This is not a post about Black people versus White people. It is a post about respect.
So, if respect is something you expect to receive for yourself… please read the following open letter to Jaclyn Smith (@realjaclynsmith).
I will preface this letter by stating that I harbor zero ill-will towards you; that I feel you’ve done much to change how society sees a “pretty face” as you have proven yourself to be so much more.
With that said, I watched yesterday’s airing of Oprah’s Where Are They Now? and I was horrified as I watched your gross sense of entitlement play itself out when you touched the young Black woman’s hair sans asking her permission. Her reaction was in alignment with mine. However, she was working (please read as “she needed that job”) and chose to mildly laugh it off.
Interesting also how you chose to not touch anyone else’s hair.
I get it. Our hair is pretty fuckin’ amazing. This, however, does not give you or anyone else permission to pull an AT&T on us.
It really isn’t okay to just “reach out and touch” our hair because it’s what YOU want to do! The gesture is extremely disrespectful, which I am quite certain you are not.
This single gesture is also one that has stirred quite a bit of controversy and heated conversation throughout the years.
It continues to present itself in this matter.. because of people like you who make us feel as if we are anomalies… or deserving of being petted liked fuckin’ animals! (No offense to the animal kingdom…)
Our hair and styling have been just a few of the things that have deemed us as being less than human in the eyes of many.
It is in these moments when people like you must consciously choose to remember people like Sarah Baartman, the 19th Century African woman who was objectified in freak show attractions for looking “different”. Even after death, she was “put on display” in Paris’ Museum of Man because of her “differences” until 2002 when she was finally treated with respect and laid to rest.
Again, I know you meant no harm. I just feel you really need to better educate yourself in what is acceptable to another and to respect any boundaries placed by them.
The little boy in the picture below has a great idea. This image is how folks, who have grown are tired of being petted, respond by capitalizing on the ignorance of people like you.
Now, if Black women began charging people like you who, again, feel entitled to pet us… one of two things will happen.
- The disrespect will stop because you will finally see the ignorance of your ways, or
- Black women will get fuckin’ rich off of said ignorance!
I prefer option 1!
Lastly, I encourage you watch the documentary, You Can Touch My Hair, which touches on both sides of this issue. For your convenience, I have posted parts 1 & 2 below.
Thanks so much for “listening”.
To feel a deeper sense of Self
- Lapis Lazuli
- Blue Kyanite
Here’s an amazing documentary to offer additional illumination.