This blog post is not meant to be a rant. It is intended to give insight, be educational, and most of all be helpful.
This post is merely scraping the surface of this topic and I’m sure there will be a part two…or three lol. However, we have to at least start the conversation. So let’s talk about it.
By the way, this message is for every ethnicity...including my own.
My favorite book says…
”But for a woman, if her hair is abundant, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.” – Corinthians 11:15
Let that sink in for a second.
In order for you to get in my headspace, let me share some experiences I’ve personally had.
In Elementary school,
my mom had to threaten my life and drill into me that no one had permission to touch or change my hair.
Before that threatening of my life...lol…people would play in my hair and I’d come back home with a changed and diluted version of the style that my mom started me out with.
Not understanding how much time was spent to get this thick hair to cooperate (sorry mom!), I couldn’t understand why she got so mad. But TRUST, as I grew up and had to learn to do my own hair, I understand now.
Throughout grade school,
when wearing my straight hair, people wanted to touch and run their fingers all through my hair. Little did I know, when rocking my afro that would multiply times 1,000. And unfortunately, that’s no exaggeration.
As an African American woman, understand that my hair takes TIME. It is a full time job washing, styling, and taking care of this mane.
Being that I interact with very diverse people, I’ve often run into very interesting situations and find myself having to correct and educate those individuals on proper hair etiquette I guess you can call it.
In laymen’s terms, to those I’m close to, I’ve explained why it’s a no-no to touch African American women’s hair WITHOUT permission.
Let me break it down for ya:
Wash day can take up half of our day. Sitting in a salon…whew child…you never know how long you’ll actually be in there. Sitting to get protective styles done like braids?! That can take 8+ hours! Oh, and let’s not even get into how much good hair products cost.
What I need you to understand is that our hair is truly our glory. Whether it’s a short cut or flowing down our backs, it’s a part of us.
So for someone to come up and touch my hair without permission is DISRESPECTFUL. Lacking courtesy. An invasion of space.
My hair is not a petting zoo.
You don’t get to touch it just because it looks so intriguing.
Let me give you some examples of what people have said to me after I check them for touching my hair without permission:
1) I just couldn’t resist!
2) But it just looks so soft! Like a pillow. I wanted to see if it felt like that too.
3) It’s just one touch. …….Just one touch??? Yeah, you and 25 other people today simple mindedly thought the same thing.
Listen, I have no idea where your hands have been. I don’t know if you just finished eating or what you’ve touched previously. Whatever oils and such you have on your hand can affect the flow of our hair. Yeah…it does.
For example, I personally don’t put lots of oil in my hair because it weighs it down. So just think about the oils of 25 people’s hands on my hair.
I’m not being a germophobe but these are facts.
I hope this is giving you insight and allows you to understand why touching someone’s hair without permission is a no go.
This wouldn’t be helpful without a SOLUTION so let me offer you a couple:
1) Ask permission to touch someone’s hair BEFORE reaching out to do so.
2) If you are really intrigued about someone’s hairstyle and would like to know more, Google it. Google offers great descriptions and examples to help you understand. Even better, watch a YouTube video. You can definitely learn a lot from there.
I hope this blog had offered insight, education, and help. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to continue the conversation. No question is a stupid question. I’m open and willing to answer. If you’d like your question to be personal, feel free to email me at: -firstname.lastname@example.org
For your entertainment, check out Solange’s music video called Don’t Touch My Hair.” Take in the lyrics and enjoy the great visuals that come along with it:
Until next time:)