For my daughter … and all of the other little black women in training.
After washing and blow drying my daughter’s hair yesterday evening, I asked her how she wanted to wear it. She told me she no longer wanted to wear her hair out in an “afro” because the other kids in school were making fun of her.
In fact, she said, she no longer liked her natural hair and wanted me to “make it straight.”
So, yeah … after I got over my initial reaction of wanting to roll up to the school the next morning and start punching random kids in the throat, I got to really thinking about it.
You see, my baby now wants straight hair because she doesn’t want to be different.
Prior to this discussion, I’d always prided myself on the fact that I’m raising a little rock star.
Last year, she began asking me if she could cut her hair into a mohawk.
I was THRILLED!
While everyone around me turned their nose up at the idea, I thought it was awesome that she was so comfortable in her own skin and willing to express her individuality in such a radical way.
Now … here she is, sitting between my legs, crying … in an emotional space where she’s allowed these children to strip her bare because her hair is “ugly” and “poofy”.
And worst of all, they now treat her differently because her hair is … different.
It’s bad enough adults define each other by their hair, I didn’t know children are doing it too.
And before you say adults don’t do this, let’s explore a few things.
If I wear a weave, I’m considered to be afraid of being a black woman to some. I’m considered a woman that’s denying her roots (pun intended) or I trying to assimilate to another cultural groups norms and ideas of beauty.
Oh, I just thought I wanted to add a little length or fullness.
If I take my weave out and wear my hair in its natural curly state, called “sister” by some people (people of all races). Or my hair is “not done.” This past summer, during a period when I wore my hair consistently in its natural curly state, one person said to me, “Damn, E. I guess you just didn’t give a fuck today, huh?”
Was I not your sister when I wore a weave?
(Check out my advice column blog on a similar subject at http://askmeaboutyourlove.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/is-wearing-a-weave-false-advertisement/ )
If I decide to straighten my natural hair, I’ll hear things like, “Oh, you have a lot of hair.”
I’m sorry, did the afro I wore last week mean that I was balding?
The thing about it is, my hair does not define me. Nor does it my daughter.
I am now “less black” because I like to straighten my hair.
I am not unkempt because I choose to wear my hair in its natural, curly state.
For fucks sake IT’S HAIR!
If you want to judge me, do so based off of what you may perceive as flaws in my character, what I contribute to the community, my work ethic … or at least make a fact based attempt.
But my hair, really?!?!
I’m still me. I’m the loving, expressing, intelligent, often times crazy, impatient, stubborn, self-appreciating genius I have always been … flaws and all.
Got a beef with my hair? Write it down on paper, lube it up, and stick it up your ass.
And that’s exactly what I told my baby girl to tell the kids at school.
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