Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michelle Obama's hair, racial issues, African-American culture, beauty | Salon Life: "Are we moving toward a 'black hair' moment?"

I wonder whether such a young, high-profile black woman who gets her hair straightened or relaxed as a matter of course will occasionally let it be something different: unstraightened, less straightened, or anything that doesn't bounce, lie flat or swing like a pageboy. In other words, a do that suggests her ethnicity rather than softens it.

White people tend to not realize the intense issues for WOC regarding their hair. For a white woman, her hair may be a struggle, it may be a frustration, but it is rarely a cause for anyone else's concern. A white woman will probably never be called a "nappy-headed ho" because she didn't spend hours of her time an exorbitant amounts of her money to have it changed from what it naturally is. A white woman can work with her hair as it was given to her, and her options are nearly endless.

Black women do not have the same luxuries.

This is not my fight; I will relinquish to my hidden identity that I am white, and though my hair is a frustration, unless I come out and cut it into a "dyke" style, I will probably never make any kind of statement with it. Nor will anyone read my haircut as a statement, unless it is accompanied by the revelation of a major lifestyle change.

I am, however, aware of the issues surrounding a black woman's hair. Is Michelle trying to minimize her blackness by having her hair relaxed? It has been in similar styles throughout her public life. Her daughters, however, have relatively natural styles.

What does this say about the first family and their relations to their racial community? To the white community? To other people of color? To America in general?

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