Tag Archives: A life in limbo: The ‘doubly invisible’ Mexican immigrants

Why Black Hair Matters—Head Scarves, Turbans And Coverings Too

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Everyone remembers the adage don’t judge a book by its cover, larger meaning don’t judge people simply on how they look; we know it was an idealistic, unattainable dream but we were always supposed to try, that trying making us better people… And in the era of Donald Trump, where his election seems to signal to his voters, his supporters, those non-confrontational individuals just going along to get along permission to hate, disparage, harass or attack people, fellow citizens, fellow human beings they don’t like it surfaces all the more important we refresh our memories about that old adage and its intrinsic value in our lives… Happenings in America representing a confusing duality when we’ve had a black president and first lady, both exuding class, grace, fortitude and no shortage of exemplary parenting under the withering scrutiny of the public eye only for there to be constant references to their race, repeated comparisons to gorillas, apes, negative references to exotic native rainforest women in grass skirts, political operatives are in hot water for telling her to go live in Africa with said apes, someone holding a job as important as teacher’s aide has to be fired for calling our just departed the Whitehouse first lady a gorilla. When Sikhs were just granted the ability to wear turbans in the military and NYC police forces have implemented similar policies regarding head scarves and turbans for Sikh and Muslim officers. But still the select few in ever dwindling numbers cling to immigrants, people wearing different types of dress, legal U.S. citizens, born U.S. citizens whose heritage is from elsewhere across the globe being a bad, dangerous other to be avoided, demand total assimilation and unique cultural annulation because we can? In 2017 blacks still don’t get a chance because even fewer portions of the population can’t leave their 1750, 1850’s and 1950’s mentalities behind?… Routine readers of my work know my repeated articles on education in multiple facets, none more so than on the patently ridiculous bans, restrictions and codes surrounding otherwise benign, everyday activities, clothing, jewelry, footwear hardly anyone would say anything about except it’s in a school, worn by a student. Know my personal mantra schools should adopt immediately to the betterment of educational institutions everywhere; are they wearing clothes, then they can come to class. Logical distain for backwards priorities filtering out into small towns, tightknit communities nationwide who seek to ban flip flops on tourists to important monuments, not as a safety concern but a class issue; how dare you show up here wearing those, kind of thing. Outlaw see-through clothing worn over not see through clothing rendering indecent exposure null and void; outlaw the wearing thong underwear, underwear implying it won‘t be seen. Quite literally foaming at the mouth they might see the top band of said underwear when a woman bends over to get things off low shelves at the store wearing low rise jeans, a little hard not to buy when you need new outerwear and that’s what’s in the store available. Pajamas worn in public, many times indistinguishable from yoga pants, exercise, workout gear, jogger wear, no more and a host of other personal preferences slated for the chopping block wholesome America wide; seeming to be the hallmarks of wasting time, paper and legislation often earning us lower and lower rankings on freedom scales evaluating westernized, emerging westernized nations…. Policies overly, purposefully targeting multiple ethnicities dress, accessory, hair stylings versus standard Caucasian trends. Notable the headline making Kentucky school drawing unwanted attention to itself even misspelling one, known for decades, predominately African American style, calling it corn rolls instead of corn rows. Further barring ‘afros,’ poof-ed hair longer than 2 inches, two toned hair and on, and on, and on; adding to the national debate on natural hair public figures, celebrities embracing it, not hiding, changing it, to fit 50 plus years of previous cultural norms. Another Chicago parent was incensed by a letter sent home with their child asking them not to put so much oil in their female child’s hair alleging it stunk wanting to prevent teasing from other students; anyone who has dealt with African American hair knows it must be regularly moisturized, usually using oil because that heritage has no oil in their scalp as Caucasian and other peoples’ do, the longer it is the more treatment it requires, coconut oil, their preferred method having no discernable smell, forget an obnoxious one. Her daughter being the only black child in class, with a probable white teacher, raises secondary issues regarding display of complete and utter cultural ignorance; come to find out there was no bullying of the child, conversations with administrators revealed the teacher is known as a complainer, foreign themselves, from Russia, resulting in unspecified discipline for her, again not firing, not review of her fit, alignment with the values of the learning center. Similar to the African American high schooler abruptly facing expulsion over her natural hair when she reported bullying because of it; the school’s principal, as opposed to addressing the bullying going on told the student to change her, suddenly concluded against policy, hair….How about a 9 year old suddenly told by her soccer coach to remove her hair beads citing safety, previously playing for years, same beads no mentioned problem; several parent commenters and child sports league players agreeing on the potential hazard posed. More than total unawareness it takes an hour to put in and take out said beads and braids accompanying them eliminating perception she could take 5, remove them, then play, the arbitrary nature of said enforcement undercutting any argument presented on player wellbeing. Reasoning they could smack fellow players in the face, put out an eye, injure the player themselves doing a head strike on the ball, if hit with a fast moving ball beads are essentially trapped between persons head and the ball creating an abrasion, possibly embedding beads(s) into skin; except tell me, readers, not when the last time that happened was because you instituted a rule about no hair jewelry, adornments, earrings, in professional soccer apparently these rules are standard, but when was the first time this happened necessitating ‘the rule’? And of course because it’s designated a rule it must be followed without question, though both American Youth Soccer Organization and FIFA had nothing on their websites until this incident… Employment, fitness for a job should be based on credentials, experience, aptitude, positive attitude, interview performance, overall appearance in terms of appropriate attire for position sought, not stereotypes about ethnic hair, not nagging a tech jockey to remove his lip/nose, ear ring(s) and goth metal t-shirts, black Tripp NYC shorts/jeans, negative about his tattoos when he isn’t regularly interacting with the public, does solid work behind the scenes in an industry regularly welcoming of less mainstream individuals. Why millennials especially insist on being judged for their work product not wardrobe, because no one should be told the rolled down waistband of nurse, dental student scrub pants is scandalous, next to be told by their employer while wearing the standard uniform, available scrub outfits to please dress in more adult, professional attire, then after complying told the colors you chose are too bright, forced into blacks and greys for a dental hygienist, assistant job. Millennials notorious for abandoning traditional jobs; above tech jockey treated like crap for his lip/nose, ear ring(s) and Goth metal t-shirts, black Tripp NYC shorts/jeans, tattoos began his own business to rousing, self-supporting success. Clothing debates that always end with the students winning either when they transfer out of the school bringing the issue, them, their parent enacts clever revenge wearing the objectionable outfit out among the public to positive compliments, no comment, when national attention alerts people nationwide to what localities, school officials are doing with their tax dollars, public pushback forces schools to drop/change policies, procedures, topics they never should have brought up in the first place…. .’ Lastly here the seriously dangerous implementations, ramifications of listed ordinances, rules; take Ervin Leon Edwards’ story, police called to a gas station to break up suspected domestic dispute, when they arrived whatever fight was already over, but because Louisiana passed a baggy pants ordinance banning the style he was taken into custody, later died in jail post being beaten. Adjacently Kevin Moore out of upstate New York who was savagely beaten by prison guards due to telling them he didn’t want to be housed in the jails mental health ward fearing being seen as a monster; one corrections officer was stealing his ripped out dreads to decorate his motorcycle. Moore subsequently hospitalized 17 days suffering 5 fractured ribs, a punctured lung, numinous facial fractures, multiple contusions to various body parts; cost of the officer’s ‘trophy.’ Why black hair is important, why head scarves, turbans and coverings are making the news, because no one should be arrested over their style of pants, injured anywhere because their hairstyle is an easy target, certainly not die for them… Interestingly enough we say we want African Americans to be and do better than gangs, becoming street thugs, public housing dwellers, ‘breading’ welfare recipients who keep popping out children for increased public assistance benefits, but consistently refuse to believe it when they achieve, live up to our best, not worst expectations. Most recent examples, a black OBGYN resident, Tamika Cross, who says a flight attendant requesting help from any doctors onboard to aide an ailing passenger told her when she stood up offering to respond, “Oh no, sweetie, put [your] hand down. We are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”… Paralleling a black, again female, architect who had similar encounters at her bank double and triple checking her account information, grilling her about her work, googling her architecture firm to see if it was real, even calling her companies HR department to confirm her employment; ratcheting up the racial component is they first deposited her check, then after it cleared, they called her back in to answer questions, go through the verification process described. Funny, like rotten in the state of Denmark kind of funny we, society consistently say we want, particularly black people, to get off welfare, stop using food stamps, stop creating situations mandating the need for either, namely keep their legs closed, cease having children they can’t afford, prone to calling democrats the party of give me, give me, condoning irresponsible behavior only to discover the David Packman Moster.com job experiment story. Where an African American woman, Yolanda Spivey, had an uncomfortable hunch about why she wasn’t getting any job offers despite 10 years experience in insurance, applying for 300 open jobs, going back to college and finishing her degree causing her to compile results the alluded to during her employment site trial. For which she first changed her profile’s race to decline to identify (the sites only opt out option) nothing; next she created a mirror profile changing her name to the less distinctive Bianca White, changed her profile ethnicity to white, transferred the phone number to her cell versus home, input identical application materials as herself and offers poured in. Incongruent realities on social issues staring us in the face be it the skinny person versus the fat person and who offers help, the black person versus the white in a whole host of scenarios, male versus female, Mr. Packman’s co-host wondering what would happen if she changed her gender to male, if her job offers would multiply yet again; still we, society in general, continue mistaken beliefs blacks are fundamentally less qualified, wholly dependent on affirmative action to achieve and overly rewarded for markedly less success. Problem this isn’t new… . Many have daughters across America and what little girl, budding teen doesn’t love to dance; picture this, your child eats, sleeps breaths dance, she has 2 very competent dance instructors in the type of dance she loves and excels, who happen to be African American. Best place got her to learn more is out of town, out of state requiring a plane ride; well she’s kept up her grades, earned your trust, you feel confident they can take her to the dance tutorial no problem. World being what it is, you take the pains to draft a legal document stating unambiguously for the purpose of said trip they are her legal guardians; only to be stopped, adults handcuffed at the airport, because someone though it strange 2 black men were traveling with a teen white girl. Put aside alternative, same sex families where it might be 2 mommies or 2 daddies, adoptive families, people traveling with extended relatives, biracial families, relatives, even ignoring momentarily they had the legal document explaining what was going on, if the adults had been white and the teen black, Hispanic, middle eastern no one would have said anything, forget handcuffed them…. But we relentlessly blame black people when they can’t get jobs independent countless stories like those above, a lawsuit filed late 2016 alleging MVP, one of the largest job placement organizations nationwide, passed over black applicants in favor of Hispanics because most were undocumented, less likely to complain about working hours, wages or conditions. Agency countering they were just focused on meeting employer demands or anticipated demands; sadly there is too much truth to that statement. We double down scrutiny on black people’s lives, choices, accomplishments measured in money earned, street address, net worth, notable lack of it when attempting to get off welfare, better oneself, totally support oneself is treated the same way as a person getting out of jail/prison, on parole requiring a patient, forgiving, second chance minded employer; while we would applaud and offer a hand up to the white person in the form of an increased chance of getting a job. We talk an awful lot in this country about blacks and work, usually how hard we think they don’t work; not talked about is the harassment, fear, berating, assault they can face once getting a job, holding a job with any authority oversight. Case in point, woman hired to supervise hurricane Isaac rebuilding in Louisiana yelled at and threated by what appears to be a construction worker, perhaps a business owner, who when he saw she was filming the altercation on her phone became physically aggressive charging the petite, African American woman, spitting in her face….Why black hair is worth normalizing, head scarves, turbans, coverings should be treated as no big deal, because even in Donald Trump’s America where it is now run of the mill to repeatedly shout n*gger at black persons in broad daylight with no shame, people think their support for Trump means they can resort to racial slurs against blacks simultaneously complaining about their coffee taking too long during a rush, can claim white discrimination after losing it in a craft store while bystanders dared film the crazy. When popular millennial created, millennial used services like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb succumb to the same continuing cycles of harassing women and denying patronage to minorities, African Americans, attracted to our exotic beauty or lusting after captive audience young, supple students and all specific drivers can do is hope to get, actively try to get in their pants, into their bed. Contrary to popular belief every black person you meet, walking the streets is not a thug, a drug addict, a gangbanger, a welfare recipient, a hood rat, an irresponsible woman popping out kids for benefits, a baby daddy unwilling to support his offspring; every minority isn’t looking to take, be handed something rather than give back…. It seems all we’ve heard during the campaign, the election cycle, even after is about solid, good, American staple manufacturing jobs going to either Mexico or China; rarely noticed by flocks of Trump voters cheering on election night, clapping, crying inauguration day is the invaluable service both legal and illegal immigrants provide to America. They, decade after decade, do the jobs Americans, decade after decade, by the same token, are unwilling or unable to do; they pick the vegetables and fruits lining our supermarkets, gracing our dinner tables due to expertise, willingness to work for wages cash strapped farmers can afford to get their crops picked, packaged and sold as opposed to rotting on the vine. Harsh truths learned post 2008 and state by state immigration crackdowns; Trump proposed immigration management only going to intensify difficulties exponentially, already struggling famers losing crop they can’t sell due to spoilage, out of pocket costs to bus legal workers to fields too afraid to drive themselves, consequences seen in very recent years past. Worse these vegetable/fruit picking migrants are willing to come here, do backbreaking work, get paid a pittance and go home, singularly returning when the picking season is back on; they don’t want to live here, consume resources here, buy bare necessities while here. Regularly use milk, yogurt, cheese thank an immigrant for keeping Wisconsin and other dairy farms nationwide running; immigrants the only ones willing to muck stalls, put milking machines on cows, short and sweet be surrounded by cow dung all day…. But immigrants, legal, illegal who do stay, generate lives here remain responsible for billions of dollars flow through the U.S. economy, immigration policies not immigrants themselves costing Americans money; so called papers please immigration laws also serve to frighten legal workers from their jobs, purchase of goods, can cause a mass exodus seen in rulings like the Missouri Valley decision, parts of Arizona vacated leaving behind largely empty classrooms, abandoned apartment complexes, vacant jobs across all sectors of local economies. Consensus thinking good, more for us hardworking, small town whites, except that’s not how this works; school funding a prime instance of just the opposite, based on students in the classroom when immigration changes force mass move outs schools lose that funding. Suddenly vacant apartments, homes mean renters are equally suddenly out money, may file bankruptcy rendering those properties vacant, vulnerable to squatters and vandals, drug addicts driving down property values and inviting crime; bitter lesson of the great recession persons in Trump country never fully learned unwaveringly supportive of ridding America of its immigrant populations all, ignorant the inherent consequences. State policies barring illegal immigrants from getting a driving license not only prevents them from getting employed, putting back into local and national economies when they buy goods, services, rent apartments, their children attend school, it drives up the cost of car insurance almost $20, figure circa 2009 assuredly gone up in 8 years. Adjacently it drives away foreign investment spelling more jobs for individual states, pocket local communities; reason E- verify, the widely used system meant to determine if the persons applying for jobs are U.S. citizens, possess the proper work visas, permits, legal resident status, green cards naturalization papers. Problem, not only is E-verify every expensive driving down employment, it has curious results on the labor market specifically white working class persons concerned about immigrants snatching their jobs; “E-Verify lowers wages for unauthorized male Mexican immigrants, raises wages for US-born Hispanic men, increases the labor force participation rate of undocumented Mexican female immigrants, raises employment for Mexican-born naturalized citizens, and has essentially no effect on whites’ earnings.” Further research shows they, immigrant workers independent status, complement current employment environment, legal or illegal, not detract, negatively take from it. Forgotten or willfully ignored, dismissed by people wedded to their anti-immigrant narrative like a husband, wife or recurring bad habit, politicians rooted to their convictions and decidedly low on actual information about immigrants; beyond our history as a nation of immigrants famous immigrants that made incalculable contributions to America’s standing as a global leader over the past 2 centuries of its existence, not all immigrants are Mexican, Latino, Hispanic, Latin American, not all immigrants are illegal, not all immigrants are low skilled. Think the co-founder of google Sergey Brin, who is described as a soviet born American, Elon Musk business magnate, engineer, inventor is a South African Canadian America, WhatsApp creator Jan Koum is Ukrainian-American, John Catsimatidis is a Greek-American billionaire owner of the largest grocery chain in Manhattan. People who haven’t just successfully assimilated into our culture, gotten a job, paid their taxes, obeyed the law, been the stereotypical expectation of a ‘model immigrant’ but who have created countless thousands of jobs, made other businesses possible, more productive, profitable and functional…. . Why the sound of your name, notions it conjures in readers, employers/landlords heads should be outweighed by credentials, because no one should be obstructed from employment on their speculated origins, skin color; José in the opening shouldn’t have had to drop a letter to get the job, there was no indication he was an immigrant, illegal. Hispanic populations growing exponentially from legal immigrants having families, born U.S. citizens producing offspring; never mind if there wasn’t a white American to fill the job he applied for, José had to lose his heritage to participate in the American dream, sad reality of Trump’s emerging new America…. American fears for refugee welcoming cities fueled by fake Syrian passports used in terror plots across Europe engendering speculation the same could happen here indicates Europe has a problem not necessarily us. No one stopping to compare notes on vetting processes used there versus here; political skewing, conservative news to say nothing of president Trump’s hastily thrown together Muslim ban, promises to overhaul vetting procedures, ban indefinitely refugees from Syria like little Halla (videos 2&3) giving off the mistaken impression the vetting process for people from these countries, where terrorists might try to slip though is lax, haphazard, totally untrue. Fear, once described by a prominent Christian pastor as false evidence appearing real, ignoring many of the displaced are children, children who’ve already been injured in war, seen friends, relatives die, not old enough to pronounce the word terrorist never mind embody it. Refugees represented by Halla, her sister and this group of older boys and their parents more than the Bowling Green insurgents who slipped through, the nonexistent ‘Bowling Green massacre’ Kelllyanne Conway misspoke about; those persons stopped via sting operation and vetting process adjusted to prevent future entries like theirs. Refugees seeking residence, visas to enter, live in the United States are first screened by the U.N., surprisingly have identification documents for adults 97% of the time, next subjected to relentless, repetitive interviews, then checked against UN complied terror watch lists, nationally compiled watch lists, homeland security making final decisions at times pulling families off their plane; a vetting process that can last up to 2 years. Refuges once settled here who, if you examine closely the links below, didn’t, according to a Salon article, rape a 5 year old in Idaho, didn’t hold her at knifepoint, didn’t urinate on her, fathers of the mythical Syrian rapists didn’t congratulate them when learning of what they’d done. In fact this properly identified right wing urban legend is based on people who literally don’t exist because the few Syrians living in the area did not come here through president Obama’s demonized refugee program, and instead is on par with related right wing stories, causes: transgender bathroom bills, vulnerable little girls in public bathrooms, fitting rooms, recreation center locker rooms surrounded by men pretending to be women to hurt our kids, rape/harass actual women ring a bell?… ban implemented so poorly it held students back from continuing their educations, had one sports star tweeting to his son he couldn’t come home and why, held a mother, legal resident, green card holder at the airport post visiting her other teenage child in Egypt, a doctor holding a job here, working in an American hospital holding a license to practice some form of medicine also detained. Another family caught in Trump’s travel ban confusion Syrians holding green cards, valid visas waiting for 6 relatives to come who had been in the immigration process 13 years, 13 years; Christians Trump prioritizes over Muslims in instituting the ban also turned away. Yet out of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, refugees, people seeking life away from war-torn homelands marked by regime change, ousting of dictators, who have come to American searching for stability a measly 1% have been tied to commit terror acts on U.S. soil; rather innocents continue to be the victims of crime far more than perpetrators of it….Who remembers the Muslim woman a deranged man tried to set on fire, fortunately he only used a lighter, no accelerant and succeeded in damaging her clothing not her skin; sounds an awful lot like the Trump supporter kicking a traditionally dressed Muslim woman in JFK airport shouting “president Trump will get rid of all of you.” Immigrants, an Uber driver, targeted by individuals who they have no idea how long they’ve been here, could have been in the country years, subjected to a profanity laced tirade as he drove his ride service vehicle, just for being Arab. Another white woman knocking over a baby stroller, containing among them a 15 month old toddler, of Muslim women; shooting of the New York Imam in the same category. Never mind that Imam (Islamic religious leader akin to Christian pastors or priests) shot and killed in New York City is dead for no other reason than he was an Imam, was Muslim, practiced Islam. Though he was not a radical, that mosque visited by practicing Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the former producing 1 terrorist the latter none; never once people, countries largely associated with terror. Crime against select minorities that spills over from ‘Muslim terrorists’ to other immigrant nationalities, ethnicities, religions having settled here doing nothing but living peaceful lives, holding jobs, raising families; easy targets because of their distinctive headwear, out of place here, traditional clothing… Hatred, violence, harassment, sadly far from reaching some born and bred American persons too; like the lupus patient who wears a scarf to keep the sun from her head, sunlight damaging to lupus suffers, mistaken for Muslim finding her car broken into while on a nature hike complete with nasty not stating in part the following: “Hijab wearing bitch this is our nation now get the f— out.” The Somali-American elected official who ran for office, won her election only to be called ISIS by her cabbie returning from a trip to the Whitehouse where he also threated to rip off her head covering; both instances highlighting profound prevailing ignorance since the scarves in question look like what numerous African Americans wear in every corner of the country easy, simple hair management, likewise seen throughout Africa to keep hair clean, keep sweat out of eyes, off your face, even removed from your head to carry items, what an older white lady might wear on a cold day, wear to church, not strictly associated with Muslims. American born Muslim persons who’ve rightfully earned positions of authority, chosen to be police officers, to protect and serve, attempting to show the positive side of Islam, that Muslims can be and are good people, harassed by a man for their headscarf…. Contrast this to actions taken to include Muslims, Sikhs and others, each allowed to wear their respective head coverings on New York City’s police force, Sikhs in the U.S. military, military colleges considering the hijab in applicants who want to come to their institutions; when a mother was suddenly shown hate in her neighborhood for being ‘obviously Muslim’, despite residing in the city 17 years, her community responded with love, children in one area put up posters, signs welcoming refugees. People across the country and the world donated to a go fund me page dedicated to rebuilding a Texas mosque vandalized by arson, including a Midwestern couple on vacation who hand delivered their donation personally, local entities pulling together to restore what was lost. An American boy reaching out to a little Syrian boy capturing the world and president Obama’s attention when he pleaded with him to let the little boy come live with him. Count the thousands who showed up at every major airport in the country changing let them go, holding signs saying refugees are welcome here, sentiments expressed long before president Trump’s actions; months before the ban, shortly after Trump’s election a Texas man stood outside of a mosque holding a sign not in protest, not it hate, fear or bigotry but expressing solidarity, telling Muslims you belong. Shattering every stereotype he is an older white man, gray beard, requisite cowboy hat, bringing us finally to something else, the Christians Trump says he’s prioritizing, doing this for, the values he claims he’s upholding in addition to our safety; they tellingly don’t like it, find it goes against their faith, the love they are meant to show to their fellow man, their fellow citizen, more than one harkening back to history, the Nazis what happened to Jews in the 1930’s—hmm….

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