Submitted by: Dorothy Cadet
My Open Letter To My Daughter’s Hair Critics
My daughter and I recently celebrated her 6th birthday by going to the salon. We decide to have a mommy-daughter weekend. My beautiful girl has the most amazing curly natural hair. For her birthday, she wanted to get it flat-ironed. It was a special occasion and I allowed it. Her hair is healthy and actually once it was flat-ironed, it reached down her back. It was beautiful. The next day at breakfast (we were staying at a hotel), three young ladies all with “natural” hair (one with locs, one with a short fade, and the other with twists) decided to sit next to us. Not only did they not even say hello, they decided to have a loud conversation about my daughter’s hair being so “straight”. They went on to discuss how if they were that child’s mother they would never allow her to think that straight hair is a standard of beauty or allow any heat on her head at all. (BTW, I am “natural” too).
Normally, I would have had a very in-depth conversation about how they do not know me, my child, or anything about my family. They have no right to make loud obnoxious comments regarding a child and that child’s hair. I would have also told them that hair DOES NOT define who we are, but it’s what’s inside that defines us. But by the sound of it, ignorance prevailed in them. But I choose to just look at them, smile, turn to my daughter and give her a big kiss while exclaiming loudly that she looked absolutely gorgeous. I didn’t want her to see her Mom tearing down other black women, especially in front of non-African Americans (there were only 5 of us at breakfast). Plus, it was her birthday and I refused to allow my irritation and others uneducated comments to ruin her day.
Too many times, women look for any excuse or reason to create division. Never Ever, should we, as women, make negative comments directed at or about young girls. Our young women have enough to contend with without being told that just because they do something different to their hair, that they are not as beautiful, intelligent, caring, or amazing.
As women we need to uplift our young ladies, and not tear them down. India Arie said it best, “I am NOT my hair!” “My hair is an extension of who I am and how I feel, but it DOES NOT define me as a person!”