Saturday, December 29, 2007

yellowface. and black hair politics. and my first french braid.

saw yellowface by david henry hwang tonight with jac. good shit. (the review i linked to there is not particularly reflective of my thoughts, it was just easy.)
dhh took us for a ride down "who am i, and what the fuck does who i am mean?" lane. as a person who tends to rock uneasily between identity politics, non-identity politics(?), i felt that hwang's questions sat particularly heavily with me. in a treatise on the questions about what identity means for politics, what doing "good" work constitutes, how identity interfaces with personal relationships, and the meaning of family and legacy, dhh threw me for a loop. at the end i think everyone watching, including the playwright, is left wondering what it is they think and why it is they think whatever it is they think. confusing, right? i think so too. in sum, a good night at the public.

so. my hair. my mom straightened it over the weekend when i was home, like she always does. my mother is my mother, so i let her "tame" the afro when i go home, and i answer the always tantalizing question that lingers in the back of my still-white supremacist mind, "how long is it?" because the length means something. validates me as a beautiful woman. validates my attractiveness and desirability. even when i wash it back into my "halo"tomorrow i will have tucked away the truth of its length and told myself, for another year, that who i am is okay. it's long. and today and yesterday, i spent way too much of my precious time at work explaining the process to my white colleagues who just can't believe how long and pretty it is. oh the fucked-upness of my life. and why were my father's last words to me as i entered the airport in vegas on wednesday the following? "i know you don't like us to help you too much, but we would be happy to pay for you to get your hair done every week. i know you don't like it so straight, but it really looks nice..." why didn't he offer to pay my student loans? straighten my hair? i guess i know his priorities.
as long as my hair is straight, i figure i might as well practice my hair skills. i don't have many, so i have to practice when i can. my first self-french braiding attempt:

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