In a piece originally posted at Dog Park Media, filmmaker Erikka Yancy gets brutally honest about her history with racial identity and beauty.
It was a long road to recognizing my racial identity crisis. I did not realize it in junior high when I basked in the glory of being told by my friends that they did not consider me black because I “wasn’t loud and didn’t talk like the other two or three black girls [in our grade.]” I did not catch a whiff of it in high school when I would spend hours of my freshman year with a test tube clamp on my nose, desperately trying to make it smaller and narrower. It was years later, when I was in my 30s and I proudly proclaimed, “I am the least intimidating black woman I know!” The words had barely left my mouth before the shame and awkwardness of that statement hit me. My stylist and I were talking about my latest crush and the chance he may not like black women while I sat in her chair and she weaved fourteen beautiful inches of slick straight Indian Remi hair onto my head. The nausea came with the following thought, “Since when do I buy into that ‘intimidating’ stereotype?” Do I really mean whitest black woman? Am I still trying to be white?”
Before anyone gets upset I am not saying that women who get hair weaves have fantasies of being white. This is my story and my experience. If you see yourself in it or feel indicted after it, think about it — then forget it; or don’t, it’s up to you …
My real hair did not blow in the wind or swing back and forth. It was not yellow and shiny like Karen’s, or brown and slick like Judith’s or even braid-able like the other black girl’s hair. It never got long; it was just frizzy and big. Kids would touch it and say “Eww greasy.” My mom would tell me to tell them not to touch it, which I’m sure you know was super effective in second grade. There was this one kid who loved to complain he couldn’t see over my Afro in class. Grade school seriously sucked.
Read Erikka Yancy’s entire piece at the Huffington Post.
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