Sunday, August 2, 2009
A lot of times, I'll hear statements like;
"White people appreciate my natural hair more than black people."
"I get more compliments from non black people on my natural hair."
Followed by some variation of "It's so sad. Why are black people like this?"
I'm not going to disagree with those statements. They've been true in my own life at various points. But I am INSANELY uncomfortable with what they suggest.
So, then, for us to accept that we look black we have to be surrounded by people who aren't black?
White people/non blacks have been implicated in many ways in the black hair experience.
Slavery and segregation have been cited as the reasons black people can't accept themselves. The American beauty standard -- as expressed in media and fashion -- has been blamed for being too eurocentric.
The whole "only non black people appreciate my natural hair" seems an odd follow up to that.
I do think that the way we are and have been perceived by other races has its place in the natural hair discussion.
But I also think our focus, when it comes to hair, is too external.
Many black women struggle with a fundamental lack of pride in their physical appearance. So isn't the most powerful thing that we can do now, at this point in our history, is love ourselves and love our hair?
Love of our hair has got to start with us, within our families. It's something we have to spread to our parents, spouses and siblings, and teach to our children. And though we date and marry people both within and outside of our race, we remain black women and we still must learn to love who we are.