ThirdWorldProfashional put up a post today about natural hair and relaxed hair in Nigeria and her opinions on various matters involved in the whole situation. I left a couple of comments on the post, but I felt it was important that I repost them here.
I think that there is a lot of unwarranted hostility towards natural hair in Nigeria and there is a lot of misinformation being spread around. Even worse, there is the particularly annoying and very dangerous habit that pro-relaxer Nigerians have of downplaying the very serious issues surrounding the self image of Nigerian (and by extension black) women when they compare themselves and are compared to women of other races and the key role that these issues play in steering women towards the decision to relax or to remain natural.
I am tired of hearing Nigerians say “It’s just hair” or quote India Arie and say “I am not my hair”.
You know what?
FUCK India Arie. She wrote a feel good song with a positive message, but you’d have to be drunk off your rocker to believe that bullshit.
Like it or not, you are very much your hair. Your hair does not define the totality of what you are because as a human being you are made up of so many facets but your hair is a very REAL and very legitimate one of those facets and whether you want to hold hands and sit in a circle and daydream till kingdom come, the FACT of the matter is that people in this world DO and WILL judge others based on their hair.
People who relax are very much aware of this and that is why they relax. Because at the end of the day, noone wants to be told they are ugly and people want to feel good about themselves. People who relax KNOW that the way this world has been set up, black people are dehumanised and shit on by EVERYBODY, and everything that reminds anybody of Africans or any aspect of our lives or cultures or existence is demeaned at every opportunity and dismissed or at least deliberately ranked as less than or lower than anything attributed to anyone else and that includes our hair.
So maybe you can go through life with relaxed hair and everyone will smile at you and nod their head and your boss will be happy and you will get promotions but at the end of the day what does it mean? All it means is that you AGREE that you were made defective. You AGREE that you are inferior at least in some way because well, you were given an inferior brand of hair so you have to “Fix” it or at least get it looking as close as possible to the CORRECT type of hair.
It’s not just hair and your decision about your hair doesn’t affect just you. It affects ALL of us. The Indian women and Brazilian women whose hair you are wearing with so much pride, what do you think they think of you? How do you think you look to those women? To those women we are pathetic. We are so desperate to wear THEIR hair on our heads it’s a joke. They can shave it off if they want and sell it to a hair trader, it’s not a big deal, it will grow back, big diff.
It affects all of us, because it’s not even as if any of our rejection of our own bodies is going on in private. It’s happening IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE WORLD and THEY CAN SEE and they laugh at us. Black women are the laughing stock of the whole world because everyone is watching us desperately go to any means to look like anything but what we actually are and it strokes the ego of every non-Black woman that can see because it’s obvious to her that you’re trying to look like her and she’s not trying to look like you.
Sure, we hide it under all sorts of euphemisms or faulty logic or fake science like “relaxed hair is more manageable” or “straight hair is more professional” or “light skin is just cleaner looking” and so on, but NOBODY is fooled.
These things we do are what make people like Satoshi Kanazawa feel like he has the balls to come out and write an article on the Internet titled Why Black Women are Ugly. This is why Nigerian singers like Dare Art Alade, Naeto C, and Dbanj have the guts to ignore the millions of Nigerian women who will support them die with their money and fan worship and populate their videos with white South Africans and Indians. After all are you not the one that told them that Indians are better than you by eschewing your own hair but doling out hard cash for hair that an Indian gave up for free? This is why men have the balls to say things like “Anybody who dates black women is nasty” or “Black girls are gross”. People insult us because we have already insulted ourselves by our actions.
Why won’t somebody open their mouth and trash you when you have already said non-verbally that your hair is trash, and your skin is trash? Why won’t they?
If you want to relax your hair, I am not coming to your house any time soon to come and flog you in the middle of the night with a koboko but please, PLEASE stop this nonsense of “It’s not a big deal” or “It’s just hair” because unless you are blind, deaf, and dumb and live inside Olumo Rock on top of that you will have noticed the way Black women are treated when it comes to beauty in comparison to other women. I am not saying that the people treating us this way are not at fault too or that the American media that seems determined to dominate every corner of the globe with its racist imagery is not at fault too, but I AM saying that WE went outside and plucked the cane that they are using to beat us.
You can read my comments to TWP on her blog on this post