Embrace the Differences
I was recently speaking to a young lady about fifteen who was going out of state for a volleyball tournament. One of her issues is that she didn’t know what she was going to do with her hair. I of course said very matter of fact “what do you mean, just wrap it up.” Her response floored me. She did not want to wrap it because her teammates who are all white would make fun of her as they had in the past. She went on to express that she could not wear a scarf, that was just not an option and if she didn’t wear a scarf her hair would look a mess the next day and that there was no time to get it braided before she left. I of course could not quite comprehend this is 2018. I quickly told her the things we tell our daughters and nieces. “Embrace who you are. This is the hair God gave you and there is nothing wrong with it. How boring the world would be if we were all exactly the same.” I gave her the Black Pride speech and though I am empowered today I would not be the one in the hotel with this young lady during her trip.
This weighed on me for a few days because I did not want her to be ashamed of being different. So what you wrap your hair at night and that your ponytail is not as straight why does this matter? That same week I found myself reading Gabrielle Unions book We’re Gonna Need More Wine, I could not believe what I was reading. Roughly twenty-five years prior she talks about a very similar scenario playing out in her high school years at a sleep over. She was afraid to wrap her hair because she did not want to be made fun of so she attempted to just pull it back into a ponytail and “sleep pretty” as to not mess it up. Low and behold it didn’t work, the jig was up and so was her hair, all over the place. The girls teased her, called her Buckwheat and she of coursed joined in to laugh at herself in order to be part of the party and the fun.
Have we grown as a nation of people, absolutely, but when I hear the same fears, shame and hurts that transpired twenty plus years ago breaking the heart of a young lady today it breaks my heart. What are we teaching our children? If you are not like the majority you will be ostracized and ridiculed and you will deal with it if you want to be a part of our world. Yes I know it’s only high school but a lot of who we become starts at that age. We have to teach our young girls to love, support and stick up for one another no matter what the cultural background is. It truly should be about the person you are. In order to do that we must be doers and lead by example not only hearers who agree but never put any action with it.
Women have the power to give life, we are amazingly beautiful creations. We can lift up of we can tear down. While we can create, we also have the power to destroy. Let us choose to create the most powerful generation of women the world has ever seen. Let us love and embrace and undergird one another. In a day where it is much needed.