Political correctness and cultural sensitivity done wrong


Each and every Sunday during the football season, the twitterverse erupts into maelstrom of commentary surrounding Pam Oliver's hair/hat/weave/wig. Pam Oliver is a sports commentator who handles sideline interviews for the NFL on the Fox network. She also does NBA work for TNT. On any given Sunday the hashtag #PamOliversWeave is usually trending or close to trending. 

And each Sunday people line up into different camps - those who don't want to hear any more about her hair, folks who are appalled that she can't seem to get it right and/or tight, and folks who are mortally offended that instead of lauding her for longevity and skill in the business, the woman has been reduced to witty punchlines about her hair.

I like Pam. She's a Dallas girl who has made her way in a malecentric industry for over 20 years. That's definitely to be commended. You rarely hear about Pam getting out of pocket with the players (as others are wont to do) or using her femininity to play the 'look at me' card (again, I shan't name names). I respect her position, hustle and longevity.

However, this is not a Gabby Douglas thing. Gabby is a teenaged gymnast. As long as she sticks the landing, I don't care what's going on about her head. Pam is 51, not 18 and she chose a profession where unfortunately, your looks do matter. Yesterday's outrage about the attacks on Pam's often regrettable do went over the top. The lectures on respecting a woman's craft as opposed to her looks - okay. The rant about tearing down a black woman and destroying the fabric of black unity - hold up. 

If Pam were a newspaper reporter, I wouldn't care what she looked like. Are we really being so politically correct and culturally sensitive that we can't admit when a sister looks a hot mess? C'mon now, Pam has been on camera with maroon/blonde streaks, pieces sticking out at unfortunate angles, low quality hair that doesn't look to have been manufactured on this planet, waves not seen in nature, it's been quite a hair journey for her. She's an "on-air" personality. She is held to a higher standard and I personally would like her to do better. [For the record, let me note that yesterday her hair was the least tragic I've seen in a while] 

This is my issue with "Black Twitter" (yes, I know not a monolith but stay with me)... every single thing under the sun is up for debate, dissection and criticism usually with a tinge of racial outrage attached. I haven't even seen Django yet and over 100 people have tried to tell me how to feel about it. I haven't seen Lincoln yet and I already feel some kinda way. 

I've had folks come at me for calling Obama "Obeezy" because it's "disrespectful" and "obvious Ebonics" - um no, I contributed to his campaign, I worked in his organization, I think all can agree I've repped Prez 44 hard. Now, if I called him Obeezy to his face while wearing blackface, tap-dancing and eating watermelon - that would be something to get up in arms about. Perspective, people. 

I announced how excited I was to watch the premiere of Downton Abbey and I got a few "oh me toos" but was barraged with a flurry of "there are no Black People in that!" and "I didn't know Black People really watched that" tweets. I'm sorry, I can't find it in my heart to criticize a show about early 1900's abbey life in England where no black people were present. It's different if it's a show about a coffee shop in Midtown Manhattan in the 1990's. Black people should at the very least pass through the place. Downton Abbey? Not so much. 

As long as I'm talking about political correctness and cultural sensitivity, please don't email/tweet/FB me any more outraged reminders about Shawty Lo's new reality show on one of those channels that only plays reality shows and reruns. @ItweetDaFif actually had to tell me who the hell Shawty is and explain that he has 10 baby mommas. Certainly, I weep for America that this is considered acceptable programming. But this is what we've wrought. It's too late to petition a channel to stop showing hot mess when the last 19 hot mess shows they've aired have gotten stellar ratings. The appetite for ratchet regurgitated reality is out there. Might as well get ready for a reality show with Hologrammed Tupac and Biggie on tour to air on MTV next. 

Listen, Pam's hair can be awful without it being cause for a march or petition or bloggers' panel. Shawty Lo's show is the 3rd generation Flava of Love - deal with it or don't tune in. Either way... calm down.

I've wandered around some points when what I really want to say is - dear social media enthusiasts, it's really okay if you don't choose sides and debate every.freaking.thing to death. Sometimes I get exhausted trying to keep up with the next thing I'm supposed to be enraged about. Life is too short to be this polarized. Especially about hair. Thoughts, comments, insights?