Black Hair (Part 2): It’s None of Your Business!

I do not mean to cause offence by the title of this post; it is aimed at narrow minded people who judge black women not on the content of their character, but on something as superficial as how they choose to style their hair.

 

With this post I fall in danger of contradicting part 1, in which I sought to argue that it does matter how black women style their hair, in the sense that those who choose to wear it naturally, (knowingly or unknowingly) send a message to the world that there is nothing wrong the kinky textured hair of people of African descent. However I do think that it is also true that how a woman chooses to style her hair is her own personal choice, and as such should not be open for criticism and debate by others.

 

Let me explain what I mean. One day I was sitting on a train when I observed a very disturbing and bizarre scene. A black male starting speaking loudly to a young black female sitting across the aisle.

 

“Excuse me, is that your real hair?”

“No” she replied quietly, head down.

“I didn’t think so. You shouldn’t be wearing weave. It looks fake”.

 

I felt embarrassed for the young woman. Her hair was obviously a weave, and by the looks of it not “human hair”. Maybe she was not in a position to afford a better quality weave. Maybe she just wanted to cover her natural/relaxed hair with a weave as a protective style. Whatever her reasons for having a, not so great, weave, what right did that man have to question her? Whatever the state of her hair, in what way did it affect him?

 

Sadly he’s not alone in his condemnation of black women who do not wear their hair natural. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to stumble across certain Youtube channels of (black) men, dedicated to spewing venom at black women, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. In fairness, it’s not just black men, and it’s not just men. Women too can be very judgmental about what they perceive to be a bad weave or bad hair day. Remember how much stick Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglass during the

How could simple tied back hair cause such a fuss?

How could simple tied back hair cause such a fuss?

2012 Olympics? She was not criticised for her performance – and rightly so as she won two gold medals – but what was her crime? Not having freshly relaxed hair!

 

I accept that criticism of women’s looks is not limited to one race. The picking apart of women’s bodies in national magazines is indiscriminate. But when it comes to hair, there does not seem to be such a fierce debate around what it means if Caucasian hair is straightened or left curly, or if extensions are added in. If you listen to those venomous self-hating Youtube cowards (cowards because it’s easy to be foul mouthed and derogatory behind your computer screen), then a black women who straightens her hair, or gets a weave, does so because she wishes she were white. Of course it can’t be because she feels like a change, or likes the way it looks, or wants a protective style. Even if she does wish to be white, surely it’s only a small minority of people who would actually conclude that a woman wishes she were a different race because of her hairstyle? Or should I suppose that when Cheryl Cole wears cornrows she is expressing her inner desire to be black?

Not sure if this was before or after her alleged racial assault on a toilet attendant

Not sure if this was before or after her alleged racial assault on a toilet attendant

For the record, black hair is versatile. It’s probably the most versatile hair type that exists. Many different styles can be achieved with it. So when black women choose to explore the different styles, why not just leave them be? It’s not hurting you. And in my experience, most people of other races do not quite understand black hair, and so do not even realise that. For example, box braids involve fake hair! How many times have I taken out braids and then been asked by classmates/colleagues “have you cut your hair?” Before I would roll my eyes, and think “how ignorant”, but now I find it liberating. Knowing that my colleagues are not scrutinizing my latest hairstyle and scanning the back of my head for visible tracks, puts me at ease. If only all black women could feel that way all of the time.

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13 thoughts on “Black Hair (Part 2): It’s None of Your Business!

  1. I see what you’re saying. However, the reason people don’t criticize non-blacks for wearing black hairstyles is 1.Its not common. 2. They are not permanently changing their texture ie relaxing. 3. Because its not something that is “expected” from non-black women. Its expected for black women to have perms, weaves, etc. Should he have the right to make a comment to her? Hell no!

    To address another point you made; when they say black women are trying to be white, they are wrong but in a way they aren’t. Black hair is considered “unattractive” to a lot of people, black people included. I remember being in the salon getting a deep conditioning and this woman said “Are you getting a perm? Why not? Couldn’t be me, every six weeks I get my touch up.” Mind you, this woman barely had any new growth. So the instant she sees that “bad hair” she has to fix it. My bf’s mom has a co-worker with a 5 year old that gets relaxers and sew ins.

    It may not be they want to be white, but seeing something that is part of your heritage and having such despise for it isn’t normal.

    Great job on this post 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree that black hair is considered ugly by a lot of people, including black people. Check out my Part 1 to this post, (Black Hair: It’s Political), as I attempt to raise these issues in it. Thanks again

  2. Thanks for following my blog. Girl I agree with you! I wear my hair pressed and I get “you’re trying to be white” from many but I decided not to care, i’m going to be me regardless of what people think. This is a great read, gonna share it with a friend.

  3. Pingback: Hating black hair starts young, just ask Blue Ivy Carter | Koolnews Blog

  4. What is it about the texture of the hair that grows out of black women’s hair that causes them to do whatever they can to change it. The excuses and justifications they give for straightening their hair and wearing weaves are just sorry. The lies they tell themselves are incredible. Black women need to be honest with themselves. They hate the texture that the Creator created them with. Their actions say that the Creator made a big nappy mistake, and black women will do whatever it takes to correct this mistake.

    • By your use of “them” do I take it you’re a male? If so the difficulty I have with your comment is that you have not experienced the challenges of maintaining Afro hair on a daily basis. If black women choose to put in braids/weave or even a wig so that they don’t have to stress over their hair everyday, I can wholeheartedly relate to that, as a woman. However if the reason for attaching a hair piece/weave/wig is as you’ve suggested, then that is a shame

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog and following. I could write a book about my experiences with my kinky hair. I remember one day in high school I had my hair in cornrows and this black girl asked me, mind you with honest concern, when I was going to get my hair done. Not only did that hurt, it pissed me off.

    Now I feel comfortable with talking about my hair and my experiences as a black women, and I hope that by sharing my thoughts other women will have the courage to share theirs.

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