As black women, our hair seems to be one of the most controversial things about us. It’s the first thing that people notice, and in addition to other misconceptions people have about us, comments about our hair can get a little ridiculous and frustrating to hear. People don’t seem to know how it works or why it curls the way it does. This leads to some people asking ignorant questions that make us go "What the..."
However we're very graceful, so we'll rather educate than be passive in our reply or ignore. Hence, we have compiled a list of questions about natural hair that we do not want to hear anymore. We're sure you can definitely relate with some of these questions, so have a good laugh as you read. Also, feel free to share this post with that lady at the bus stop who wouldn't stop asking, "How do you get your hair so curly".
The list is here people! These are 10 things you should NEVER ask a black woman about her hair.
1. Is it real? At the top of the list is our favorite question to NOT answer! Is it real? The question asked frequently by many oblivious or racially insensitive people around the world. Real, synthetic, weave, wig, afro, twists, whatever it may be, it is never ok to ask a black woman if her hair is real. You don't know where she is on the road to self love, and comments like these might bring about some deep rooted insecurity.
2. Can I touch it? No you may not. It isn’t some art exhibit. It’s a part of someone’s body. As foreign as it may be to you, you are not permitted to run your fingers through it. Because:
- Your messing up our curls that probably took us hours to style.
- We don’t know where your hands have been.
- We aren’t a petting zoo. Therefore, please admire from a distance!
3. Are you mixed with something? This has got to be the most overused insulting phrase that is often disguised as a compliment. When you say this to black women, you are implying that they must be mixed with something other than black to have “nice” hair, because black hair can’t possibly be that beautiful. The world needs to recognize the beauty that is black hair.
4. Why is it so "poofy"? There should be some mandated science class on the way black hair works, am I right? It curls and coils when wet and frizzes in humidity. Belittling our hair to “poofy” implies that there needs to be more maintenance and taming of the hair. Black hair doesn’t need to be tamed, it needs time to breathe and air out.
5. Why do you wear weave when you have hair? In the nicest of terms, it truly is none of your business. As people, we have the freedom to choose what we do with our bodies, don’t we? So please give black women that same right. We love switching things up, which is why you’ll see us wearing 14 inches Brazilian weaves one day and our natural kinky hair the next.
6. Why is it so short? The answer is Shrinkage! For a black woman who is in the process of loving her natural hair, these comments can be very detrimental in that process. Black hair is able to stretch, bend, and expand in ways that might be shocking to a lot of people. What appears as 5inches of hair may actually be triple that. But no matter the hair length, it is beautiful and doesn’t deserve your condescending tone.
7. Do you shower with it? This is one of the most absurd comments you can receive as a black woman. It goes in tangent with #9 below and really shows the need for more black representation in media. Our hygiene is up for question when you ask these ignorant question and it is unacceptable.
8. How do you get your hair like that? Sometimes, we aren’t comfortable or eager to share this information with others. Other times, there is really no explanation but genetics for the way our 4c hair coils when wet. There isn’t always some magical serum that turns our hair curly… sometimes that’s just how it is!
9. How do you not wash your hair everyday? Everyone has different hair with varying needs. For black women, it is very common not to wash our hair everyday. Over-washing may lead some people to have dry hair, which is why we shampoo less with gentler shampoos like our Cleansing Avocado Shampoo ;) or use a co-wash (conditioner wash). But really, her wash cycle isn’t your business. And it's different for everyone and their hair.
10. It’s so thick, how do you have the time to deal with it? How is one supposed to possibly answer this question? This puts us in an uncomfortable situation. It also implies that you believe her hair is strenuous and a lot to handle which might make her feel more conscious of herself.
And that is it, the 10 questions you should never ask a black woman. This post is meant to be educational and enlightening, so if you know anyone who has asked these questions, feel free to forward this blog to them.
We hope you have learned a thing or two from it. And if you’ve ever asked any of these questions, please don’t feel guilty (this post is not meant to guilt trip you)- simply acknowledge your mistake and re-evaluate your words in the future. You can further educate yourself on black women's hair by reading more NaturAll Club's blog posts. And when you speak to black women, be polite and aware that they have had to overcome a lot of hurdles on their natural hair journey.
Lastly, if this post sparked your interest and made you curious about natural hair, ask more questions below. And black women, let us know some ridiculous questions you've been asked about your hair and how you felt/responded? We can't wait to hear!