riencewhen I say of any black man who conks today, or any white-wigged black woman, that if they gavethe brains in their heads just half as much attention as they do their hair, they would be a thousandtimes better off.
pecially admiredsome of them, like Lionel Hampton and Sidney Poiter, among others, is that they have kept theirnatural hair and fought to the top. I admire any Negro man who has never had himself conked, orwho has had tYou'll see the conk worn by many, many so-called "upper-class" Negroes, and, as much as I hate to sayit about them, on all too many Negro entertainers. One of the reasons that I've eson't know which kind of self-defacing conk is the greater shame-the one you'll see on the heads ofthe black so-called "middle class" and "upper class," who ought to know better, or the one you'll see on the heads of the poorest, most downtrodden, ignorant black men. I mean the legal-minimum-wageghetto-dwelling kind of Negro, as I was when I got my first one. It's generally among these poor foolsthat you'll see a black kerchief over the man's head, like Aunt Jemima; he's trying to make his conk lastlonger, between trips to the barbershop. Only for special occasions is this kerchief-protected conkexposed-to show off how "sharp" and "hip" its owner is. The ironic thing is that I have never heard anywoman, white or black, express any admiration for a conk. Of course, any white woman with a blackman isn't thinking about his hair. But I don't see how on earth a black woman with any race pridecould walk down the street with any black man wearing a conk-the emblem of his shame that he isblack.
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To my own shame, when I say all of this I'm talking first of all about myself-because you can't showme any Negro who ever conked more faithfully than I did. I'm speaking from personal expehe sense to get rid of it-as I finally did.