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It is not wrong to be a maid, or even a Latina maid, but there is something very wrong with an American entertainment industry that continually tells Latinas that this is all they are or can ever be.
My grandmother was a maid in Cuba; my biological grandfather was her employer. My father, never claimed by his bio-dad, was a janitor when he first began working in the United States, as a teen immigrant. My father went on to get his PhD, sort of a real-life Good Will Hunting, and became a leading sociologist. He raised me to believe in myself and my voice; I went to Columbia, and I’m a bestselling author Tom Wolfe called one of the most important social critics of our time.
We don’t see stories about people like me or my dad. Indeed, network executives say to my face that I don’t exist. That’s the problem.
So Bcbgrl33 recently posted an article on my FB timeline about the “You CAN Touch My Hair” Event in New York, where a bunch of Black women with signs allowed complete strangers to come up and stick their fingers in their natural hair.
Now…I’m not knocking these women. Their bodies, their decisions – that’s what it’s all about. If that’s what they really want, good for them. Personally, for me, it screams “petting zoo” and I’m already bracing for the next time someone wants to ask me about my hair or touch it without my permission. See, “certain” people have trouble seeing blacks as individuals and won’t be able to differentiate between these black women, and your average black woman who’s willing to mail your hand back to you if you touch her hair without permission.*
The bottom line is in the larger scheme of things Zimmerman is powerless. Yes, today with all the emotions surrounding this case, he symbolizes injustice and hopefully he’s convicted and punished. But again just like the OJ trial didn’t end police terrorism in LA or systemic racism in the department. A Zimmerman conviction will not change policies like Stop and Frisk or even Stand Your Ground..It wont stop the people and organizations like ALEC that are behind those laws.. It won’t change the attitude of police who we saw just last week in Florida who feel they have a right to choke 14 year old boy holding a puppy in front of his mother because they didn’t like the ‘dehumanizing’ look given to them..Read about that HERE.
This Zimmerman trial has the potential to be a stepping stone to major changes, but that’s only if we follow-up and don’t make the mistake of thinking the movement to end injustice ends with a Zimmerman conviction.