As part of a social experiment a group of black women — one natural, one loc’ed and on relaxed — stood on a street corner in New York holding signs saying “You Can Touch My Hair”. The experiment/exhibit is the brainchild of Antonia Opiah, a hair blogger. In an article for The Huffington Post she states;
Black hair is unique. It requires different care techniques and routines. And in a country where we primarily see commercials for white hair products and magazines that mainly cover white beauty topics and TV shows that mainly feature white characters, we, and those curious about us, have to find information about our hair from other sources.
It’s easy to cite the media as the cause for underexposure to the various cultures of America. The media definitely plays a huge role. But another factor is the lack of the right kind of curiosity across the American population.
The exhibit ran today and will run again on June 8th from 2 to 4 p.m. in New York City’s Union Square.
Okay, so I usually post articles without commentary, but for this I had to.
I think it bothers me that the impetus is put on us as black women to become accessible — and in some cases acceptable — to other ethnicities. I understand that black people are just 12% of the population so not everyone has ‘access’ to a black person. But it’s well documented that, for many Americans, segregation is a matter of choice and not circumstance. I fear that a display like this allows some people the opportunity to dip into black culture for an experience before returning to the ‘safety’ of a significantly less diverse world.
A significant percentage of women in the natural community are married interracially. Which proves that it is possible for men of other races to form meaningful and substantive bonds with black women without these types of displays.
I am still firmly opposed to strangers touching my hair. And while I take no offense at strangers asking questions about it (I welcome it), I hope we’ve gotten to a point in this country where my commonalities with a person of another ethnicity are more interesting to explore than my differences.
But that’s just me… And on an unrelated note, those colored locs and that curly fro are FIRE! What are your thoughts on this ladies?
Photos are from Un-ruly.com’s Instagram account.