Kayla: “I’ll make you dinner when it goes to a commercial”
30 minutes later
Me: “WE’RE WATCHING NETFLIX THERE ARE NO COMMERCIALS YOU’RE THE WORST EVER”
To be fair earlier it was “Oh no Kayla, you don’t have to worry about dinner. You’re sick I’LL make dinner so you don’t have to tonight. BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.”
40 minutes ago she turns to me and says “Hey. Hey baby~ will you do me a favor~?” *cute puppy eyes* “Will you make me soup for dinner?” WILL MY SICK GF MAKE ME DINNER WHILE SICK!?
12 year old Vanessa VanDyke is being threatened with expulsion from Faith Christian Academy in Orlando unless she cuts her natural hair. Hair growing the way it does out of her head is considered a “distraction” by administrators. Yet another young Black girl forced to deal with the beauty politics and the politics of respectability that insist that not being White or adhering to those standards are an automatic detriment to education. Worse, she’s attended this school since 3rd grade and doesn’t want to have to leave her friends though she has been bullied by other kids for her hair. The consistent policing of Black women’s bodies starts young and continues right through college and the workplace. It is tiring and without logic beyond White supremacy, of course.
According to Local 10 in Orlando, she wore her hair like this all year. It’s a problem now because she is being bullied, and in a typical abuse culture riddled with victim blaming, the bullies are who needs to be coddled and protected, not her.
I truly hope that whomever is ignorant on that school’s staff work things out with her parents or she finds a better school, though that will mean making new friends, which is challenging in adolescence at times. My larger hope is that Eurocentric beauty standards continue to unravel and continue to be stomped out of existence.
And nothing is wrong with her wearing her hair loose. Sometimes even Black people who claim to love natural hair only love it when elaborately styled, and those styles are very nice, but not the only way to wear natural hair.
And no Whites, I don’t want to hear about “rules” and “professionalism” until you explore what White supremacy and Whiteness actually mean. And don’t even try to conflate Whites’ mohawks etc. with Black women’s natural hair in an ahistorical way. And no some Black people, I don’t want to hear about perms being more “appropriate” and any respectability politics nonsense, until you explore how you internalize White supremacist thinking. Don’t come here with that.
I wish her and her family the best in this situation.
Boosting the important stuff.
Engineering Change, One Ad at a Time
Imagine this: In the middle of a billion-dollar televised spectacle of sporting violence, sandwiched between beer ads and gyrating plastic cheerleaders, surrounded by the latest Madison Avenue pleas for flavored taco shells and montages of young, hip people using that one new e-reader that everyone likes so much, 120 seconds of hope emerged.
Here is that hope.
It comes in the form of this Rube Goldberg-inspired ad for Goldie Blox, a series of building toys aimed at smashing the blinding pink wall put up around young girls and their toys. Maybe we should change it to Ruby Goldberg after this? Because they just owned it.
Here’s the deal: I don’t have to tell you how amazing this toy is (although I have before) or how great this video is (because that will be obvious when you watch it). What you need to do is go vote for this ad to be featured during the next Super Bowl!!!! Yes. Go vote. Go now, and go every day. The whole world has a chance to see this.
The power is literally in your hands. Use them to build some little girl’s future. Then who knows what she might build?