Black Natural Hair Politics – Is Hair Just Hair?
I really get irritated when people try to downplay the significance of hair in the African community. It IS something that needs to be addressed. I don’t understand how an entire race of women,
a)chemically altering their hair to the point where it resembles hair of other cultures,
b) having no idea how to care for their natural texture, and
c) many believing that their natural texture, is inappropriate, ugly, unmanageable, and taboo, is not an issue that deserves attention. How is it simply “just hair” when the aforementioned things are TRUE!!! How is it just hair when the MAJORITY of African women are spending billions of dollars trying to keep their natural texture hidden? How is that not an area that needs attention?
Hair is just hair. No it isn’t when we as a race are teaching our children to dislike their own texture and are burning the scalps of two year olds to achieve a straighter more manageable look. It is not just hair when most of our women don’t even know how to manage their natural texture.
It is not just hair when our men have become so brainwashed that they too prefer a texture that in no way resembles theirs. It’s crazy when a black man has a negative word to say about a black woman deciding to wear her natural hair. That is absurd. He has the same hair growing from his scalp, but prefers that his woman has hair that she needs to either purchase or chemically alter. Her natural hair is seen as unattractive to him. That is insane.
This hair thing is a big deal. If we could all learn to accept our natural texture and believe that it was beautiful, imagine the good that could come from that. Perhaps less of us would be overweight. Perhaps less of us would be clinically depressed and in need of medication.
Have you ever stopped to think of the serious mental impact is has on a child to learn that their natural features are inferior to that of other cultures? If what they are born with is inferior, what else about them is inferior? If they have to change themselves in order to be considered attractive what else needs to be changed, it leaves room to wonder what IS good about me? Why aren’t I beautiful just the way I am? Why is it that every other culture is beautiful when they are born but I have to pay weekly for a professional to transform me into something beautiful?
Why? And why are we content to sweep this issue under the rug and carry on as though what the vast majority of our women is doing is normal?
I don’t care what anyone has to say about it. If an entire race of women prefer another texture of hair to their own and think that this other texture is “easier to manage” than their own and they are willing to pay thousands of dollars on it every year to keep the natural texture out of sight ( to the tune of billions of dollars collectively) and these same women who spend so much time money and energy hiding and changing their hair are in the race where business ownership is the lowest out of all others in the county and homeownership is the lowest, but diabetes and heart disease and obesity are the highest and you think this issue is still trivial, I think you have some reevaluating to do.
I believe that this small issue of hair can really be a turning point for our people. I believe that if we all accepted our hair and all agreed that it was beautiful that we would start to see a change in the collective confidence and self esteem of our people. If you are a natural that has learned to accept your natural texture and are not hiding it under weaves and braids and flat irons most f the time, but you are really rocking and learning to love your natural texture, then you can attest to the personal changes that have taken place in your life and you know how much more confident you are. You know what it was like to look at yourself with your own hair and see the beauty for the first time. You know how liberating it was. Imagine that times a million!
Imagine what would happen if every woman you know felt the same way about natural hair as you. Imagine what your conversations would start to be about. Imagine what thoughts would start to circulate through out our communities. Imagine what would happen if mothers were teaching their daughters they were beautiful just the way they are and the little girls saw all of the women in their families wearing their hair just like them and it was the norm. Imagine what would begin to happen to our people.