6.11.2013

For the record, you can'T touch my hair #youcanTtouchmyhair

So Bcbgrl33 recently posted an article on my FB timeline about the "You CAN Touch My Hair" Event in New York, where a bunch of Black women with signs allowed complete strangers to come up and stick their fingers in their natural hair.

Now...I'm not knocking these women.  Their bodies, their decisions - that's what it's all about.  If that's what they really want, good for them.  Personally, for me, it screams "petting zoo" and I'm already bracing for the next time someone wants to ask me about my hair or touch it without my permission.  See, "certain" people have trouble seeing blacks as individuals and won't be able to differentiate between these black women, and your average black woman who's willing to mail your hand back to you if you touch her hair without permission.*

I'm not going to go into all the usual historical and sociological reasons for why it's not cool to touch a black woman's hair nor interrogate her about it.  I can tell you one of my personal reasons, though.

I am not just my hair.  I'm a person.  Granted, if you see me from behind and the first thing you notice are my braids or twists or what have you, fine.  But when you come up to talk to me, the person who actually wears the hair, I expect you to talk to me.

Not only do I expect you to keep your hands to yourself at all times, I expect you not even to mention my hair.  I expect you to be curious about my name, my hobbies, my interests, the last good book I read, a restaurant I like to frequent, my thoughts on current events - I expect you to admire my hair as well as my eyes, my lips, my skin, my shape, but unless you're trying to ask me out on a date, I expect you to keep all that to yourself.  If you genuinely like my look, just say, "You look nice today" and end it at that.  If you don't want to say that and you're aren't interested in me as a person, don't even speak to me.

Back when I was a social worker, I remember there was this elderly white woman in the office whom I didn't interact with much.  She knew my name, I knew hers, we didn't chat much...and it was fine.  We didn't need to talk all that much.

One day, I came to work wearing the twists y'all saw in the Widow Collection.  Obviously, I wore them all day.  She saw me, I saw her.  She didn't say anything to me and I didn't say anything to her.  It wasn't until the end of the day that I'm crossing the parking lot, and this bitch pulls what I call the Drive-By.

She literally drives up by me in her truck, stops dead in the center of the road, shouts my name to demand my attention, then starts interrogating me out the passenger's side window about how whether or not I can wash my twists.  And when I'm like, "Uh...yeah?", this heffa drives off immediately afterward.  No hello, no by-your-leave - nothin'!

Now, at this point, some of you may be laughing, but understand that this was some downright repugnant shit.

It's also another reason while the Abagond Challenge is still in effect, Bar patrons.  Keep scribbling!

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*Seriously though...in an episode of Amaya, a man touches a woman's hair without her permission.  The village chief sentences him to either pay her and her husband eight pieces of gold, or be their slave for two full moons.

20 comments:

  1. Personally, I'm uncomfortable with the idea that "throngs of people" gathered to touch black women's hair, as if it were some 'exotic' experience they'd been denied. I agree that it does seem more than a little petting-zoo-ish.

    Occasionally when I pass a black woman with a really stunning natural hairstyle, I will compliment her on it ("that hairstyle looks fantastic!" or "your hair is beautiful.") But I'd never ask to touch, and the idea of subjecting women to intrusive hands makes me cringe.

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  2. Omg! you took the words right of my mouth .I'm sorry but I would have a big problem with this. I could see if we we're in a beauty school and the teacher was telling her non Black students about Black hair types giving people an understanding of Black hair (this actually happened at a hair school with an Iraqi student doing Black hair), but to go around petting my hair.. Oh no no no! I find that to be very offensive. Like you said, we're not animals, were human beings. Them women are better than me because I wouldn't allow it to be done to me.

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    Replies
    1. Them women are better than me because I wouldn't allow it to be done to me.

      Honestly, I don't think they are. I think they rolled over and gave in, and when I saw the a picture of some giddy white woman sticking her fingers in one of the women's hair, I literally shuddered.

      I don't think this accomplishes anything.

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    2. I was saying that out of sarcasm. Though I do will respect the subjects in this event, don't those women feel like pets when people do that ? I know I would along with being pissed.,

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  3. I never like people touching my hair and that stems my dad. It then grew into me not wanting people to touch my hair because of the whole "Is it real?" madness. Thankfully, I don't have that problem now, but if my hair grows to the point that length can be seen, who knows. All I know is my hair is mine and you CANNOT touch it. touch your own dang on hair.

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  4. I'm not a Chia Pet. Put your unwanted hands on me and you will draw back a nub and throbbing eardrums from the verbal asskicking you'll get.

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    Replies
    1. There were some women there who had signs that said "touch my hair with your hands and I'll touch your face with my fists." I want that on a t-shirt.

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    2. I think you should market these T shirts

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    3. Where would one buy a tee shirt such as this?

      Delete
  5. Leo Princess6/11/13, 11:58 PM

    Yea....good for them. Wouldn't catch me doing that, no Sir no Ma'am.

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  6. This was actually a Two day Art Event. I have been approached by photographers (Black) to do a compilation for Art, now was this going too far? Is using the excuse of "Art" make it better? I really don't know. I don't get offended when ppl ask to touch my hair, they are usually my friends, but maybe cause I in turn ask them to let me touch on theirs! Lol

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  7. ...What? I--I can't. I just can't. What exactly was this supposed to accomplish? I feel like I'm missing something here.

    On another note, this reminds me of when I showed up to my job in Marley twists and one of the doctors literally left his desk and walked over to mine, then proceeded to almost get nose deep in my scalp to examine and ask if it hurt. I wanted to mutter "not as much as this backhand I'm about to hand out to you" but I needed to keep my job. Another doctor came in and said "what in the world happened to your head" the following day. I surprisingly didn't end up in jail that week.

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    Replies
    1. Giving in to white entitlement is all I see...and you know, making up for all us angry uppity negresses who don't think you can do what you want to us when you feel like it.

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    2. Nicthommi,

      Agreed.

      Delete
  8. What next? Women holding signs saying "You can touch my breasts?" so strangers can see whether or not their breasts are real or surgically enhanced? Where does it stop?

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    Replies
    1. Since this "movement" is about what whites are so fascinated about us, how about also a "You CAN feel my ass" movement. You KNOW they also have an obsessive fixation on black women's (and men's) butts.

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    2. Well you know that with black men, the fascination doesn't just start with the butt...

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    3. @Nichthommi

      HAHAHAHA!!! You are so right!

      Delete
  9. Mm no you can't touch my hair, yalll know I don't like people for real.

    Yes I will go off on you if you decide to and make you wish that we never met.

    Yap, that's how the convo usually goes.

    The only person that I Allow to be up in my hair is my hairstylist and my cousin cuz I actually like her.

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  10. Eye to Eye. The only people I don't mind discussing my hair with is other black women and even then I only want to talk to naturals or people considering going natural. Everyone else needs to mind they effin business. And I don't buy their curiosity excuse because the questions always come with a bunch of negative assumptions. Do you wash your hair, do you comb your hair, why is your hair wet, what are you mixed with? These type will touch your hair without your permission then consider themselves experts on black people hair.

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