I saw an article the other day from Black Media Scoop called “Is That Your Real Hair?”
Some of the items are silly but others are serious.
It got me thinking. Let me start by saying I am extremely interested in African American culture. It may seem cliché, but as I think back it may have started with “Roots”. OK, I can hear the groans of disapproval and skepticism and “Did he really say that?” I am curious about certain things but I cannot get myself to ask. So how can I do it without offending?
Let’s start with one of the not-too-serious ones: The hairdos of Black women are so amazing; I really want to know if it’s real hair or extensions or a weave. Is that so offending? I actually have asked “How long did it take to get it that way?” But I would never ask to touch the hair.
Another item in the article was about how well people speak. My friend has used the terminology “lazy English” to describe the way she speaks (although I don’t agree). There’s even an entry in the Urban Dictionary for that. But is there anything wrong with saying that you love a person’s accent?
I have tried to stay away from the really serious stuff involving the African American community. I have opinions but I have up to now been reluctant to talk about it because “I am not qualified to speak of such things.” But the purpose of my being on this blog is to express opinions to stimulate discussion. I would never intentionally be mean-spirited; it’s just what I think.
Another item is about the “N” word: Is it REALLY OK for certain people to say it and not others? Does spelling it ending in an ‘a’ make a difference? I cringe when I hear the word in music or TV or movies, no matter who says it. I truly do not understand when a Black person is called that by another Black person and the first Black person is not offended.
Talking about slavery in the US is another item. I truly think that race relations have come a long way in the past few decades. Some people say “So what?” I agree there is more work to be done. The world will never be a perfect place. Never forget your history. So speaking of slavery today is perfectly valid. But let’s acknowledge the improvements and try to be forward-looking.
What do you think? I really want to know if any of you readers think I have said anything offensive, and why you think so.