Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LIttle Stuff

A friend of mine sent me a link the other day.

It led to the Kohl's website, and was for a Halloween wig called the "Ghetto Fab Wig." I shook my head ruefully at yet another example of the mistakes big corporations make. Shortly after that, a former classmate posted a blog that called out President Obama and another politician for claiming that assimilation is the true American Dream.

Think about how those incidents work together.

We have a wig marketed as Ghetto Fab. It was a simple Afro wig, and the hair looked like something many natural sister rock on a daily basis. But, for its makers, it was Ghetto Fab.

Next to that, we have two politicians telling people that the way to advance in this country is to assimilate. Submerging yourself in the dominant culture is that path to the American Dream.

So, what exactly those assimilation mean?

Does assimilation require adopting all of the dominant values in America? Does that extend to our values about religion, the proper role of minorities and what constitutes beautiful or normal? Because it's quite obvious that if that's what assimilation means, many minorities will have to willingly sacrifice their cultural heritage and no small measure of self respect.

I'll admit that the word "assimilation" gives me the heebie jeebies. I can't help but get this picture of the Borg trying to make me a part of the hive mind. Assimilation, to me, means total and complete capitulation, and that doesn't interest me at least not when we're talking about human beings.

What are the benefits of assimilation? Many many black people have assimilated into American society. Haven't we adopted white values, white mannerisms and white culture at a staggering pace?

Yet, an Afro wig still gets called "Ghetto Fab" even though Afros and natural hair have nothing to do with the ghetto and everything to do with accepting yourself as God made you. If widespread assimilation among black folks can't even protect us from  "Ghetto Fab" wigs, I'd like some more information on why it's so beneficial.

It's the little things like this that undercut large arguments. Sweeping theories about the world are nice, but they are often exposed as lies when you get down to the most basic level and see how humans interact. Assimilation is held up as the Golden Path, but the truth is that certain folks will never be assimilated. Not because they refuse the process, but because they don't qualify for assimilation according to the majority.

You would think politicians would understand little stuff like that, you know?


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Raving Black Lunatic