No, I do not want a random picture of a Caucasian female with type 2a hair in my article for CURLY HAIR, and yes it IS a big deal.
You’re brand new to the curly girl hair routine. You don’t even know what a denman brush is, or its importance in maintaining your coily curls. You find an article on curly hair and see a brush for blow drying. Now, you’re left with utter confusion because as a girl transitioning, or in the curly hair method, you know to stay away from heat. Too much heat can cause heat damage which ruins the texture of your hair, so why are they showing me this brush for curly hair?
Take the opposite audience.
Imagine you know what a Denman brush is and you’re just searching for some articles that talk about curly hair. You see an article pop up, and the two things in front of you, besides words, are pictures depicting a white woman with straight/wavy hair and a blowout brush.
I wanted to talk about curly hair, specifically the use of a Denman brush in a curly hair routine. Some curlies love it and others hate it so I wanted to talk about why I love the Denman brush. Talking to others about curly hair helps them with their own curly hair because everyone has different hair types that require different methods. The curly hair method has just gained popularity now that people are starting to embrace their natural hair texture, myself included. Talking about curly hair was a taboo, until now.
That was my first ever article.
But when the article came out, I was surprised AF. The article is about a Denman brush, yet the picture posted was one of those Revlon 360 round brushes you use ONLY to blow out your hair. Now, if you’re new to the method, staying away from heat is a must because it ruins your hair texture. To make matters worse, a photo of a girl, with what was basically straight hair, was added in an article CLEARLY written about curly hair.
I was upset as hell and I went straight to the leader of this publication.
I wrote out my beliefs in a polite, professional way and the response I got back made me feel worse than before.
I got a careless apology that refused to take responsibility for what had happened (claiming they weren't aware of who added the pictures), as well as an excuse of a limited photo pool. I won't argue the limitation, but there were steps and alternatives to putting an accurate representation that was ignored and wasn't considered (like reaching out to me and asking me how I felt/what I wanted to do).
And no, truthfully I do not want to hear about if they cried over the situation or if they felt terribly.
Instead of owning faults and admitting they’re wrong, a lot of folks put me, and so many other people of color, into a position where we now need to feel sad or guilty for them, and I am TIRED. MF TIRED.
I do not care about what role they played, but if you play a role it needs to simply be acknowledged.
Just apologize and go about your day. Do not play the victim. Minorities are the ones that reap the consequences of these racial microaggressions. The last thing we need is to feel bad about how confronting the problem makes SOMEONE ELSE feel. We shouldn’t have to consider someone else’s feelings when we’re the ones hurt the most.
I felt dismissed. I felt disrespected. I felt hurt.
There were three options for those who chose to misconstrue my article.
1. Omit the picture.
2. Add the picture regardless.
3. Consult the goddamn author.
They chose to carelessly add the picture despite the repercussions that it might have on me. The only person who would suffer is ME even though I just wrote something I was passionate about.
I was dismissed. The words I articulated were dismissed. Every goddamn thought was dismissed. And I constantly ask why?
Is it because the topics I’m writing about are “unknown to the masses”? Do they not deserve to be paid any attention to? Is it because representation is difficult to find so it just doesn’t matter? Is it because slapping on two pictures—that are completely irrelevant—were thought to have no effect?
Or maybe, just maybe, it had to do with the microaggressions that minorities are faced with every single goddamn day. And if you think I’m being O.D then clearly you might be blessed with the type of privilege that I have never even tasted.
A picture says a 1,000 words, right?
Now, wtf do you think that says about me?
Myself as a black and latina woman?
They say I don’t know wtf I’m talking about, and that’s disrespectful in its own right.
I know for damn sure other people of color are going through the SAME situation in a different matter.
At first I was confused because I didn’t know if my feelings were valid. Was that microaggression? The first thing I did was talk to another friend of mine who is a person of color. By doing so I realized what I went through is a form of microaggression. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, reach out to friends or family and tell them what’s going on. Your feelings ARE valid and your words deserve to be heard. Nothing will change unless we all speak about the situations that happen in our everyday life. That is how we make progress.