In 1988, a little known director named Spike Lee set out to do a film explaining the complexities of an HBCU, and called it “School Daze.”
Fortunately, his films have had always a ‘double-entendre’ effect; while seeking to reveal the white/black prejudices in American society, he reveals the larger prejudices within black communities. Besides one of the key moments in the film being the college’s pageantry crowning of “Miss Mission” prompting the Stevie Wonder penned, “I Can Only Be Me,” the most memorable event is no doubt the song, “Good And Bad Hair.”
Its iconic lyrics performed in a tit-for-tat war of words between light-skinned and dark-skinned blacks epitomize the almost algorithmic presence of racism existing within the black race.
Just take in these words, one by one, and you can feel the animosity.
“If a fly should land on your head
Then I’m sure he’d break all his legs
Cause you got so much grease up there
Dear, is that weave that you wear
Oooh, you got cocka-bugs standing all over your head
Well you got sandy spurs rather have mine instead
You’re just a jigaboo, try’na find somethin to do
Well you’re a wannabee – wanna be better than me
That hair’s only good for one thing
If you get a lick back, it’ll spring
Angie, don’t your hair stand on high
Can’t you comb it, and don’t you try
Don’t you know my hair is so strong
It can break the teeth out the comb
I don’t have to put up at night
What you have to keep out of sight
Talking bout good and bad hair
Whether you’re dark or you’re fair
So you can go on and swear
See if I care good and bad hair.”
With all the positivity that blacks in America had made, there was no denying the animus that still remained.
Fast forward to 2011.
In a documentary produced by Oprah Winfrey entitled, “Dark Girls” it chronicled and centered on the lives of black females with dark skin, and how the attacks and ostracization that they have received both professionally and personally have not come from white people- but from those that are black.
Among its key points, the documentary addresses the marginalization in communities of color with phrases such as, “If she can’t use your comb, don’t bring her home”, and standards such as the “paper bag-test”; both reminders to young black men to consider
carefully the skin tone and/or hair texture of the women they chose to date and/or marry.
Further along In the film, that salient point is cemented in our psyche via the testimony of actress Viola Davis. The
Award-winner recalls the times she would go to the welfare camps where the children of the parents receiving aid would wait and play. She states that it was the black kids, not the whites- in the waiting area, taunting her, stating, “Black. Ugly. Nigger.” Several other participators in the film cited similar experiences, with one woman stating how complementary whites were of her dark skin versus the blacks that were everything but.
Not long ago, an article in Blackenterprise.com spoke to this very point: “After the announcement that the Kentucky police officers who shot EMT worker Breonna Taylor won’t be directly charged for her death, protesters
have taken to the streets and social media to voice outrage about the ruling.
Former LAPD Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey has also criticized Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron for the decision made by the grand jury in the Breonna Taylor case. During an appearance on CNN’s The Lead With Jake Tapper, Dorsey blasted the black AG, saying “I understand that he is skinfolk, not kinfolk” and “he doesn’t speak for me,” according to Blavity .” In addition, Ms. Dorsey has “Skin Folk Not Kin Folk” merchandise on her personal website, to drive home a point that like far too many, she is clearly not alone on.
Lurking in the Ballot Box
In radio talk-show host Larry Elder’s recent bid for Governor of California against embattled incumbent Gavin Newsome, Elder suffered both backlash and attacks- not for Elder’s platforms and/or policies, but because of his race. At one point in full view of the camera, Elder had objects thrown at him and nearly assaulted-with zero outrage from black celebrities, politicians, activists or community leaders.
While AG Cameron, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, Larry Elder, and other black politicians are shunned in part by those in positions of influence and power due to party affiliations, race has continued to play a larger, more central part even in these instances.
No matter what statistics you study, facts you unearth, or research you do, you will not discover a nationality or ethnicity that works to destroy itself other than the black community. Regardless of the situation or circumstance, what is largely ignored by the black community in lieu of any other focus, and despite the strides made, is that this “self-inflicted” wound in Black America is far from being healed- let alone treated. As such, the annual FBI reports of the approximately 6,000 deaths every year in these neighborhoods is evidence of that.
The black community’s almost-innate ability to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to its surroundings has not only served to its own detriment, but to our nation at large.
Wake up, Black America.
All those years ago, Booker T. Washington could no doubt see the writing on the wall. It is a waste of time stating in either words, t-shirts or in print that “Black Lives Matter” if they don’t seem to matter to us.
Don’t get it twisted- these problems are more than simply “Skin Deep.”
So, what exactly is the solution?
America’s youth are inundated and bombarded with baseless rhetoric and pseudo-social-justice talking points that merely fuel narratives- instead of facilitating conversations. As such, our kids need the right focus. At Seeking
Educational Excellence, that is not just our goal- that’s who we are. With programs, platforms and plans to invigorate, aggregate and inspire, we will positively affect tomorrow’s leaders today.
Seeking Educational Excellence. Inspiration; not Indoctrination.
This article was part two of the “Skin Deep” series. Click here to read part one.