Month: July 2015

everyone hates black people: hair edition.

Content Warning: strong language, racism, anti blackness, realness

it’s repulsive how much saint lucians (and probably other west indians) hate blackness. i could spend all night counting the ways but for now i’m just gonna focus on their hatred of black hair.

it starts at home of course… good hair v. bad hair. no need to rehash what’s been done a ton of other places by black bloggers who can break it down twenty thousand times better than i can. colorism… white supremacy… we know what’s preferred.

but in schools down here… HOOOLLLLYY shit… it’s bad.

basically black boys are told that their hair bad, ugly and messy! if you have any type of hair showing as a black boy you are immediately painted as a thug.

“all rastas are thugs”

“cornrows are for thugs”

both of these are VERY common ideas here about black men’s hair.

meanwhile a white boy can have hair that’s a few inches long.

what else besides white supremacy makes three inches of white hair okay but three inches of black hair messy?!

black hair is MESSIER?

black hair is DIRTIER?

that’s what they’re saying essentially (and of course no one sees it)

it’s so colonial and backwards and when these men internalize this self hatred, they bring it with them into adulthood. and of course, they don’t just hate themselves, they hate black women too. Sometimes, being so emotionally dead inside, they project ALL their self hatred onto black women who are forced to suffer….this can happen through mockery…disgust w/ afro textured hair on women… and worse.

in this case black women are also both victims and perpetrators of these white supremacist hair standards unfortunately…

in school, black girls weren’t allowed to wear their hair “dropped” but they would let it slide for white girls. pretty much “neatness” has always been contingent upon how white hair looks.

in secondary school… neat hair = complicated ass styles OR relaxer.

relaxer DESTROYS natural hair. It destroys blackness at the root. yet it’s clearly preferred amongst students, teachers and everyone.

even if you have looser curls (like i do)… your hair is still considered a “bird’s nest” or “uncombed” if you do ANYTHING with it beyond brushing down every last strand.

women enforce this HARD with other women (hence perpetrators as well as victims). you experience a lot of verbal abuse from the women in your community if you dare to wear your hair as anything but “neat” (read: white) 

i’m still getting used to my hair being aggressively political… i had forgotten in which ways it was hard to be unapologetically black here. (but no going back of course. i’d rather have healthy AFRO textured hair than be damaged and fit in)

then in adulthood… it’s a nightmare too.

when i look up around a room at any given point most “professional” women have the EXACT. SAME. STYLE. Relaxed hair. so broken that the ends are mere wisps. rolled into a high bun (or the closest thing the wisps can get to a bun) with not a strand out of place.

who taught you that your hair was inherently messy?! White women wear their hair down all the time and get to be considered professional but when black women do it with the way their hair grows out of their head, it’s a different story…

of course luckily i’ve seen a few natural women down here and a few with dreads. but we all know that this isn’t the “preference” and especially amongst middle and upper classes it’s very much looked down upon either explicitly or subtly.

amongst blogging circles regarding natural hair on the web there’s very much the idea: you can have weave and not be self hating!! you can have relaxer and not be self hating!!

but i have yet to see the collective consciousness that proves this is true in the caribbean. in fact, it’s just a plain fallacy and anyone who claims that about the caribbean is expressing willful ignorance. hair is still very much political territory.

it makes a statement against white supremacy to wear natural hair here, ESPECIALLY if you wear it “dropped”. relaxing your hair and wearing weave down here IS an expression of self hatred. and until i see that there’s been change, i’ll stand by this statement.

Black Feminism Reader: Education About Contraception & STD Prevention

One of the things I’ve learned through exploring black feminism is that taking care of my health and my body is a priority. It can’t just be ignored into wellness. I’m really alarmed by the massive amounts of misinformation out there about birth control or any form of contraception in the Caribbean.

When I hear certain things a part of me wants to scream, “Where did you learn this? A manicou?!”

For example…
•    Birth control makes you fat
•    A vasectomy inhibits a man’s ability to orgasm properly (do you even know what’s down there?)
•    other ridiculous things, too numerous to mention…

A part of me understands that it’s just ignorance and the education system completely fails its students when it comes to sexual education.

We rely on “abstinence only” or “no sex until marriage” education when…

•    Saint Lucia’s marriage rate is THE THIRD LOWEST in the world [x]
•    One of the highest teenage pregnancy rates (43.9 out of a 1000 live births according to U.N. reports.

So obviously, not only is abstinence only education not working but we have deluded ourselves into actually thinking people wait until marriage to have sex. I mean… Even if you do believe that people should wait for sex until marriage the fact of the matter is they don’t. We need to be teaching based on reality not just wishful thinking.

Not to mention, it’s laughable when you think about it since 99% of the people who teach abstinence had plenty of sex and plenty of children out of wedlock. Maybe it’s not that laughable, but I’m laughing at it anyways…

So here are the ways that you can prevent yourself from getting an STD or having babies before your time. I’ll give you a few bullets for each one, but really you should check these out yourself and KNOW THE FACTS before you spread uninformed nonsense.

(i.e. unless your priest/pastor/mother/auntie/obeah man is a physician, i don’t want to hear it)

  • IUD – Intrauterine Device [x]
    • t-shaped tube  inserted by a physician into your uterus. there are two kinds copper (lasts ten years) and plastic (lasts five years)
    • You can get them removed at any time
    • Prevent pregnancy but not STDs
  • Diaphragm (used with spermicide) [x]
    • shallow dome shaped cup that covers the cervix
    •  need to get fitted by a physician and you can use it for up to two years
    •  prevents pregnancy but not STDs
  • Hormonal Birth Control (the pill) [x]
    • Take every day, ensures that you don’t ovulate
    • prevents pregnancy and not STDS
    • myth busting: the pill does not inherently make you fat… some people experience weight gain with some kinds of birth control but not all people with not all pills. Different medications have different effects.
  • Depo-Provera (The Shot) [x]
    • injection of hormones (natural hormones that are already found in your body in case you’re panicking) that prevents pregnancy for around three months
    •  given to you by a physician
    • prevents pregnancy but doesn’t protect from STDs
  •  Nuvaring[x]
    • insertable hormonal ring that prevents pregnancy but not STDs
    • you put it in for 3-4 weeks and then remove it to have a menstrual period. Painless as putting in a tampon
  •  Female Condoms [x]
    • polyurethane condom that you insert into the vagina to prevent pregnancy/some STDs
    • inserted prior to sex
    • sort of difficult to come by, but you can use them up to six hours before intercourse (#BePrepared)
  •  Dental Dams [x]
    • use during oral sex and prevents STDs from spreading
    • doesn’t protect from pregnancy (obviously…
  • Condoms [x]
    • I think you know the deal with these. With proper use they are 99% effective so don’t listen to people who say they “don’t always work” as an excuse!
    • Easiest to come by and cheapest. If you have a latex allergy they are available in other kinds of materials.
    • Prevents some STDs and pregnancy. Don’t prevent herpes/pubic lice
    • there are many different sizes of condoms so “it doesn’t fit” doesn’t mean no condom, it means try a different sized one.
  •  Vasectomy [x]
    • somewhat reversible surgical procedure that prevents sperm from leaving the penis
    • less popular form of male birth control, but does not prevent STDs
    • myth busting: yes you can have a vasectomy and still release semen because semen and sperm are not produced in the same place.
  • Historectomy [x]
    • removal of the uterus (or partial removal of the female reproductive organs
    • prevents pregnancy but does not prevent STDs

If you want to know more, follow the links that I so helpfully included for you. While most of these are for preventing pregnancy… STD prevention can be attained by getting regularly tested and having your partner get regularly tested as well. (#HospitalDate)

THIS is the information that should be COMMON knowledge in schools. Not fear mongering. Not lies and misinformation. Abstinence only education prevents people from making INFORMED choices and is typically inherently misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic.

I guess the other thing to tackle in terms of sexual education would be the obsession with the biologically false concept of virginity… but I’ll leave that for another day.