Good Hair Is The Devil

Well, not technically, but the word "Good Hair' as we have historically associated it in the African American Community. Instead of meaning a head full of healthy textured hair, in our community, this term has long been associated with long, curly, multi-racial hair (Ananda Lewis, Alicia Keys, type 3-you know). And sadly, even though we have evolved with the natural hair movement and the appreciation of one's texture, this term is one that still lurks its evil head in our community.

I was in the park the other night, when I heard a young teenage girl approach another girl about the same age group (whom she did not know, but the girl had long, curly hair). Here was the exchange:

Older Teen "Oh, your hair is so pretty, is that all yours?"
Curly Hair Girl, "Yes"
Older Teen "I've always wanted good hair like that, it is so pretty, can I touch it"
Curly Hair girl "Yes" then walks over to the older teen girls
Older Teen as she strokes the CHG hair "Man, you're lucky, you have such good hair, my hair would never be so pretty. Are you mixed with Spanish?"
Curly Hair girl "No, Jewish and Italian"
Older Teen "Oh, Okay-" as the Curly girl walked away
Older Teen to Friend "Boy, if I had hair looked like that, you couldn't tell me nothing"

Sigh, it took all of my strength not to walk over to those girls and educate them about hair as I do my own daughter and niece. I found it heartbreaking for the young ladies because I too felt that way once. I grew up in a family, where my mother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone lol-had that type 3 curly hair. Then there was me-with the type 4'ish cotton soft hair (as my mom would call it). People would literally walk up to my sister and I and say that my sister hair was so pretty and not even acknowledge my hair. Despite the fact that my hair was nice, thick and healthy. As a result, I always envied that hair type and wanted it for my own. It wasn't until I was grown and decided to go natural that I really embraced my own texture and realized that "Good Hair" is health hair-no matter the texture.

Fortunately, I no longer envy other hair types. Matter of fact, no child should grow up envious of another hair type. So this why I felt saddened for that teen girl because she should have the opportunity to feel the same pride about our textures as we do. And although I missed an opportunity to reach out to that young sister and let her know that her texture is "good" too, I challenge each of you to talk to your daughters, sisters, etc. and let them know, that "Good hair" is healthy hair, no matter the texture.
9 Responses:

AH yes!!!! The "good hair" comments. That bothers me too. When I was transitioning, I had a member from the church come up to me and ask me about my hair. When I explained to her that I was going natural, she replies, "Oh, but you have good hair, so you can do that." Um... NO! I quickly corrected her and told her that there was no such things as "good hair" and schooled her right there on the spot. I caught myself in the middle of my tangent though because, lol, I was using my index finger and going off! Mind you, she was a deaconess at the church- not one of my home girls. I calmed down, but that comment got my blood boiling!!!

Oh yeah! And she is now transitioning!!! WOO HOO!!!!

understood. as a 3a/3b hairtype, i'll tell u THIS, it's a pain in the ass as i grow older & my hair becomes finer... i used 2 have this big giant curly, really sort of unruly 'fro, but now i dont have the same 'afro' volume 2 make it work & u know what? i wish i did have a little more kink & curl in it.

i guess that grass really is greener, depending on what side u're standing on.

Great post... Education is definitely key.

Its sad that this is still imperative to young girls, but its still imperative to adults as well. In my family the texture of hair ranges just like the skin complexion. Well I have two young, girl cousins (10 years old); one is very dark with really thick, long (down to her butt) 3 b/c hair that isn't relaxed. The other is very light with 4 b hair that is relaxed and right aboove her shoulders. Both of them are extremely beautiful. Recently I had to put an ADULT in check because she said, "Wow they are really pretty girls. If only the dark one had the light one's complexion, she would be perfect because she would have the right hair and complexion." My reaction was, "WTF! Did she just say that?" Typing everything I said to her would take a lot of time, but lets just say she won't be saying that around me anymore.

YES!!! It still is a major problem. At least 6 times a year I have to correct someone about that.

I know what u mean UC. I too experienced this and went thru this as well. However whenever I hear Adults say things like this, I correct them especially if I know them. we gotta keep educated and be the example :D

Hey UC! I wanted to write a little inspirational note that is uber-ly relative, to the readers that frequent your blog (as I related to "good hair" and appreciating and embracing who we are as individuals and a collective.

I just returned from Capetown, South Africa (August 24th) and was getting caught up on all the UC blog posts that I missed out on becuase I didn't have internet access as readily as I would have liked it. Anywho, I ran across the most recent post "Good Hair" and yet again became saddened by the thought processes of our U.S. sistah's and brothers. This post allowed me to reflect on one aspect of my trip (because it's going to take me a while to process my three-week volunteer experience in South Africa.

As I stepped off the plane in South Africa, I was surrounded by BEAUTIFUL African (black), multi-raced and everything far and in between....The image that was stunning for me was that the majority of African (black)women were natural and wearing their hair in all types of styles.

Just being there was a culture shock for me but going from the U.S. where natural lovlies are the minority to SA where WE are the majority was so affirming for my spirit.

So, natural lovlies, here in the U.S. please know that you are apart of something so much bigger, that maybe you can't be apart of or even wrap your brain around right now. But keep being strong and knowing that whatever your skin complexion, texture of hair, structure of body, tone of voice, so necessary....

Sorry for the tangent but thanks UC for giving me this platform to speak to other natural lovlies and also process a trip that will take a life time to wrap my brain around...

Hugs and Kisses from "Little Africa", my friends call me that now especially since I decided to move there after graduation...YAAY!

Yeah the "good hair vs bad hair" idea is stupid and ignorant. As a black lady myself I have heard that comment a lot growing up (in school and around family). People always asking me "What are you mixed with because you have long hair?". WTF!! As a child I did not understand what that meant so I said what I heard another person say.. Indian. LOL!!! Now, I realize there are people in this world with self-hate that they easily believe stereotypes about themselves. Why would you want to believe someone else opinion on what you have to look like to be consider beautiful. According to me, I have been beautiful all my life. People need to love themselves more. Seriously.

this post spoke to my soul. talk about the aftermath of 400 years of oppression. as much as i'd love that term to disappear, i think we'll always do it. the grass is always greener, right?

i get a kick out of white people, too. there is definitely a blonds vs brunettes thing out there. i even see it at work sometimes.

i guess when you stray from status quo the comments (overt or not) will follow.

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