Went to the Barbershop Today

When one engages in a discussion about the various typologies that are defined by physical characteristics, one cannot pass on the obvious: physical shape, hair texture, nose, and facial structure. The period historians have assigned with the title Enlightenment gave rise to a new form of racial categorizations: Negroids, Mongoloids, and Caucasoid were assigned to different racial and cultural groups. Blacks have long been associated with a particular hair type.

Black hair has long been linked to political and social developments. For example, while in the barbershop today, I was on the phone with a friend who is white; she asked me how she would feel being in an all black barbershop; I told her she would like it. Sure, broken English is the norm rather than the exception. Hearing brothers argue about sports, race, politics, and da club is expected. Chatting about life with the brother cutting your hair is the joy of waiting. Yes — I mean it when I say waiting.  Among black folks, the term CP Time has value. Due to the anthropological nature of the black barbershop, the concept of time tends to escape black people. Thus, one of the rules about going to black barbershop is that you do not ask “how long will it take?” The barbershop is a place to chill and be cool; it is to black folks what the Bohemian bar or coffee shop is to other groups. It rejects the concept of status and elitism. A sense of unity is pervasive among those in the shop. Because person X has a college degree and attended a very good high school has no meaning, since other people there might not have graduated from high school. Pretentiousness has no value in the barbershop.

Check out this clip from Barbershop 2. You will get an idea.


10 thoughts on “Went to the Barbershop Today

  1. Man – you have been on a blogging roll these last couple of days!

    I love that movie.

    When I go to get my hair cut, I don’t get a chance to chat about “about sports, race, politics, and da club.” I’m jealous…

  2. I still remember how confused I was a few years back when a black guy I played basketball with told me he’s be at the barber shop all day. I’ve always been in and out in less than an hour all my life. I just couldn’t believe then that a guy with very little hair to begin with could take so long getting it cut…

  3. Dillon — I will take you to where the brothers get a cut. They love giving white guys a cut. Better yet, the white guys love getting a cut there. As for the blogging roll, this could be it for a few days. I smell finals coming.

    Chris – You need to join Dillon and I. You will go mad waiting.

    Walker — it is cultural and silly how many hours brothers and sisters spend in a barbershop.

  4. I talk about all that stuff with my hair lady.

    I gotta ask, though: were you on the phone while you were waiting, or while you were actually getting your hair cut?

    And just blow finals off. All the cool kids are doing it. I like the frequent posts. 🙂

  5. the beauty shop is similar. . . only we talks about folks, too! While talking about politics, men, church and everything else in between, I get a nice and shiny hairdo. However, I’ve learned to make that 3-4 hours productive by grading papers. I’ve been skipping out on the Beauty Shop lately, so thanks for reminding me why I REALLY go! 😉

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