Black hair is not dirty or untidy simply because it is kinky, curly and grows from a black person’s scalp. Dirty hair is dirty hair, uncombed, untidy hair is just that as well, and a spade is a spade – we are under no illusions. But it is time that we shed our former colonizer’s mindset that our hair is bad or somehow wrong.
Black hair is not untidy just because it has not been pressed, processed or wrangled into colonially-approved modest buns or lifeless, straight shoulder-length sheets. There may be standards for hair grooming, and those might just exclude some beautiful styles that are popular but these rules must not be cover-ups for institutionalised racism.
Mine. I.E.: Not yours to police and tell me what not to wear.
Is there such a thing as being “too black”?
I’ve been running into articles about the controversies surrounding black hair and a black person’s choices to keep their hair natural being severely limited. This is something I’m really passionate about so I’m going to rant about this.
This article which I just quoted was written after an a young black boy (only 3, and fairly recently!) was turned away from school because of his hair in its natural state. The school did receive quite a bit of heat because this is discrimination…who would have thought…in a “black” country. I always believed that as a black person I’d have more freedom being my black self in a black-majority country, but I guess the colonialist ideals are there too. What a shame.
I’m a black Canadian in a “white” Canadian society. Well…it’s very diverse where I live and I’m starting to see more representation thank God . But I do believe we still have a long way to go when it comes to resolving racism in our minds. Racism is ideological. It’s a spiritual disease. It speaks of an irrational hatred, bias or just lack of love or regard for one another.
Now as a person who is black, who is living in a “white” society, I would expect to find a lot more racism and discrimination coming from non-blacks , not within a black society. My Jamaican step-father told me once that, when he went to primary school in Jamaica way, way back, they would run his hair through everyday with a small, thin-toothed comb. If it didn’t go through you’d face serious consequences. Knowing Afro hair, the thin-toothed comb didn’t go through as though it was a straight Euro-hair (surprise, surprise -_-) and he was punished corporally. That just goes to show that ideas and ideologies are hard to get rid of…even among black people. They are reinforced in society… in the media from the very beginning…in conversation that is implied but not said. Children are smart; they learn about differences from a very young age. “Race” is a social construct. We shouldn’t have to be punished for not being white. That’s just ludicrous. God made us all different for a reason; not to punish one for not being another. This is where colourism comes into play in the black community (also in other ethnic communities…but I can only speak about what I know of my own people…ho hum) that’s for another post. Or not.
As a part of my spiritual journey, I’ve been contemplating the decision to turn my natural hair into locs. But I’ve been somewhat hesitant because I fear the discrimination I will face in the job market not only as a person who is black, but also who is a dreadlocked person.
I know it’s a trend right now, but that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it for spiritual reasons, but I’m afraid. There have been many other incidents just like the one I mentioned above (see the link), in which people are getting hired and then months later fired because their hair was deemed unacceptable, according to white standards.
Tangent: Standards for what? White standards are for white people. They don’t apply to me. I refuse to follow or go by them. I don’t need a standard. I’m going to be who I am. Not who you want me to be.
Anyway, I don’t find that reasonable. If it was unacceptable, then why go through the whole hiring process and then fire them months into the job? I don’t find that fair and, frankly, it doesn’t make any sense.
Folks, this is just one of the ways society tries to limit your freedom of expression no matter who you are, but especially if you are black in a white world. Keyword: Freedom. I don’t know if this is deliberate but things have to change because WE are changing.
I won’t be who you want me to be. I won’t kiss ass and be a sell out to my people; I think I’d rather be me. I can take the risk. I can listen to the voice of Spirit, of God. I can listen to my own spiritual beliefs. I can say to myself what I say to people who complain to me about the very same thing:
Whatever I claim in the Spirit I can claim in the physical. I can say that my hair protects me from places where I shouldn’t be. I can say that whatever is meant for me, Spirit will not hold back. The truth is, no matter what we will always make it. There is always an exception. Don’t give up. Have faith.
When I say that to myself I do feel better. Who cares what people say, anyway?!
Hope this brings you peace or insight.
May the sun kiss you after the rain hits you