Take a look at this photo to the side of this article. What do you see?
My friend, you are wrong. There is far more depicted in this photo than a White male grooming the hair of a Black child....far more.
This simple, innocent and unassuming photo depicts how far our society has come. The issue of "Black Hair" and all the heavy meaning of dealing with it for my culture, dates back decades and decades. It is an ugly truth that we (Black folks) do not like to discuss in mixed company. In part because it brings up issues we feel other ethnicity's won't understand and will misconstrue. Issues of hair texture and the reasons "why" there is a varying of hair texture and what it meant in days gone by, and to some extent still means.
Especially when dealing with natural hair, it can be a dividing issue among those that choose natural hair over chemically altered hair. It is an argument that like many others I agree is best kept private and behind closed doors. For those scratching their heads in confusion, the best analogy I can make would be women and the subject of rape fantasy. That is a subject women don't like - and to be honest shouldn't discuss in mixed company (with men) - because it is true women - many women have various forms of rape fantasies, but to admit that in mixed company will convey wrongly to some men that "if" we are raped, on some level we liked it, wanted it to happen. And that simply is not true.
The same can be said for certain back and forth debates among Black people and our hair. We can voice certain beliefs and they can conceivably be taken completely out of context.
One of the very large concerns Black men and women have in regard to White people adopting Black children is the fear that they will not be able to adequately teach them aspects of Black culture. I always use the term "White washing" Black kids. I have seen first hand Black kids that have been adopted by Whites that end up attending all White schools, living in all White communities, surrounded by All white social venues and activities. What happens (from my vantage point is) these children grow up with a lack of empathy for Blacks that may have less than they do and a disconnect that they share the same blood. They grow to dislike themselves because they are different than all the other White people that surround them. It is a fear and concern that many have and is a understandable and true situation for hundreds of thousand of blended families.
There is a very famous celebrity couple that has made their adoption of multi colored children public and I cringe every time I see their little Black girl. With all of the millions they are worth, this child always looks as if her hair hasn't been combed. It looks kinky, dry and uncared for. She always looks like she belongs on a UNICEF commercial looking sad and forlorned. The only thing missing are the ubiquitous flies hovering around her head.
Although I sincerely and genuinely applaud White parents that adopt multi cultural children, a Black child is not the same as a White, Latino or Asian child. The care of our hair is not as simple as using "your" shampoo, combing it out and you're done. No, far from it. It takes special care, care that I don't believe most White people are up to dealing with. Until today.
Until I saw this photo.
Frank Somerville, a News Anchor with Channel WTVU out of San Francisco, posted this photo publicly on his FaceBook page. For all the world to see. And as he said, he had no idea it would receive the amount of attention it has garnered. He has thousands of Likes for it and countless comments from a wide array of people, but a majority Black. Many that share my surprise and awe at the sight of this wonderful man and his beautiful little daughter.
He says on his FaceBook page in regard to the response:
It's not often that I am speechless, but I am floored by the response to the picture I posted, and by how touching and personal many of them were. To me the picture shows a dad doing what a dad SHOULD do, and loving every minute of it. The birth of my first daughter, and adopting my youngest daughter, are the two best moments of my life, and I feel like the luckiest dad in the world that my family is interracial. I can't thank all of you enough. And remember CHANGE HAPPENS ONE PERSON AT A TIME! Frank Somerville
Now if only that little girl in his life, myself and all the countless Blacks in America can let go of or grow never to have to deal with.....the issues of Black beauty in America. Just saying you don't have an issue with your identity and hair when you know deep down inside you do, means nothing. Something tells me Frank's little girl is going to grow to love herself and others as she should. It may seem like a small act for Frank, but indeed it is big.
I am in awe.
I am stunned, amazed and proud of him for doing as he said a dad SHOULD do.