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Tony Gentry

Tiptoeing with Scissors: Verbatim Chat with My Barber

Updated: May 17

Did you hear that thing the President’s daughter said, about how he does this whole ice cream cone twirl or something to pull hair up on his head so it doesn’t look so bald?

I did. It’s all the talk in here. We call it the comb over of the gods.

How about the spray tan and the eye goggles? What’s he trying to prove?

Well I don’t know.  One thing with this President. He’s the only one came in and he’s doing what he said he would do. They don’t know how to control him.

He is mixing it up. I just wish. People are so angry now. I just wish everybody could stop fighting over every little thing. Seems like the first word out of people’s mouths these days, it’s a fight.

Not like the one before. He tried to change everything, but they’re fixing that now. They say racist. Black people are more racist than white people.

How is that? I don’t hear about black people going into white churches killing people. Black cops shooting white people in the back.

Oh it happens. They just don’t put it on the news. And look at this. You’ll never see a black person let a white stylist do their hair. I can do black hair. I wasn’t taught to do process, but I can do weaves, but nope, not a one.

But have you ever seen a white woman go to a black hair salon?

They can’t do white hair! That’s why.

Funny, it seems like it’s churches and barber shops that are the most segregated things these days.

Oh you don’t touch a black woman’s hair!

Did you see that Chris Rock movie about that? Before I saw that movie, I never knew what a weave was! Now I see them everywhere.

Oh yeah, and some of ‘em wear wigs! You don’t touch a black woman’s hair!

It’s like these old white ladies you do perms for, isn’t it?

It is. Sit up in bed to sleep, so you’re hair won’t go flat.

What’s going to happen to the hair salon business when the old women die and perms and blue rinses go out of style?

Oh, I’ll be retired on a beach by then. Most of my big jobs these days are streaks and hair colors. The younger ones don’t want to see a gray hair.I just don’t see why they have to call themselves African American. You’re either American or your African, make up your mind. Or go back to Africa. But the African countries won’t have ‘em. If you’d even want to go back to such a place.

Donny, seriously? Do you remember, growing up, it was colored? And then black?

And before that it was Negro.

I went to a show at the science museum a few years ago that taught me a lot. Learned that this whole idea of categorizing people by the color of their skin was invented right here in Virginia back in the 1600s. When slavery started here. Before that, in Europe, skin color was not a racial category. They had prejudice. Mostly around religions. But they didn’t recognize race like we do now.

If you say so. I just wish we could all get along. Mind our own business. All lives matter is what I think.

We’ve got a long way to go to get there.

We do. You want your eyebrows done?

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