Dis-sing: Disgust, Disillusionment and Discovery
It's Monday. Columbus "Discoverus Americus Post-Africanus" Day at that. Y'all do know that long before the Santa Maria ever hit the shore of this here "New World," West Africans were all up in this piece trading tools, gold and boats and frying okra. Anyway it's one of those days that I feel a lil' on edge. The activist in me resents that I have to work and this beautiful weather is just not making the situation any easier. I really can't believe I was swimming in Sag Harbor just two days ago in October! So in light of my discomfort and disgust, I feel a rant is in order.
Marion Jones-- a heartbreaker. And does her apology make her act any less vile? Nope. Should the entire 4x400 relay team be forced to return their medals for indiscretion? Hell no! I really hope they do not strip the entire team. Besides being shamed and possibly imprisoned, Marion will get her booty kicked if LaTasha Colander-Richardson has to return her gold medal.
Taking "the clear" and thinking it was flaxseed oil was stupid. I mean in 2000 I was so dang happy cause Black grrrls were killin it at the Olympic Games and I considered Marion to be one of the greatest athletes of my time. Her lack of judgement and poor management is really what I find so disheartening.
And speaking of stupid, asinine behavior... no I'm not going to bring up OJ that's just too obvious and too stupid. It looks like former Glamour fashion editor-- Ashley Baker, who told a room full of lawyers at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton about the (Black hair) dos and don'ts of the workplace got the boot last week and is making headlines today.
According to American Lawyer magazine, the editor showed a slide of an African-American female wearing an afro. "A real no-no, announced the Glamour editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was 'shocking' that some people still think it 'appropriate' to wear those hairstyles at the office. 'No offense,' she sniffed, but those 'political' hairstyles really have to go."
I wasn't sure if this was still newsworthy, but according to Gawker and today's Post I guess it is, which is ironic cause just last Tuesday night my stylist who is a sister didn't think it was still relevant. "Old news," she stated. And she added that if you have "messy locks and a big fro out to here," she extended her arms a foot above her head to make her point, "then that is unacceptable in corporate America and these young people do need to know." Needless to say we got into a debate about that that extended throughout my entire time under the steamer. I disagreed about her assumption that young Black women, specifically in this case, young obviously educated, Black attorneys, not knowing what is acceptable 'hair-code' and wondered why when we talk about fros and locks, the extreme position is assumed about our hair. It's gotta be big, unkempt, nappy, knotted and crazy. I mean of course that's unacceptable in a major law firm, but if Gabrielle Union never combed her weave and it was tangled, knotted and smelled, I'm sure she wouldn't have been invited to the set of "Daddy's Little Girls" either. But then again we rarely talk about relaxed her being unkempt, radical and outrageous. It's the political hairdos that get us sisters into a pot of lye every time.
And this whole situation stinks (like a pot of lye). Just like I don't believe for one second that Marion Jones thought that flaxseed was given her all of that strength and speed and muscle tone. (Dang every now and then I get a flaxseed booster in my smoothie and I'll be damned if I'm not huffing and puffing after I running for the 6-train, but I digress). I don't believe that Glamour's Editrix Cindy Leive had no knowledge of lil' Miss Baker's speaking engagement when it was posted on their site the day the presentation went down.
Secondly all of this talk about homegirl not being a racist just needs to cease. Her comments were ignorant and based on bias and therefore racist notto mention supa dupa dumb in light of what just happened to Imus. People often think that being a racist must mean you are guilty of calling someone the n-word or hanging nooses on trees under which Black students hangout. Although the folks in Jena don't think they are racists either, but often racism is more complicated and subtle. I remember my first job outta college was at Smith Barney Shearson and I was working in HR. The Friday before I was to have my relaxed hair cut into a short twisted natural, I approached the VP of my dept and told her that on Monday I would be sporting a short coif. I did it out of fear that I my new look may cause a rumble in the office. On Monday after seeing my lil twists, my boss exclaimed how wonderful my new hairstyle was and that it really showed off my beautiful features. A month later I was rocking an afro and got my first promotion. I'm not going to say that Black folk aren't professionally maligned because they decided to rock dreadlocks or a fro but for a lot of us that marginalization happens first in our minds and we seldom take the chance to show off our natural-ness. I feel like if more of us did then Ashley may have thought twice about saying what she did. Anyhoo she's resigned/ terminated from Glamour and can now spend her time looking for a new gig instead of trying to school lawyers on style. That in and of itself seems so absurd. What law firm has that kinda time(eh- hem besides Gottlieb that is)? In all of my years working, I've never had some type of company sponsored lecture on style. Sometimes I look around and wish we had one at my workplace, but then for the most part I feel like if you gotta work on a nonsense holiday in 80-degree weather then we should be able to wear whateva the frack we wanna wear.