Monday, January 24, 2011

We're Not Cookie-Cutter Images (Black Mixed Chicks)

I'm sure that by now those of us in the natural hair world have heard about the Mixed Chicks Twitter incident. (if not, here are two interesting posts on my favorite hair blogs at LITK and BGLH) My main issue with the tweet was that there seemed to be an underlying assumption that all mixed folks are light skinned. This also made me think about how in general, folks seem to think that a certain mix will yield a certain phenotype for individuals which is simply not the case. Just so readers are aware, both SP and I are "mixed chicks." No, we don't have light skin or light eyes or a predictable hair type but we are "black" and ethnically/culturally mixed and proud of it.

Now, I normally save these types of posts on my personal blog but I am going to discuss my background for a bit because it does relate to hair: I'm mostly a Native American and West Indian (black, white and Indian mix) and while I don't do blood quantities of my heritage, this is not one of those, I'm 1/16th this situations, they are pretty close. My father is of Cherokee decent and my mother is mixed. I have many half siblings (who are different ethnicities) but only one "full" sister, as in we share the same parental units and our hair is not the same. For a long time we didn't even have similar complexions. My younger sister was light, had light eyes for a brief time, and coily hair. I always had brown skin, dark eyes and wavier dark hair. Her hair is soft like cotton, fine strands that are dense, and still very coily. Mine is like "fluffy silk" with defined S-curls. Two mixed chicks and this is what we look like...

My sis and I, ages 4 and 7

December '10- we're both naturals
I get mistaken for different ethnicities and a few of my friends have mentioned it's because of my hair type, which if that's true it's rather foolish. (I semi-doubt that's all it is; an East Indian man tried to convince me for about 10 minutes that I must be one of his people, even though my hair was an undefined braid out because of the summer heat). I also resent when people (including my very own cousins) say anything about "mixed looking hair" but also in the same way I can't stand some people I've encountered who deny the mixed black folks existence (the, all black people are mixed anyway meme annoys me). I know a lot of black people who get annoyed with others if they admit that they are of mixed heritage and white people who demand proof of my Native American heritage. And it makes me sad when folks comment on the "good hair" my children will have if I have kids with Mr. Smooth who is Puerto Rican (of Taino, Spanish and Haitian decent). It's a frustrating hair world out there, with hair-typing and hair hierarchies and not enough representation for the those of us out there who are trying to untangle this mess. We have a lot of work to do....


  1. I'm actually Nigerian (so i'm not mixed with anything), and I know some nigerians who who have 'mixed' people hair and my hair type (4b), and after a while, all the commenting and discussion just gets annoying. It was a lot easier in Nigeria: if you were European, mexican, etc. you are "white". If you were Asian you're "Chinese", and if your parents are of different races, you're "half-caste" or mixed. Its actually considered stupid to try to deny part of your heritage, and I like your attitude (though it is rare), and like that you accept all the parts that make you you. Denying it won't make it go away.

  2. @waffiegirl you said it perfectly "denying it won't make it go away."


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