Saturday, June 8, 2013
Ask Before You Touch My Hair
Hi guys, recently there's been much debate about the You Can Touch My Hair campaign by
un-ruly.com in the natural hair community. The campaign is in New York, where natural haired women from afros,locs, and flat ironed and everything in between are stationed with signs in hand stating, You Can Touch My Hair. You can read more about the campaign here Can I Touch You Hair? The campaign is for people to quench their curiosity of black hair, and in doing so maybe quenching the curiosity people have about black people as a whole, it's supposed to knock down barriers and instead build bridges.
Other individuals have shown up to the event with other signs such as the young lady with a sign that stated, You Can't Touch My Hair, But You Can Kiss My A**(I laughed so hard there's no point in me acting as if I didn't). The young woman was not the only one who had another perspective on the event, other women came with signs in hand such as "I'm Not Sarah Baartman".Sarah Baartman was a slave brought to England by Alexander Dunlop who was gathering animal specimens for an exhibit he planned to hold in London, he brought her along to be apart of the showcase, like she was an animal as well. Looking at the history of black women and how we've been objectified, pulled apart and dissected, opposing reactions to this campaign are completely understandable. I have heard horror stories of young women with natural hair, having their hair tugged, pulled and leered at by strangers with no warning or question. Are people still that wary of black people that our mere existence is still this dumbfounding mystery, that even our hair is a source of massive curiosity?
I understand the intention of the campaign is to put to death the myths of black hair, and to understand that many people are often just curious about black hair, and to explain that black hair isn't taboo. My specific point of view is simple,just because I am black that does not mean it's my job to educate, inform or help you understand my blackness. It is not my mission in life to help others understand black people, as if black people are these foreign aliens.I am not obligated to help others understand blackness in a country that has been the home to black people for 100s of years. I do not need you to understand my black hair. You are not entitled to touch my hair, it's not my job to consider your curiosity over my want to be comfortable.Do not touch my hair, without asking and even if you ask, understand I still reserve the right to say no.
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