Don’t Touch My Hair.
It is a statement, a sentence, a plea, a caution and joke we curly girls have all at one time spoken to another. But after thinking about it a bit more deeply, it got me thinking, what does it mean? Never would I ever think to hear a girl with straight hair utter such a sentence it would sound odd. But for me, it is a common occurrence, a daily for some, especially around new and rude people. (no I am not a monkey at a zoo which you can just stroke and pet.)I wanted to ponder on this idea, its meaning and write it down in hopes some other girls could share their experiences and voices.
Before I usually say these words, I tend to see big hands in a claw position about to reach for my hair. A big red alarm rings inside of my head and I back away from the adult who is looking at me wide-eyed like a child at a zoo seeing an exotic animal for the first time. These people usually use words like ‘frizz’. Why is it I don’t feel the urge to go around and touch straight hair? Why is it a thing to ask someone with curly hair or an afro? There is something off. In a sinister way, it reminds me of when black people were forced into circuses and enslaved like animals and seen as freaks. I mean that’s how I feel sometimes when someone asks to touch my hair, it is then I am reminded I am not the norm I somehow stick out and not in a special snowflake kind of way. More of a’ you’re not from here’ way.
Having been surrounded by a predominantly white family and classmates this has been my experience. In no way do I speak for others. Luckily for me, I haven’t experienced overt racism that I know of, I’ve been called mop head, but that was just a boy who was being a douche. However, having to fend off people I don’t know too well from racking their fingers through my hair has been a strange occurrence throughout my life, as well as the hot question ‘Where are you from?’ While I’m not offended these little things go on to create a divide between myself and the people around me, It is in the little moments I realise, oh yeah I look pretty different to most of the people here right now or that you know. But it is these questions that make me feel inside that I am not on their level and thus make me feel like ‘the other’.
This is entirely my subjective thoughts and feelings. However, please feel free to leave a comment to carry on the discussion which I would love! 🙂