Archive for November, 2009
Natural Hair Care
Well, I’m back. I have worn my hair in its’ natural state for years now. Why? For one I am a natural born cheapskate. Add to this the brouhaha dealing with relaxers, hot combs, curlers. styling wands…. You get my drift. Also, being a contrarian, I never understood why, as a black person, ‘straighter’ hair was more ‘better’ in regards to manageability. As for hair care products like shampoo, gels conditioners etc, well if there ever existed a money pit, these items were it! I now wear locs which I started three years ago.
I have always found my hair to be more manageable in its’ natural state,whether short or long. It was mostly wash and go. I’ve had braid extensions which served as a precursor for locs as it gave me an idea as to what I would look like if I had them. Of course given the history of racism in North America, hell internationally, nappy hair, yes I said nappy, has in most instances not been lauded as a preferable state for one’s hair. Chalk this down to slavery and colonialism which vestiges can bee seen today in many black folks lives, hair being but one of them. This is not to say that black hair was not enhanced throughout history before the onset of the double whammy of slavery and colonialism. The Ancient Egyptians and Nubians enhanced their hair by wearing wigs for example:
Henna, jewels, headdresses where employed regularly to achieve a fashionable look. Wigs were for hygienic purposes as well as for aesthetic ones.
As for the relaxed hair being more ‘manageable’, this is a load of bullshit if I ever heard it!. With natural hair, it’s wash and go. You wash it, comb/brush it out, apply some moisturizer and go, at least in my experience. When I had my hair relaxed, it cost me a fortune to maintain. As I was totally inept at maintaining my relaxed hair, I had to frequent the hair salon at least once a week. Between visits my hair, after the effects of the visits wore off, began to look like a regular mess. I was frustrated more often than not!
Being a tightwad, I attempted to maintain my relaxed hair! That was a comedy in and of itself. When attempting to style my hair for example with the wand(or whatever you call it), I burnt my head. Try sleeping with curlers! If it was humid or if it rained, there went your hair! In hindsight, my attempts at maintaining my relaxed hair was hilarious! The cost of hair care products were daunting. I have super fine hair which shrinks dramatically, quite comical actually! I must have tried every product under the sun to give my hair a thicker look, but to no avail. The cost alone in some instances was prohibitive.
Why locs? Well, a co-worker started them and I noticed how good they looked! I questioned them and, as my hair was already natural, decided to go for it. I have never looked back! Maintenance? the easiest I’ve ever encountered. I researched locs and their maintenance before embarking on this journey.
Through trial and error, I have gotten the maintenance part of locing to a T. I initiated my locs by going to a stylist. In hindsight, all I had to do was get someone I knew to do the two strand twist(braids can be used as well to start the process). I went maybe two times for ‘loc maintenance’. Through research, I was able to hone the procedure and do my hair myself. At first I used loc gel and palm rolling to smooth out my locs. Scouring the internet, put me on to latch hooking.
Latch hooking is for me, ideal. It takes about two hours to do if you are going at a leisurely pace, one if you are in a hurry. It is dependant on how many locs you have. Having extra fine hair, I didn’t have to many LOL! I would imagine those with thick hair would take considerably longer to do this. I bought two rug hooks for four bucks each and practiced on the back of my head(just in case I fucked up, which I did). But practice makes perfect! The pros; you can wash your hair as often as you like. You do not need gels, creams etc. I do this every month and a half to two months. Hence one to two hours is not time consuming.
As for products, I use either a shampoo bars, Chagrin Valley Soaps, or Dr. Bonner’s Castile Soaps, any Castile soap for that matter. I use jojoba oil, olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, castor oil, safflower oil, Shea oil,or soy oil, interchangeably of course. My motto, if you can’t eat it don’t’ put it on your hair or skin! There is an old saying,”love the skin you’re in”. Well, love the hair you’re in as well.
What The Word “Nigger” Has Taught Me
Ever had the word “nigger” leveled at you? How did it make you feel? There is an old rhythm that goes like this;
I ain’t no nigger, I’m’, a negro.
When I become a nigger, you’ll
be the first to know”!
Now, doesn’t that sum things up? Well, I remember the first time I was called a nigger. I was three years old and was out trick or treating with my mother. I was dressed as a calypso dancer. When we came to this one door, a woman opened it, took one look at me(I was admittedly one of the cutest three-year old I ever saw), beckoned her husband to the door, and exclaimed, “Dear, come look at the cute little nigger”! Needless to say my mother got pissed off and tore a strip off the heifer and left in a huff. When I got home, I ran to my father and in all innocence exclaimed, “Dad, Mom got mad at some lady who called my an eagle. You see, I had never heard the word it was alien to my ears. Being a three-year, I thought she said ‘eagle’ as opposed to ‘nigger!
Now, that was the first but not the last time I was called this name. In fact, while growing up, one would have thought that nigger was the name on my birth certificate as I was relentlessly called this. You see, there is safety in numbers. At the time in Toronto, the influx of racialized immigrants had not yet occurred, or at least there weren’t many in my neck of the woods. In hind sight, I found it funny that these white Canadians were so conversant with all the racist name calling given the dearth of Blacks in Canada at the time. They ‘borrowed’ from the States! So, in effect, someone taught these children these words. I would hazard a guess and say that it was their parents or other adults around them.
My reaction? Well, I have always been a contrarian! Instead of succumbing to the name calling, I gave my head a shake. In my child’s mind I said to myself, “What the fuck”! Yes even then I had a Trooper’s command of explicative! My repertoire wasn’t up to the ‘standards’ it is now(live and learn), but I was progressing nicely. So in effect I resorted to that old standby, “If in doubt punch em out”! Yep, I was somewhat of a bruiser! Most kids who called me this learned the hard way that it wasn’t nice to call black children niggers. Of course as I got older and learned the whys and wherefores behind racism I was able to deflect this type of behaviour by laughing it off. I also considered the source of these racist tirades.
How did I feel when being called nigger. As I said before, I was, am, a contrarian! Instead of succumbing to feelings of self loathing or fear, I fought back as much as a kid could. I took a look at the sources of this racist disdain. Mostly snot nosed, pimply faced assholes! In hindsight, they were probably miserable and had to find an easy target to take out their misery on. Or they did this by rote as that is what everyone did back then, or at least most of them. I became an adept kicker. Some of the other names I was called are as followed:
- Spear chucker
- Jungle bunny(a particular favourite)
- Coon(another favourite)
- Hockey puck(The only name that white Canadians devised without borrowing from the States)
- Shit face
- Chocolate face(funny that, as I became a chocolate fiend)
- Porch monkey
- ‘”Go back to Africa!(although not an actual name the intent was there)
“Things that don’t kill you, will make you stronger”(I got that from a Conan movie). Well this is true. It didn’t kill me, it made me stronger. Nigger taught me many things. It taught me that people will follow others so as not to ‘rock the boat’,even if they have sympathy for you plight. This can be applied to other aspects of life not just with name calling. That in these white kid’s minds, white is right. Their thinking, “at least I’m not black” is , or maybe conscious or sub-conscious for the majority ! To deflect attention from their own shortcomings, yes, they think black is a shortcoming. Mostly it taught me that words are wind. If you believe the that you are indeed a ‘nigger’ and any other of the words leveled at you then it very well may affect your psyche. Unfortunately it takes many black people years to figure this out.
I was angry when being called these names, but it wasn’t a case of “oh woe is me”! please don’t call me these names! It was more along the lines of “Who the hell are you”! I for one never ‘noticed’ their ‘superiority’ even if they thought themselves to be so. Thinking oneself to be superior is a sign of deep-seated feelings of inferiority it manifests itself in these outpourings of racist vitriol, at least in my opinion. Whites invented racism and through centuries of abuse, coercion, and genocide, they have managed to imbue their hate of the ‘other’ on racialized people. It is to the point that it has caused internalized racism within these racialized groups. We all suffer, or have suffered from varying degrees of internalized racism at some juncture in our lives, some worse than others. Anyone touched by this white racism who denies this is lying. However, once one becomes conversant with the various forms from the blatant name calling to the covert modes of speech and behaviour, one can attempt to overcome the internalized racism. Woe betide the negro who doesn’t!
Believe me I have met many a kerchief head in my time! Kerchief heads whose mottoes are,” if you can’t beat em, join em”, but that’s for another post! Blacks who take on the ‘white’ viewpoint to the detriment of other blacks, that is what a ‘kerchief’ head. Anyhow, my words of wisdom? Learn the various(seemingly unlimited) forms of racism both covert and overt. You see, ‘nigger, is not just a word but manifestations of the inherent white supremacy in society as a whole. If one word encompasses a plethora of thought, behaviour, and other complexities, the word ‘nigger’ is it. A perfect word in that respect, succinct and to the point and utilitarian. Hence, the word nigger is not just a ‘word’. The next time you holler nigger, or hear someone else say this, in whatever context, remember, ‘nigger’ is not just a word but carries a vast history and baggage. Lastly, do not let it destroy you! If you can’t do this, or at least strive to, then you are well and truly fucked!
Posted by Herneith in Egyptian God/Goddess of the Day on November 20, 2009
Maahes was an Egyptian war god, the son of Bast in Lower Egypt and Sekhmet in Upper Egypt. His father, depending on his ascendancy at the time was either Ptah,or Ra.He may have had a foreign origin, possibly Nubian, in particular Apedemak. He was rarely referred to by his name instead being referred to by such monikers as “Wielder of the knife”, “The Scarlett Lord” and “Lord of the Massacre”. These monikers leave no doubt as to his avocation! Although he has these names, he was not thought of as evil per se, rather, he was seen as a sort of law enforcer, meting out ‘just desserts’ to those that warranted it. As such, he was also given the monikers of “Avenger of Wrongs”, and “Helper of Wise ones”. Even though he had these blood thirsty monikers affixed to his characteristics and name, he was seen mostly as a protective god.
As Lions were considered to be connected with pharaohs, Maahes was seen as pharaoh’s protector. His seat of power was at Nay-t
a-hut, or Leontopolis. To protect his father /Ra, he travelled into the underworld at night to battle the god Apep, and protected the Pharaoh in battle.
Posted by Herneith in Egyptian God/Goddess of the Day on November 18, 2009
Shu is a primordial god of light and air who provided illumination between the land of the living and the dead, day and night. Being the god of air, he also gave the breath of life to all creation. Being the god of winds, he was invoked by sailors to speed their boats. The clouds which were considered to be his bones were used as a ladder for the deceased to climb up to heaven.
Shu was a part of the Ennead of Heliopolis in Lower Egypt. He was created from the god Atum whilst Atum was masturbating. There is an alternate myth which describes Atums’s wife Iusaaset, as being Shu’s mother. His wife was Tefnut, who was also his sister. Together, they were the parents of Geb, and Nut . Shu protected Ra as he travelled through the night sky or the underworld, from Apep, thus allowing Ra to rise every morning.
It has been posited that Shu originated in Nubia. The Egyptian and Nubian Kings sometimes depicted themselves as Shu to present themselves as the first born of the sun-god and hence divine rulers. Shu lent credibility to the Pharaoh‘s right to rule through this implication. Shu was also depicted as wearing a feather representative of the ‘breath of life. This could be a reference to a role of being a giver of life. Shu, for the most part, was seen as a protector. He also had the role of leading the demons in the Hall of Ma’at for those souls that were to be punished. Shu was also seen to be second only to Ra in the Ennead of Heliopolis. Shu, although not having a definite seat of power, was very popular throughout Egypt even during the Armana period. Apparently, Akhenaton saw Shu as the son of a solar god, perhaps a personification of the Aten, and traditionally as symbol of the pharaohs’ divinity.