After seeing so many post over the past week or so concerning Black women and “good hair” and beauty, I decide to post this from The Pawn Queen.
A chapter from The Pawn Queen
This thought pattern was the direct result of the first interracial children being born to the raped slave woman during slavery. During slavery the interracial children that the slave master or his wife allowed to live were considered to be better looking than the children of two slave parents. The slave master would sometimes even allow the child to have better clothing, food, and an education. These were things expressly denied to the other dark skinned “bad hair” kids of the slaves.
As the interracial slave child grew older, as any child would have, she would recognize the difference in treatment as did the other slave children. The child of two slave parents would then be ridiculed and called names by the interracial kids because they would here these names being used by the master toward the full African slaves and their children but they would hardly ever if ever be hurled toward them. So in their psyche they deduced that the way they looked was good and the way the other slave looked was ugly. And we all know how real children can be.
“This is the same attitude that they were taught by their mothers and their mothers were taught by their mothers and so on. So as you can see if the wrong reasoning was adopted during slavery and it was passed on to their children who then passed it on to their children, you can see how we end up where we are today.”
This became a major problem in the female slave child because women are constantly in need of affirmation of their beauty by those who they love or those who love them. It’s an archetypal thought that has developed throughout the ages as the most attractive women were the ones that the men of early tribes wanted as mates. Women have always been chosen as opposed to doing the choosing. So as this developed over time a female child would inherently have these same thoughts growing up. Then the father of said child would reinforce this thought by constantly telling her she is beautiful so as she gets older this is what she will come to expect from a man. The father did this so that she would have self worth and confidence in herself and her beauty. Without a father or father figure in her life a woman will search for a male that gives her confidence and assure her of her beauty.
The problem with the female slave child is based mostly on her interactions with the men of the plantation and the other children. As stated earlier the slave master used every tactic imaginable to break slaves and one of them was to make the female slave distrust the male slave and feel as if the male slave was more of a hindrance to her than a help. He, the slave master, made sure that she did not feel secure like she needed to feel with the male slave and he made sure that she believed that her appearance was ugly and unsightly although he still had sex with her. He was not in the business of building her up he was in the business of tearing her down so that he became her everything.
This mind state was passed down from mother to daughter over time and it became a part of their survival mechanism and the most basic instinct of all human beings is survival, so anything that seemed to position someone in a better position for survival would quickly be a trait adopted by the rest of the slaves. In this instance it would be the acceptance of the slave masters views of beauty and self worth. With her self-worth directly tied to the very man that held not only her life, but the quality of her life as well in balance, it would behoove her to think as he wanted her to think.
This meant complimenting the white women of the plantation on their beauty and elegance all while in front of the female slave child. The slave child would hear this and come to the realization that white women were all beautiful and elegant. As psychiatrists have learned since then and what everyone knows now is that children mimic action more than they do what they are told to do. What this is saying is that, if a child sees and hears you complimenting white women all the time then they will come to believe that what they see is true. You can say to them afterword, “I’m just saying that to make them feel good” but that would be a double edged sword because when you say it to them later on they will question why you said it. And as I grew up, and I know as the vast majority of us 30 something’s grew up, we all can attest to our parents not explaining anything to us. The key phrase after you ask a lot of questions was “because I said so or don’t worry about that.”
This is the same attitude that they were taught by their mothers and their mothers were taught by their mothers and so on. So as you can see if the wrong reasoning was adopted during slavery and it was passed on to their children who then passed it on to their children, you can see how we end up where we are today.
The beauty of the Black female was dictated by the slave master. The slave woman adopted this thought pattern because it was conducive to her survival thus it became part of her psyche and then she passed it down to her child.
As the female slave child grew older and was being conditioned by her mother, father, friends, slave masters and observation, the only logical conclusion would be the one that the female slave still carries until this day. The interracial slave was treated better than the regular slaves, the white woman with her long flowing hair was considered elegant and beautiful, the regular slave was called ugly and ridiculed by the slave master and the interracial slave children. So her only mechanism for survival would be to accept this condition as true and long to get out of it. If she did not except it then she would always be in conflict with the others around her and that would make for an unhappy life.
As she internalized her condition it became part of a psychological defect that would manifest itself later on as the Black woman of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The one that adopted the hair care products that could straighten their hair like the beautiful elegant white women so that they could be more acceptable. It would become the I Have Good Hair Syndrome that women manifest today.
Also during the post slavery era between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the lighter skinned Blacks tried to segregate themselves from the darker skinned Blacks by implementing what was called “the brown paper bag test”. This test was done to keep Blacks who were darker than a paper lunch bag out of certain groups and fraternities. The comb test and the blue vein test were commonly practiced during this period also.
So as soon as we were freed you can see the psychological effect of the slave masters conditioning being utilized by light skinned Blacks on dark skinned Blacks. So at this point you had two groups of people whom were the same people that ridiculed being dark and “ugly” during slavery now creating cast systems after slavery. The Black woman had to be light skinned and have “good hair” so that she can be perceived as beautiful but now it was coming for the Black man and woman also.
What does this do to the thinking of Black women? The darker skinned ones wanted to be lighter and lighter ones thought they were better than the darker ones. And it seemed to be corroborated by the coming of the Black man white woman myth that white men started during slavery that gave rise to Black men being lynched throughout the south.