Children are being expelled from school and removed from dance recitals for wearing their natural hair or afro-puffs. It's insanity at its best. Our military once wanted to ban black hairstyles and I recently saw a video of a Black broadcast journalist who was told that if she wanted to progress in her career, she needed to get rid of her gorgeous natural curly hair. Enough! I put together this video to educate those on the other side — the non-Black side.
I’m very much pro-choice when it comes to natural hair. I have had natural hair in the past and will soon do the big chop and start my natural hair journey once again. My natural sistas, share this video far and wide with those who have preconceived notions about Black hair.
13 Crazy Things White People Think About Black Natural Hair At Work & School
- It’s dirty. NOT! Water helps our hair to grow. It needs the moisture. We actually co-wash our hair regularly and can spritz it several times a day with water.
- It’s not combed or styled. Definitely not true! We didn’t just “wake up like this” and go to work. We take great care and pride in styling our hair by doing twist-outs, bantu knots, Afros, braids, etc., but what looks not styled to you basically means it doesn’t look like your hair.
- Black natural hair, like Afros and Afro-puffs are a distraction. Well that’s a huge insult and is borderline bullying. That’s how my natural hair goes when put in ponytail holders or when combed. Saying it is a distraction is like saying my face is a distraction because it’s what I was born with. Asking me to process or relax my hair to make you feel comfortable is like asking me to get plastic surgery so you can look at me.
- You’re being rebellious or making a political statement. This isn’t a political movement. My hair could care less about being a rebel. It’s just the way it grows out of my head, just as yours does.
- My (Caucasian) “natural hair” is how I look when I’m home, as opposed to when I’m at work. That’s not what we mean by natural hair at all. We simply mean, this is how our hair grows out of our head. At home, we may have it wrapped and set in a scarf or in braids for an upcoming style. Your natural isn’t our natural.
- Black hair doesn’t grow – Oh boy, DOES it grow! It even grows better in its natural state because we aren’t applying harsh chemicals and heat, which often breaks the ends of our hair, making it appear that it’s not growing. Here’s a shocker—A Black woman with natural hair that appears to be shoulder length is very deceiving. Most likely the length of her hair reaches down to her derrière, but the curl, actually known as shrinkage makes it appear much shorter.
- It doesn’t move. Yes, our coarse hair can defy gravity but the longer it grows, the more it moves.
- Is that your real hair? Don’t ask if my hair is a weave. That’s rude. Not every Black woman wears a weave.
- It might have bugs in it. Black hair is the most resistant hair to any bugs, including lice. They really don’t like our petroleum and waxy hair products either but just because someone has braids, locs or Afros, don’t assume their hair is unkempt. It takes a LOT of effort to maintain black hair and we still go to the salon regularly to upkeep our locs and braids.
- I can’t dye my hair pink and go to work. EXACTLY! So why are we REQUIRED to put harmful chemicals in our hair to stay employed? Pink hair dye isn’t natural and neither are relaxers.
- You can’t be taken seriously with that hair. But I can be taken seriously wearing someone else’s hair, otherwise known as weaves, hair extensions or a wig? A word of advice: take a Black woman wearing her natural hair VERY seriously! I’m just saying.
- It’s unprofessional. When you say it’s unprofessional, again what you are truly saying is that it doesn’t look like your hair or like the hair of people you know. Just because it’s unfamiliar doesn’t make it wrong. Know that black natural hair doesn’t lessen a person’s ability to do their job.
- I want to touch it. Don’t touch it. Just don’t do it. It’s demeaning. It’s just not acceptable.
Share this article with a non-Black person that doesn’t understand Black natural hair and who needs to be educated. Heard some “Crazy Things" about natural hair? Add them to the comment section below.
Janice Celeste, MBA is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Successful Black Parenting magazine. She has a degree in early childhood education, has taught high school and was a professor at Hofstra University. She was also the executive director of a local YMCA, is the author of the book, Pride and Joy by Simon & Schuster, and is a journalist and former news reporter.