Rules For Touching Kinky, Curly, Coiled Hair…


The other day while taking a stroll on the beach with my husband I witnessed two adults having a conversation about a little boy’s curly hair, “Its sooo crazy, it gets even bigger” all the while rubbing and tugging at his loose curls.

a mother with an Afro hairstyle, holding a toddler with the same hairstyle.

The little boy was white and about 5 years old, with a quick glance I could see he was uncomfortable. His eyes were fixed, looking forcibly at nothing, he was waiting for the examination to end. I felt for him, and I realized that as he grows older he probably won’t have people playing in his hair, touching him inappropriately or making unsolicited advances at him, people generally respect the boundaries of adult white men.

I instantly thought of my own two girls, and their glorious hair, that gets braided, twisted, cornrowed and picked out. I thought about my baby girl and her sweet five year old voice saying “I tell them to stop touching my hair, but they won’t listen…”

I thought about the times that I’ve seen little white girls push up and down on my big girl’s Afro-puff with their mothers looking on and never saying a word. As a Black mother I watch with chagrin, since African women were captured and brought to the Americas their bodies have been subjected to untold horrors and our consent has been violated in manifold ways by the hands of white oppressors. I wonder if these small violations of consent acclimate them to a world that will undoubtedly objectify them.

The message couldn’t be clearer. We belt out Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” with passion and conviction.  Artist Momo Pixel created a video game that shows a black woman swatting at the hands of people trying to touch her hair.

But I’ll say it again, one more time, for the folks in the balcony. Please stop touching our hair, tell your kids not to touch our hair. Honestly, DON’T EVEN ASK TO TOUCH OUR HAIR. Touching the body of another person is an intimate action and should be exclusively done prioritizing the desires and needs of the individual being touched. If a person wants you to touch their hair, they will ask you to touch it, WITHOUT PROMPTING. Until that day comes, keep your hands to yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

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