Black Girl Hair Is Still “Unacceptable”

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Clearly you know I keep watch on all things Black hair related for all of my research for my book, Hair Story. But even if I wasn’t a certified hairstorian, I’d still be completely engrossed in all of the Black hair news being made this week.

First of all, one of the Black co-hosts on The Talk, Sheryl Underwood -who is also a comedian ā€“ thought she was being funny (I think) when she derided Heidi Klum for keeping her kid’s Afro hair as a keepsake. Not only did she say that Afro hair was nasty, she suggested that if a White person kept their children’s hair, that would be okay because White hair is silky and nice. What?!?! Poor Sheryl was called all kinds of names and publicly shamed all over social media for saying these things and taking the race backwards some 200 years. Here’s the clip:

Sigh.Clearly, I don’t know Sheryl Underwood and haven’t spent too much time watching The Talk, but the little bit of time I have seen her and based on her comments, the emotion I’m feeling right now is a deep sense of pity. Here’s a woman who wears a wig every day and clearly felt okay saying on national television that White hair is better than Black hair. What kind of person says that except one who has a deep sense of racial and personal inferiority? I don’t want to psychoanalyze someone I don’t know, but from where I’m sitting, her comments point to a little Black girl who never felt pretty and who internalized whatever negative comments she heard as a child. It’s just sad all around.

And speaking of sad, the attacks on Black hair just kept coming this week. Yesterday I read about a little seven-year-old girl in Tulsa, Oklahoma who was sent home from her charter school ā€“ a charter school run by Black people ā€“ because dreadlocks, Afros and Mohawks and other ‘faddish styles’ are unacceptable for a positive learning environment.   First of all, Afros and dreadlocks are not ‘faddish,’ they’re historic, culturally relevant styles, thank you very much. And second of all, what makes dreadlocks or Afros antithetical to a serious learning environment? Maybe if this was a dress code for White kids, because seriously, White people with dreadlocks always makes me do a double take, I’d see their point, but that’s not it. Once again, you have Black people so out of touch with their own history and culture that they want to demonize that which is our own and prize the imitation of European beauty/grooming standards. Dear Lord, how much damage was done during those 400 years?

So, I’m not saying this because I wrote the book, but will somebody please send Sheryl Underwood and the administrators at the charter school in Tulsa a copy of Hair Story:Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America? Education, it’s a good place to start.

That is all.


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2 Thoughts to “Black Girl Hair Is Still “Unacceptable””

  1. Claudia

    Please preach it!!!!! Oh, my goodness that Sherly Underwood!!!! Everytime she starts to speak, I feel myself get all tense and the room starts to swirl with her voice piercing my ears. I can just faint from fear of what she has to say. This last display of her is not surprising to me.
    I am completely confused on why blacks are the only race that can’t have enough pride and respect for where we came from, what we have gone through, and for those who made it possible. Instead there is shame and disrespect for our history and our unique attributes. Blacks can’t seem to understand: the history of how we were degraded, how that STILL plays today, how nappy and nigger are words that can NEVER be made positive, how black comedians promotion of stereotypes for entertainment damages the black race, how we have to support black businesses (b/c if not us, than who?), etc.
    Why would she say that? Sometimes, I feel blacks think that the cure for racism had arrived at midnight when the 21st century clocked in. And what made that so evident to those blacks was that the USA has a black man for a president. (Never mind that people still look at you as if you are a spawn of satan, there are still places blacks can’t go if you do mind physical/verbal attacks, crosses are still being burned in black owned homes in white towns, people still believe they are better than blacks because they are not black, etc. ) In addition to that, they have gotten too use to laughing at themselves through the black jokes that black comedian on a world stage make that they basically lost the capacity to take themselves seriously. Also, they don’t want to seem pro black because they don’t want whites to feel uncomfortable (By the way I haven’t come across any other race that is not pro their race.). And now because of this it is okay for them to say these things because no longer is there racism.
    Why do a lot of blacks feel they are not good enough? Why do we hate ourselves?

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      I feel your pain and confusion and wish I had the answers, but I don’t. I do know, however, that those of us who do get it, just have to keep educating the rest. Somebody has got to do it. And I agree it begins and ends with some serious self-love and self-respect.

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