Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but what about the heart?
Someone posted a link to this picture on Facebook today. It was posted in a group that I had never visited with the following caption: “What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you see this pic?” I immediately reacted with admiration for the gorgeous natural hair these ladies have. However, most of the comments posted in response to this image expressed a sickeningly different perspective. I read comments including everything from harsh insults about their hair, to insults about their weight, various uses of the ‘N’ word, and many other racially and sexually offensive attacks on the character of these women – all in response to a picture. I quickly realized the picture was posted in a crass group whose goal it was to invite rude comments, but the hatred expressed by more than two hundred posters was really triggering for me.
Now obviously my view, as a not-so-thin African American woman with afro-textured hair, is quite biased. I’m not suggesting that everyone should have expressed love and admiration for the picture. And in all honestly, I can see how some of the negative comments may be fair game – hey everybody’s got a preference. But the deep-seated animosity I read went far beyond simple preference. Those comments made the increasingly popular view that we’re living in a post-racial America just laughable. Heck, we’re not even in a post-gender America yet. So here’s my question, which put it all in perspective for me: If one’s heart has been hardened and filled with hateful or ignorant attitudes towards a certain race, gender, body type or even a texture of hair, is it even possible for that person to really recognize beauty in or respect others’ appreciation for any representation of the above mentioned aspects? My vote would be no, because unless there’s a true change of heart, they don’t even know any better. What is yours?