While I was standing at the coffee machine I noticed some co-workers looking at my hair. I smiled, grabbed my cup and walked to my desk. A couple of days later someone came to my desk and asked if she could touch my hair. “Of course you can, but please do not ‘detangle’ my hair with your finger” I answered. I explained that this would eventually cause more frizz. The day after another colleague approached me and asked if my hair was fake. When I told her it was real, she scalped me…
I was writing another article, but posts on Facebook motivated me to write something different. The posts were often hateful or impolite towards cultures who are curious and admiring our hair texture. I cannot count on my bare hands how many posts and reactions made me wonder what is going on in this world. Curious where I am referring to? Here are some of those comments:
“White people always touch my hair, bitches please stop”
“Relaxing ain’t for white people, so why is this man relaxing his hair. Lord, please fix this guy.”
“I went to the hair shop and there was a white girl. I do not trust this shit, where the black sales person at though!?”
“Those people touching our hair without asking deserve a throat punch”
“I would love to slap them bitches who touch my hair”
“Some dude had the nerve to comment on my hair and touch it. He was a drunk Asian guy”
What is this image all about though?
Did you notice that most comments are referring to a certain nationality? Would it be different if a dark skinned person would make these comments? And why would we have the right to do something and other ethnicities do not? Why would a light skinned person (who is probably educated on multi textured hair) not have the right to work in a hair shop?
In my introduction I mentioned two co-workers, one who polity asked if she could touch my hair and one who scalped me without even asking. The difference between the two is not only that one was polite and the latter not. The first colleague is light skinned, while the other is dark skinned. My point? Politeness does not depend on the ethnicity or skin colour of the individual; it depends on their personality and knowledge. Instead of going on Facebook and other types of social media to rant, it might be worthwhile to educate others about our values. Something that might be obvious for us is not that obvious for others.
Indeed, it might be annoying if someone touches your hair without asking…especially when they are scalping you or when it is a stranger. However, I experienced that some friends and colleagues were caressing my hair as a gesture. Perhaps people wanting to touch our hair is a gesture used to compliment our precious locks.
Lastly, hateful comments result in a bad image of our wonderful community. That being said, there are often complaints that other cultures are ignorant, but is it not unenlightened to post these types of messages and pictures on social media? What will other cultures think of us? Probably they will think that we are impolite as well.