File Under: Just Wrong


Many years ago I read Malcolm X’s essay about conking his hair. That’s the painful process in which black men “relaxed” their hair to make it look more like white men’s hair. This was essentially pouring hot lye on your head every time you got your hair cut. Malcolm X said black men and women did this because they had lost their identity. They wanted to look white but in actuality they only made themselves look foolish. It was one of the first real insights of my life. I know it sounds stupid but I’d never thought of it in those terms before.

Vaseline was part of that essay. You need to coat your head so the chemicals don’t burn your head. I remember looking at the jar that was in the medicine cabinet in a whole new way. Who knew that Vaseline was part of all that? Well the Anglo-Dutch skincare group Vaseline is back at it. They’ve launched a new application on facebook “Transform Your Face on Facebook” to promote Vaselines range of skin lightening products for men. It’s an app to make your face look whiter.

They actually used the term “pigment-o-cracy” in a press release. It’s marketed mostly at South Asia; the market for skin lightening products in India is about 500 million dollars. If you think that the gay handkerchief code is complicated, try the lexicon for paleness in Indian matrimonial advertisements. Am I wheaten or dusky or very fair? I remember dropping a friend who mentioned a pledge had been dropped from his frat because he failed the bag test. That was if you were darker than a brown paper shopping bag you were too black.

Malcolm X is disgusted.

Sangfroid's unabashed use of punctuation and grammar has made him a literary standout on the internet. A rising star in the urban/romance/horror/science fiction/Nancy Drew fiction market, Sangfroid is the talk of the local McDonald's. His dog actually ate the first page of his magnum opus "That Foggy Night" and compared it to other great works like the weekly circular for its absorbent qualities.


  1. catswiththumbs
    July 16, 2010 at 8:03 am

    What a revolting, juvenile concept . . . gotta go; off to the tanning booth.

    • sangfroid
      July 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm

      There’s an interesting section in Black Like Me when he’s dyed himself enough that getting a tan or staying out of the sun is the difference between passing as white or black. He comments that when he was white a tan always got compliments but as he darkened while Black the attitudes changed along with his skin shade.

  2. Acadia
    July 16, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Suddenly my “show me your tits” methods of determining who I associate with seems downright classy. Take that, Julia Louis Dreyfuss!

  3. loolpooq
    July 16, 2010 at 10:27 am

    this made me think of stephon marbury

  4. Patrick
    July 16, 2010 at 11:32 am

    And here I thought it was cool to have a nice golden brown tan.. truth is stranger than fiction..

    • sangfroid
      July 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm

      Where I grew up having a tan like that meant you were a working stiff. The guy with his shirt off was lower than the guy tanned to his elbows and the boss wore a tie.

  5. Penny
    July 16, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Women have been doing trying to achieve the ideal for centuries. no one seems to think permanents are wierd. or how about porcelana to bleach age spots etc.
    Agree with your decision to drop the friend.

    • Acadia
      July 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

      My brother got a perm and we are still making fun of him to this day.

      True story.

      • sangfroid
        July 16, 2010 at 9:09 pm

        Don’t scare penny she’s nice Acadia.

    • sangfroid
      July 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Penny. Thanks for figuring out who Sangfroid actually is. Acadia still hasn’t mastered that.

      I’ve always thought that perms were stupid. Women with grey hair can be pretty sexy too.

      You know what the funny thing about the frat was? It was a “black” frat one of the snobby end ones not the Omegas. The sororities were way worse too. No color line on working the door as a bouncer though.

      • Acadia
        July 16, 2010 at 9:12 pm

        What did I do?

        • sangfroid
          July 16, 2010 at 9:22 pm

          Wanted me to get eaten by a white tiger. Or was that Roy?

          • sangfroid
            July 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm

            just call me Chikuba and confuse everyone Acadia

  6. Jenny Beans
    July 16, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I read about Malcolm X cooking his hair. OWCH. Vaseline is the devil

    • sangfroid
      July 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      Hey it’s worth reading again. I can’t imagine doing that or reading the dictionary to educate myself.

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