Friday, May 22, 2009

Dispatches from Nappyville: "Nobody asked you"

What Tami Said and Anti-Racist Parent reader Julia recently launched a blog called Nobody Asked You about race and parenting from a white adoptive parent's perspective. Julia has kindly asked me to join her at 2 p.m. ET, this Saturday, May 23, for the inaugural episode of her companion podcast. The topic? One of my favorite soap box issues: Black hair.

Listen to our conversation live here.

Talk to us at (347) 308-8145.

Read Julia's blog for earlier posts on navigating the delicate issue of black hair as a white parent:
See, on the playgrounds I grew up on, nappy was not a good thing. I didn't have a good sense of what it meant, but I knew that it had something to do with being messy and unkempt and maybe even a bit dirty. And it turns out that I'm not alone in having negative associations. My Webster's defines nappy as "kinky: said esp. of the hair of blacks and used derogatorily or contemptuously." Urban dictionary includes this definition: "one of African desent who has tightly coiled unkept hair; one with locks of hair that is tightly curled that is unwashed and uncombed" and this definition: "a black persons hair that is not kept up with, or dirty," as well as a host of other "definitions" that are truly ugly (please do yourself a favor and trust me on this--it's a site you should skip). Because J.'s hair is lovely, and clean, and neither messy or unkempt, I thought that his hair couldn't possibly be nappy. How I learn. Read more...

1 comment:

Lady C said...

I was recently in South Carolina staying with my brother's daughter and her family.

We, I, was concerned that she had taken her 1-year-old son to the barber shop and had his head shaved. I thought it was inappropriate because the child is so young.

I don't know how we got on to my hair, but we did. My 30-year-old niece said that her grandmother, on her mother's side, would turn over in her grave if she went around with her hair unpermed. She said it in a way that made me thoroughly cringe. She was proud that she had been getting perms since she was in pre-school.

She also explained that her sisters-in-law didn't put chemicals in their hair; therefore, their hair was as natural has mine. Her sisters-in-law, according to her, wash, blow dry, and curl their hair without any chemicals.

I wash my hair, but I twist my hair more now than I use to because it has grown some. Natural or straighten, my hair is fly-a-way if left loose. The twists allow me to have a neat style that I don't have to bother with until I wash my hair.


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