Maya Angelou, Lyrical Witness of the Jim Crow South, Dies at 86

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Hiding the Pain: The Emotional Repression of Men

By: @TheBlackVoice

 

Men aren’t supposed to cry. Men aren’t supposed to hug. Men aren’t supposed to say how we truly feel. Men aren’t supposed to be afraid. Men aren’t supposed to be wrong. I could keep going on with the long list of things men aren’t supposed to do, as I’ve had “man-laws” drilled into my head for decades. The worst law I learned in the school of manhood, is the one saying that men aren’t supposed to feel.

As men we are taught that any emotions other than anger or lust are signs of weakness. Weakness is like kryptonite to patriarchal masculinity, so no man ever wants to show any indication of it. Whenever our emotions do come up, we do our best to hide them. We front, so we won’t be exposed and have our manhood challenged.

I often hear the conversation about how emotionally insecure women are. I find this surprising because I believe that men are more or just as emotionally insecure as women. My logic behind this statement is quite simple. The patriarchal definition of masculinity in this society does not allow men to express our emotions. Emotions such as fear, pain, and sadness are swept under the rug. They’re not to be seen by society, because a man’s (defined by patriarchal masculinity) greatest fear is to be perceived as weak or soft.

The emotional crippling of men is destructive to the mental and physical health of men and society in general. All men feel, because we are humans. Feelings of empathy, fear, anxiety, patience, love, and compassion are not just specific emotions that women express. The human spirit contains a wide variety of emotions. Patriarchal masculinity attempts to suppress these emotions, which in turn creates broken men. Men who cannot express the fullness of their emotions are broken.

One of the biggest coping mechanisms of this emotional repression is foolish pride. Foolish pride enables us to shield ourselves from personal insecurities, rather than dealing with them. Basically it is a process of deflection. When we are afraid, we deflect. When we are hurt, we deflect. When are unsure, we deflect. Any emotion or action that goes against the “guy code” gets deflected.

This front is something men do conscious and subconsciously. The conditioning of patriarchy is so deeply rooted that the emotional repression of men has become normalized. As long as men continue to use the front, we will never be able to heal from the wounds of this emotional paralysis. We can’t heal if we don’t feel. Men have to feel and own our pain. As a community we must create spaces where men can feel comfortable expressing their emotions without being shamed. We cannot build a powerful movement towards self-determination with broken men. Masculinity must be redefined in a way that uplifts our humanity, the humanity in men, women, and other genders. It’s time to stop fronting and start healing. Stay Woke.

 

When Black Hair Is Against the Rules

By AYANA BYRD and LORI L THARPS

 
America has always had trouble with black hair. The United States Army is only the latest in a long line of institutions, corporations and schools to restrict it. On March 31, the Army released an updated appearance and grooming policy, known as AR 670-1. It applies to all Army personnel, including students at West Point and those serving in the R.O.T.C. and the National Guard.
No distinctions are made for race or ethnicity, only gender, in that the regulations regarding hair are divided between women and men. But it’s not hard to infer that certain sections pertain specifically to black women, since they refer to hairstyles like cornrows, braids, twists and dreadlocks, severely limiting or banning them outright.

While the Army certainly isn’t the first to impose these kinds of prohibitions, it may be the most egregious example, considering that the 26,000 black women affected by AR 670-1 are willing to die for their country. On Tuesday, Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel ordered the entire military to review its hairstyle rules, after the women of the Congressional Black Caucus sent him a letter saying that the Army policy’s language was “offensive” and “biased” and strongly urging him to reconsider it. More than 17,000 people signed a petition submitted to WhiteHouse.gov asking the Obama administration to review the policy.

The bias against black hair is as old as America itself. In the 18th century, British colonists classified African hair as closer to sheep wool than human hair. Enslaved and free blacks who had less kinky, more European-textured hair and lighter skin – often a result of plantation rape – received better treatment than those with more typically African features.
After Emancipation, straight hair continued to be the required look for access to social and professional opportunities. Most black people internalised the idea that their natural hair was unacceptable, and by the early 20th century wore it in straightened styles often achieved with dangerous chemical processes or hot combs, or they wore wigs.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the Black Power movement declared that “black is beautiful” – and not least unstraightened natural black hair. Soon the Afro became a popular style, first at protests and political rallies and eventually on celebrities from Pam Grier to Michael Jackson.
But in many settings, black hair was still a battleground. In the 1980s civil rights groups led boycotts against the Hyatt hotel chain after it terminated a black female employee for wearing cornrows. In 1999, couriers for Federal Express were fired for wearing dreadlocks. And this past fall, 7-year-old Tiana Parker was told her dreadlocks violated her elementary school’s dress code in Tulsa, Okla., and 12-year-old Vanessa VanDyke was threatened with expulsion from her private school in Orlando, Fla., because her natural hair was deemed a “distraction.”

If a person doesn’t have black hair, isn’t married to someone with black hair or isn’t raising a child with black hair, this issue may seem like a whole lot of something about nothing. But what these women are demanding is a policy that reflects a basic understanding of black hair. For most black people, hair naturally grows up and out – think of the shape of an Afro – not down. But the Army’s regulations assume that all hair not only grows the same way but can be styled the same way. For example, one permitted hairstyle is a bun. Yet because of the thickness of a lot of black women’s hair, a bun is not always possible unless the hair is put into twists first. But twists and dreadlocks, no matter how narrow and neat, are banned in the policy and labelled “faddish” and “exaggerated.”


Black people around the globe have worn dreadlocks for centuries. They can be easily and neatly worn under a helmet or in a bun. Two-strand twists, a popular option for black female soldiers that look similar to braids but are much easier to style, especially in the field, are versatile and require little maintenance. AR 670-1 does allow women to wear wigs and hair extensions, a suggestion that borders on the ridiculous when considering the time and cost required for upkeep in a salon – let alone in a desert army barracks.
The argument isn’t that the Army does not have the right to enforce a conservative code – this is the Army, after all – but that it must consider the diversity of hair textures. The current policy is the equivalent of a black majority military telling its thousands of white soldiers that they are required to have dreadlocks or Afros.

At a time when the military is trying to attract more women to its ranks – this week, the military’s newspaper, Stars and Stripes, ran a cover story about West Point’s attempt to draw more female cadets – it can’t afford policies that punish those same women for their ethnic features. Secretary Hagel says the military has three months for its review “to ensure standards are fair and respectful.”
Here’s an idea: Why not take a survey of active and retired black servicewomen? Let the courageous women serving our nation contribute to an understanding of what conservative, safe and professional means when it comes to their own hair. –NY Times

Source: http://www.nation.com.pk/international/02-May-2014/when-black-hair-is-against-the-rules

Are You Down With Co-Washing?

By Dr. Phoenyx Austin of DrPhoenyx.com
Hey ladies! One of the best hair practices I adopted after going natural was co-washing. I was actually years into natural hair and cleansing my hair with sulfate-free shampoos. I knew all about the harsh sulfates thing, but I had no clue that there was something even better than shampoo. Then one day, a fellow naturalista put me onto co-washing. And boy oh boy did this doc fall in love!


Do you co-wash?

If you aren’t hip to the co-washing game, I’ll give you a quick debriefing of what it is, why you should do it, how often you should do it, and what types of conditioners to use.

What is it?

Co-washing is simply using conditioner to cleanse the hair instead of shampoo. You just cut out the shampoo step and go straight to conditioning

Why you should do it?
Co-washing is muy bueno for hair- especially natural hair! As far as cleansers, you should already be switched over to sulfate-free shampoos. Sulfates are cleansing agents that are included in most commercial shampoos. Sulfates are what give shampoos their bubbly, foamy quality. Sulfates may make bath time fun, but they are also powerful degreasers that will literally strip the oil from your hair. No bueno! This is why you should use sulfate-free shampoos IF you do use shampoo.
Now if you want to take things up a notch with your hair care, co-washing is the way to go. Commercial conditioners are actually formulated with cleansing agents too- not just conditioning agents. So shampoos are really not that necessary. You can use conditioner to cleanse your hair- it’s like getting 2 benefits for the price of 1!

What types of conditioner to use?
The most common issue with co-washing is product buildup on hair. This is because conditioners contain silicones- an agent that gives hair “slip” and shine. Silicones come in 2 forms- water soluble and non-water soluble. It is best to use conditioners with water soluble silicones (or no silicones) because product buildup will be unlikely. Water soluble silicones wash easily from hair. Non-water soluble silicones do not- they can only be washed off with stronger cleansers that are found in shampoo (i.e. sulfates).

To tell if your conditioner is co-wash friendly, just read the ingredients on the bottle and look for these silicones: Dimethicone Copolyl and PEG Modified Dimethicone. These are the water soluble silicones. If you conditioner contains these, you’re good to go!
And don’t worry about cost. There are tons of el-cheapo conditioners that contain water soluble silicones. So you won’t have to break the piggy bank when looking for these types of conditioners.

How often should you do it?
That’s all personal preference. You can keep you current regimen, while simple eliminating the shampoo step. So if you normally wash your hair once a week, keep washing your hair once a week. Just use conditioner instead of shampoo. I know many naturals that co-wash daily. I don’t. I usually co-wash once a week, or at most twice a week. And if I ever feel like my hair is becoming heavy or dull from product buildup, I’ll simply clarify with shampoo or an ACV rinse once a month. Done, and done!

Do you co-wash? How well does co-washing work for your hair? What are you favorite conditioners for co-washing?

 

Source: http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/11/are-you-down-with-co-washing.html

The MOVE 9 Bombing: 29 Years Later

Today marks the 29th year since the Philadelphia-based movement’s headquarters were bombed by law enforcement

move

On this date in 1985, a four pound bomb made of the explosive C-4 and Tovex, a dynamite substitute, was dropped onto the roof of a revolutionary organization by American state and federal agencies, killing six adults and five children.

No, this was not in Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other country that the media has trained the general public to believe is justified in receiving such an attack. This military action was executed on American citizens.

MOVE, which was founded in 1972 by Vincent Leaphart, who later became known as John Africa, lived communally and frequently engaged in public demonstrations related to issues they deemed important. MOVE’s early protests centered around treatment of animals in zoos and circuses and poor housing conditions for the elderly. As time went by, MOVE began to protest chemical companies such as Dow Chemical and DuPont. As the decade wore on, MOVE began to be targeted by the Philadelphia Police Department for its views on technology and its “getting back to nature” mentality.

In 1978, a negotiation was reached to vacate their Powellton Village headquarters after a year-long standoff with the police, however, they refused to follow the court order and vacate. After the eviction notice was served on the premises, the Philadelphia PD attempted re-entry, in which Officer James Ramp was shot in the back of the head and killed. In turn, nine members of the group were found guilty of 3rd degree murder and all sentenced to 30-100 years in prison. 7 of the 9 became eligible for parole in 2008, but were all denied.

Following the 1978 shoot-out, or “shoot-in” as it has been called by some, the MOVE house was immediately bulldozed despite a court order against its destruction — as well as the fact of it being a crime scene — by the city on the orders of mayor Frank L. Rizzo. This destroyed any and all defense evidence. For the next seven years, MOVE worked tirelessly to free the MOVE 9 and other members of the organization who had been jailed. MOVE relocated to Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. After neighborhood complaints about dirtiness, rat infestations, and MOVE’s refusal to use electricity and gas, another eviction notice was drawn up to relocate MOVE members. This time 500 to 600 armed law enforcement descended into the Osage Avenue neighborhood and neighborhood residents were ordered to evacuate their homes. On the morning of May 13, 1985 MOVE headquarters was bombarded with water from fire hoses. Then came the tear gas. At 5:20 p.m. the four pound C-4 bomb was dropped and MOVE headquarters caught fire. Despite using fire hoses to try to get MOVE members to evacuate the house on Osage Avenue, after the fire started the fire department turned no hoses towards the flames. Instead, the flames of the fire were left to burn destroying MOVE headquarters and 58 other houses in the neighborhood. Neighborhood residents were shocked and appalled by what had transpired. Eleven people – six adults and five children – were massacred, an entire neighborhood was burned to the ground and over 280 people were displaced from their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Delbert Africa dragged by Philadelphia police officers after they dropped a bomb on the MOVE home.)

According to a chosen few, the price of freedom is death. MOVE members have given and continue to give their lives in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.

A revolutionary soldier salute goes out to Sister Debbie Africa, who I have had the honor of corresponding with and has sat in a Pa. prison cell for 25 years in the name of freedom. She gave birth to her son Mike Jr. in her prison cell on September 15, 1978 with no medical assistance

-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)

Source: http://thesource.com/2014/05/13/the-move-organization-bombing-29-years-later/