Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WTF of the Week: A Washington Post Article on Struggling Black Salons

Dear Washington Post:

Um, I guess you thought that when you cross-posted a Philadelphia Inquirer article on the recession's impact on Black salons, you believed that you were doing a major service to your Black female readers.  Wrong.

What we got were lines of lazy journalism about Black women's salon-going habits.  I definitely found some of the characterizations offensive.  For example:

"Anyone can get that straight, full-bodied look by going to multicultural salons. ...But some think that the barrier-breaking salons will not only remove money from the African American community, but also rob black women of a cultural experience.  ...They are likely to miss out on experiences that are special to their culture. Certainly, they won't be in an environment that caters solely to their unique needs. Outside a black salon, women might miss getting the latest DVDs or fish dinners from vendors who stop by." (emphasis added)

Ghetto.  Trifling.  Nonsense.

Stereotyping Black salons for pageviews should be beneath your journalistic standards.  Also, did the Post happen to run this past any Black editors?  Obviously not.  I double-dog dare the dimwit that approved this article to ask the fabulous Robin Givhan about the fish dinners served at her salon.  S/he might get pimp-slapped by fashion.

Did you think that simply because the author is black, it made her an authority on trends in Black hair care?  There were a number of gross generalizations.  For instance, why does she believe that "most black women go every two weeks" to the salon?!!  Really?  Ask a group of Black women with relaxers or locs how often they stop by the salon, and you'll find that this isn't the case.  It's also obvious that some of the trends she reports, like Black former salon owners going to work in what she termed as "mainstream" (read White) salons, were unique to her city.  The article just didn't ring true for your DC Metro audience.
In conclusion, whenever you feature an article on issues that matter to Black women, we expect you to follow the same standards you'd use when you write about White women in Chevy Chase.  Or McLean.  Or Georgetown.  You get my point.


  1. Speak on my sister! The Washington Post really should be ashamed of this article. Really? NONE of the salons that I've been to have bootleg DVD's or fish dinners......

  2. Wow. That was ignorant. Thanks for posting dear!

  3. Wow! "Gross generalization" is right. As if there are no upscale, high class salons where vendors wouldn't dare "stop by." Also, how is "missing out" on fish dinners and bootleg DVDs "robbing" black women of our "cultural experience?" *Rolls eyes*

    Great post!