…Your Great Grandmo- ther would whip your ass! And if she didn’t, somebody else’s grandma might do it in her absence.
Comedian and Oscar award winner Monique, has a niche for grabbing the spotlight. She speaks boldly, and in some cases, out of order, but her citations are anything but ambivalent. This latest caveat set Black Twitter afire.
Monique was forthright with her admonishment of Black women who sport bonnets, headscarves, pajamas, and slippers in airports and other public places.
“When did we stop having pride in ourselves,” she asked. “When did we stop asking if we were presentable?”
The controversial celebrity admitted that being fully “made up” in heels was not an expectation. Black Twitter had very little sympathy. Most of those were vociferous in their opposition. However, all of the comments were gene- rational.
When police shootings began to go viral on social media, America learned about “The Talk.” Although discussing interactions with the police as a Black man or woman is paramount, it is just one of the “talks” most of us got.
Another part of “The Talk” prior to the Millenni- als and Gen Z, was that we have to be twice as good as White folks at everything just to get even, much less ahead.
Monique’s critique is a throwback to that era, and it has some merit.
Whenever we mentor young Black men, the subject of “presentation” comes up. Everyone has the freedom to choose. You just gotta be ready for the consequences.
The truth is that what White folks call wardrobes are more akin to costumes to Black people. We still can’t escape 400 years of racist misnomers and misrepresentations.
A Black man in a suit is a preacher. That same Black man in a tracksuit and tennis shoes is either a “star athlete” or a “jive-ass thug.” It depends on the quality of the outfit.
Monique was not alone in decrying some of the latest trends. The Wall Street Journal released a report two years ago that is parallel.
“While attending Mass at the University of Notre Dame last fall, Maryann White saw something that horrified her: leggings.
A group of young women, all clad in clingy Spandex and short tops, were sitting directly in front of her and her family.
“I thought of all the other men around and behind us who couldn’t help but see their behinds,” the self-described Catholic mother of four sons wrote in a letter to the editor that was published by the Observer, Notre Dame’s student newspaper, on Monday.
“My sons know better than to ogle a woman’s body — certainly when I’m around (and hopefully, also when I’m not). They didn’t stare, and they didn’t comment afterward. But you couldn’t help but see those blackly naked rear ends. I
didn’t want to see them — but they were unavoidable. How much more difficult for young guys to ignore them.”
Maryann White and Mo- nique are as far apart as they are close. Their call for a “standard” sounds archaic to Millennials, but it’s a Godsend to Baby Boomers. The “standard” in dress and demeanor is now in the cold war stage, but it could be warming up.
A local restaurant has some warnings on its website for potential patrons.
“ON OUR DRESS CODE: We consider hats, tank tops, flip flops, and team athletic attire too casual for our restaurant. If you’d like to wear a hat in our bar, we ask that it be worn traditionally.” Their website adds a few more guidelines, and this was one item that caught my eye.
“To minimize distractions to other guests, please take cell phone conversations out of seated areas, set devices to silent, and limit the use of laptops or tablets.”
Their warnings are wildly successful. It keeps out the people they want out and draws in the types of people they want. And frankly, Scarlet, I’m tired of hearing your bullshit phone conversations while I try to drown the day’s pain with a Margarita!
My daughters discussed this issue with me, and we agreed to disagree. It was a respectful dialogue. My argument is that Black America is 12% of the total population and dwindling. Given our history of oppression and a permanent minority status, we may need to talk.
Quit Playin’, if Grand- mother saw you in that airport, she would “pick a switch” just right for your derriere!
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.