Beauty, the Brush and Black Girl Pain

How one troubling YouTube video brought out the screaming little girl in all of us.

Getty Images

The video serves as a Rorschach blot for the female sector of the blogosphere, be they black, white or other: They see the little girl, and they see themselves. There’s cynthiarf, who posted her own reaction video. She saw unrepentant child abuse:

“The stuff that she’s putting into that child’s psyche is gonna be irreversible. I’m damn near 40 years old, I ain’t forgot shit. …. It’s been a long time since I was 5, and I remember it like it was yesterday. … If you ever see this shit, say something. … I just hope this bitch is in jail.”

Then there are those who watched the video and saw a little girl with a little too much attitude, a little girl who, above all, needed to calm down and submit to the brush. Their mothers brushed their hair with similar force, so what’s the problem? Says beauttty07 who re-posted the video on YouTube after it had been taken down by site administrators:

“its just a trip how the girl is actin all that screamin and stuff and throwing stuff cuz she dont want her hair brushed the little girl is actin way over the top and the mother means no harm.”

Let’s just say that I disagree with that assessment: The mother seems to be getting sort of grim pleasure from the girl’s pain. There’s no reassurance: there’s no soothing; there’s no attempt to be gentle. When the little girl, who looks to be about 5, screams, “I want my daddy,” she is told, “You ain’t got no f****** daddy.”