🌶 Thinking about how laws are being passed in 2020 that JUST NOW “allow” Black people to wear our hair the way it naturally grows🌶 Thinking about how laws are being passed in 2020 that JUST NOW “allow” Black people to wear our hair the way it naturally grows out of our heads without being at risk of discrimination or consequence (originally: Crown Act of California, 2019).
Thinking about all the ways 400+ years of state sanctioned discrimination on our looks, something we have NO control over, has harmed and influenced the way Black people (especially Black women) view themselves.
What other racial group has had to have multiple movements to reteach its people how to love something as simple and superficial as their hair?
What other minority groups had to create political campaigns that beg for statutory protection from discrimination against their HAIR. (I am asking this question seriously not rhetorically because when you group Black people in with all minorities [BIPOC] you need to ask yourself if the struggles are authentically comparable - so please share if you know). Ask a Black woman about the choices she makes when it’s time for job interviews, first dates, first day of _____ , and presentations. Most Black women have had a “hair journey” of sorts. An experience or multiple experiences of coming to terms with their hair. We’ve had to teach ourselves to accept our hair choices and then defend them against others who say we should wear it straighter or curlier.
This experience is uniquely Black. The weight of our hair is heavy.
Try for a moment to imagine a world in which you can be 100% qualified, perfect for the job, an IDEAL candidate but can be turned away because by societal standards your hair grows too thick, too curly, too big. To be told your hair is a distraction, unruly, unprofessional when all it is is natural…
I find myself wondering sometimes why as a Black American, almost every thing I do and say is an act for or against the war against my existence. Why can’t hair JUST be hair.
Why is it that to wear my Black hair naturally is not just a beauty choice but an act of resistance? Why is it that to love myself and to be loved as I am (nappy, natural, Black af) is revolutionary?
~Jani 🌶 on healthgeenie
North Bethesda, Maryland
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