*For folks who don’t know, African American women absolutely hate the fact that many white coworkers, classmates, roomates, male and female, etc., harbor an unnatural infatuation with Black hair! Although my daughter has heard about this phenomenon, she expereinced it today. She decribes the act and her subsequent feelings about the issue, below. Baby-girl snapped!! Please read in its entirely and listen to the song clip below by Solange Knowles, “Don’t Touch My Hair!”
PSA to my white friends and allies:
Do not walk up to black people and put your hands in their hair. Do not do this. I was at work this morning and one of my coworkers walked up behind me — I did not see her coming — and started running her fingers through my hair, saying, “Your hair is so pretty! How do you get it like this?”
It doesn’t matter that she meant it as a compliment. It doesn’t matter that she meant no harm. There is no reason to walk up to someone and just start invading their intimate, personal space like that. Do not touch people without permission, end of story. I am not a petting zoo. I am not something to be observed. I am a person who deserves basic respect.
Not only did it make me feel extremely uncomfortable, it made me embarrassed. I didn’t feel like I was being complimented. I had someone I’m not very comfortable with in my personal space in a way I didn’t want her to be. I felt disrespected, and then upon realizing I had to confront her about it, I started feeling anxious. I don’t go to work to educate people about things like this. That is not my job, it’s not something I should have to do, and not only is it frustrating, it’s extremely emotionally draining. Please don’t make the black people in your life do this.
She’s a grown woman. She has a teenage son. She even mentioned the half-black kids she’s taking care of as if it’s some sort of justification. We’ve never even shaken hands, but she feels comfortable enough to put her hands in my head?
So, with that being said, this is the mood of the day (and every day) for me and black people everywhere: