Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Color Blind

See this is what I'm talking about.

Clear the aisles for another clearance sale, folks. I'm not sure yet who's to blame, but we got a problem.

So I'm in the suburbs the other day, down at the Walmart. I'm in the negro hair care aisle, perusing the bright ethnic packaging in search of a pre-emptive strike against the summer frizzies, when I notice I have guests.

It's White Mom and Hot Mess Mixed Daughter. Mom's telling HMMD that she needs something for her hair. Shampoo I guess. HMMD is beside me, looking aimlessly at the vast rainbow of Just For Me products.

White Mom: "That's the one you got last time, honey."

HMMD: ::whining something I can't quite make out::

I'm the type that in public, instead of staring, unless you speak to me I pretend you're not there, because that's the golden rule. But I couldn't resist.

Oh.My.Lawd. The child's HEAD! I gasp inside. Ok, like, you know back in the day when you cut your baby doll's hair and left it with what stylists today call "layers"? Well, HMMD is beyond that. She has a untamed upsweep...a hurricane of a ponytail that appears to have been dropped like Rikers mess hall slop onto a prison tray, ie...the side/top of her head. Straightish stray hairs stretch from said pony, splayed like whore's legs, all across her head. I know there's a rubber band or thin scrunchy buried in there somewhere.

She was a few hours out of the pool, I'm certain of it...just like her wash-and-go white mommy at her age... who would go from diving board to driving home, without a care in the hair care world.
Oh I peeped White Mom's steez too...mid-late 30s, antsy, homely, battling the bulge, auburn haired, smart aleck-know it all, who now, 8 years later wishes she had listened when her parents warned her hot azz about spreading her legs for that colored boy Leon. But White Mom's healing and dating again, and enjoys dropping off her daughter as her Nana's.

Because had the girl's father been around... had he not threatened to kill White Mom if she ever brought the girl around his mother, then poor HMMD would not have been in public looking this way. Black Paternal Big Momma woulda slapped some plaits on the brat and whupped her HMM azz for cutting 'Rachel from Friends' bangs. And mind you, we're not talking Marriah Carey texture here...shorty has India Arie hair.

The entire time I'm standing there I consciously check my body language...unfold my arms from my chest, and replace my 'shut the fcuk up $7 for some gel' scowl with a sunny disposition... a smile even. Couldnt get more non-threatening than me. And yet, White Mom does not acknowledge me.

So White Mom leaves HMMD in the aisle to select her grease or shampoo or whatever. I see her looking bewildered, as if she has never in her life seen a little black girl on a bottle...and God forbid that she could in any way identify with little bottle black girl . So I make my move.

Sweet Sistagirl Wise: "You looking for shampoo, sweetie?"

I felt so proud of myself for conveying such a genuine attempt and intent to rescue and serve. I was really touched by this moment, one I knew she wouldnt soon forget...two generations of black women from different walks of life, bound by a common goal... shopping for grease in the discount retail evil empire. I leaned in, hoping to ease her distress, lending a knowing smile, and a helping hand. Maybe even an eager ear if necessary.

And with that, the lil heffa ran off.

I mean, like Flo Jo, arms pumping, feet in a flurry...out of ethnic hair care aisle.

And with that, I grabbed my Motions leave-in and bounced.

Now before you jump down my throat with personal stories of strong white mothers of strong black daughters, I know plenty of them myself.

Before you say maybe she was rightfully taught not to talk to strangers, hear me when I say she ran like she saw Beloved standing in that aisle.

But if you want to know why Darnell and Becky pushing a stroller into The Children's Place sometimes gives me pause...Scared Shitless Hot Mess Mixed Daughter in Walmart is why.

36 comments:

The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...

welll

suburbs+walmart= your experience.

You could substitue *Costco* for *walmart* and have a similare experience, if not slighlty more beligerent.

Sustitute *Target* and slightly more confused, yet less scared....

I think perhaps equally as intriguing would be why.............you were in the burbs.....

Subdivisions: be cool or be cast out,
the good reverend.

EqualOpportunityCrush said...

i don't know about that whole 'burbs theory above! lol.. but um.. yeah the little Mixed HAM was afraid of somebody who could've been her auntie.. um.. why was I LMAO throughout this whole post.. I'm mad you even tried to have a Kodak moment with the bitch.. lol. um, you should have observed the young HAM, picked up your ish and kept it movin'...

jameil1922 said...

HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! but no seriously, HAHAHAHAHAHAA!! wow.. whoo. that was good. that was great! i always look at people like they're crazy, too when their children have those terrible styles. your experience is why i don't offer my help. well... that and that i myself try quite terribly hard not to talk to strangers. stranger danger! lololol

CNEL said...

"I'm the type that in public, instead of staring, unless you speak to me I pretend you're not there, because that's the golden rule. But I couldn't resist."

I hear dat.

All the mixed peep I know have that "good hair". It's not hard to maintain. Maybe all me amicos and amicas are just lucky.

Hassan said...

now if only one could have used her cameraphone to compliment this story...

I would have laughed harder

T. Cas said...

see this is why I keep to myself in public. your attempt at a good deed backfired. I can just see the surveillance video on the news... An attempted kidnapping thwarted at a local store. News at 11

Epsilonicus said...

I dont know what it is!!! I have come acroos too many mixed girls who dont know how to care for their own damn hair!! Its sad when me, a Black male with lock, has to give hair care advice.

Stacie von Kutieboots said...

(snickering) Oh gosh, you can always tell when Momma is white. HMMH...just that acronym is the best! I'm mad she ran off though; she thinks the 'just ot the water' look is hitting or what? I would've talked to Becky O'Malley- Jenkins (mom) and thrown some Creme of Nature in her basket, "Play wit it"

i like liquor and tv said...

rofl@"two generations of black women from different walks of life, bound by a common goal... shopping for grease in the discount retail evil empire"

But THAT's why I don't talk to kids in public. I hate when a kid will look up at me and go "HEY!" and waves. I HATE that. I usually just ignore them.

I do help old ladies get stuff off the top shelf though.

Charles said...

Yeah...not too fond of the kids if I don't know them. But they always want to talk to me about something though. And no matter how much I despise Walmart and what it stands for, I always find myself up in there. I guess interracial couples with children have a hard time...especially if the mom's white. She has a different knowledge of how to take care of her kind of hair texture, and ours is so foreign. I wouldn't know what to do either

Knockout Zed said...

I'll be the uncouth, un-PC muthafucka to say it: "If she can't use your comb..."

Now you gotta deal with another generation of some ol' Derek Jeter, Mariah Carey, Lisa Bonet assed "I don't know who I am" type shit.

KZ

Duck said...

One... not an attempted kidnapping. LMAO!

Two... "Play wit' it," Stace, for real? I hate you. Lol.

Pittsburgh was the HOME of HMMD, coming to school with their hair looking everything but becoming.

There needs to be a seminar for the mothers of these poor children. In fact, registration should be required, by law, upon conception.

fallen angel said...

LMBAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "hot mess mixed daughter" LMBAOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
damn generation Y people who think that "anybody can wash their hair and go." nah baby boo, wash and go is not for us. we need wash and blow...dry that is! ;)
~fallen angel

So...Wise...Sista said...

Rev...trust, if there were fresh veggies and fruit...and meat for that matter, in the hood, I would have had no biz in the burbs.


EqOpp...my point exactly. she was SCARED, and I could have very well have been her aunt, or half sister or something. I really empathize with that experience...I know how hard it is dealing with hair issues as a kid...then add to the mix a mom who DOESNT know, and who leaves you on your own to handle that. I thought this was a personally wrapped give form the good people at Kodak. But it felt more like a gift certificate from Jim Crow. lol


Jameil...As appalled as I was at how the mother had the girl out looking, I was more sad that she probably obviously didn't have any black women to show her which product to use. Shit, hair is one of those things that shoulda made her say eff it, I gotta ask this nice sista bout this conditioner. :)


ItaliaNelly...Lemme also clarify and say that I ALWAYS acknowledge people when I make eye contact. I ant STAND when people stare at me and don't say shit!

With that said...my good friend is mixed and she has really thick hair. I always say she could go without perming but she insists on it. But she's right, without a lil Fabulaxer she do be having some fuzzy edges. That's the hair HMMD had.


Hassan...trust! I had the phone in my hand trying to plot on how I could get the money shot...but then I was also trying to look approachable. If she hadnt run away I woulda gotten right in her face and snapped some close ups. lol


TCas...It always sucks when someone shits on your good intentions, but not as much as walking away thinking this little BLACK girl is scared of BLACK women.


Stace...A MESS! And I mean YOU! "Play wit it?" I'm sooo mad at you.


Now see Liq, old ladies arent nearly a much fun. What I like to do with kids who stare is stare back with the ice grill, and shake my fist at them like I'm about to whup their azz. The challenge is of course doing this behind the parents' back. Most kids will just stare wide eyed, or look away real quick, breathing all hard. I've only had 1 or 2 actually report me to their parents, who of course think they're lying when they see how pleasant I appear.


Chuck says..." I wouldn't know what to do either"

But would you walk around not knowing, or would you find Nubian Salon, or at the very least ask Shalonda on your job for guidance?


KZ...true dat. It wouldn't be such a concern if there werent so many of them, but this world is getting more and more mixed (up) every day.


Duck...You wanna write the business plan or should I? There's money to be made there!


Fallen...but is that her fault or the mama's???

chris said...

ok. you got down on this one. Her parents warned her about "leon"...lol.

Miss Ahmad said...

Ooh my goodness...that reminds me of a former co workers child. The co worker was bi racial with straight hair, she had a baby with a black man and didn't know what to do with it...i mean really had no damn clue!

another one our co workers saw them out one afternoon and told the mamma that you can't send black girls to school looking like that!

She told the mamma to drop the girl off at her house on Sundays and she would comb her hair! The child looked like a run away slave for my friend got a little grease and water to her head!

DurtyMo715 said...

Ok I am laffin like shit! Woo I gotta get my lil self togetha before I start commenting..woo that was funny!

SunshineMama said...

Awww God! Now THAT was funny!
Ran off? For real???? Classic...puh-lease make sure you put this one under "best of wise".
...I gotta share this one with my friend. That was a good one!

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jameil1922 said...

lmao @ you shakin the fist! i do the eye when they're cuttin up and they get scared and look at their parents like help but of course they don't thinkn i did it either. hilarious!!!

Royce's Daughter said...

HILARIOUS!!! What a good way to start my morning...

That little black girl (and that is what she is) is in for a rough childhood. Without the presence of her black relatives she will never be able to fully understand who she is...hair is just a small part of the trouble she is in for.

Dayum shame!!!

Blah Blah Blah said...

Hmmm, how do I say this....

Is it really the business of anyone how she does/not her hair?

Yea, you guessed it..I'm bi-racial, the chick who had "good hair" and who probably by most black people standards (well, at least the people on this here blog)...had hair all over the damn place.

Yet, my cousins and friends...well, they did too. So I don't think it's about the color of the mama...more about the knowledge and energy to "do" hair.

Maybe my black father (who brought me up) should have known about all the different "product" out there to add to my hair when I was a little girl having fun and running wild. Alas, he didn't...but I am sure had he cared that there was a vast majority of his brothern and sistern who were mortified at having to see a child with wild hair...I am sure he would have rushed me to the closest beauty supply store and bought every product on the shelves to appease the masses...

Then again...I am pretty sure that me being natural, a child without a care...and cute as fuck..wouldn't have given the opinions of a few, a care in the world. After all...me and my wild hair actually did some child modeling...

Now that I think about it...maybe I should have been more self conscious and saved up my allowance to buy...what was it Wise? Motion's Leave-in? Yea...to bad y'all weren't around to tell me what you thought I should do with my hair... I would have of course...thanked you from the bottom of my heart and been ever so greatful for your unsolicited advice.
~~~~~~~~
Good post though...but then again...I like all of your post, your very talented...but then you know this! :-)

Blah Blah Blah said...

My previous point is that maybe...we shouldn't assume that everyone should think as we do and maybe we shouldn't assume that our "good natured" attempts at imparting advice is always warranted.

Just wanted to make both points before someone got all tight and wanted to bust loose on my ass...

Mr.Slish said...

So Wise..you sure you didn't give thet little girl the pedophile come hither look..lol.

I wonder if she told her mother " MOMMY!!! This black lady just said she wanted to pour shampoo aaaall ooover me. She was scary mommy.So I ran. You did say never talk to black people who aren't related to me...lmaof

Miz JJ said...

lmao@'Oh I peeped White Mom's steez too...mid-late 30s, antsy, homely, battling the bulge, auburn haired, smart aleck-know it all, who now, 8 years later wishes she had listened when her parents warned her hot azz about spreading her legs for that colored boy Leon.' Woo. I am still laughing.

You were better than me because I would have bounced as soon as I saw the two of them head down the aisle. After all these years she doesn't know how to do her daughter's hair? Go to a black hair salon. They will tell you what to buy and how to do you child's hair. And having a child with hair all over the place like that is bad for the child's hair. It will break off and if they don't learn how to care for their hair they'll just resent part of themselves.

aquababie said...

the image of that child running off is killing me.

4EverJennayNay said...

HAHAHAHAHA!

I swear! My baby (step) sister is mixed. Her (white) mom would drop her off at the house, after a weekend in the pool no less, and you could tell she tried hard to help the frizzy mess on the child's head. Of course mommie would fix it no prob, but its still funny. We just have different hair. My sister has a mix of mess tho. The front 1/3 is what you would expect mixed hair to be like. The middle 1/3 is str8 NEGRO hair. The bottom 1/3 is white people hair. I dunno how that happened. About 4 yrs ago she stopped relaxing her hair. It stays in braids and twists. She says she envies my afro because only the middle 1/3 will cooperate.

Soulfull said...

LAWD... THAT WAS HILARIOUS! You really got creative on my with the "he side/top of her head. Straightish stray hairs stretch from said pony, splayed like whore's legs, all across her head" ... LMAO!

LaurenAshleigh said...

LOL LMAO "splayed like a whore's legs..." You have won a new fan in me.

So...Wise...Sista said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
So...Wise...Sista said...

Yo...blogger been on the rag...


Chris...What can I say, I have a very vivid racial imagination.


Miss Ahmad...That's what I'm talking about. And I hope that there are lot of sistas out there offering to lend a hand rather than talking shit about the hot mess mamas!


DM...You laughing at me or with me? lol


Hokai...Ran off. I felt like a damn beast! Poor baby, I hope he at least remembered to go back and get her Just For Me. :)


Exactly, J...I hope the poor kids dont get a complex about telling mommy when someone messes with them. Damn, I'd feel horrible. lol


Hey RD...Obviously i can only speculate and assume what the child's home life is like...but if it's anything like I imagined, hances are she'll be straight thru abotu high school. Most of her black friends are probably just as, um, diverse as her. But it when she gets to college and meets some keep it real black girls that she'll catch hell! That's the story of most of my mixed girlfriends today.

Blah says..."Is it really the business of anyone how she does/not her hair?"

Nope. But when I stepped to the chick I instinctively thought that hair was just one of the (most visible and obvious) issues she got. Is THAT my biz? Nope.

I'm really glad you provided the perspective that you did...ain't gonna be no busting loose by me. I dont want all the complexity of the deeper issues to be lost on my little monologue. BUT damn, Blah, why she run like the wind?? lol

PS ...the feeling is very mutual. Talent runs all thru Harlem. lol


Slish...I reserve that "pedophile come hither look" for all the hot boys under 21 who think I'm in their peer group...preferably the ones who bounce a ball for a living.


Miz JJ...At least the mama had the girl in Walmart at all! For all we know she coulda been on her way to Miss Sharonda's house to get her shit pressed...but it didn't seem like it. lol


Aqua...Gone like the Muhfuckin wind!


4ever...Wow, your sis has a whole United Nations contingency up in her head. Braids sound like a good look for her.


Soulfull..."splayed like whore's legs" is my fav line too!


LA...thank you!!! ::blushing::

Free said...

Okay. I found you via Soulfull & you have got me just ROLLING lmao over here! I feel you on ev-er-ree WORD! All my nieces/nephews (except 2) are bi-racial & some of their mommas know & some had to be taught. (Some of them still ain't learned!) But, sis, I HATE to see the kids of the ones who don't know, don't care & don't get it....**shaking my head**

Next time I see Darnell & Becky (probably at the next fam dinner), I just might have to read this post sotto voice ('cause that's the way to get folks to wanna listen!!!)

Peace

Supa said...

You are a stone fool!!!!

Scaring that hot mess mixed chile like that!

lol!!!!

Anonymous said...

yeh, i gotta give it up for the "splayed like whores legs." i mean, damn. of all the similes available to describe a child's hairdo.

i say at least do something with it. "matted dog" ain't cute.

-karamale

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