Black Hair: Playing the white card? Gimme a break. It’s not that deep.

14 07 2009

The point is not to seperate the Black North-American community in two: Naturals VS Relaxed. And as a natural sister, my point is NOT to consider natural black hair as the only correct way to wear your hair. But there is a couple of arguments from the relaxed side (thought it is not really a side) that I just can’t stand.

b6We are in America.Right. And…?? I mean, seriously. Especially american women. You have been in that country for so long, you have helped builting it. You guys have been there for centuries. Stop acting like you were newly arrived people who have to adapt to ‘mainstream’ society. You ARE part of ‘mainstream society’. I mean, isn’t it what America is all about? Many cultures living together. I don’t know if it because it is always more difficult to see yourself from the inside. As a not-american women, I see America as a country that was moulded both by Europeans and African people. By having your hair relaxed or having a wig on and saying that you do it because ‘we’re in America’ is just ridiculous. The civil war didn’t happen for nothing. It think the African culture is as important in the history of America as the European culture. Why put one culture above the other as if it was something black women have to reach?

It’s about choice (wigs). I completely understand that arguement. I mean who doesn’t like to change style once in a while? But it is a wig. Why do so many wig girls have the same haircut 24/7? I hate the hypocrisy. Why saying it’s about choice when you have only one style? I mean wigs are wigs. It’s just hypocrite to say it’s about choice when you refuse to go out the house without a wig on your head.

It’s more professional/appropriate. I’ll do this short. Why should something natural be inapropriate? All you have to do is to learn how to style your natural hair. And it goes for all types of hair. Just like you don’t wear jeans on a wedding, you don’t just come to, I don’t know, a bussiness meeting with the same hair style that you would wear to go fishing with your dad on sunday afternoon.

It’s more manageable. Myth. Natural black hair is not more difficult to manage or style. You just have to know how to style it and take care of it. There are plenty (especially in America) of good products you can use, tons of ways you can style your hair that is trendy and not too over the top, and oh so many natural hair styles that require little day-to-day care while staying healthy and good-looking.

I find it ironic how there are so much less good products and salons for Black hair in Canada (due to a smaller Black community) but still, it seems like there are more natural people out here than in our US neighbours. I know society isn’t the same, demographics as well, and culture. I know African Americans and Black Canadians do not share the same history. But we’re all North Americans and thus, in a sense, very similar.

BAM_afro5

Let me end this post like this. For you sisters around the world who are not natural, please be true to yourself. If your hair is the way it is because of self-esteem issues (not to say that it is always the case), please just do something about it, work on loving yourself for who you are. And that doesn’t mean you have to go natural. That just means: be proud of who you are. Not the hair you wear. Instead, use your hair (and everything else about you, from your skin to your clothes) to tell the world that you love yourself.

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3 responses

14 07 2009
hersandhers

Very good post! I made the decision two months ago, and I am enjoying the process. Can’t wait until I am through the transition stage.

21 07 2009
The Sphinx

I like this post! I posted a similar one on my website (shameless plug!) titled I am NOT my Hair; please check it out if you have time.

I’m natural myself. I want to talk a bit about the wig deal, because I wear wigs. Why? Because my hair is a very fine texture, and sometimes I just want to braid it up, cover it, protect the ends, and give it a rest from all of the daily stress. Other times, I just want “a change”. I see where you’re coming from with not knowing how wigs can be a change, but personally, I know how to work with a wig. I am the one that stands in front of the mirror and brushes the hell out of the wig until it becomes the style I want. I can pin it back so it blends in very well with my hair, or I can wear it down. I can wear it long, or I can cut it to a shorter length (and I have done this). I’ve taken the same wig, and made like 3 or 4 styles over time (progressively shorter). So it’s definitely diversity/flexibility. I wouldn’t be able to do this with my own hair. I think natural is a beautiful thing, and I agree, more people should wear their hair whatever way they feel comfortable with.
But you have to face the reality. We are still living in a VERY conservative society, which has not yet fully accepted all there is to accept about the black culture. My workplace may have a policy in place that enforces “personal hygiene” and neatness. If they don’t understand that our hair cannot be pressed flat everyday, they will not be reasonable in terms of allowing us to go natural. Also, quite frankly, I think some people are very intimidated by the afro. Not an excuse, but just a thought.

22 07 2009
laughingyouth

thanks for your comment The Sphinx!
I never heard of a policy indirectly telling people what to do with their hair. And even if there is such a policy, people don’t work 24/7.
Intimidated by the afro? Oh, well, I have to agree, some people seem to be for some obscure reasons. 😉
Besides, let’s not put all the blame on society’s conservatism; some people in the community don’t even accept natural hair. To me, there’s something deeply wrong there…

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