Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"Ethnic" Hair v. Non-Ethnic Hair

Aloha! It's been another busy week here in my Watermelon Sushi World, and I'd like to thank all my Hip Hapa Homeez who have reached out. A shout out to both Maria K.L. and Jason K. for their support.

Here, check out this very funny video clip about a biracial brother that Jason recently sent me:

In addition to blogging, Jason is also interested in creating a group of "federated multi-ethnics". What do you think? Can it be done? Contact him to let him know. His link is listed on the side. One of the topics the Mixed Chicks and I discussed was what, if any, differences exist between a biracial double-minority versus one who is half-Caucasian. Do you know?

Now, on to some fun. Have you ever wondered why there's a section at the drugstore called "Ethnic Hair Products"? I mean, does that imply that non-minorities (specifically non-blacks) have no ethnicity? When advertisers label hair "ethnic", it seems they're really referring to black folks since other minorities, especially Asians, the indigenous and Latinas often have straight hair similar to whites'--which responds to "non-ethnic" hair products. Are black people, and people mixed with black people, the only ones who are "ethnic"? What about Jews or curly-headed Euros?

Growing up, I remember many painful moments as my Japanese mother had such a time with our hip hapa hair. My sister and I had unnaturally thick, unruly manes and before handheld blow dryers were on the market, we were subjected to a weekly washing that consisted of my mother inverting the vacuum cleaner hose to dry our hair. After that, she greased up her palms with Alberto VO-5 petroleum jelly and soon my sister and I would have two long, shiny braids cascading down our chests topped by a little tootsie roll for bangs. Whenever we balked at having our hair combed, my mother would admonish us, "Why make hair so bushy?" Looking back, I have to laugh. While she was chastising us for our Asiatic Afro-puffed hair, she was constantly perming hers! Was she subconsciously trying to look more like us?

I have no answers, just a lot of thoughts. That's me and my sister, br, in Germany.

Your Hip Hapa,

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