I Am My Hair
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I Am My Hair

"Don't touch my crown. They say the vision I've found. "- Solange

I Am My Hair
Emma Summerton

"Are you mixed with something?" "Your hair is so pretty but mine is nappy."

These were all statements that I heard during middle school. Wearing your natural hair used to be taboo in the African American community. If you didn't have a perm or your hair wasn't bone straight, then you were looked down upon. Straight hair was considered the Holy Grail and we did anything to achieve that. Interestingly enough, this was just 10 years ago. Things have changed. On social media, there are more natural hair supported groups than anything else. YouTube gurus have more natural hair tutorials than I've ever seen. I'm ready to salute girls that wear their natural hair out as if we are apart of some natural coalition. I see Bantu knots, Senegalese braids and dreads (which are all natural hairstyles) when I'm out and about. Even though we have made strides towards the acceptance of natural hair in the Black community, there is still a long way to go before it is accepted by other communities.

There are students who get suspended, or even expelled from school because of their natural hair. Elementary children are already limited to expression by the confinement of their uniform, so how dare they attempt to express themselves through hairstyles? Or how dare they wear their hair this way to represent their culture? "It's just hair," some of you may think but no, it's more than that. A U.S. judge stated that prohibiting employees from wearing dreadlocks is not racial discrimination which means that it is okay for African Americans to not get hired because of their natural hair. So, if it is just hair, then why is it being discriminated against? Why is it okay for a child to be expelled from school because of their hairstyle? Why can I miss out on a job opportunity for wearing my natural hair? It is something that is hard for me to understand especially when dreads and other natural hairstyles are considered fashionable for other cultures.

The problem that I have with Marc Jacobs and those Facebook videos that post ways to achieve the natural hair look is that they are using African American's natural features to be trendy when it's discriminated against. Marc Jacobs recently used dreadlocks in one of his latest fashion shows. None of the models were African American. After, he was criticized, he took to social media to state:

"and all who cry “cultural appropriation” or whatever nonsense about any race of skin color wearing their hair in a particular style or manner - funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair."

It is interesting that he made this statement about black women straightening their hair when they have no choice. The discrimination that they have in the workforce leads them to do such. Then there are videos on Facebook showing girls using plastic to achieve the natural hair look. It is not fair that others can use African American hair to be fashionable and to fit in, but it is okay for us to be discriminated against if we wear it.

It took African Americans forever to accept their natural hair. For years, we've been at war with ourselves over our natural state. And even though we have gained self-acceptance (somewhat), we still have to go to war with other communities over our hair. It is still allowed for natural hair to get discriminated against while others use it as some trendy wear. Well, I have something to tell you. My hair is not trendy. My hair is not what's "in" for the latest season. It will not be something that will be trashed months from now and seen as un-cool. No, my hair is me.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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