June 9, 2011
Jun 9, 2011 | Issue: 898 | No Comments | 1,196 views

LETTER OF THE WEEK: FUNKY WHITE BOY

Regarding “Brush Up Your Style” (Body & Soul, May 20): Regarding Howard’s advice to “Afro-Caribbeans” to “keep it tight or grow it out proud and big”, I suggest he confine his advice to a realm in which he has personal experience—specifically, styles appropriate for straight hair. One with “Afro-Caribbean” (too long—let’s just use “black”) of any appreciable length is left with three choices: allowing it to lock up naturally (“dreads”), brushing and combing it every day to remove tangles, or processing it (straightening, relaxing, etc.). More so in Japan (the land of cubby holes) than other places, having dreadlocks means that one is either working in the entertainment business (musician, dancer etc.); working in the entertainment district (Roppongi); or permanently on vacation. If one and attached hair coincidentally happen to fall into one of these categories then it is what it is. But for those whose professions happen to fall outside of these very narrow margins, having long natural hair can be a bane.

I cannot recall accurately the number of times that I’ve fielded negative comments about my dreaded (yet short) hair at work, while my straight-haired counterparts turned up to work with hair three times as long and dyed an unnatural color, boasting about the fact that they don’t even brush it in the morning. So am I to understand now that if long hair doesn’t work for a person of my heritage, the only way to look fashionable is to “keep it tight”? I can only assume this phrase means that I am to keep my hair low and, most likely, “mark” around the hairline, lest I walk around “looking like J.J. from Good Times”, as your eloquent “reporter” points out. Otherwise, my appearance would not be modern.

It’s bad enough that black hair is overly scrutinized or stereotyped in the workplace (and in Japan). Now there’s advice from one white guy to another about what non-whites should do with their hair to be considered cool by everybody else.

It must be nice to live in a world where one’s natural appearance is what is considered “clean,” “professional” and “modern,” while those of differing genetic disposition require specific instructions to look acceptable.

Metropolis should be ashamed for printing those couple lines of drivel. The only redeeming factor is that no “Afro-Caribbeans” will follow this inane advice.
—abolishingtheold


HI, ROBOT

Hej Metropolis, I thought you might like this new project: 25 robots totally lost, depending on the goodness of people to make their way home. As a part of the Voltfestival, 25 specially manufactured robots invaded central Stockholm and central Uppsala on May 7, 2011. The robots can do nothing but go forward, but they are very cute and they carry signs saying, “Help! We are lost. Please lead us to the Voltfestival”. We trust people to pity the robot and to help them to their destination. We often think of robots made to help humans—but still we fear them. But these robots need our help and they have much more reason to fear humans. It’s the goodness of people that make them fulfill their tasks, not any advanced CPU, GPS or AI.
—Håkan Lidbo

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