That first week of the London Olympics 2012, when I wasn’t watching, the primary storyline apparently was about Gabby Douglas’ great accomplishments in the Olympics. And her hair. Yawn.
As long as I’ve been alive, how black girls and women wear their hair has been “an issue” with someone. Processed or natural – “proves” how “black” someone really was, at least when I was growing up. Dyed or not – hey, do they “want to be white”?
In large part, I’m less upset by it than just sick of it. When the Daughter was about three, we were figuring out the best way to deal with her hair. At some point, we were experimenting with letting her hair go natural. Several black people I saw – who I didn’t even know, BTW – acted as though we were committing child abuse. “Hey, what are you DOING to that child?” Or “You get her to a stylist – NOW!” And these were some of the more reportable responses.
Back in 2009, Chris Rock made a movie called Good Hair which addressed his own daughter’s frustration with her “bad” hair.
Do you recall that poor white teacher in NYC who lost her job for READING the acclaimed children’s book called ‘Nappy Hair’ to mostly black and Hispanic third-graders “after parents complained and threatened her”? Sheer silliness.
I have, on LP, Whoopi Goldberg’s Broadway Show from the mid-1980s. She wore a yellow shirt or sweater over her head, and talked about her being a kid pretending to have long, luxurious blonde hair, just like she was “supposed” to have.
Seriously, I wish there was a moratorium on hearing about black females’ hair, especially by other people, but I’m not counting on it.