Sunday, January 27, 2013

don't touch my hair. . .and other natural hair gripes

I was browsing through my Facebook home feed and I came across this photo posted by Black Women with Real Hair. The image brought up a few issues that many natural women could relate to and the comment section was heated to say the least. Natural sista's are apparently sick of these questions.

The issues on the table are:

  • Is that your REAL hair?
  • Why can't my hair grow like yours?
  • What are you mixed with?
  • And what seems to be the greatest sin of all . . . Can I touch your hair?

While it can be easy to respond in frustration or anger, we have to pause and assess if the person asking is sincere. The notion that black women can grow their hair long is relatively a new one, and since we're at the forefront of this movement, we can't be upset that other's don't know what we know about black hair.

Is it real? Just say yes, if they don't believe you that's their problem not yours.

Why can't my hair grow as long as yours? My hair wasn't always this long. All you have to do is learn how to care for your natural hair, and you can grow your hair out as well. Go to YouTube and search natural hair, it'll help.

What are you mixed with? (If the answer is nothing, then simply say so). Or make a joke, with black and some more black. The motivation behind this question is important to remember, and it may help relieve some of your frustration. They're trying to get a realistic image of what is possible for their hair. If you're not mixed then what you've achieved with your hair IS possible for them to do as well.

Can I touch it? This is a boundaries issue, and if someone asks and you have every right to simply say no.

Nothing stays new forever, eventually seeing a black girl walking around with a head full of long hair that didn't come out of a package will be much more common but until then we may have to answer a few questions.


1 comment:

  1. Those stupid questions make my skin itch!!! Yes, I'm being dramatic but it really does irritate me. I've gotten those questions since I was a kid in junior high. I used to literally smack people's hands away from touching my hair. I don't like everybody in my personal space and touching curly hair too much can make it frizzy. When people used to ask what I was mixed with, I'd say "Momma & Daddy!" :-) Or if they'd ask if my hair was real, I'd say, "Nah girl, this is ______." *Fill in the blank with some made-up hair name* I generally took the stance that a stupid question deserves a stupid answer. As an adult, I don't get those questions as much...especially, now that natural hair is a "movement" or "trending" or being promoted. I had a Mexican-American coworker ask me if she could touch it because she said my hair "looks soft like a pillow" I knew her well so I said it was okay but I also told her how to touch it- don't pull a bunch of curls mid-strand otherwise you'll create frizz. These questions sometimes still irritate me but I don't shoot back with a sarcastic response anymore. I also joke (to amuse myself) and say that I got my curly hair and nose 'cuz I'm Jewish (my mom's last name is Levy) I'm sure you could go back a few generations to find who gave my family that last name but it's probably so far back that it doesn't matter.


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