Saying/Terminology

--Informant Info--
Nationality: African-American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Sacramento, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 26, 2008
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

“The Kitchen”

“If you’re black and have hair on the back of your neck that is not properly cared for it becomes knotted an tangled. The terminology for this is ‘the kitchen’. I heard this from my mother at a young age when she was doing my older sister’s hair. I think that it’s stupid, personally.”

Subject’s Analysis:

Bryson said this with a tone of cynicism in his voice. He seemed to be somewhat annoyed with the terminology. I think this is because of the fact that he doesn’t have long hair on the back of his neck, and thus he doesn’t have to worry about “the kitchen”. He learned this term while growing up in Sacramento as a child, and when asked what he thinks of it, he replied, “I think that it’s stupid, personally.”

Collector’s Analysis:

I feel that he is simply disgruntled by the fact that people have come up for a term for the hair on black peoples necks, and the fact that it may have connotations to other words such as “nappy” that draw attention to what may be seen as flaws with the African- American physique. In addition I think that the word is meant for exclusive use amongst African-Americans because they are the folk that it applies to. Therefore people outside of the group will not know what it means, nor will they use it.  As well I feel that “the kitchen” is simply a new age euphemism that in this case replaces the word nappy in the African-American vocabulary. What I am confused about it the reason why the hair would be called “the kitchen” because its similarities to an actual kitchen are very sparse.