The two features that have been used to most identify the Afrikan race has been our hair texture and skin color. Our broad noses and thick lips have been addendum. Over the centuries we have been taught to despise these features, initially by our enslaver/oppressor, and then by ourselves, especially the "Colored elite" that grew from the “miscegenation” of enslavement. The standards of beauty adopted by us as a people were those of the mulatto, not the white race. We like curly hair, not straight hair, we want to be brown-skin not white-skin.
Along came Dr. Kenneth Clarke's doll test, which was so powerful that it helped to dismantle Jim Crow. It was used in the Brown vs Board of Education case to illustrate the devastating effect of "separate but equal education" on black children. This took place in the 1950's, which was also a period in which Afrikan American women and black men use to straighten their hair. The first commercial hair straightening chemical was discovered by Garret Morgan, and not Madame C.J. Walker, as many folks have erroneously thought. However, before then most of our folks made their own homemade straightening kits by mixing together lye, eggs, and potatoes. Women called their "processed" hair, perms, while men called theirs, conks, short for congolene, which was the name of the lye-based gel that straightened the hair. Afrikan American men wore the conk from the 1920s until the 1960s. Enter, the Black Power movement, when black became beautiful and the Afro or "natural" became a popular symbol of African pride. Even James Brown who was inseparable from the conk, briefly sported a 'fro.
We assumed that the results of the Black Revolution were here to stay, after all when does a revolution experience reversion--the neolithic, commercial, green, industrial, and all other revolutions are still here. But the color-line and hair issues are evident in this century just as they were in the last. In terms of skin color, black still has to stay back! Brown can stick around. It the paper bag test were administered to the top black entertainers, they would all pass. As the above video demonstrates, skin color prejudice is a factor that cuts across racial lines. And though hair texture has escaped the purview of the various doll tests, it remains a factor in our communities. I have posted a second video that I believe touches on our hair pathology. What do you think?