Thursday, December 10, 2009

WTF moment of the day

The New York Times has a special gift guide for people of color.

I am 95 percent offended at the concept of this guide to gospel cruises and products for "problem hair."

Five percent of me wishes that I were of hispanic origin because those "Wise Latina" t-shirts are pretty awesome.

CC

10 comments:

Paul said...

Is it possible that people of color as a whole might be more interested in gospel cruises than others? Is it possible that people of color might have more complex hair issues than others?

Chalicechick said...

It seems to me that if a person of color who is your friend likes gospel cruises, you would know that they might like gospel cruise tickets without having to read it in a guide and thus have no se for a guide.

Presumably, the person who NEEDS a guide for buying presents for people of color is someone who needs to buy a present for a person of color whom they don't know very well. Such a giver would be ill-advised to spring for gospel cruise tickets just because their intended recipient is a person of color.

As for the hair products, in general it's rude to give a gift that implies a problem in the giver. If you don't see giving 'problem hair' products as a problem, you probably also need to be told that diet pills, dating service memberships and acne cures are similarly verboten.

CC
who wouldn't turn down gospel cruise tickes herself, actually, and has problem hair, but it's a different problem that products made for African American hair are unlikely to cure

PG said...

"it's not hard to find gifts created for and by"

I think some of this is about supporting POC who are producing most of these goods and services.

And the blurb about the product for "problem hair" says that it's for "kinky, wavy and curly hair," which covers a lot of ethnicities: I have that hair, Jewish girls often have that hair, apparently Dickey himself had an Irish-fro (according to the linked article). I've definitely struggled with hair issues and I currently get my hair cut only once or twice a year because the salon I found that is curly hair-friendly charges $75 per cut. If someone who's close to me and knows about my hair issues (my sisters, mom, closest girlfriends -- especially if they have similar issues, as many of them do) got me that, I would appreciate it.

As for gospel cruises, I never knew there was such a thing, and while I don't know anyone who likes gospel cruises as such, I do know someone who loves gospel music and who I think would enjoy a cruise. So being notified of the existence of gospel cruises might be useful.

I think the list is silly (OMG is "Ash Kumar’s Bollywood Henna Kit" not actually for South Asian people) but it does not offend me.

hsofia said...

I don't consider my hair to be a problem, and I don't think the guy who made the Hair Rules does either, but the NYT blurb was poorly worded. In any case, I might buy that Hair Rules and see if it works to keep my hair from frizzing up so much when it dries. Sometimes I want the frizz (when I want the 'fro look), but other times I don't want the frizz.

hsofia said...

I don't consider my hair to be a problem, and I don't think the guy who made the Hair Rules does either, but the NYT blurb was poorly worded. In any case, I might buy that Hair Rules and see if it works to keep my hair from frizzing up so much when it dries. Sometimes I want the frizz (when I want the 'fro look), but other times I don't want the frizz.

Chalicechick said...

Gospel Cruises are what dinner cruise boats are doing some Sunday mornings. It's a brunch with live gospel music that sails around for a couple of hours. I got a little bit into gospel music this summer when I took a "gospel sing-along" class and wouldn't turn one down.

If the gospel cruise showed up on a gift guide for things to give, say, music lovers, I wouldn't mind a bit. I just think there's something hinky about saying "Jeanette is black, so I should use a PoC gift guide to figure out what to give her" as opposed to thinking about Jeanette is a person and finding something else (such as a love of music) as the basis of a gift.

CC

hsofia said...

Yeah, I don't think anything on that list is really a good "gift" idea. These might be things to buy yourself, but seriously ... who gives cruises? This would have worked a lot better if it had just been an article about services and products offered by POC-owned companies. Most gift guides are just stupid, and this one is no exception.

PG said...

These might be things to buy yourself, but seriously ... who gives cruises?

My husband sent his parents on an Alaskan cruise this year as sort of a big "all of this year's presents in one" gift. I'd probably send my parents on a dinner cruise.

However, if you're operating under CC's assumption that this is a gift guide for people whom you don't actually know very well -- indeed, of whom the main thing you know is that they are POC -- then I agree it's unlikely you would fork out the money to buy that person a cruise. Particularly the Radio One Love Gospel Cruise 2010mentioned in the guide, which is multi-day and starts at $1000 per person.

Chalicechick said...

My guess is that the primary reasons one would use a gift guide are:

1. Not knowing the person well and not having much in common. (E.g. I don't have kids, so I might not know what a six-year-old boy would want for Christmas.)

2. Not knowing what's appropriate. (e.g. How nice a gift is my coworker expecting?)

3. Having given the same person dozens of gifts and being truly out of ideas. (Seems weird to me, but not impossible I suppose.)

CC

PG said...

3. Having given the same person dozens of gifts and being truly out of ideas. (Seems weird to me, but not impossible I suppose.)

It may just be a difference in how one approaches holiday gift-giving. I admit that I read those things about "The Best Gifts for Your Husband," even though I (1) know him pretty well, I'd hope; (2) know what's appropriate; but just am looking for inspiration. Maybe they'll have an idea that I wouldn't. Though the ones oriented toward suburban sports-obsessed dads -- get him a BBQ set or a pair of tickets to a big game or something for his car -- are f*cking useless. I think for Valentine's Day I'm going to take up a suggestion I saw online and treat him to a burlesque show. Even if you get an idea from someone else, you still have to make the judgment of whether it's appropriate for the individual.