Comforting Words: Black Women Need to Wake Up - By Abigail

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Black Women Need to Wake Up - By Abigail

The following article was written by my beautiful daughter and posted on her Facebook page. I have her permission to re-print her on Comforting Words. Her words speak for themselves and I hope our sisters of colour read and take the words of a young woman to heart.


Today at school we watched a movie documentary. It was Chris Rock's Good Hair. The film basically shone a light on the extent black women go to when it comes to their hair to fit in to what society has deemed as ideal beauty. Long straight hair that blows in the wind, and moves with you.

While my classmates sat and laughed at Mr. Rock's wise cracks, I couldn't help but feel for all the black women out there that go to sometimes extraordinary lengths to fit in... weaves, extensions, relaxers. Women across North America are literally putting themselves in debt in an effort to fit in. Did you know you can take a payment plan out on a weave?!!!!

For years, let me correct, centuries black people have been made out to be subhuman, less than, not deserving of anything good, and this has extended even to something as simple as our hair. We have been indoctrinated into a culture where the prototype of beauty is the exact opposite of us. There's a saying in Jamaica and it goes, "if you're white, you're alright, of you're brown, stick around, if you're black, stay in the back". Now it's "if you're nappy, you ain't happy". LOL

There was one point in the film where a three yea old was sitting on her grandmother's lap, and the grandmother said she just got her first relaxer two weeks ago. When Chris Rock asked her if she likes getting relaxers she said no, then he asked her, if he thinks his daughters should get relaxers and she said yes. When he asked her why, she simply said, "because you're supposed to". This is very sad, from the time we are children we are inculcated with the idea that if you are a black girl, you must get a relaxer!

Now I myself have fallen into the trap of the "creamy crack", relaxers, hey I even tried out weaves a few times, but the stress of having to maintain what wasn't me was just too much. I had friends in high school, that would refuse to leave their house, they would rather miss school, work, church, if they didn't have their weave sewn in. Some of them, I have NEVER seen there natural hair, under all the Kanikelon, Remy, and every other variant of extensions there are out there. I've seen many girls walking around with no hair in their temple area due to all the tension and stress constant weaving causes, walking around thinking they're all cute with their weaves, WHICH half the time aren't even sewn in properly!

Now I know weaves can be handy, and they are a creative expression of your individuality. They can even be good for your hair when done right, for instance black hair tends to be drier, and weaves and braids can be a great protective style in the winter months in Alberta's dry climate. What I have a problem with is girls that don't see themselves as beautiful in any other way. Girls that will consciously make the decision to destroy what God gave them to fit in and be acceptable to who??? Girls that make the excuse oh my man likes me with long hair, and blah blah blah, so many other excuses. Who cares if your man likes long hair? If your man doesn't like the way you look in your natural state then why are you with him????

It's a form of self hate when someone looks in the mirror and can't recognize the beauty in themselves. There was a time when black women were made fun of for their wide hips, big behinds, and thick lips. Now women of every race are running out and getting but implants (I know this because I have seen it live), and fillers in their lips. Some are even getting their hair braided, I have been paid to braid non-black women's hair too.

I wish black women would just wake up and stop trying to fit into a mold that they will never fit, stop being victims of chemical burns and traction alopecia. My wish is that black women would start to recognize more and more that their black is beautiful. ALL OF IT! Not just from the neck down.

I know my black is beautiful, and whoever don't like it can bite it!

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Blogger Karie said...

Hi Claudette,

My name is Karie, I am a mother of a Nigerian, Italian, and Portuguese little girl and since the day she was born I have heard comments about her curls. The curls which I love and think they are the most beautiful thing in the world in their natural state. I am so glad to see that the natural state is being accepted more and more even though I hear comments being made behind our back every time we go out, by every ethnicity. Let me clarify, when her hair is in its natural state it is fully moisturized and detangled as well, yet because it is a beautiful fro of curls, it is untamed and I don't know how to do her hair, when in actuality, I know how to braid, and do various styles, but like I previously stated I love her curls. I want her to grow up knowing she is beautiful with her natural curly hair, that it doesn't always need to be in a kept style. And let me also state, I felt this way even before this movie came out as my mother is a cosmetologist and I am about to start cosmetology school as well. I don't feel that there is anything wrong with extensions, weaves, or relaxers if that's what an individual chooses to wear. But I wanted to empower my daughter from day one and for her to know that just because society says something is beautiful doesn't mean she needs to conform to that to be beautiful.

You have raised a smart well rounded daughter I can only hope to do the same! Thanks for sharing this!!

Tue. May 18, 08:54:00 p.m. MDT  

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