Baby Hair: The Oppression

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Meet Rokira – my 2 year old second cousin. Isn’t she just a little cutie? *-*

My Aunt started bringing her to church with us for the past 2 weeks. Last week, she rocked a fierce braid out with the cutest little bandeau around her head. I thought she looked the bee’s knees. Shockingly, when we got to church, one member looked at her head and asked, “Are you nah see da likkle gyal head want comb?” (Antiguan dialect)  In standard English, he asked, “Don’t you all see that the little girl’s hair needs combing?” (I did not have my camera with me last week but this Sabbath I did and snapped these shots of her hair)

The audacity!

When will such mindset / mentality / closed-mindedness / black hate cease? When? 

My Aunt started making excuses that the child’s Mom did not have the time to plait her hair. SMH. I later asked the Mom if this was the case and she said that she, who is also natural, carried her hair in the same manner so her daughter carries the same. Granted, truth be told, the Mom was not blessed with the art of plaiting. But that’s besides the point.

Naturally, I got very indignant with the guy who made the remark and went on a mini tyrant of how we need to learn to love and accept our natural hair. I made the comparison of how we look at a Caucasian or mixed child with naturally curly hair and oohhh and ahhhh over their hair when they simply get out the shower, towel dry and go. Their natural curly poof does not incite the same remarks of needing to comb or plait. My sister responded that those kids have “much better hair than us.”

How much longer will we oppress our kids when it comes to their hair?

The back of her hair had less definition than the front but why should we only love our hair with definition and not in a straight afro puff, right?

I have always said, and will continue to say that WE are the reason why we do not love our natural hair. Are we not tired of seeing toddlers with already receding hairlines from the cornrows we constantly plait their hair in? Are we not saddened by the sight of toddlers with relaxed hair? Or toddlers with braid extensions?

I say, LET THEIR HAIR STRIVE! Teach them to love the beauty and versatility of their natural hair by giving them varying hairstyles that are age appropriate – not just bubbles and uninteresting cornrows.

I’ve asked many persons what styles they can remember their hair being in growing up and 90% respond with – cornrows. That’s it. Its no wonder they are so eager to get a bottle of relaxer in their hair as soon as they become of age.

May we be the change that is needed for our kids. May we develop a love for our own hair and pass that on to our daughters. May we empower them with self love from the crown of their heads to the tips of their toes.

Be blessed xx

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19 Comments

    1. Agreed. Most persons I believe WANT to love their hair but society tells them its ugly and they conform. We need more strong-willed women to stand up for what is naturally theirs.

  1. We must learn to to ignore ignoramuses that want to degrade the wonderful culture and attributes that are “us”. And next time they ask that dumb question, tell dem arwe say…mind dem blasted r@ss business!

  2. I raise my hands in total agreement with you. She is sooo cute. Her mom is doing the right thing. Do continue to defend natural hair and natural beauty and Train up a child in the way he should grow and when he is old he will not depart from it.

  3. Her hair is absolutely gorgeous! WE are the reason why WE are carrying so much baggage about our gorgeous kinks. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a fellow kinky girl say “I don’t have the kind of hair that looks good natural” or “she has ‘nice’ hair so she can do those styles”. I can’t judge too harshly because a few years ago I used to think that way too.

    1. I made a mental note to not allow anyone to disrespect my hair by calling it by any other name than what it is – kinky, nappy etc. I even accept ‘picky’. But when they start on the hard and dry and cruffy is when I give them immediate PAUSE. Uh uh – not this head of 4C hair! 😀

  4. Your niece is so cute. Everything is on point from the bow to the dress and of course the fro! I can’t understand Black people. We are our worse enemies. My daughter is biracial and she gets a lot of “she is so cute” from people who barely look at her but associate biracial to cuteness. This is a “rich people” problem so I won’t complain but as a dark skin woman it makes me sad that dark skin babies are not praised as much as light skin/ biracial babies and that “segregation” starts from childhood.
    On a hair level, sometimes I like to make my daughter – she is 2 too- rock her fro even if it is still quite short…and in those moments I get “why don’t you braid her hair ?”, “why did not you comb her hair today” ? I actually get that for my hair too…This is all very sad.

    1. That is indeed sad. All we can hope is to change those around us who will change those around them etc etc. One day, I do believe that the majority will unite. How soon? Now that’s the mystery.

  5. I’m d mother of this beautiful baby girl…I really didn’t think that they were still ignorant Black persons out there…I have been natural for over 15 yrs and prefered my natural hair never understood y persons permed their hair but to each their own. I have a 12 yr old son who had long hair from birth until last summer when he started secondary school and d principal told me I had to cut his hair but that’s another topic. We r naturalist and will continue to live so despite of what people may think of us…..

  6. Excellent article Nekisha! I am currently working on a similar article after watching a bunch of videos made by black people who make similar remarks. I would like to think we came a long way to finally say no to those hair damaging junks but the road ahead seems longer! It’s too weird that the majority of other races embrace us better when we are natural than our own kind. I can’t wait to have my children and my response to everyone would be “Sue me”. Right now I just tell them I can’t hear their opinion through my afro lol. Thanks for sharing this! And yes she is a cutie pie. Love it!!!

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