The NY Times has published an article about "black hair" written by Catherine St Louis and it pissed me off as most discussions about "black hair" with white folks do. (Now, I am assuming that she is writing about coarse "black hair" --the hair so many white folks are bothered by-- because I know that in doing her abundant research for this article she learned that not all "black hair" is the same, right)
Anywho... If you are thinking that the NY Times' attention to "black hair" is prolific in a way that helps the unnecessary discussion in America about "black hair" then don't because you will be sadly disappointed.
SILKY straight hair has long been considered by many black women to be their crowning glory. So what if getting that look meant enduring the itchy burning that’s a hallmark of many chemical straighteners. Or a pricey dependence on “creamy crack,” as relaxers are sometimes jokingly called.
Getting “good hair” often means transforming one’s tightly coiled roots; but it is also more freighted, for many African-American women and some men, than simply a choice about grooming. Straightening hair has been perceived as a way to be more acceptable to certain relatives, as well as to the white establishment.
See told ya.
Well I guess my hope that she had done the research for her article bit the dust in the first sentence. She has confused the westernized European ideals that were inflicted on our African ancestors during slavery--traveling down from generation to generation as self hatred--with the choices of all black women of today. Not all black women desire "silky straight" hair as our "crowning glory" because we are not...ALL THE SAME. See this is exactly why I don't like discussing this subject...because just like discussing racism against Black people for the color of our skin--discussing the texture of "black hair" falls in the same category.
True...in the mainstream that is still controlled by white folks in our lovely white supremacist society there are still many that make what is considered the easier choice (whatever that means) for professional reasons to straighten their hair. Now, that is a discussion to be had in regards to the hoops that people from other ethnic groups (non-white) are expected to jump through to accommodate white sensibilities. Well for some of you'll. ;) I don't do that.
News Flash: Black women are not the only ones that straighten their hair yet we are the ones that continue to get negativity about it.
Wooh, ever since Malia Obama was photographed overseas with her hair in beautiful twists the discussion of the "acceptableness" of certain "black hair" styles has reached fever pitch at different times in the mainstream as well as certain conservative race-baiting, bottom-feeding blogs. You would think that the overseas trip was the first time that Malia wore her hair in twists but it wasn't because she has worn her hair the same way periodically as you can see here, here and here.
For the record we are now in the 21st century and although there may be some Black people that still have hangups regarding "black hair" we are women who like variety in style just like any other race of woman. There is no race of woman in this world that has an "easy" time with their hair or hairstyles because if that were true there would not be a multi-billion dollar industry devoted to hair care.
The following are my parting words to white folks regarding "black hair":
- If you like the hairstyle that you see then give a compliment those are welcomed
- If you don't like what you see then keep your mouth shut because that is best
- If you don't understand the variety of "black" hairstyles it's okay because we don't care
- If you want to understand black hairstyles for pure curiosity then get a book.
- If you think that Black people have to be like you to be "acceptable" then get a life