Texture Tuesday | Politics of Hair: “Good” hair & the Black Community

Today’s post is from guest Blogger Moe from Chasing Moe.  She is one of my favorite bloggers and always says what a lot of people are thinking, but are too afraid to say it.  ”Chasing Moe is about introspection, emotional cleansing….and being my raw, unfiltered self…in a blogosphere full of niche, cliche, and painted veils.” Please be sure to check out Moe’s blog for more “raw, unfiltered” posts.

Growing up, I never thought my hair was any better than anyone else’s. I had ponytails with barrettes to match my outfit like everyone else. It wasn’t until a girl named Ebony decided to cut my hair in 6th grade because ‘I had good hair, and it’ll grow back fast’, that I ever TRULY realized how much some people within the black community felt about hair in general.

Good Hair coily locks alisha lampley 1
I came from a household where good hair was just having healthy hair. No matter the length, texture, relaxed or natural…you had hair on your head, so you were blessed. Now, if you had a little chicken head ponytail with split ends all over the place, sticking out like Scrooge McDuck’s tail, male patterned baldness and a boatload of bobby pins struggling to keep it all in a ponytail holder that’s bigger than the ponytail itself……….then that’s a different story. That’s what we like to call the ‘Bless your heart’ ponytail.
Hairism isn’t common in many minority communities, but is the elephant in the room when it comes to black people and how we view each other (IMO). Hairism is pretty much an extension of colorism when we’re talking about the black community. In my experience, they go hand in hand…but I’ll save the colorism rant for my semi activist soapbox on my own blog.

I have a cousin who is the color of midnight, and has always had wavy, butt length hair. I lost count of how many times she has been asked over the years what brand of weave she uses because girls that dark just don’t have good, long hair like that. I have also lost count of how many dirty looks I have received from women when I told them my hair was my own (prior to cutting it off).

With all that said, why is HAIR such a huge issue in the black community? Please, don’t think because you watched Chris Rock’s documentary, you know all there is to know. Chris needs to go have a stadium of seats for the half-assed documentary that pretty much lumped all black women into the relaxed weave wearing bucket of doom.

But I digress

When you have been told for centuries that your hair is too nappy and it’s ugly as hell, and it needs to be straight in order for people to respect you, what more do you expect? When there are dress codes in employee handbooks that don’t allow afros, braids or dreads………….what more do you expect?!

Long, straight hair has been drilled into many African-American youth’s brains from the time they are able to recognize aesthetics, because it’s the mainstream standard of beauty and will continue to be as long as naps are outlawed from the euro-centric beauty standards that plague the entire planet.  Afrocentric hairstyles have been classified as ‘militant’ or unprofessional, because they don’t fall into these mainstream standards of beauty or because ONE militant person had a particular hairstyle.

So why do ‘the blacks’ love GOOD HAIR? Because we’ve been taught that we should do what everyone else is comfortable with, to make our lives easier. You can’t run you fingers though or caress a brillo pad.  So if it means fry your brains out with relaxers, strip your hair of its natural texture from repeated use of pressing combs & flat irons….so be it. At least you have GOOD HAIR. *sarcastic smirk*
Good Hair coily locks alisha lampley 2

Linking up with OK, Dani!  Be sure to swing by and check her out!

 

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I’m a wife, mother of 2 crazy girls and and former Social Worker. I try to make the most out of every experience and believe that Karma is a mother so I try to be nice to her! I started this blog as a way to share my natural hair journey, the craziness that is motherhood and my love of food, fashion and most importantly…wine! LOL “Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another glass of wine…”

21 comments

  1. Elle says:

    Look at boo, writing and sounding Amazing! I love the Gifs. This was a really great article. I cant say that hair ever came up in our house. My momma has a jheri Curl, my grandmother wore wigs, and I loved braids it was always a whatever works situation in my house.

    • Moe says:

      Within my family, there are so many different textures of hair, but there was never any shaming. If anything, there was always a little jealousy on my part because some of my cousins had coarser hair, that wore braided styles better. We’d all have our hair done the same way and I’d look like a lint balled up frizzball by wednesday, when theirs was still laid like Tom Ford on Friday.
      Moe recently posted…Since I love sharing goodies…………My Profile

    • Coily Locks says:

      Elle your momma was rocking with that curl too isn’t she?!?! I have to remind myself about this when my tween wants to leave the house with a WNG looking crazy as all get out and I’m like let me twist it or smooth it down or something…LOL! Hey but she loves it and it makes her feel pretty so who am I to say you need to only wear it one way.

  2. Marika @ Ambitious Curls says:

    Girll!!! preach about that Chris Rock documentary. Lots of people think they have a valid opinion on black hair after they’ve watched it…As a young girl I had “good hair” (I really hate the term but just for my point I’ll use it) and I received so much hate for it that I saw it as something bad. It was too curly, too frizzy, never laid back straight, never kept the same style for more than two hours and then I relaxed it. And I got a lot of backlash for relaxing my hair, but no one ever told me that my hair was beautiful and something I could learn to love. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I decided to return natural and come hell or high water I’ll stick to it. It’s been almost 4 years that I’ve been natural and I love it, though I still get the “it’s unprofessional” or “your hair looks better straight” comments. They just roll off my back now and it tells me a lot more about the person commenting than my actual hair.
    Marika @ Ambitious Curls recently posted…Weekly Ambition #6My Profile

    • Moe says:

      When I was in the South this past summer, I swear I was soo pissed at all the ‘Girl, you need to comb that hair’ I heard from people. I went to the movies with one of my cousins, and heard someone say ‘I wanna see the movie, not the back of someone’s hair.’

      First of all, my hair isn’t THAT big. I don’t have a big kid & play high top fade!
      Moe recently posted…Since I love sharing goodies…………My Profile

    • Coily Locks says:

      It’s crazy how we still define so much by one’s texture and aspire to do anything to get it to be “good”. Thank goodness I could care less and kudos to you for learning to love your hair!

  3. Melinda says:

    I absolutely love this article! You are right on so many levels. I, for one, remember being heartbroken as a child growing up because I didn’t have “good hair”. My sister and mom had that nice, wavy, hair that they could manage with some water and a little grease, but my hair had to permed, pressed, or braided tightly to my head to be presentable. It’s crazy that we allow society to dictate our beauty as opposed to defining it for ourselves.

    It’s really sad that some of us are still teaching good hair/bad hair to our children. I mean really?! It’s like we can’t get away from it. My daughter, who is natural, had a child tell her that she had ‘Nigga’ hair. My daughter wasn’t upset or anything, but it kinda pissed me off. I felt a little better when my daughter informed me of how she handled it…I guess I taught her well. lol.

    To me, as long as your hair is healthy and taken care of, it is good hair. You shouldn’t have to change what it is that God blessed you with because someone else can’t see the beauty in it. God did and I feel blessed to be different from the masses of people with “good hair”. Everyday I thank the Lord for my hair because it is beautiful and it is me!
    Melinda recently posted…Simplifying My Hair RegimenMy Profile

    • Moe says:

      I am SOOOOOOO happy that when someone told my daughter she had good hair, she was like ‘What does good hair mean?!’ I didn’t realize how big of a deal that was until she asked. Upon explaining to her, she was just like ‘Oh, well that’s dumb’

      I just wish some of kids at her school thought the same way. =(
      Moe recently posted…Since I love sharing goodies…………My Profile

    • Coily Locks says:

      Melinda both of my girls are biracial and one has “finer/wavier” hair and my oldest daughter has gorgeous, thick crazy tightly curled hair. This one lady said oh your older daughter has that hair like us, that nigga hair. Took everything in me to not pimp slap her. Thank goodness my tween just looked at her like “whatevs”

  4. Marie Young says:

    What a great article Moe! I’m just flat out OVER the whole hairism/colorism thing period. I’m just learning to do me nowadays. I wear my hair natural for the most part BUT if I want to throw in a weave I do. It’s not because I feel like I ONLY look beautiful with straight, long, silky hair. It’s mainly because I just think it looks cute nothing more to it.

    I totally agree with your points here and you’ve explained so effortlessly. LOL @ Chris Rock needing to take a STADIUM OF SEATS! Bwahahahah

    Again, wonderful article!
    Marie Young recently posted…Lulu: The New Dating App Every Girl Needs, Or Do We?!?My Profile

  5. Andrea says:

    “Good hair” my tail. I grew up believing (and still believe) that “good hair” means healthy hair. Maybe this is why I have no problem cutting this junk off every now and again. Short, long, curly, or straight, hair is hair, it doesn’t need to be a political statement. These GIF’s though…lmbo!
    Andrea recently posted…BeQuoted: Thanksgiving EditionMy Profile

  6. Anointed Heels says:

    LOL @Chris take a STADIUM OF SEATS! too funny!

    unfortunately i grew up on the good hair crap, especially from my mom side of the family, since they are lighter and have more slicker hair. I look straight like my dad darker and my hair was not like my mom or my sister. it’s so dumb tho, my hair just needed more that water and vaseline unlike my mom. now I’ve learn how to care for my hair it’s looking nice NOW I have people telling me I have good hair!! I’m the same girl who had the nappy un-manageable hair! take a STADIUM OF SEATS people!!!
    I’m glad for all the information out there these days hopefully every generations it’ll get less and less.
    we got a away from slavery, segregation… we shall overcome someday!
    Anointed Heels recently posted…Meet Stella! My Natural Hair Alter EgoMy Profile

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