Revisiting Straightening our Hair

So I stumbled upon this article by bell hooks written back in 1988, which made me begin to reflect on the politics of black hair. It makes me wonder why this is such a hot topic? Anything outside of the norm tends to be constantly debated, thus re-inscribing the norms (Blog post discussing straight blonde hair tbd). I think that everyone makes their own choices, but I can say that this hooks article truly resonates with me. Even if I wanted to say “my natural hair is not a political statement,” “I just wear it this way because it’s convenient,” I would be lying. Whether I want it to be a statement or not, IT IS.  Given the racial and political climate of this country, the way I choose to wear my hair does say something about me. Everyone will have their own interpretations, but more important for me is that I have a solid grounding in the choices I make. It’s pretty simple for me, this is the way my hair naturally grows, it’s beautiful, kinky, big, and has personality. Any employer, school, or person, who cannot deeply value that does not need to play a significant role in my life. As the only black female teacher at a predominantly black middle school for girls, hair was an ever present issue. My girls wanted me to start a natural hair club and were so fascinated by my hair. Yet, at the same time, they could be found stroking their hands down their other teachers’ long blonde hair. I always wondered what do they see/think when they encounter all of these different types of hair? They wanted me to straighten my hair for graduation and I almost did. However, decided against it because: 1. I didn’t feel like taking out my mini twists 2. I looove my mini twists and want to keep them in forever. 3. Why should I contribute to the idea that we straighten our hair for special occasions as if straight hair is any more special than my natural kinks and curls? I’ve had my trials with my natural hair, but all I can say now is I’m definitely feeling myself. I’m so in love with my hair and just a few years back never could have imagined it. All that to say, I want our beautiful black and brown girls to feel the same way, but I do think it starts with us.
Anywho, read the article above. Tell me what you think!

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