01/25/15

New Era of Jim Crow

These are racist:

hats

And, I’m not referring to the state colleges represented. Although University of Georgia is racist. How else can you explain their refusal to win any significant football championship or even a single game against the Gamecocks notwithstanding the presence of so many great African-American athletes on their team? They must not want them to win. Racist.

No. Look more closely. On each hat. You see it? Not so subtle?

Yup. Pre-fabricated, curved bills.

Racist.

I have been looking for a University of South Carolina hat for a SoCal homey. Grey. 7 1/2.

Flatbill.

Not on that rack, apparently.

Guess what? (This is rhetorical question blong day.) Hats have ALWAYS been flat brimmed. That’s literally how they are made. Forever. It’s not a style or a statement. Every hat I bought in the ’80s was flat brim (term wasn’t used). The mesh snapbacks (term wasn’t used) and the game day fitteds. The brim came flat.

You know what you did to make them not flat? You curved the crap out of them until they looked like parabolas or teepees. You folded them like a paper airplane crease or you cupped them gently in your palms. Or maybe you allowed the size of the hat to shape the fit. A snug fitting hat literally pulls the bill into a natural curve without manipulation. Regardless of the methodology, you tailored them to your personal taste and style.

But, let’s keep it one hundred:

Curving the bill of the cap was a kind of headwear mutilation. That is not the design of the traditional ball cap. They come flat.

Of course sometime in the ’90s, black youth had the temerity to start wearing them as manufactured. Inviolate brim. Oversized. Even for a time, including manufacturer stickers and tags.

This of course became a great outrage to many. I assume they were the same folks who despise sag busting but relish the literal ubiquitous proliferation of yoga pants and cycling panties.

The reaction has been so significant that manufacturers have literally started offering most hats with a built in curve. It’s like a mock turtle neck. Or those stupid socks that have the baseball stirrup painted on. Use a dang stirrup!!

So, why is this pre-fab detail racist? Shouldn’t a hat come any way the market demands? Straw? Ten-gallon? Fidoraed? Pinwheeled?

Look, there is only one reason to make a hat this way, and it’s not because people want curved bills. See supra the variety of ways such a hat condition can be achieved.

One reason:

To ensure that the hat CANNOT be worn flat billed.

How do I know this? Because, any flat bill hat can be made curved. I did it for roughly 20 years. With great pride. A pre-curved bill, however, cannot be reverse engineered flat, sans maybe an industrial iron or shoe press.

So, these pre-conditioned hats have become a kind of culturally political statement — aka as against a kind of culture. You are not permitted to wear our hat in that way, even though a properly manufactured flat brim hat would allow everyone the opportunity to wear the hat exactly as they prefer.

I mostly want people to wear whatever they like and however tailored. Curved, flat, duck-billed. Don’t care.

But, let’s not pretend like we’re serving a constituency when really the goal is just to deny one.

flatbill

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Nomis.

Lyrics, yo.

Today’s blong here:

Old Hat