Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Race and Racism surrounding Natural Hair

When we say "natural hair" we automatically think of a big afro or some curly, ethnic type of hair.
Living here in NYC, i am submersed in all the cultures of the world in my own back yard, mixed cultures included, and i love seeing all the curly heads walking around. So many different types of curls and textures, it is a wonder how people can still be racist to this day. I just appreciate each curl and culture for what it is.

I would definitely say this post was inspired by those "good hair, mixed hair" comments and of course questions of race. Being a mixed race person myself and having a very diverse family, i see all different types of hair and i have seen all different types of hair from all over the world. Okay, so there is obviously a "Natural Revolution" going on out there, and i couldn't help but notice that it's going on with hispanic girls a lot too. Growing up around a lot of hispanic people, i noticed that they always loved to get their hair straightened, and even later learned that some were getting relaxers. I always questioned why they would do this, since they always seemed to have pretty manageable curls to me. Now all i see are all these perfectly curly afros on hispanic girls and other mixed race girls that back in the day would have been permed or blow-dryed out. It is nice to see women taking pride in their natural beauty, no matter the race.

It is unfortunate that many people still can not accept people for who and what they are. The reason why racism even exists is because people are always ready to compare instead of accepting differences for what they are. I am Brazilian, Caribbean mixed, and as you can see my hair is verrrryyy curly! When i was in high school i wore my hair natural, pulled back in a banana clip everyday. I used to get all types of remarks as to what i was. Was i dominican? Was i mixed? "You're not like other black girls. 
What was that supposed to mean?
 I noticed how people treated me different depending on how my hair was. Being that i am a hairstylist and have always done hair, you can imagine that i've been through many hair phases and styles. With each hairstyle, it seems as though i had a different identity. When my hair was short, relaxed and dyed, nobody knew where i was from but i always heard that i didn't look like a 'regular' black girl. When i had it short and dark, i was obviously African-American.

 I also found it funny how some of the biggest problems i had with people accepting me were my own kind.  Besides the color of your skin, hair plays a major role in your looks and i think i learned that rather harshly, but im glad i did. People are always ready to categorize and critisize upon what they see, as opposed to asking and learning something new. Whether they like it or not, this is me, as mixed and curly as i want to be and loving it <3
I'm so proud of all the natural women who are wearing their hair with pride.
Viva la Natural Revolution!

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