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etznab View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 11 2000 at 8:49pm
The thread of on good hair prompted me to relate my own good/bad hair experience. My parents are a Black/White couple and I inherited the so called good hair.I have mostly straight hair with a slight wave to it. My mother was determined I would have even straighter hair. Almost every day she used a straightening iron on my hair. I had perfetly straight good hair. The fact that it was incredibly heat damaged was not important, by golly it was straight.As a child I was often told by friends and relatives that "I was so lucky to have good hair" It was many years before I realized that their statement said more about their thoughts of their own hair rathar than my own.Now I'm a mother myself and my daughter has the "bad hair", as I'm told repeatedly by family members. "She's a beautiful girl. Too bad she can't have good hair like you"My heart aches at the thought that when she gets older, this is the kind of "support" she will get from grandma and other family memebrs. I keep her hair neatly plaited and of course I think she's beautiful. She's only three years old, but family memebrs have already made all sorts of recommendations on relaxars and other stuff.Sigh. Natural beauty doesn't seem to exist in my family.
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Serena View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Serena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2000 at 8:49pm
This is unfortunate. It seems that the African American commiunity has embraced the look of natural hair for men as a symbol of pride in one's ethnicity(you rarely see me relax their hair), so why can't they do the same for women? I also think chidren should not be critisized for there looks; they will have plenty of time to worry about that when they grow up.
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Jade21 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jade21 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2000 at 8:49pm
Hi, Serena!I don't know where you live, but most of the black men in the area where I live, Northern Virginia, and other major cities are doing anything but the "natural look."I think it is extremely unfortunate when I see so many bald black men. I watched many of my male black friends sheer their locks to oblivion. Many had thick, lustrous, shiny afros or modifications.The other trend is the use of a texturizer. I recently had a buddy of mind ask me why his hair was suddenly getting thin and falling out. He had had some form of a texturizer put on his hair which apparently had stayed on way too long. He was tired of no hair, but now he may be stuck with falling hair for a while. I have also seen texturizers applied to men's beards as well. This is just hideous! A friend of mine who is a barber says he gets requests all the time from customers for referals to have the process done.Bye for now,Jade21This is unfortunate. It seems that the African> American commiunity has embraced the look of natural> hair for men as a symbol of pride in one's> ethnicity(you rarely see me relax their hair), so why> can't they do the same for women? I also think chidren> should not be critisized for there looks; they will> have plenty of time to worry about that when they grow> up.
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Serena View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Serena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2000 at 8:49pm
Hi Jade,I live in Northern California. Here, the bald look has a substancial following among men of all ethnicities. I think it is a macho thing. It looks good on some guys but most wood look better with hair. I'm not sure what a texturizer is. Is it like a relaxer? Black men straightening their hair is something I associate with the 50's when there was pressure for them to assimalate. I don't think black women straighten there hair for this reason but I also think they should not be stigmatised for choosing to wear their hair natural.
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Jade21 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jade21 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2000 at 8:49pm
> Hi Serena!I'm a little confused. I've been to the NOrthern CA area and it's hard for me to believe that you've never heard of a texturizer. It's also hard for me to believe that you said that the pressure to assimilate is something from the 1950's. It started way before that and in one form or another continues, whether it's hair, style of dress, even food choices.In addition, why would this notion of assimilation be limited to black men and not black women? I have to say that I have known plenty of black women who have caused their hair to be damaged or fall out simply to achieve the straight hair look through the use of relaxers and other processes. Wouldn't you agree that at least some black women straighten their hair for assimilation, whether consciously or subconsciously?I think you indicated that you went to college and were mixed. If I'm not mistaken, I think black African ancestry was part of that mix. I have noticed your references to "the African-American community", as if you were somehow divorced from that community. It's hard for me to believe that you haven't dealt with some of these issues yourself. Hasn't anyone ever questioned you about your racial background ? I've gotten this all of my life and I'm just a few years older than you.Bye for now,Jade21> I live in Northern California. Here, the bald look has> a substancial following among men of all ethnicities.> I think it is a macho thing. It looks good on some> guys but most wood look better with hair. I'm not sure> what a texturizer is. Is it like a relaxer? Black men> straightening their hair is something I associate with> the 50's when there was pressure for them to> assimalate. I don't think black women straighten there> hair for this reason but I also think they should not> be stigmatised for choosing to wear their hair> natural.
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elaine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2000 at 8:49pm
I'm new to this board, and I'm having a little trouble posting, but I'd like to join in this discussion of "bad" vs. "good" hair...I absolutely agree that African-textured hair has been opressed for a long time, and the tragedy is that we have internalized it and most of the damage being done is self-inflicted! I know that I, for one, had to re-learn and re-think everything that I did to my hair.I grew up with the "water phobia", and only recently gave myself permission to wash my hair whenever it needed it. That one thing has helped my hair to flourish.Face it, in this wonderful country of ours, African-textured hair is a BAD thing, and too many women (and men) are still programmed to "seek and destroy" our natural hair in the name of hairgrooming and style!Elaine
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Serena View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Serena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2000 at 8:49pm
Hi Jade,You are right that I am a college student and that I am mixed and recieve a lot of questions about my racial background. However, I am half Caucasian and half Indian, not African American. That is probably why I seem uninformed about some of these issues.I have heard of texturizers but I am not sure if they are the same thing as relaxers or not. I agree with you that the pressure for blacks to assimilte to whites has been here since they first came to this country and continues today. However, it seems that black men have stopped straightening their hair as an attempt to resist this pressure. I think black women should have the freedom to make this statement too, as many of them already have. I agree that at least some black women straighten their hair for assimilation but I also think some of them do it for the same reason that curly-haired white women do, because it can look nice. I think some black women probably feel a combination of desires: the desire to wear hair naturally and the desire to experiment with the same styles that white women do. Mariah Carrie recently wore her hair very staight and blonde. Is this an attempt to assimilate or a bold move she made by wearing a style traditionaly reserved for white women? I think this is a very interesting subject eventhough it is not as personal to me as it is to you.
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Jade21 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jade21 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2000 at 8:50pm
> Hi, Serena!Is that East Indian or Native American, by the way? Me, it's Native American, Cree and Cayugan. I have to say that the similarities between Native Americans and blacks are much greater than the differences. With Natives, the quest in the US has been independent status, versus assimilation or acculuturation. This is true at least for members who identify with a tribe or band. For blacks, the quest is to be treated equally as a US citizen in addition to tolerance at the very least on a social level.Blacks didn't "c[o]me to this country." They were forcibly brought to this country. Natives were displaced from their homelands. Direct extermination was the goal with Native Americans. Ever heard of the Dawes Act, the Trail of Tears?Many argue that slavery was an indirect form. At the very least, blacks were treated as sub-human, and as chattel.With regard to Mariah Carey, who I like by the way, I think she just needed a change. Straight and blonde isn't actually a phenomenon limited to white women. I have known many girls growing up in Ohio who were black with blonde straight hair. I don't know whether this is something that is indicative of the Midwest, but I would tend to doubt it. Blacks run the gamut in skin and hair color, etc. Personally, I don't think Mariah's change was bold or drastic because her natural hair color is a light brown anyway. The change looked quite good on her. Her clothes have changed as well. More than anything else, the changes reflect her growth. Her music has grown tremendously in the past few years. She herself admits to substantial changes in her life.One last thing I wanted to say to you is that I think it's different when a person is a product of a racial mixture that does not include Caucasian. This has been my experience with many mixed racial persons whom I have encountered over the years. If the mix includes what is considered minorities only in the United States, your take on issues can be quite different. As you said, you are not familiar with certain issues, something as trivial as the meaning of a texturizer, and more important, it's just not in your venue of curiosity even.Take care and I look forward to more interesting discussions:)All the Best,Jade21Hi Jade,> You are right that I am a college student and that I> am mixed and recieve a lot of questions about my> racial background. However, I am half Caucasian and> half Indian, not African American. That is probably> why I seem uninformed about some of these issues.> I have heard of texturizers but I am not sure if they> are the same thing as relaxers or not. I agree with> you that the pressure for blacks to assimilte to> whites has been here since they first came to this> country and continues today. However, it seems that> black men have stopped straightening their hair as an> attempt to resist this pressure. I think black women> should have the freedom to make this statement too, as> many of them already have. I agree that at least some> black women straighten their hair for assimilation but> I also think some of them do it for the same reason> that curly-haired white women do, because it can look> nice. I think some black women probably feel a> combination of desires: the desire to wear hair> naturally and the desire to experiment with the same> styles that white women do. Mariah Carrie recently> wore her hair very staight and blonde. Is this an> attempt to assimilate or a bold move she made by> wearing a style traditionaly reserved for white women?> I think this is a very interesting subject eventhough> it is not as personal to me as it is to you.
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