More social genetics...

Rick Knight (
Tue, 05 Aug 97 09:59:40 CST

There must be some serious cultural differences going on here...

Prof. Gomes writes (and I have rephrased for clarity):

I repeat that the psychological external factor is important and lots
of blacks will love themselves and their lives more when they can
make genetic skin-hair-eyes treatment...they already try to
straighten their hair...

Rick Knight responds:

Having been raised in the south with parents who were, at least, by
default, racist and also having to spend most of my life carefully
deprogramming myself and make the distinctions of whatever inate
aversion I still have towards certain groups of people (usually
class-based), it is quite a sensitive issue to hear such gross
generalization about race. One such generalization is the assertion
that people of color "already try to straighten their hair". Hello?
Like we haven't been doing everything under the sun to our looks in
the predominantly white culture. The thing is, the cosmetics industry
has been catering to that majority for much longer. Only recently
have people of color had quality personal care products to alter their

The other statement that people of color will love themselves more
when they can alter their appearance also smacks of some programming.
That notion spans the breadth of western culture in all races where
they don't have to spend each day worrying about survival issues. If
those bases are covered, you start worrying about how to get
prettier/more noticeable/more clout. (For the genuine geek, that
means: how to get more gear <G>).

We're programmed to dislike our personal appearance in one capacity or
another. Hair texture/color, eye color, skin w/ wrinkles, w/ acne, in
need of a tan, flat stomach, prominant chest, you name it! That way,
a multi-billion dollar industry can keep its wheels spinning at a
feverish pitch.

And IF there are people of color who DO dislike themselves and the way
they look in this culture, it's likely because the majority has spent
several centuries chanting the mantra of them not being good enough in
some capacity. It wouldn't be hard for me to draw the connection
between the way I looked and the availability of prosperity to the
group to which I resembled.