Friday, September 3, 2010


6 boys in Louisiana drowned because none of them could swim. The British press is asking why so many African Americans don't swim. Some experts site the segregated swimming pools of the 60's and earlier. I know better it's the expensive hair that most women in the community wear that makes it highly unlikely that anyone with either weaves or a process do spends anytime in water. Sweating is also out so many women forgo expercise for the preservation of their hair. So much is sacrificed for the processed hair. Is that crazy or what?
It was an awkward moment this summer when I pointed out that many woman in the African American community don't swim my friend accused me of being racist when I said this. I said go to The Ink well and look for yourself and I promise most of the people in the water getting their hair wet will be children and male. Sure a female will wade upto her neck but I promise unless she is wearing a "natural" do she will not be getting her hair wet. I am blessed with curls, hair called "good" yet I am critized and I am certain have lost jobs because I am not wearing the straight hair do. I have worn it before yet I prefer my natural curls more. Tracks make my head itch I'd get headaches plus its very expensive to sport fake hair. Not worth the look since I love to swim and sweat. When will our community wake up and let go of our sick fascination with smooth hair? I hate it. I have decided I can't stand it. I think it looks fake and it speaks volumes about non-acceptance. It speaks volumes about self rejection. It is time for the community to ease up and face the facts....something is off and people are dying needlessly because some refuse to teach themselves and their children how to swim.
It should be law that every baby swims by age 3.
My heart breaks...for the 6 children who drowned in Louisiana.
I blame the community wide obession for smooth hair, so sad.


Dwane T. said...

You are my hero. I know you know what a touchy topic this is, and you are brave to take it on. Some folks CAN'T understand the issue of hair with Black woman. I never even made the connection between the lack of working out and not sweating up the perm... but I can see can see the connection to obesity which I never thought of before. Sisters will pay $100 for a doo just for a job interview, then miss the interview because it's raining. So getting in a pool, or swimming at the beach is not going to happen. I can't swim, so I sent my boys for swimming lessons before the age of five. I've almost drowned several times, so that curse stops here.

I won't say I'm so quick to blame the woman/hair issue on the drowings. But unfortunately you make a compelling argument... I just don't like it (yeah, I guess you're right). I also don't believe that the extension, tracks, wigs, perms, etc. styles are not as much an issue of self-hatred as it used to be. A lot of it is just convenience/laziness (which one depends on whether you have a job and/or kids). Hair is an issue to the point that my grandmother use to tell my cousins and I that “a woman that don’t do her hair is triflin’!”. And of course, trifling women don’t make good wives. Natural hair styles just make sense, and look great. Being born in the early sixties, I grew up looking at afros of all kinds, and it’s my favorite style (your spirally ‘fro is great… very Room 222-ish).

I may not be as set against the styles, but I agree that the obsession with not messing up the hair just has too many negative implications. To connect it to so many Black kids drowning really is painful.

Charles said...

That was a few weeks ago and a hard story. I have a lot of family in the Shreveport area along the Red River into Arkansas. I lost a cousin many years ago in that river who saved his brother, but wasn't able to make it out himself. I never thought about the hair angle, but that is an unforgiving river period. Mix with the rural poverty (of all races) out there and it's no surprise it stakes it's claims every year. That was a big dose of neglect of not being taught about the river that made it 6 kids instead of 1 or 2. Everyone along it I grew up with was taught it was dangerous as a gun and swimming wasn't allowed. You can watch all day as logs get pulled under in whirlpools and come up 200 feet downstream.

glt said...

May I transpose your blackness to all of humanity? Vanity flows deep in our false sense of self. Serving one's self negates the universe.

Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daania Nova said...

You have a very good point. I also wondered why so many of us dont swim, especially in the south. I was born and raised in GA, and I can swim, but unfortunately I cant tread water, therefore I'm afraid to swim in water I cant stand in. My best friend is from California and she said it was a requirement for her to know how to swim in order to graduate from high school. I wish it was the same here in the south. Swimming is a life skill and I think we should all be required to know how to do it. True, it is very annoying to get ur freshly processed straightened or weaved hair wet. But you have to. Shoot, I took a dip in the pool at my apartment complex, weave and all. And I had a blast playing volley ball in the pool with all of my neighbors, white, Indian, and Moroccan. LOL! I was slightly jealous though that they each could get out of the pool, rinse their hair and keep it moving. I however to two hours to wash, dry, and flat iron my hair and weave back to how I like it. hahaha Gotta love our sick fascination with straightened, processed and weaved hair. ha

Missing you around FB Rae Dawn!

Love ya Much - xo,
Baby Girl!