Saturday, July 3, 2010
" . . . when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
One can hardly argue the point Dr. King was making here, specifically, humans have been granted certain basic rights and those rights should apply to everyone regardless of race, creed, color, or religion. In fact, King went so far as to list specific groups of people -- blacks, whites, Jews, etc. -- to leave no doubt that he meant everyone, EVERYONE, should be "free at last." But despite his efforts to the contrary, he did in fact overlook one group of Americans, the group that has undoubtedly suffered through generations of oppression, strife, prejudice, and ridicule.
I'm speaking of course about bald people, or as we prefer to be called, Shiny-Americans.
"Yeah, it's just been a little hectic. I've been pulling my hair out trying to get this paperwork finished."
Pulling her hair out? Oh, that's real nice, just throw it in my face, why don't you? Yeah, I get it, ha, ha, Chris, you don't HAVE any hair to pull out. Well, I'm going to remember this when it comes time to write her job evaluation, that's for sure.
And that sort of thing happens all the time. Someone will come into my office and say, "I'm just going to drop this on your desk and then I'll be out of your hair."
You insensitive asshole! Would you walk up to a quadriplegic and extend your hand for him to shake? Wave to Stevie Wonder across a crowded room? Have a deaf guy paged over the Dodger Stadium public address system? Of course not. But you'll have no problem telling a Shiny-American that you'll "be out of his hair in just a minute."
Here's another thing. When you hairy-headed freaks start whining about your "bad hair day," it makes me want to whack you across the forehead with a Louisville Slugger. Complaining to a Shiny-American about a "bad hair day" is like telling a starving Ethiopian kid that the porterhouse steak you had last night was a bit undercooked. At best, it's thoughtless. If you ask me, though, it's downright cruel. I'm going to say this one time, and I expect all of you to make a note of it: No day with hair is a "bad hair day." Appreciate what you have, for someday it may be gone.
Hairism has also found its way into the mainstream media. While civil rights activists have lobbied against racist caricatures like Aunt Jemima, the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" dog, and the Asian guy who did the Six Flags commercials, apparently no one has a problem with the most offensive stereotyping of Shiny-Americans ever perpetuated.
What, my head is shiny so that means I'm supposed to scrub your bathroom? My impeccable cranial hygiene makes me the perfect candidate to polish your kitchen counters? It's time to stop labeling people simply because of their hair (or lack thereof).
I am proud to be a Shiny-American, and refuse to conform to the expectations of the majority. I look with disdain upon products such as Rogaine, intended to make us feel like we must have hair if we are to be considered "whole." I will not wear a toupee, nor will I subject myself to mutilating surgery such as plugs or implants. I am a proud, strong, bald man and I will not be shamed into defacing my dignified dome.
It's time to to take a stand and fight for the rights of follically-impaired individuals everywhere. That's why I am declaring July to be National Bald History Month, so we can take time to appreciate the contributions that Shiny-Americans have made to our country. Great men like Dwight Eisenhower and James Garfield proved that you don't need gorgeous flowing locks to be elected President of the United States. The Blue Man Group showed how joining together with other bald people can lead to great success and acceptance. Michael Jordan became a successful athlete while overcoming two social obstacles, being a Shiny-American and also being very, very tall.
Bald History Month can be celebrated in a number of ways starting, of course, with a national holiday on July 11 in honor of Yul Brynner's birthday. In the Broadway musical The King and I, Mr. Brynner was one of the first stage performers to use his baldness as a trademark, paving the way for future Shiny-American actors like Telly Savalas, Patrick Stewart, Bruce Willis, and Elmer Fudd.
For those of you who have been blessed with a full head of hair, take a moment this month to connect with your Shiny-American friends. Tell them that you understand their plight, and maybe offer to help apply the sunscreen to the hard-to-reach spots on their noggins. Get to know the person underneath that gleaming melon, see him for who he is rather than as a target for tired old jokes.
And to my reflective-skulled brethren, I say this:
Let us not wallow in the valley of hair despair, I say to you today, my friends.
Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow and tolerate insulting names like "chrome-dome" and "cue ball", I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream.
I have a dream that one day this hair-obsessed nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day in the hair salons of West Hollywood, the sons of Shiny-Americans and the sons of hair stylists will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that my two children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the the lustrous hair which adorns their heads, but by the content of their character.
I have a dream.