The White Privilege: Pt. 1 Appearance-Hair

Preface: The title alone may make you shutter, roll your eyes and think, “Oh, here we go… AGAIN,” but I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t write what I was thinking…. in my blog. My blog tends to get views from my Twitter fam, but lately my Facebook fam has been chiming in, too. Facebook has allowed for a generation of people to spew their ill-considered thoughts and this is why I usually go to WordPress to express myself. A “like” or rating this 4 or 5 stars is nice, but what do you THINK? This requires keys, not a mouse.

READ before you comment. Comment AFTER you read.

Love for YOUR perspective because YOUR perspective is YOUR reality, y’know what I mean?

So respect (didn’t say you have to agree) my opinion as I respect yours…

APPEARANCE

’91 Totally Hair Barbie (image rights belong to Matel)

I was born in 1991 and apparently this Barbie was all the rage. You see the “all-American” blonde haired, blue eyed ‘babe’ and you see the tanned brunette with pretty blue eyes. Where’s the black Barbie? What’s not total about her hair?

Oh.. wait. Excuse me, I found her.

She has the longest hair ever. You’ve got that right. Long, straight hair down to the back of her ankles. I’m not saying black women can’t have long hair because I do, but my hair has some… texture to it. I have curls and waves. A lot of my friends have kinks. We go to Dominican or black owned salons to achieve the perfect straight look. Shoot, some of my friends go to weave shops to get THAT look. No shade, it’s just not my thing.

To the point: We grew up to seeing long, straight haired Barbies with contorted figures. I will give Barbie (Matel) her credit though. Barbie’s had so many different occupations (check ‘em out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbie’s_careers) and that’s encouraging to a new age of women who inspire to be police officers, photographers, NASCAR drivers, pilots, astronauts and maybe even the first female President.

….but

I can’t relate to that Barbie. The gift of a Barbie wasn’t thought about intently. She was a plaything, something to encourage femininity and give the little princess something to do. After receiving so many Barbies, we little princesses started to notice we didn’t look like these Barbies. Yeah, “she looks like me because she has brown skin!”… but somewhere we noticed our hair didn’t look the same. Our eyes didn’t look like Barbie’s. Our noses didn’t look like Barbie’s cute little nose. Everyone noticed that they didn’t have Barbie’s shape hence so many plastic surgeries and stupid women calling themselves Barbie today.

Do you know what being a Barbie means?

It means you are artificial. You are a play thing. Nothing about you is real. You have to contort yourself to unrealistic standards. That may be alright with you, but that’s not the life I live.

Speaking from a stance of black woman (even ethnically mixed if you want to go there), I started to think something was wrong with my hair. I remember when I was about 5, I went into the restroom and tried to give one of my Pizza Hut Barbies a perm. That didn’t go so well but shortly after, I received my first “relaxer”.

My hair before a relaxer. Ahhh… I look so PR’n lol.

My hair was curly and wavy. I had wash and go hair, but my mother didn’t know how to deal with it because it wasn’t like her relaxed hair. Doing what she only knew how, she decided to relax it.

My hair didn’t curl like it used to. My hair stopped growing for awhile. The silky locks became a little dry. It wasn’t the real me.

When I turned 7 my mom left me to start doing my own hair. Instead of letting it do it’s own thing, I straightened the hell out of it. For hours I would go over the same section of my hair to make sure it was bone straight and not frizzy.

Courtney from as Told By Ginger

Television and magazines influenced my hair styles. I remember watching Courtney from as Told By Ginger and trying to achieve her hairstyles.

Many women straighten, weave, hide and wig and relax their hair and don’t know why. Subconsciously, we are so accustomed to trying to blend in and making our counterparts feel “comfortable”.

What do I mean comfortable?

I mean the way someone not of our race looks at us and our hair without a perm. They do not understand kink, afro and wave because their hair doesn’t do it like ours. It’s not their fault because they’re not used to it… it’s not their hair. But when that hair is on your head, many people start to feel bad. Some girls have been called “nappy headed” or told they have “Brillo” or “slave hair”.

Watch the clip below… this during a women’s basketball game… This was on air.

Except in Atlanta, how many natural haired news anchors do you see? I was told by a news anchor from another state that she’s not allowed to go on set with her beautiful God given curls. If she didn’t abide by the rules of straightening her hair before her recordings, her job would be given to someone else.

How many other times do you hear things like this?

Don’t dread your hair, it’ll be hard for you to get a job. Bantu knots… you sure you want to do that? It’s not the 90′s anymore… so on and so forth.

Why?

When I turned 14 I decided I wanted to strip my hair of all presence of curls and waves. It wasn’t a relaxer and it wasn’t a perm, it was literally a texture stripper. Warned that my hair may never be the same I sat in that chair, smiled and said I’m ready. I was so through with having to straighten my hair for hours. I didn’t want curly or wavy hair. I wanted my long, straight hair and I wanted it NOW.

My hair became brittle and lifeless. It broke off and I was alright with it. It wasn’t curly and it wasn’t as wavy…. ’cause it was DEAD! lol

On March 28, 2011, I decided to come home from school and go get all of my hair chopped off.

Not following the starting trend, I cut every piece of dead hair off. I was no longer getting perms, relaxers and texture strippers but my hair still had bits of a 6+ year texture stripper. My hair hadn’t grown but it sure was falling out. I was straightening it still and people didn’t know it was unhealthy…. but I did.

This was risqué to most. “Why’d you cut your hair?!” “Can I touch it?” “What did your boyfriend say?… You all are still together, right?” “Oh, I couldn’t do that.”

Black women, my black women looked at me like I was crazy. Some started to treat me different and some didn’t acknowledge me at all. They’d walk by and flip their WEAVE and turn their face in the other direction. White women would just rub my hair without asking. They had never seen a black woman’s natural hair texture.

I had my freedom cut. This is what God intended me to look like.

No presence of media inspired looks, just T’Keyah plain out.

My hair grew back. (This was 7 months ago)

I’m sure a white person can post and say “being white doesn’t mean you don’t have any appearance issues”. I know that, for sure. I’m just giving a personal account of what goes on in the minority child’s life when it comes to appearance. It’s not just me. My friends and I speak about this every now and again. Just as this post was long, you could imagine the conversation. I had it “good” a lot of my friends say. Being mixed gave me a “better” grade of hair and hair in the first place. Every woman’s struggle is different, but this was mine.

In NO way am I saying that being white is better than being black, Mexican, Puerto Rican, African, etc. Neither am I saying that being “ethnic” is better than being white. I LOVE MY black. I LOVE my ethnicities. I LOVE MYSELF.

It just took awhile for me to realize who I was.

I hope you all enjoyed this one. :)

Pt. 2 Appearance- Clothing coming soon!

Comment, please!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s