Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Left out of beauty

Ah, the interlinked nature of blogging! So, I was reading Renee's post responding to my post about including white culture in multiculturalism. She wrote about not being able to find makeup specifically for brown-skinned people in her Canadian town. She is forced to trek more than 40 miles and cross an international border to purchase beauty supplies that fit her hair texture and skin color. Boy, do I understand. I spent four years of college looking less-then-cute, because Ames, Iowa, in the late 80s and early 90s had few beauty resources for students of color. I was wearing my hair relaxed at the time. Let me tell you, three months of new growth under straightened hair ain't attractive or healthy. But I fared better than the black women who went to local white salons looking for help. I heard some hair stories that would...well...curl your hair.

Discussions of racial equality usually focus on bigger things than this. In the scheme of things, not being able to find the right color lipstick is low on the list of racial grievances. I'd forgo matching foundation from now until the end of time if it meant children of color could be assured access to good educations or black men wouldn't be disproportionately targeted by police. But the reality is that the niggling, day-to-day, dull aches and exclusions of being a minority do have an effect on the psyche.


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