It is 5am and I cannot sleep. I literally laid down a couple of hours ago and was jolted awake by the need to type this out, get this post friend that my friend Kimberly added to her Instagram account:
Customer: “Umm Kimberly, I don’t mean any harm but…are Black people going to be touching me?”
Out of the 30 or so waxing studios here in Atlanta, only about 5 are owned by Black women. Kimberly Grimes is one. Vavavoom Studios offers waxing, body art, and skincare options for women and men. As a previous customer, I vouch for their clean and sanitary environment. Even still, her small business is met with this type of ignorance. A woman calls to book an appointment and she wants to know if a Black person will be touching her body.
Kimberly: “No Ma’am”
According to Kimberly this is a pretty standard question from her White customers. Because they are calling in and she speaks with a certain level of etiquette and her name is not Bonquisha or Chardonnay, they automatically assume they are amongst friends and feel free to wear their ignorance and racism like a badge of honor.
“Are Black people going to be touching me?”
– “No ma’am”
I know Kim. I know that in order to make light of this situation she has to make it funny. To be constantly bombarded with questions like these and successfully run your business, you have to be. Fortunately for Kim, I do not have to be. I do not have to laugh at this ignorance and brush it off. As she stated on her original post, “I just decided to lie today”.
The world will have you think that Black people are just highly over sensitive and irrational when it comes to racism. We are told to get over it. But the truth of the matter is, these are the type of statements that we are met with on a daily basis. I find it quite ironic that groups of people who have never experienced what it is like to be Black can be so bold to tell an entire race of people to just “get over it”. These types of statements are so normal, we barely flinch when we hear them. We attempt to lower our voices in public as to not to appear ignorant. We speak with an elevated sense of properness to show that we fit in. We “hide” our Blackness so that we do not offend the person standing next to us. And guess what? We are still met with glaring racism. I always think about those instances when I have heard different writers make statements like, “Black men, wear a suit and you will not have trouble with the police” or when Anthony Mackie in all his ignorance declared that “Black dudes with dreadlocks” were the problem.
I am here to give you a wake up call: Black people are not to blame for racism. Wearing a suit will not cause you to be exempt. Having a fade will not put you above the radar. Speaking properly will not cause you to be overlooked. Guess what? Some random White woman will still call your establishment and feel comfortable enough to ask a complete stranger if a Black person will be touching her. What an disgusting sense of entitlement.
Since I have began this blog, I am thankful that I have not had to overly explain the need for what it is that I am doing. I have only had a few instances where White people feel so painfully left out of Black Moms Blog that they feel the need to write me and tell me what a racist I am for only including Black people in my blog posts. My answer in short is this- I wish I did not have to. I wish I lived in a world where mainstream media just represented me in a beautifully positive light and I would not have to defend my publicized Black image to say, hey you know what? I am not as ignorant as they portray me to be on television. I mean really, who wants to do that? But no, I am faced with the reality that there are little to no positive images of Black women on television or represented on the internet. I am faced with Love and Hip Hop where two women keep fighting and getting pregnant by the same deadbeat man who lives between the two of them. I am faced with Serena Williams constantly being ostrasized because of her physique but a transgender White man wins a Woman of the Year Award.
I realize that my little blog will not change how the entire world views my people. I can only hope though, that the White woman who called my friend’s business sees this one day and her cheeks warm up from the familiarity of this conversation. That she realizes that, “oh shit, that was me”. And oh how I wish, I could be there when she opens those doors and sees my dear friend, Kim, sitting at the counter. But a girl can only dream…