The Elephant in the Room [Publishers Weekly]
Publishers, how ivory are thy towers? According to statistics—not to mention a quick glance around any trade show floor—pretty shockingly ivory, maybe along the lines of 98%. The number of publishing, editorial, art direction, sales and marketing professionals of color in our field is tiny, and that’s not good for anybody. This discrepancy between the real world and the publishing world limits the range of books published, the intellectual scope of discussion, and—for the bottom-liners among us—greatly stunts the potential market.
Sagging Pants: Fashion Trend or Prison Culture? [Marc Lamont Hill]
Over the past month, New York State Senator Eric Adams has drawn national headlines by unveiling the “Stop Sagging” campaign, a series of billboards and viral web videos that decry the hip-hop fashion trend of wearing pants below the waist. Although Senator Adams is the most visible opponent of sagging, he is far from alone. In states like Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and Florida, politicians have taken the anti-sagging movement to the next level by passing laws that criminalize the fashion trend by creating public decency ordinances.
The Mouths of Babes [The Atlantic.com]
My friend in San Francisco emailed a little story. He was watching World Cup with his daughter—Spain vs. Switzerland. The girl, a 9-year-old, asked her daddy a question: “How come there are African-Americans on the Swiss team?”
Yikes. How does a parent answer something like that? Does she think that only the United States has black people? Is she innocently asking why Americans are playing for the Swiss national squad? Is she using “African-American” reflexively, simply because she has never been taught another term for darker-skinned people?
How is a young, ethnic girl with curls supposed to feel good about her body if the images she’s being told are sexy are those of women who either have straightened hair, or are women with straight hair that has then been curled? Google “curly hair celebrities,” and most of them are straight-haired women who have gone through a curling iron. I’m sorry, but end-of-hair flips do not constitute curly. Beach waves are called waves for a reason. They don’t count either. In Hair Matters, Ingrid Banks wrote, “Certainly white women have concerns with their hair, but their concerns do not involve the actual alteration of hair texture to the extent that is an expression of their cultural consciousness (Banks, 38).” There are naturally curly celebrities out there, but looking back, the only ones I have never seen with straightened hair are Bernadette Peters and Howard Stern. I hate to say it, but Howard Stern is keeping it real here. Guys seem to have it easy here—all they have to do it cut their hair super-short. It the world of curly hair, it really does seem as if you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. Even Michelle Obama straightens her hair, and Malcolm X tried, before he came to consciousness about it. In his autobiography, he writes on what he calls his “first really big step toward self-degradation:”