Black Community, Raise Your Hands

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In the Republican Party’s continued plunge into racism, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley tethered herself to white nationalism and bungee jumped into the valley. Speaking to erstwhile Fox News gabber Glenn Beck last Friday, Haley said, “We don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. There’s a small minority that’s going to be there, but people saw it [the Confederate flag] as service, and sacrifice, and heritage. But once he [Dylann Roof] did that there was no way to overcome it.” The current population of the state is slightly above five million people, 27 percent of whom are black—Ms. Haley.  That is nearly a third of the state,  most of whom would vehemently disagree with your assertion.

Appealing to the white voters of your state by trying to create honor from treason and racism is not becoming of the country or you—Ms. Haley. I commended the former Governor, then and now, for her concerted efforts and eventual success in removing the flag from atop the State Capital building; although she had previously advocated for a less prominent displaying of the flag as a compromise.  A misconception that white America uses to define racial diversity is that it means, don’t be black just be present.  

Nothing substantiates this attitude more than the recent treatment of former America’s Got Talent co-host, actor Gabrielle Union. Recently Ms. Union-Wade was relieved of her judging duties amidst rumors of her being “difficult” to work with. Anyone who has ever been involved in the entertainment field knows those words are a death knell to a career. In an article that appeared in Allure, Ms. Union was reportedly told, among other things, that her hair was “too black” for the show. These two stories may seem dissimilar, but Nikki Haley’s defense of the Confederate Flag uses the same contention that diversity is a decision not requiring the participation of the aggrieved party just that they are present.

How silly is it for a black woman to be told her hair is too black?  

Black women have dyed, fried and laid their hair to the side since Madam CJ. Walker introduced the use of pomade and the hot comb (Madam Walker was one of the first self-made female millionaires in America).  This trend not only continued for black women but for black men as well throughout the 1960s.  As a kid, I remember the Temptations and James Brown flinging their processed hair on stage like Elvis Presley. Mr. Brown caused a stir when he cried out for equity, loudly proclaiming into a microphone,  “say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud” as he fluffed his newly introduced afro hairstyle.  

Diversity is not about adapting to another culture’s lifestyle, it is about celebrating the difference. Miss  Nikki, as they would say in the south, ordering Thai food, saying you are woke or wishing the killer of the innocent victims at [Mother] Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina was not fronted by the vile history of the Confederacy is not being woke it is remaining ignorant in your slumber. As much as you may think that ‘service, sacrifice, and heritage’ is the legacy of the Confederacy, I assure you, it is not!

Vote in 2020 for Change.