Why Black Hair is Significant?


3 thoughts on “Why Black Hair is Significant?

  1. I LOVE video posts! Keep ’em coming!

    I was going to make some cracks along the lines of “you want radical? Hang with a REDHEAD!” or “Black hair? You mean GREY hair, don’t you…?” but I don’t want to dismiss or be disrespectful to the point you’re trying to make.

    As you know, I too teach high school. We talk a lot – a LOT – about conformity and expectations and oppression. What we keep coming back to is the idea that we as humans tend to naturally segregate ourselves; we tend to form clusters of like-minded groups who, even within a generally homogeneous collective, find ways to differentiate themselves from others in the community.

    Case in point: my school is populated by 67 mostly white (we have two students of Asian descent and one Hispanic), mostly middle-class kids ranging from 14-18 years old. Even in that small of a group, we have distinct clusters – these kids are the “artsy” kids, those are the “guitar” kids, these guys over here are the “techies.” There aren’t many instances of aggression or discord between the groups, and they do break up and re-form between class time and free time, but the fact of the matter is that for all the kids rail about segregation and oppression and stereotyping in our class discussions, they do admit, when it’s pointed out to them, that they naturally replicate those behaviors all on their own.

  2. I can’t wait to hear more of what you have to say about hair. It will be interesting to hear about the “political” implications of Black hair 😉

    I suppose I am a bit radical here in Memphis. A year and a half ago, I did the unthinkable by cutting off my hair sporting an Afro. I did it for several reasons. I thought unrelaxed hair was cute. . . . but mostly to express Black pride. Subconsciously, I think it was a rebellion against mainstream America. My students, although we discuss conformity at length in my AAH class, can’t seem to understand it or my hair. Interestingly, I’m still asked by my female students, “when are you going to straighten your hair?”

    For women, hair is much more than hair. It is a badge of beauty, symbol of femininity. My female students and some of my friends really struggled with my decision to deliberately make myself unattractive, specifically less feminine. The American ideal suggests that women must have long, flowing hair to be considered attractive. Consequently there is a need for relaxers, weave and the like among women of color. We are assimilating to the dominant standard of beauty in this country. But times are “a changin” . . .I love that more and more Black women are redefining beauty. I see more and more kinky hair in the media and around my town. I don’t know whether its a fad, but it sure is great to see a resurgence of pride through hair.

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