Please don’t ever refer to a black woman’s hair as hair as “nappy” ( can also be spelled “knappy” ). Because of the negative connotation the word “nappy” can have, the term may or may not be considered as offensive and totally not politically correct. A black woman’s natural hair texture happens to be quite a touchy subject. I feel that as a culture we are still coming to terms with our hair texture and how it relates to status and or beauty. We still have a long way to go.
A friend of mine had an experience the other day that proves the point. My friend is black but she is Brazilian. She has only lived in America for a few years and is still adjusting to the very different ways and culture of Americans. While riding the bus one day, there was a misunderstanding with another bus passenger and my Brazilian friend found herself in a heated verbal exchange with another black female of Caribbean descent.
It quickly got nasty and even turned personal when the Caribbean female spat out vicious words to my friend that were intended to be hurtful and humiliating. The Black Carribbean woman screamed ” At least my hair ain’t “NAPPY! ” (gasp) The comment about my friend’s hair texture was completely unrelated to the incident at hand.
Thankfully, my friend is firecracker herself and she refused to let that ignorant comment rattle her self esteem. She is comfortable with who she is. So her immediate response to the rude woman was
“You have the NERVE to talk about my hair when you have that plastic hair on your head! My hair may be “NAPPY” but at least it’s my OWN hair! “
Bravo! Although, I’m not in support of loud verbal exchanges in public, if had to happen that was a great response. I felt she definitely needed to defend her personal dignity. And taking the same moment to let the rude female realize that she shouldn’t throw stones while living in a glass house.
That is only one instance that shows how deep seated issues with hair texture are among black women. I refer to this issue as the so-called “good hair” mentality. There seems to be an unwritten rule that having straighter, curlier or wavier is thought of as being more desirable, more attractive. But on-the-other- hand if you have cotton-like, tightly coiled, kinky hair that appears dry and rough you just have to do your best to cover it up and deny it. As if, somehow this hair is a shameful and embarrasing “affliction”. And since you have the misfortune of having such “nappy” hair it’s because you’re “too black”. This of course, is because you must not have any “Cherokee Indian in you”.
Even though in recent years there has been a natural hair movement among many African-American women especially the younger generations, just as many women seem to lack confidence when it comes to embracing their natural hair texture. My goal is to help more women embrace and appreciate whatever God gave them. After all, every hair texture has it advantages and disadvantages.
What was the most outrageous thing ever said to you about your hair?