An Open Letter to the Principal of C.R Walker

As originally seen on Bahamas Revisited

To the principal of C.R Walker Senior High School, my hair is thick. Naturally of course. I don't remember the first time my mother relaxed it but I do remember years of 'Just For Me' boxes transitioning into an adulthood filled with "Creme of Nature" and "Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Professional Creme Relaxer."

I remember the first time I went months without relaxing my hair, the sarcastic comments I got from women of my own skin color asking me one question, "you gone natural aye?" it would have been the first time I was asked that question but not the first time I felt embarrassed about the way my hair grew out of my head naturally. I'm not the first black woman to go through this and sadly I won't be the last.

I've come to terms with this. I'm not an activist and I don't pretend to be well read on the issues of systemic cultural eradication or race but, why is it that I am allowed to embrace my hair as my crowning glory in it's unnatural relaxed form but a school girl is sent home ashamed of her very being because she embraces the very thing that to her makes up a part of her identity, her hair?

Furthermore why is it that her principal, a figure in which she should look up to is allowed to perpetuate the rhetoric that time and time again puts young black women in a position thinking that yet again they as their true selves will never be enough. It's more than just hair, it's the ideology that black women have to always be one step ahead of their counterparts both educationally and esthetically, because our centuries of culture will never at any given point be acknowledged as "professional".

You're focused on the wrong thing Ms.McKay, maybe if we focused less on what was on her head rather than in it, we could finally figure out why the national grade point average is so low.

Perhaps, if we focused on what this little girl can be versus who you think she is based on her hairstyle we could figure out why violence in schools is at an all time high.

Figuratively speaking, if we exerted this much effort into revamping an educational system that does it's children no favors, maybe we could seek a brighter future.

But I understand, that puff on the top of her head is the first thing on your agenda, as it should be.