Saturday, July 25, 2009

Black Women and Hair: The Untold Story

This article piqued my interest today and made me think some more about hair. The author's premise is that chemically relaxing hair is an attempt to look more European and therefore an expression of self-hate.

Almost all my female students of color chemically relax their hair and have been doing so since they were little girls. It makes me wonder how I'd respond if Norah were to come home from school one day wanting to straighten her hair in order to fit in. Would we allow it under the premise that it's only hair? Would we try to dissuade her or make her do research about it first? I don't know.

As a side note, the author Crystal Belle and I attended the same college and I had to chuckle a little at her description of the lack of Black hair care facilities in rural Vermont. When we were visiting that area last month, I checked the local Wal-Mart and found that there wasn't a single Black hair care product on the shelves. It was a good reminder to always come prepared with a large stash whenever we visit.

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