I’m going to say it straight up: I don’t believe white people** when they tell me they like my hair when I wear it natural. Let me explain.
By natural I mean in it’s normal, non-straightened, sans chemical state. Usually, I wear my hair pressed straight courtesy of the Dominicanas at Nuevo Estilo on 6th & Hunting Park. Every now and then, I get tired of that and want to go back to basics.
Strangely enough, white people as a whole have not yet gained an understanding of the complexities of Black hair. Ask any Black woman and she’s bound to have a “hair story” about how some co-worker or classmate asked her some moronic question about their extensions or braids or afros or waves or … you get the point.
Back to me, though. Thursday I changed my hair and wore a curly ‘fro. About 6 people came up to me and remarked “I like your hair like that.” Now, you might say “Bourgie, you’re bugging! They just like your hair!” To that, I’ll say ok, maybe 2 of them really did. The other 4 just wanted to REMARK and NOTICE my hair verbally and the only way to do so without sounding stupid in your own mind is to compliment. Sometimes they’re just so clueless of how to sit comfortably in a room with a person who is no afraid to let their hair be natural, they just HAVE to speak. How do I know these aren’t real compliments? Because it’s not simply “I like your hair,” but add a silly smile, awkward approach and additional comment like “lookin’ real ‘soul sistah’ today.”
Then you get the uber white liberals who want so desperately to let you know that they love your big ol’ afro to add to their I-am-so-progressive-and-open-to-other-ethnicities-and-not-bound-by-Western-standards-of-beauty identity.
You can’t deny that folks of any race often equate a natural hairstyle with certain politics, temperaments and ideas. They think you’re militant or angry or boho. Dare I harken to OutKast/Andre 3000, “…is every nigga with dreads for the cause? …Naw.”*** I’m not wearing a freakin’ costume here, people.
Look, I’m not extra sensitive, but I know bullshit when I smell it.
*See Jay-Z - The Takeover
**Clearly I am generalizing here.
***See OutKast - Aquemini