That good hair
Posted by clubsodaandsalt on February 6, 2010
A lot’s been written about the differences between the experiences of black Americans and West Indians, and I’m no Ta-Nehisi Coates, so I’m not going to take on that challenge. But, being a West Indian who’s lived in the cold for a while, I sometimes notice ways in which my view of race has changed. I had one of those moments today when I saw this picture:
After looking at the picture for a few seconds, I had a visceral reaction: this is creepy! Why is a table of white women curiously touching the hair of a black woman? I am disturbed! But here’s the thing – that was a purely American reaction. There’s not much remarkable about the picture from a West Indian perspective. It’s a bunch of rich ladies at an event shilling overpriced hair gunk sampling the goods. The weird racial undertones that would accompany something like this in the States just aren’t there in Trinidad (though there are shadows of class undertones for sure).
There’s nothing terribly profound to say, but it is a reminder of how having lived here for a while has changed me in certain subtle ways.
As an aside – the reason I came across the picture was that I saw the teaser for this execrable article, and had to click through to determine whether it was as embarrassingly shill-y as it seemed. It was. The Guardian should be ashamed. I assume we’ll soon find out that the product is being distributed by Ansa McAl…