his more humanistic quotes in the recent past.
I’m honestly not a patron of that kind of thinking. MLK is often taught as this bastion of innocent peace that was in stark contrast to the malicious, race baiting, Black Power hungry Malcolm X. It’s forgotten that he’s said a lot directly about racism and even related topics such as what would later be called microaggression, hidden dialect, and disguised abstract liberalism. He was also much more Black Power supportive than many would like to admit.
There’s a lot of attempts to focus on the humanistic quotes over anything racial from MLK. I think it’s because an honest examination of what MLK had to say about race then, would lead us to realize how little has changed until now. There’s still deep inequalities in legal treatment of Blacks in the United States. Our schools remain heavily segregated by race, only now driven heavily by economics and structural/institutionalized division. Even with a Black President about to be inaugurated into office, the Black American Man is still more likely to end up dead or behind bars than able to achieve the American Dream in any form.
And for the most part the United States has continued to lie to itself, and become convinced that the plight of the Black American is self-administered, rather than enabled by a system that still hasn’t seriously attempted to correct the imbalances in its legal and social administration.
In the end, I really have to ask if we’ve achieved MLK’s dream, or simply are making progress toward it. I’m thankful for either though, and willing to fight to continue the latter.