When Do Black, White and Latina Women Wear the Same Hairstyle?
The very lithe, very under-40 and very downtown photographer, clad head to toe in pink spandex that clashed with her red pipe-curls, looked obviously disappointed when she walked into my yoga class for women with breast cancer at St. Luke’s Hospital in Harlem. She’d been sent by a small New York City magazine to take pictures for a story about the group. My students had been excited about it for weeks but only three out of the ten women in the class showed up that day. One was Helen, a robust, white-haired, 86-year-old quilter whose pathology report became a patch on her latest work of art. The day she brought it to class, she told us, “Cancer is just one piece of the quilt that is my life.” Helen had lived in Mexico and Brazil for years after traveling extensively in the Americas. She often spoke about what it was like to be a white woman from the US in a developing country. I admired her consciousness; she neither condemned nor defended her whiteness. I too, have a gentle plan to liv