- Posted June 18, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Black in America: Hair-story
Enough with the "good hair" comments, already!
Obviously, I’m not black, but my girls are mixtkids and their father is black. So, I know all about this “good hair” thing that is so much a part of the black community. Both have curls and lots of them. My oldest not only has a lot of curls, but a lot of hair [thanks to my side]. It wasn’t always like that though.
As a baby, you couldn’t even tell PJ was gonna have curls at all. Month after month, the curls slowly came in. By 1 years old, she had soft little ringlets and was constantly getting the “good hair” comments from Ken’s family and most black people in the street. “Oh, so cute. She has that “good hair” and it’s so soft.” Blah, blah, blah.
As the months passed, PJ’s grew and grew and got thicker and thicker. I struggled through each step and used lots of different products [or should I say, wasted] until we found Mixed Chicks, Infusium [in a pinch], Creme of Nature and a Silk pillow case. And as the months and years passed, PJ’s hair became so much a part of who PJ is, that I can’t even imagine her without the curly hair.
Now that PJ is 7 and has extremely curly and thick hair, the comments she gets have changed. She no longer gets the “good hair” comment, she gets the “WOW”, you have a lot of hair comment and the “how long does it take to straighten?” and questions to me about, “Does she ever ask to have it relaxed?” Relaxed? WTF? She loves her hair and so do I!
OK…so, let’s fast foward 7 years and here comes our baby, MJ. She was born with that same straight brown hair that only had a little curl when wet, but totally straight for months. Slowly, the curls are coming in. But they aren’t happening as fast as PJ’s. Ken and I commented last night that she seems to be a few months behind with curls.
At 12 months, MJ’s hair looks about as curly as PJ’s did at 10 months. I think at 14 months, her hair will be very similar to PJ’s at 12. It’s really fun to watch their hair transform.
But…here’s the kicker. The comments have started up again. This time directed at MJ. MJ is developing her curls slower and the curls are looser [for now]. Plus, PJ is now 7 and has her grown up curls already, so the “good hair” comments have shifted to the baby. “OH, yeah, she has that “good hair” or “I don’t think she’s gonna have hair like PJ at all. It’s definitely not as curly!” [SAY WHAT?]
With PJ, “good hair” comments were annoying, but sometimes flattering [I didn't know any better]. Now, it kinda pisses me off. See, it’s not just a comment to MJ [meant as a compliment, I know], but it tells PJ that she doesn’t have “good hair”. Even though she does! I would know, I deal with it everyday. To me, “good hair” is healthy hair and it doesn’t matter the texture, curl, thickness or color.
As a mother, I’m probably being over sensitive. I know it’s typically not meant in any negative way. I know this “good hair” thing has been around forever and is as common as wanting smooth skin or straight teeth. But, really, is there truly a such thing as “good hair?” What it seems to me is that you’re saying, “good hair” equals “white hair.” As in Caucasian. Am I wrong? If so, then define the term, “good” for me, cause I don’t get it.
As I step off my high horse, I’d like to ask you all a favor. Please, the next time you look at a young child and touch their kinky or curly hair, don’t say the “good hair” comment, even if you mean well. Give ‘em a hug instead.
Renae [sdmom22 - twitter] ~ www.mixtkids.com