Black Hair: Playing the white card? Gimme a break. It’s not that deep.

14 07 2009

The point is not to seperate the Black North-American community in two: Naturals VS Relaxed. And as a natural sister, my point is NOT to consider natural black hair as the only correct way to wear your hair. But there is a couple of arguments from the relaxed side (thought it is not really a side) that I just can’t stand.

b6We are in America.Right. And…?? I mean, seriously. Especially american women. You have been in that country for so long, you have helped builting it. You guys have been there for centuries. Stop acting like you were newly arrived people who have to adapt to ‘mainstream’ society. You ARE part of ‘mainstream society’. I mean, isn’t it what America is all about? Many cultures living together. I don’t know if it because it is always more difficult to see yourself from the inside. As a not-american women, I see America as a country that was moulded both by Europeans and African people. By having your hair relaxed or having a wig on and saying that you do it because ‘we’re in America’ is just ridiculous. The civil war didn’t happen for nothing. It think the African culture is as important in the history of America as the European culture. Why put one culture above the other as if it was something black women have to reach?

It’s about choice (wigs). I completely understand that arguement. I mean who doesn’t like to change style once in a while? But it is a wig. Why do so many wig girls have the same haircut 24/7? I hate the hypocrisy. Why saying it’s about choice when you have only one style? I mean wigs are wigs. It’s just hypocrite to say it’s about choice when you refuse to go out the house without a wig on your head.

It’s more professional/appropriate. I’ll do this short. Why should something natural be inapropriate? All you have to do is to learn how to style your natural hair. And it goes for all types of hair. Just like you don’t wear jeans on a wedding, you don’t just come to, I don’t know, a bussiness meeting with the same hair style that you would wear to go fishing with your dad on sunday afternoon.

It’s more manageable. Myth. Natural black hair is not more difficult to manage or style. You just have to know how to style it and take care of it. There are plenty (especially in America) of good products you can use, tons of ways you can style your hair that is trendy and not too over the top, and oh so many natural hair styles that require little day-to-day care while staying healthy and good-looking.

I find it ironic how there are so much less good products and salons for Black hair in Canada (due to a smaller Black community) but still, it seems like there are more natural people out here than in our US neighbours. I know society isn’t the same, demographics as well, and culture. I know African Americans and Black Canadians do not share the same history. But we’re all North Americans and thus, in a sense, very similar.

BAM_afro5

Let me end this post like this. For you sisters around the world who are not natural, please be true to yourself. If your hair is the way it is because of self-esteem issues (not to say that it is always the case), please just do something about it, work on loving yourself for who you are. And that doesn’t mean you have to go natural. That just means: be proud of who you are. Not the hair you wear. Instead, use your hair (and everything else about you, from your skin to your clothes) to tell the world that you love yourself.





Mom, dad… I’m left-handed

11 01 2009

Original text here.

Dear Mom, 

This letter will doubtless find you in a good mood, at least I hope for it. It is a painful secret which I carried for years. I was not able, so far, to share it. And to say it face-to-face is for me too difficult. That is why this small letter will bring you the truth, my truth, the truth about me.

Here is: I am left-handed. I know that it is not easy to admit, but it is so. You are not responsible for that. It is the way it is. You certainly noticed that I often spoke about left-handed persons. Of course, I laughed at them, showing you how much I was proud to be right-handed. I event voted for somebody who defended the right-handed people against the left-handed persons in the society, somebody who opposed to the union of two left-handed persons; however, this person was not a right-extremist. It took me a long time to accept myself as left-handed, although I was that way since I was young. I had to bury it in me, to hide it to myself and to others. I built a fortress around me, so that the others would think I am a good right-hander. But I liked my left-hand better and could go anything about it.

I was right-handed with the right-handers, continuing to laugh at left-handed persons… We often saw our left-handed neighbour receiving other left-handed persons. One day, you said that you preferred that to a drunkard. Feel reassured, I am not a drunkard. Just a left-handed person. It took me time before I talk to you about it because being right-handed is considered as the standard in our society. Nevertheless, how would it without left-handed persons? Léonard de Vinci was left-handed, and nevertheless, his hand did not prevent him from being a genius. I see you asking you ” but why is my son left-handed? “.

It’s not your fault. Since I know how to use my hands, I feel more comfortable with my left hand. My right hand”s purpose is only to make me look a certain way. My left hand’s purpose is to unable me to be myself. I decided to apply Rochefoucauld’s quote: ” we would more win to be allowed to see ourselves such as we are, rather than to try to look what we are not “. (You see, the left-handed persons are cultivated all the same).

If you still have questions on “this”, I could answer you, or you can talk to associations that help left-handed persons’ families to accept the left-hander as he is.

Kisses,

 Mattew





Gay high school and marginalised minorities

19 12 2008

180px-harvey_milk_high_school_entrance_by_david_shankboneA newly expanded gay-themed high school began the school year Monday with about 100 students attending classes, about 200 supporters rallying outside and a small band of protesters demonstrating against it. Since 1985, Harvey Milk High School has served students who are gay or believed to be gay, but its recent… (read more)

In Toronto they have one, too. As well as a school for Black students. Here in Montreal, we have a school for Italian Kids and for Jewish kids. I’m not sure this is such a good idea, though. I understand that the point of schools like those is to create an environment safe for its student (in the case of homosexuality), or to create a sense of belonging and pride, or to prevent student to drop out of school, or to preserve a cultural heritage that tends to get lost in the larger Canadian society. But could you imagine if everyone starts to go to schools like this? There would be not unity, no understanding of the “others”. Quebeckers have experienced a lot situations like this I guess I could say. Not going into the details, but to be a minority in your own country contributed to the climate of “Us” and “Them”. At a large scale level, it is exactly why I am against the separation of Quebec. I think it is ridiculous. Why not focusing on zero tolerance for discrimination, fighting ignorance, and promoting curiosity of different cultures instead ?

In the last few years, a new program was installed in Quebec (at least in the French system, I’m not sure about the english system) called “Éthique et Culture Religieuse” which means Ethics and religious culture. It’s basically a program that focuses on discovering and learning more about different religions. In high school, a little bit of philosophy is added to it. I took this course for the two last years of high school and I absolutely liked it. Partly because of the teachers, they were so funny and so good. Anyway, my point is : this should be the solution. To stop sticking to the traditional way of education, you know ? Add new things as society evolves, courses about cultural diversity, for example.

In the past, people fought so that Blacks and Whites could go to school together. Why separating them again ? To me, it is the same thing as saying “Oh, well, on second thought, that was a bad idea. Let’s segregate again.” It’s a shame.

460595XSo far, I’ve always went to private schools. My parents wanted the best for me so I went in one of the best high school in Montreal. It’s just now that I’m in CEGEP that I stopped wearing a uniform to go to school (can you believe this ? 11 years of light-colored shirts and dark skirts!). I decided to go in the public system for college. I had enough of snobish rich people and I am happier now, I think. What I like the most about public schools is the diversity. There is always something happening, so much different clubs (Black Unions, Muslim Associations, Gay-Straight alliances and so on)… This is how school should be. In my snob, rich, perfectionist high school, most people were white, nothing happened, everybody was dressed the same way to create this illusion of equality. It was just boring.  

I don’t think I would enjoy going in a gay high school. I like diversity too much. We should celebrate this diversity instead of marginalising it. Don’t you think ?





Am I out of the closet ?

14 12 2008

teenager_by_adikijaOf course not. I mean… are you serious ?! There is no escape for me, unfortunately. My family is pretty homophobic, especially my father. Gosh, sometimes he says things that are just so awful… 😦 I consider myself quite young (maybe too young) to break my family apart. They don’t want this, neither do I. I know someday it will happen. Just not now. Let’s just say I’m not ready to come out of the closet just now. It is so easy to say: just do it, this is who you are. Of course, I wish to everyone to be out of the closet and be accepted. It’s just not that simple. Not only would my sexual orientation break my family apart, to be totally honest, I am scared like hell of my father. There are so much things that happened in his life and in my life and in our life as a family and knowing that his daughter is lesbian would just be too much, I guess. I am just afraid of what he would do like I’m sleeping, if you know what I mean… Seriously, it’s not even funny. At time, he just so violent. But anyway. My father is pretty much the main reason why I keep a low profile about this. Better off this way.

There is nothing else much to say about this. Except that for the moment, my only alternative to this unfortunate situation is to move out in Ontario (probably Ottawa or Toronto) after my CEGEP studies. In other words: Cut any type of relationship with my family. They won’t know anything about who I would be living with nor how my life is like. I would just be gone.

Well… Nobody knows what the future holds.





Keith Olbermann talks about prop 8 in California

9 12 2008

I know this is old news. But I just heard about it. I’ll do this real short because I suppose that you all heard about it many times. When it comes to gay rights and trying to convince people to just leave us alone (minimally) and trying to make them understand that it is ok to be homosexual or asexual or transexual or transgender, it’s always a little difficult, you know. There is no chemistry, and both parties are absolutely sure that they are right. I’m a bad speaker and a bad debater because it is tough for me to clearly express myself. At times it is very frustrating because it’s not because I have a hard time verbally defending my values that I don’t have any (some people think that, isn’t it silly ?) But anyway. I think that Keith Olbermann really managed to say almost everything I wish I could have said to people when it comes to homosexuality. He’s very clear, he’s thoughful, he’s convincing, he has charisma, he’s got it all. Of course. I mean, the guy reads the news, of course he can do and has all that. But I mean, if you didn’t watch that short video about him talking about prop 8 in California about same-sex marriage, you should sit back and watch. That man has some really strong powers, lol.

One thing that I still can’t understand, though, is why do people care about homosexuality ? Why do homophobic people think that only one portion of the population can love, be loved, and be happy? I just don’t get it. Why do people waste so much time with hatred ? Ah… -_-‘





Transgenders in Oprah’s show

24 08 2008

Who whatched the Oprah show on
transgender families and gender identity ? 

Julia

Julia

Dear readers, meet Jake. I mean, Julia. A little girl who likes trucks, climbing on tree and pretend to be the dad of the family when she plays. Now, meet Jake. 16 years-old who once though she was lesbian but finally understood that she wanted to be a male role model, a husband and a father. Julia started her transformation to become Jake at a very young age when at 13, a friend of hers told her he was a transgender. That was exactly what she wanted to be! Now, Jake is happy, and I believe that this is what is really important. I mean, I have been really depressed as a teenager and now that I’m all good, I can easily say that depression is one of the worst thing ever. I wish that to nobody.

Jake

Jake

In that other episode, Oprah invited two adult transgenders. It was so sad. Not the fact that they are transgenders, but the fact that they lived all those years (20, 30, 40 years) being stuck in the wrong body. That should be awful. Of course, I can’t really understand everything about being a transgender or about feeling like one since I feel ok in my female body. But being trapt in yourself… wow, it’s scary. One of the transgenders (who became a women) had a little girl who said that she loved her parents, but did not want to be different. The fact that her father became a women was bothering her because of people’s looks. I thought that was sad. Sad and unfair.

Personnally, having a transgender in my family wouldn’t bother me. That girl was just a child and dealing with people’s looks could be a lot more difficult for her than for me. While watching The Oprah Show, I was just wondering how I would react to this. I mean having a transgender in my family. Like I said, the transition does not bother me. I want people to be happy. 🙂 But… It still partly a sad thing because of the “death“ of the person. If ever my brother become a transgender, that would be totally okay but I have to admit that I would feel like my brother is dead. Of course, I would now have a sister, and it the same person, just in a different package, but still. My brother is now 22 and we share so much memories together. The boy and men in my souvenirs would not be there anymore. Physically. It’s a bit like a lost. A deep lost.

But in a sense, it’s also a gain. I think it’s horrible to live trapted in your own body… I mean, can you imagine it ? Trapted in your own body ! :s How scary.





Creole proverb

15 08 2008

Some days are just weird days. I’m trying to stay optimist, though. That may sounds corny, but I’m trying no to let bad thoughts overwhelming me. Negative things are such a waste of time (I believe I sound like a priest or something write this… ;))  But anyway. People often think I’m naive because of my always optimistic personality. It’s almost like an insult to them. Let me give you a little tip of mine when you have bad days, it’s creole proverb (with an arab origine, I think…):

Sé pa tout chyen ki japé pou ou viré dèyè gadé’l.

Wich means: It is not every dog that barks at you that you must pay attention to. Or, if you know a little bit of french (I believe it sounds better in french than in English): Le chien aboie, la caravane passe. Wich means: The dog’s barking, the caravan is passing. Let people say what they want, do what they want, it must not affect you.

* Graciousness of my mom who used to tell me that a lot as a kid and a teen going through rough periods… 🙂  Don’t we love our moms ? 😀