Apparently, wearing an Afro wig as my (crappily) rapping alter ego, Ms. Crazy Papers, is racist.
That is, according to the majority of the commentors at Before and Afro. It has to do with the appearance of caricaturing Black features and appropriating racial traits that aren't ours (as White folks) to possess.
Or something like that.
Like the blog author, I view wearing my 'fro wig as an expression of what I really like about Black culture. The attitude, the sass, the unapologetic, Here I am!
Unlike the blog author, I live in the White Capital of the World, so the fact that so many Black people find a White woman wearing an Afro wig offensive has never come up.
As I've written before, I grew up in racially mixed areas. We moved a lot and in a couple schools I attended, Whites were the minority. And I always felt comfortable. That I belonged there. I was accepted. I wasn't prejudiced; I was "real"; I could sing, and I was "thick".
In other words, I was down. (Check out my white girl "fade".)
And I still feel that way.
But I probably don't appear down to folks, since I've been living a very suburban lifestyle in a very Caucasian part of the country for many years.
This cultural juxtaposition is amusing to my White friends, something that I occasionally play up by wearing an Afro wig. I really didn't know that it was a faux pas. An incidence of cultural vampirism. That wearing an Afro wig as a White woman was, in fact, evidence that I was not as down as I had thought.
Other than taking Nature Boy and his friends trick or treating in our subdivision last year, I'd never worn my 'fro wig anywhere but at home. This Halloween, I impulsively vowed on Facebook to wear my 'fro all day. In the car. To a jewelry store. To that bastion of Whiteness, the "country Walmart".
And I was surprised to find that I was really uncomfortable.
For the first time, wearing my wig felt wrong. I felt like I was misrepresenting myself as a racist. To the people who know me, who've called me "the blackest white person" they know, the wig was funny and appropriate. It was an outward representation of the inner me. But to people who don't know me, it most likely appeared that I was making fun of Black people.
That was already on my mind before reading the blog post (and the resulting angry comments) at Before and Afro. Since I am now aware of the offense, Flo the 'fro is going into retirement.
"What?" you say. "No mo' Flo?!"
But you know what?
I'm bad enough without her.