Melissa Harris-Perry on Black Hair

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I somehow missed this segment on the Harris-Perry's eponymous show looking at the perils and politics of black hair. The intro section is above, but I encourage you to click through and watch the panel which features, among others, Joan Morgan and Nicole Ari-Parker. I really appreciated this point by Morgan:

The first layer is what do these so-called radical choices mean. Mine is not that radical, I'm really lazy when it comes to hair. Three hours before your producer called, I had just stepped out of the barber's chair. Summer? I just don't want to do anything. That is the reason for this. If you start with "Hey Nubian Queen, you've already missed the boat."

I think I love this because it reminds me of my mother, who to this day, still wears her hair like Morgan. But we've talked about that before.

What most interested me about this was Harris-Perry's willingness to really do an educational component on race. I feel like the spirit of this blog is the opposite, that the motto above should be "Catch up, white people." Watching the video though, I got to thinking about my own aversion to education, which whatever its merits, is surely rooted in some kind of resentment. 

When I went to work at Washington City Paper in 1996, there were no other black people in the newsroom. Jokes flew around in meetings which I had zero access to, and it became clear that if I were going to continue working there--much less in the field of writing, itself--I would have to get acculturated. I think, in varying degrees, all black people in the working world go through this. No one explains white people to us. There are no manuals. We either figure it out, or we get left behind.

There are merits to that kind of learning, but my aversion toward education is not always so pure. The fact is I resent having to explain, even as I know that without explanation we can't really move forward. It is great thing to see this discussion on a national cable network. More, it's just a really, really good segment. Watch it.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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