I owe someone an apology. I have never met her. However, over the years, I have found myself making statements about her that have not been very nice.
Behind the humor, big smile and bubbly personality is a sensitive and compassionate woman who turns her head every time she passes an 18-wheeler carrying pigs or chickens on the highway. That compassionate side of me gave me a nice reality check earlier this week. On Sunday, while I was out and about, I checked in on Twitter to see what was trending. I immediately saw that Pam Oliver’s name was trending and thought to myself, “Anytime she is trending, it is never a good thing” I was correct. The usual slander was about the usual topic: her hair. When I arrived at a friend’s house later we discussed the topic and if I recall correctly, I remember saying, “I wish she had some girlfriends who would be honest with her about her hair.” Oh Kass. Smh.
It was not until the very next day that what I said started to bother me. I have commented on her hair for years. Then it hit me. I was essentially doing the same thing I felt Rob Parker did to RG3 a few weeks ago, tearing a person down instead of lifting them up. It was not a good feeling. Had I not learned anything from the Gabby Douglas hair controversy? It was not a good feeling. Then it dawned on me and I had that “ha ah” moment. Had I ever stopped to think that maybe the reason she had not changed her hair is because she likes it? I remember when I made the decision to stop getting relaxers and let my hair revert back to its natural state, there were people who expressed their dissatisfaction in my decision. Yes, my decision. Some of the comments were hurtful but for the most part I was not concerned about what others thought I should do to my hair. IT IS MY HAIR!!!
The slander directed at Oliver has been happening for years and with the emergence of social media, it has only gotten worse. While I would think the comments, to some extent, have been hurtful, she seems to be very confident in who she is and how she chooses to wear her hair. Ultimately, that is all that matters. Instead of focusing on trivial things, we should be focused on cheering her on. She was an all-American in track in college. She is a graduate of FAMU. She is also one of three(I think) black women reporting from the sidelines in major sports. Her employer and former employers seem to not be phased by her hairstyle and neither should we. That is irrelevant. She should not be torn down because she does not conform to a stereotype. She is a pretty woman. She is great at what she does. She has worked her way up the ranks and should be celebrated for that.
From this point forward, I vow to be more conscientious of my words.
I hope that someway, somehow this letter reaches her so she knows that for all those that are tearing her down, there are thousands more lifting her up.
Ms. Pam, I am sorry. Keep doing what you do so well. You are a trailblazer and I thank you for carving out a path for women like myself to follow. YOU ROCK!
Until next time…TOODELLS!