• Hillaree

I'm Black Every Month: Don't Touch My Hair

We are on the final post of the 'I'm Black Every Month' series, wow, that FLEW by! I truly hope that you were able to learn and take away at least one thing from this series! It's through these types of conversations that true change can really begin. Personally, I'm taking away three key things: 1. If I have children, best believe they will be taking swimming lessons 2. When it's time for me to search the market for a home, I'll be cognizant of the neighbourhoods & ensure irrelevant factors are not influencing my judgment 3. Lastly, I am in awe of the Black community. Despite the many barriers in our way, we have been able to slowly overcome. The work is far from done, but I am proud of what we have accomplished thus far!

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I know, I know, it looks majestic, cool, kinky, different, and you just want to extend your arm and touch it. Just slowly drop your arm fam. Don't touch a Black woman's hair, ever. For real, never. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but you are not at a petting zoo, and Black women are not goats for you to pet whenever you please. I have seen countless people do this to other women, including myself. It's the audacity for me. It's the audacity to think they have free access to my body. Excuse me, admire from afar. Far, far away please. On that note, if you haven't guessed yet, this weeks topic is on Black women's hair. *Cues Don't Touch My Hair by Solange*

NATURALLY, many Black women's hair grow in various ways. There's kinky, curly, straight, dreadlocks, braids, and afros, just to name a few. I'm not sure if people realize how important hair has been to the Black community throughout history; from braided hairstyles being a identity marker for the specific tribe they belonged to, to hiding seeds and grains in their cornrows. What's interesting is that Black women are mocked, penalized, and ridiculed for wearing their hair exactly how it grew out of their scalps! Imagine!

A study conducted by Bloomberg in 2020, found that Black women wearing natural hair styles are often seen as less professional than those who straighten their hair. Black women with natural hairstyles scored lower on those metrics, than those with straightened hair and than White women with curly or straight hair. Shocker! 🙄It is these types of biases that continue to perpetuate the oppression of Black women. Why does wearing our hair naturally, negatively impact our likelihood of securing a job?!

Between workplaces and schools sending individuals home due to their hair, to the media shoving a European look down our throats, we are subliminally taught to hate our hair and features. Until of course braids and afros are deemed as 'cool' by Western culture.

For the past two weeks we've been uncovering stigma's within the Black community. For the final post, I want you to uncover any biases or influences that may contribute to the negative perceptions of Black women due to their hair. Think about it. Have you ever assumed a negative trait about a Black women with dreaded hair? Or a big afro? It's time to unlearn and relearn friends.

Happy Black History Month


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