Let us chat about hair…Black hair to be specific! Not hair that is the color black, black people hair. Why this topic? Well because it’s important due to the times we are going through right now and because so many people now want to educate themselves and understand more. But hair seems like a small topic, right? What issues could there possibly be when it comes to hair? Why is hair even a topic to discuss and be educated on? The reason why is because that is also another part of black life that we have to be conscious of.
Why do we have to be conscious of it? Because it is another part of us that is not accepted. It’s another part of us that others don’t educate themselves on. It’s another part of us that is different, so it is deemed abnormal. It’s another part of us that we always have to be explaining to others. Lastly, it’s another part of us that we have to question and hesitate on whether or not we will be accepted in certain places if our hair does not look a certain way.
Also, it’s one of the main reasons why many black people felt the need to alter their appearance by chemically processing our hair, constantly straightening our hair, and/or installing wigs/weaves/extensions. Yes, there is also a factor of trend and style but many of us were brought up to believe that our kinks, coils, and curls is not “good” hair, so we had to make changes for our hair to be acceptable.
Thankfully, that has changed a lot as of late. We have been living in our reality and truly could care less about the lack of knowledge of others. So yes, you now see our natural hair, you see our afros, you see our braids, you see our dreadlocks, you see our wigs, you see our kinks, coils, and curls as we have embraced our culture and decided that we will no longer allow our hair to be dictated by society. That’s a liberating part of life to be in as a black person, but not everyone has reached that point.
Did you know there are laws NOW being created to not discriminate against black hair? Laws are NOW being created for black hair to be deemed acceptable? Those laws are also not in place in all states by the way! The main question that I ask myself is; why does there need to be laws about hair? The hair that we were born with needs a law to not affect our everyday life? Well, that’s why this topic is important. And if you’re not shocked at this fact, stop reading here because you need to go reflect within yourself why you do not see the issue in that.
So, as some of you want to be more educated here are a few tips; stop asking black people can you touch their hair. No, no one’s hair grows that fast overnight, stop asking that question when someone shows up with a new hairstyle. Those braids? No, they’re not my real hair, that’s what we consider a protective hairstyle. How long is my real hair? It grows outward, I can’t answer that question for you. Overall, rather than expecting a black person to educate you on their hair, it is 2020, go on YouTube and look up some tutorials and you will be educated as to why we don’t wash our hair every day, why we wear protective styles, and why wash day takes a whole day. Go online and google some images to learn different hairstyles. This is yet another part of our life that we should not have to explain and break down because of the lack of knowledge of others.
Why do we make it such a big deal? Because if we go to a job interview and our hair is not seen as “appropriate” we will not get that job. If we show up to work and our hair does not fit into the “professional” category we will be reprimanded. If our hair does not fit into the ideology of “good hair” than something must be wrong with it and we need to do something about it. So, it becomes such a big deal when we can’t even comfortably have the hair that we were born with not become an issue that the law needs to step into.
So, this hair? My hair? Our hair? It’s not a problem. It’s large and the larger it gets the happier I am. Those styles you see us switch into? Nope, it’s not our hair, but it is protective for our hair type and they’re styles embedded in our culture that we would like to enjoy. Lastly, definitely no you can’t touch my hair! Have any further questions? Go do the research yourself!
This conversation could easily lead to cultural appropriation and discuss how our hairstyles tend to be accepted once they become a “trend” in the industry, but that’s a chat for another time… So fellow black girl, show up in your afro, do your bantu knots, execute that twist out, switch that hairstyle as you feel, and don’t allow anyone to tell you that there’s something wrong with how you wear your hair. And if they do? Speak up and get the situation handled accordingly!
Bisous Bisous, Eisha