This is in part why Angela Davis’ Afro became iconic

Canada Goose Jackets Why focus on Gabby Douglas

Opinion: Why focus on Gabby Douglas hair?

Canada Goose Outlet Editor Note: Tiya Miles is chairwoman canada goose store of the Department Canada Goose online of Afro American and African Studies and professor of history and Native American studies at the University of canada goose clearance Michigan. She is also the winner of a 2011 genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

canada goose coats When Gabby Canada Goose Online Douglas stood on the Olympic canada goose coats on sale podium Thursday, a bright smile on her face and gold medal around her neck, she made history as the first African American woman to win top honors in the all around canada goose uk black friday gymnastics competition.

Many African Americans watching Douglas shared a flush of pride at the accomplishment, noting her joy, her poise, her grace and, apparently, her hairstyle.

canada goose coats on sale I heard about this latter preoccupation from my sister, who swept into town for a weekend visit and opened with, “Have you heard that mess about Gabby’s hair? Type in ‘Gabby Douglas hair’ on Google; you’ll see.” I was dismayed to find a string of cheap Canada Goose posts by buy canada goose jacket African American women and men debating Douglas’ hairstyle and the perceived imperfection that while her hair was straightened, parts of it had turned visibly kinky during her performance.

canada goose clearance sale The fascination with Canada Goose Outlet natural African American hair

Twitter and Facebook commenters and callers on black talk radio shows questioned whether her hair was too straight or too kinky, whether it was over gelled or under tamed, and what she should have done with that floppy bun. My sister, who thought this barrage of criticism was a “mess,” threw in the final comment: canada goose coats “All right, I admit if I was Canada Goose sale her canada goose black friday sale mother, I would have put a headband on the girl, but really, who cares?”

cheap Canada Goose A significant number of people, if the list my Google search returned is any indication. Why were some uk canada goose outlet African Americans fixated on hair at a moment that should have been set aside to savor a grand achievement?

canadian goose jacket For African Americans and black women in particular, hair has long been troubled terrain. The natural kinkiness or curliness of most black people’s hair places it outside the bounds of mainstream American beauty standards, which emphasizes straightness, length and the bounce and flow of tresses in motion.

Reporter’s Notebook: Viola Davis keeps it the difference of black hair texture has symbolized the inferiority of black people in the minds of some whites and even some blacks.

buy canada goose jacket Naturally kinky hair was viewed as dirty, unkempt and unattractive into the mid canada goose uk shop 20th century.

In the 1960s and later, as blacks began to reclaim natural styles, Afros, braids and dreadlocks were associated with political radicalism in dominant cheap canada goose uk American culture to the extent that some black women were threatened with the loss of their jobs for wearing braids to the workplace.

canada goose black friday sale Over the years, black women (and men) have turned to numerous products and processes in an attempt to tame their locks into looks more fitting for American society from twists and ties Canada Goose Jackets to pomades and gels to straightening combs and chemical relaxers.

canada goose deals It is no wonder that the first African American female millionaire, Madame C. J. Walker, earned her riches from selling hair lotions and perfecting the use of the straightening comb. This is in part why Angela Davis’ Afro became iconic, why Beyonc’s blond tresses are a signature of her look and why Nicki Minaj made a splash with a twirling carrousel of cotton candy colored wigs.

Praise pours in for Viola Davis natural women feel that we have to “represent” through physical appearance. We know that when we step outside our doors, people do not only see and judge us as individuals, they see and judge our entire community and racial group.

For our own self esteem and for the dignity of our group, we strive to appear our best. And to do so, we have often tried to replicate the aesthetic values of mainstream American society including straight hair.

These acts of replication have been internalized such that we often do not distinguish between mainstream standards of beauty and what might have canada goose uk outlet traditionally been our own way of looking at and loving ourselves.

Canada Goose sale The public reaction to Douglas’ appearance shows that this preoccupation with buy canada goose jacket cheap hair in the black canada goose community has gone too canada goose factory sale far.

buy canada goose jacket cheap In the black culture, a richness of hairstory

canada goose store After her stunning win, canadian goose jacket tweeters who publicly demanded “why hasn’t anyone tried to fix Gabby Douglas’ hair?” and charged Canada Goose Coats On Sale “gabby douglas gotta do something with this hair!” distracted the canada goose outlet nation’s attention from what really mattered in the moment.

canada goose Defenses of Douglas posted by black women emphasized salient points: that she was an athlete who Canada Goose Parka necessarily worked up a sweat, that sweat naturally affected one’s hair and that she had just accomplished something none of the “haters” could even dream of. A Facebook page called “I Support Gabby Douglas and HER HAIR” has collected 220 likes.

But overall, the chatter about Douglas’ hair has been insensitive and unproductive. Instead of criticizing uk canada goose this teenage girl for her appearance, black women and men could have been using those 140 Twitter characters to celebrate the skill of an Olympic champion.

canada goose clearance Instead, we should be telling our girls that beauty is as beauty does. So what if 16 year canada goose clearance sale old Gabby Douglas doesn’t meet an unrealistic black hair care standard?

Canada Goose Parka She can swing and flip on parallel bars as the best all around woman gymnast in the world; she can leap through the air like a shooting star.