Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Black Hair Conundrum

"Good Hair" is a new movie by Chris Rock that takes on the aged-old argument of what good hair from the black man's perspective is. Relaxed or nappy? What makes YOU happy?
It's no secret that black hair has, for a long time, been seen as inferior to that of our caucasian counterparts and such is an element of all things that have always defined the perceived inferiority of all things African.
Black women who straighten their hair fit into the corporate environment much more easily. In fact, it's only recently (although it still remains largely frowned upon) that dreadlocks are becoming more and more permissible as a hair style in schools and in the workplace.
When black people decide to go "back to our roots" the hair is almost always the first point of departure. Ditch the relaxer and grow your hair naturally- it's something almost everyone I know has been through at some stage in their adolescence and even in early adulthood. People begin to shave their hair off or start growing locks. Essentially, hair becomes a statement that is symbolic of our intrinsic journey through the acceptance and discovery of '"who we are".
The politics of race and the historically disadvantaged position held by bl;ack people convinced many that all things good are western. Little wonder, then, that people would find their dark skins and virgin hair to be a flaw or setback.
Little has changed by way of the social acceptance of black hair as beautiful, as a New York Times article concurs; "Anyone who thought such preconceptions were outdated would have been reminded otherwise by some negative reactions to the president’s 11-year-old daughter, Malia Obama, who wore her hair in twists while in Rome this summer. Commenters on the conservative blog Free Republic attacked her as unfit to represent America for stepping out unstraightened." the article said.

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