Every since I was younger I have been able to braid, twist, and style hair, but I’ve had very few experiences dealing with hair like that of my daughter. I have even had a hard time finding hair ties for her. The thin hair ties knot in her hair and the thicker ones are difficult to keep on unless I wrap them around multiple times. Maybe this is why many biracial boys and girls are always wearing beautiful curly afros–their parents don’t know what the hec to do with their hair! Lol. This brings to mind some of the individuals that have labeled my daughter’s hair as “good hair.” A student last semester saw a picture of her in my office and said “Oh she has that good hair.” I replied “There is no such thing as ‘good hair’, all hair is ‘good’ hair.” He replied “No, she has good hair.” I was too exhausted to get into a tirade with him, but I should have took the time to talk more with him about his comment. I know both me and my daughter will hear this over and over again throughout her life. I am already planning for in depth discussions with her about this when she gets older. And then there will be the discussions about the large-scale social notions about light and dark skin, having to identify her “race,” the social juxtaposition between Black and White, etc. etc. The very thought of these types of discussions sadden me because we live in a world that forces distinction between me and my own daughter. A world that will force her to identify as “Black” or “White.” A world in which some will dislike or even hate her because she is both.
I have digressed. This was supposed to be a hair post and it turned into a social commentary on race. The truth is that they are linked. The truth is that my daughter loves her darker skinned mother and she loves touching my hair. The truth is that one day she will be acculturated and her eyes will open to another truth—the truth of the world—that tells her that her and her mother are different—that one is more socially desirable to most and one is not. For now, I will do some research and shop for natural haircare products for her. Later, I will deal with the other dilemmas.