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Dear White People (Anglais) Relié – 28 octobre 2014

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Descriptions du produit


Stop Touching
My Hair

SOMEHOW, despite warnings from most black comedians and that reflexive deer-in-the-headlights look that most black people adopt when asked about it, black hair continues to be a black hole for white people’s fingers.
     At a screening of my film Dear White People, a distraught older white woman came up to me with tears in her eyes. She assured me that her desire to touch the hair of her friends came from a place of love. It was only after I gently removed her trembling hands from the back of my scalp, told her it was “just a movie,” and hid behind a display for Transformers: Age of Extinction that I came up with what would have been a far more effective response. I should have told her that her best intentions notwithstanding, if she’d only bothered to ask her black friends if they liked being fondled by anyone other than their lover, she’d understand what an imposition it was.

The Spectacle of Natural Hair

Admittedly, there are few things as beguiling as natural hairstyles in all their diversity. However, thanks to the prevalence of Eurocentric beauty standards and the lasting influence of Lil’ Kim, it’s rare to see even a dreadlock in mainstream media. Unless one has actual black friends it’s unlikely a white person will encounter a frohawk, a lobster roll, and/or a snail bun.3 These concoctions of kinky and curly can be as stunning as any work of art, but I’d urge anyone to refrain from showing their appreciation by probing with their fingers.
     For one, there are a number of mysterious hidden energies at play keeping that chunky crown twist together. Whether it’s shea butter, styling spray, or the Holy Spirit, the integrity of many a hairdo relies on being kept safe from white finger resin. Logistics of keeping a hairdo intact aside, science4 tells us that even casual touch can communicate startling degrees of social dominance and intimacy between two people. Outside of accepted codes of casual physical contact such as handshaking and fake hugging between celebrities on red carpets, too much touching can feel threatening to the recipient. Even though one might be filled with awe at the sight of a real-life twisted upknot, simmer. Consider what would happen if you did that at the Museum of Modern Art and the subject of your fascination was a Picasso. Simply by asking to touch the art, you would get confused and irritated looks from the security guards. Appreciation must come hand in hand with restricted use of said hands.

The “How Does She Do It?” Effect

Another source of curiosity when it comes to black hair is its uncanny ability to shape-shift. A white coworker might wonder with admiration, no less, how a black woman can come to work with a Halle Berry–style pixie cut one day and a shoulder-length blow-out the next. “How does she do it?” this hypothetical white coworker might say sotto voce. And while that’s a fair question, using your fingers to find the answer will only ensure that Sheryl5 in accounting will stop inviting you to lunch.
     In order to prevent well-meaning white hands from wandering into the headspace of secretly outraged black people, I will outline here exactly how “Sheryl” and every black woman does it.
     The truth is, black women are magic. All of them. Not just Angela Bassett in American Horror Story: Coven. The ability to transform curly hair into straight hair and brown into blond begins to manifest around age thirteen for most black girls. The no-lye relaxer product Just for Me! that’s marketed to children is really just a cover. Inside every box is an at-home study kit designed to teach young black girls how to control and manifest their burgeoning hair-shape-shifting abilities as they become women. It’s the black female version of what happens in Harry Potter when one of those sweet white children becomes old enough to learn to be a wizard.
     It’s not a great idea to ask a black person any direct questions about the aforementioned magic, as, generally, we are not allowed to speak on its origin. The consequences can be fatal, and I am risking everything I have to give you this information. While it may come at a cost to me and my family, I wanted you to know. The coexistence of the races is that important to me.
     I know some of you must be thinking, This is a preposterous and thinly veiled attempt to obscure the use of relaxers, weaves, and lace fronts. Trust me on this one: Unless she tells you otherwise herself, every black woman’s hair, though it may change dramatically from day to day in ways that defy nature, is absolutely her God-given, though possibly magically altered, hair. White people: Do not broach this topic. It doesn’t matter that you’ve seen the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair. Like your favorite movie Frozen suggests, “Let It Go.”

Not Getting Slapped

For some black people, being asked for permission to have their hair touched or, worse yet, having it touched by surprise elicits a viscerally negative reaction. We can’t help it. According to the theories of Carl Jung, which I vaguely remember skimming on Wikipedia, all of us have powerful genetic memories going back to our ancestors. Do not be surprised if a black person responds to a request to touch their hair by defiantly yelling out, “I AM KUNTA KINTE!” They are subconsciously recalling that scene in Roots when Geordi from Star Trek is being poked and prodded by a slave trader. Thus is the nature of genetic memory, probably.
     Even if images from made-for-TV slavery stories aren’t the first things that come to mind for the person on the receiving end of all of this curiosity, the feeling of being on display at, say, a petting zoo isn’t one anyone would want to feel at work, home, or play. Adding adorable phrases around the request doesn’t help either. Whether you’re saying, “Wow, that’s beautiful; may I?”; “Your little naps are so cute!”; or “Lower yo’ head, boy, so Massa can inspect you,” it all comes across, more or less, in the same way.
     There are, of course, some notable exceptions to this rule. In intimate relationships, for instance, it is natural and, in many cases, desirable for a white partner to run his or her fingers through and even pull a lover’s hair, whether it’s natural, short, cropped, or straightened via magic.

     The ultimate expression of this is when a black person asks a white partner to grease his or her scalp. If you’re on the receiving end of this request, try to fight the confusion that you will inevitably feel and recognize this request as the sacred honor that it is. You’ve reached the blackest state possible for any white person to reach. Much like enlightenment, it is a rare and oftentimes fleeting state of being. Savor it. And pray you can pull up that Mars Blackmon scene from She’s Gotta Have It on your mobile phone for instructions as you pretend to go to the restroom and look for a comb and some pomade.

Revue de presse

"Seeming to draw equal measures of inspiration from Whit Stillman and Spike Lee, but with his own tart, elegant sensibility very much in control, Mr. Simien evokes familiar campus stereotypes only to smash them and rearrange the pieces." (A. O. Scott The New York Times)

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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5 69 commentaires
26 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Hilarious, snarky, and teeming with witty behests. 4 octobre 2014
Par Calvin Joshua - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is the perfect post-summer read for any person trying to make sense of the race and culture altercations exploding in 2014's post-racial America. While some people may misjudge the book by it's cover (or title, to be exact), Simien presents a book that is more friendly and jocund than one would assume. It's like hanging out with that same buddy who's constantly ragging and roasting on you because of your personal flaws, which you were comfortably oblivious to. Sure, the author playfully ruffles feathers along the way, but as he posits early in the book, this is far from being a diatribe against white hipsters; DWP is like a guide to help all races come to understand the laughable and ridiculous nuances that play into race and race relations; it's a humorous learning kit on how NOT to offend someone.

UPDATE: Just saw the movie. This is DEFINITELY the perfect companion piece for the film. I highly encourage you to see this movie while it's still in theaters, and take a couple people with you. Read the book, and try to have a conversation about the characters and roles described in both mediums. I guarantee you, you'll walk away from both more enlightened about yourself and the variegating culture surrounding you.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This book is well written, witty, engaging, colorful, and incredibly honest. 13 juillet 2016
Par Marilyn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
In terms of education, I would recommend this book to white people who are NOT aware of their white privilege. However, in terms of the humor and content- I think everyone will enjoy this book. It's such a good read.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great book! Very humorous and food for thought 4 novembre 2014
Par Tiffany - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Great book! Very humorous and food for thought. The quizzes were funny. I just wish there was more. Hopefully there will be a sequel. At the end of the book I felt as though the author was just getting to the really good part...explaining racism and how it operates in the US. Can't wait to see the movie. Definetely recommend this book especially for teenagers. I think it is a unique way to discuss race.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I liked the movie and the book a lot 8 janvier 2015
Par Margaret - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I liked the movie and the book a lot. I am white and have many black friends (don't consider myself a hipster) and we all realize how far we need to go with regard to race relations in our country. Justin is doing a great service writing "Dear White People" and I agree, he should be one of Oprah's "favorites"!
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Should Be Given to Every White HS Student 26 décembre 2014
Par Kevin Lewis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Concise, funny, insightful, and entertaining, but not without a few sharp bites. I LOVED this book. African Americans have to be hyper-aware of white people and society when we melanin-challenged people have the privilege of ignorance of others. Wake up!
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