Tag Archives: race relations Boston

Aw’ C’mon: Or How My Wanting to Cross Color Lines Wasn’t Always Taking Black People’s Concerns Into Consideration

10 Mar

white woman yelling black manAs I read Debby Irving’s Waking Up White, (review here) her account of “waking up” to how her own white privilege, and the greater societal systems created to give white people advantage over people of color, shaped her perceptions of race and the way she interacted across color lines, I couldn’t help but take a look at myself, and the actions and inactions I have made, or not made over the years. […]

On Raising Black Sons: A Reader Responds

25 Oct

A reader who goes by the handle Brown Cowgirl mosied on over to WJSS via my Black Twitter  article featured on The Root’s website recently, and graciously took some time to read more posts on my site.

She landed on one I wrote some time ago:  Black Beauty Back In The Day:  What I Learned From The Grown-Ups, and Interracial Marriage From A Five-Year-Old.

When I wrote the post about my time working in a black-owned beauty salon, which ends with a young black boy telling me “my mother told me to never marry a white woman,”  I could only imagine that his statement came from the place and time we were rooted in–1982 on the Boston/Roxbury line–a time rife with troubled race relations in a city notorious for its school busing crisis–a city divided across color lines.

I thought back then, and even when I posted this a year ago, that the boy’s mother was simply coming from a place of not wanting anything to do with white people. Brown Cowgirl’s beautifully rendered response enlightened me, gave me an “aha” moment, one that should have been obvious in a year filled with stop-and-frisk, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell, and getting arrested for shopping while black.  I also was reminded of my friend Kym’s talk during our interview on WJSS, about the way she felt she had to raise her son, the things she needed to tell him, things that white mothers didn’t have to consider telling their white sons.

I won’t say anymore.  I’ll let Brown Cowgirl tell her point of view.  I wish I could thank her by her real name. I did reach out (only very recently) by email to see if I could, but alas have not heard back from her yet.  Perhaps, one day, she’ll ride back out of the sunset, and reveal herself.  In the meantime, you can visit her blog at www.browncowgirl.com

Read on for Brown Cowgirl’s Response…. […]

Black Beauty Back In The Day: What I Learned about Jheri Curls From The Grown-Ups and Interracial Marriage From A Five-Year-Old

16 Apr

After my first year in college in Boston, (see my short memoir piece, What I Did For An “A”), I dropped out because I didn’t like the school, and I didn’t know what I wanted to major in.  In the fall of 1980, I returned to Boston to attend the esthetician school, Elizabeth Grady Face First.   Right after I finished the six-month course on facials and make-up artistry, I was lucky to land a job at my boyfriend’s friend’s uncle’s salon.  Now, that’s a mouthful.

Danny’s His and Her’s, was a black-owned salon, situated on Mass Avenue, among a strip of retail businesses, across from the beautiful grounds of Boston’s Christian Science Church. It was close to the border of Roxbury, a black urban neighborhood, yet not far from the more  white, upscale neighborhood of the Back Bay.  Danny’s represented a wide cross section of black Boston—with a clientele of upper class, white collar workers, blue collar workers and every one in between.

I can still remember the first time I entered the salon, as a young, nineteen year-old girl.  […]