by Gray Graham
Since this topic has come up out of nowhere twice this year when we were suppose to be talking about the great accomplishments of women in their chosen fields, I thought I would take the time to explain why hair is so important to Black women.
Now we all know that women are judged by their appearance first and everything else second. Doesn't matter if she is Speaker of the House, Secretary of State, Governor, CEO, reporter, or athlete; men and women care about her appearance first and then they will comment on her abilities.
Now multiply that times 10,000 and you will understand what a Black woman has to deal with in her life. Black women have been told all of their lives that they have to do something to change their hair, because when it is natural it is not appropriate or professional. It has been that way for generations and is ingrained into our society.
Every time this topic comes up, some Black women will deny that they feel this way. They say it is a preference and nothing to do with their self image. Oh really. Since I am a businessman by trade I often asked them to simply examine how much money and how much time they dedicate to their hair. It is always amazing and yet many still do not even see a problem.
Until recently most Black women would not even get certain jobs if their hair was not a certain way so in order to simply be able to work they had to change their hair. Many jokes be told about Black women just because of her hair and nothing else. If it is thick, curly, then it is nappy and unkept.
I am sure the main dagger comes from the Black men who often say they want a woman with long straight hair, something the average Black woman just is not going to have naturally. So even when it comes to love from family and friends they still get no comfort about their hair.
So before everyone proclaims how wrong it is to be so concerned about the appearance of a Black woman’s hair, understand that is what society created. It is going to take a long time to change those attitudes and behaviors and it is going to take all of us to change it.
So take some time to learn why Black women feel that way and see what you personally can do to help change those feelings but do not pretend there are not reasons for the behavior.