Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 12.04.24 AM

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.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

Leave a Reply

270 Comments on "Black Women Stand on NY Street and Allow Strangers to Touch Their Hair as Part of Social Experiment"

Notify of
avatar
Craig

As a white man I find black women’s hair in all it’s forms beautiful to look at and touch. Luckily I found an African wife to put up with me!
We have a two year old daughter and being mixed race her hair is well on the way to looking like the girl on the left. Crazily unruly bu gorgeous !

coffeeandfingernails
I don’t know if social experiment is the right phrase–she actually calls it an “interactive public art exhibit” which is probably more accurate. I think her point about exposure to natural hair being rare is a fair one–black women are about 6% of the population, natural black women are a significantly smaller percentage, so, especially if you aren’t from a major city with a large black population, it’s likely you’ve never seen natural hair in person. It’s true some people’s “curiosity” is offensive and condescending (I put anyone who just walks up and grabs in this category), but a lot… Read more »
Love being me

I also think it’s more important to educate the black community more than anyone else and encourage a love for our hair, skin color diversity our race respecting others and being proud of who we are before we look to teach others about it.

Belle
I think people are judging this experiment prematurely. The writer should have not filled more than half of the article with their own opinion. Thereby taking the focus away from the reason behind the experiment and its results. I grew up in Africa and like Sana I too had one or two moments of wanting to touch Caucasian hair. I remember wondering if my green eyed teacher could really see me with eyes that color. Now that I have been exposed to people of all races and from different cultures, I not only have a greater appreciation of other human… Read more »
KiKi
“The writer should have not filled more than half of the article with their own opinion” – I agree! The women labeled this as a performance exhibition, which is meant to provoke and engage the audience. Praise and intrigue on one side, eyerolls and uproar on the other, all typical reactions to performance art in my experience. Controversial, enlightening, silly, loaded – they are common on NYC streets. Everyone carries anxiety about ‘the other’ and their own perceived ‘otherness’. We live in close proximity, but some still lack an iota of awareness of friends and loved ones, it’s uncomfortable. And… Read more »
Sabrina Antoinnette

Thank you for this post, Belle! I agree and have had a similar circumstance in my upbringing. I am Jamaican.

MissK
What is the point of this experiment? This is what I wanna know. To teach people about black culture/heritage? if that’s the case then why do they need to touch these women’s hair? It says nothing of the culture/heritage, only of their physical appearance. It would be better to sit and have an actual discussion. If the people are just coming up and touching their hair, and not doing anything else to follow it up, it’s pretty pointless ‘experiment’, and is more like a petting zoo, and in turn offensive because we are not animals. And how many people who… Read more »
Love being me
I’m a proud black woman and am also proud of my hair because it’s a part of me. I don’t get this project. We are not to try to make people accept us understand us and love us. We are all different and should be proud of it I don’t think standing on a street corner holding up signs trying to inspire curiosity is the answer. Other races don’t have to explain their hair neither should we. I’ve heard people complain because their boss won’t allow them to come to work with certain natural hairstyles because they don’t like it.… Read more »
Kris

There a many non-Black people that have never seen or touched kinky/curly/locked/relaxer hair up close. I understand how this could be offensive – petting zoo aspect, however, I think it is overall pretty great. This was simply an experiment worth trying just to educate. There are so many people ignorant of what the people in their society look like. Ignorance creates fear. I’d rather not be feared.

Sana
I grew up in Africa and I remember the first time I saw a white person up close. I was curious especially about their hair and skin and eye color because their features were foreign so different from mine and what I was used to seeing. I did want to touch their hair to see what it felt like. People are just curious in nature. This experiment doesn’t bother if anything I am slightly amused and wouldn’t do such a thing. I’ve been natural for nine months. My family was indifferent but I’ve been known to do me. They touched… Read more »
Naija81

Being curious doesn’t provide you the room to be disrespectful. There are other ways to learn about other people’s culture without putting them on display. Google is a powerful tool. If that’s not available to you, your mouth is just as powerful.

jasmine
lets all rememeber, these women were not PUT on display, they willingly chose to INVITE others to touch their hair. They CHOSE to INVITE others to touch THEIR hair. We all know the difference between being forced to do something and choosing, without coercion, to do it. Also, asking someone if you can touch their hair is not in and of itself disrespectful, but the manner in which you do (or in some cases) do not ask… i gotta say i like that they are doing thi, it send the message that “you don’t touch my hair when You want… Read more »
stone

Ha! They all wanted to touch the big hair

Sharon
I am bi-racial and I have very straight fine hair. When I was going up (I grew up in the black community) friends and non-friends would want to touch or play with my hair. I didn’t like it then and definitely would not like it now. My daughter has thick, long, curly hair and her friends and others are always wanting to play in it. She prefers for them not to. Once, while we were out, a grown woman wanted to touch my daughter’s hair and I screamed, “Do not touch my child!” My son wears his hair in a… Read more »
Jesse
My initial response to this project was that it looks somewhat degrading. I certainly wouldn’t do it. I get that the purpose is to showcase black hair to people who don’t know, but why not have a symposium? Why not have a conversation about it? Will walking by and touching hair really start the conversation that is necessary to expand people’s concepts of beauty? I don’t know for sure, but I just don’t feel that this is the way to do it. This doesn’t place black beauty on a pedestal. This so-called “exhibit” makes black beauty look like something of… Read more »
Jesse

And I hate to say, but the imagery of black people standing in a line for white people on any people to touch and prod reminds be of what I read about slave auction blocks in Walter Johnson’s Soul By Soul (AMAZING book!). It is just not flattering to portray blacks in this way. If someone wants to know about Japanese hair or culture, one wouldn’t line them up in a row to be gawked at publicly. One would read about Japanese culture, spend time in Japan, talk to Japanese people, etc…. This “exhibit” is just sad.

stephanieb

I was thinking the same thing too Jesse, it makes black women’s hair look like it should be in some petting zoo for the spectactors to come “ooh” and “ahh” and touch like it’s some kind of endangered species, or something. Do these women not have any shame or self-respect. I’m sorry but they look like clowns standing there on the street with that stupid sign and I’m sure most of the people passing by, black and white, thought that too. Sometimes I just don’t know what the hell is wrong with us as a people, SMH!!!!!

Pride in What Makes Me Me
Pride in What Makes Me Me
How is this a social experiment? What are they testing? How is this more than just a display or social *statement*? This sounds an awful lot like the Venus Hottentot to me, voluntary display that it might be. I see what they’re trying to do, but I don’t think it’s black women’s job to become a spectacle in order to collectively dispel white “curiosity and questions.” I mean, we don’t go up to a woman wearing a burqa and say “What are you hiding under there?” Do we next walk around shirtless to show that our breasts look different and… Read more »
colorfulkinks.wordpress.com
colorfulkinks.wordpress.com

you sound so articulate! Wow, i’m gonna go read now. πŸ™‚

Rine

Cosign 3000%

Naija81

Exactly. Thank you. Took the words out of my mouth.

Andie

Very well said!

sapph

so i dont get it. why dont you want anyone touching your hair?? other than the petting zoo aspect i mean? where i m frm you hair in a good style or puffed and it’s like everybody goes fingers first.
and while only sometimes i dnt like it, i dont understand why so many other ppl dont?
[imgcomment image[/img]

sapph

so i dont get it. why dont you want anyone touching your hair?? other than the petting zoo aspect i mean? where i m frm you hair in a good style or puffed and it’s like everybody goes fingers first.
and while only sometimes i dnt like it, i dont understand why so many other ppl dont?

Kaila P

because most people just stick thier hands in it , because the texture and kinkiness is honestly just fascinating, most of them are really not trying to be malicious and doont realize that we don’t like it

sAPH

so Kalia P why don’t you like ppl touching your hair??

Esther
Your last question was “what are your thoughts on (these) ladies”? These ladies are beautiful and so is their hair but my thought is the whole idea of standing in the middle of the street as a mad woman trying to impose your beauty on WHO in particular???? The ignorant will of course stop and feel/touch your hair but the intelligent knows and would rather go by his/her day business cos its a waste of time. The headline of the exhibit is (YOU CAN TOUCH MY HAIR) and what happens next??? Maybe, I misunderstood the whole concept but this article… Read more »
Francis

I was present and I would interesting was that everyone mostly touched the natural and loc’d hair, people rarely touched the relax hair. I don’t see this as degrading, I find this empowering, I tired of black hair being a political statement, it’s just hair.

prina
This is why I miss living in New York, there is always something going on like this. As much as people think NYC is so Diverse, that doesn’t mean they aren’t curious. I never understood why people have a problem with someone touching there hair. Your not cutting it, you not washing it, and your not throwing something in it. sooo Why be petty about someone touching it. People play with and touch long straight hair on people all the time. It won’t mess it up. I’m the only black girl at my job and they are amazed at how… Read more »
cb

@ Prina I’ve been to the Dakotas, the people will not ask you to touch your hair, they will TOUCH your hair…they feel they are ENTITLED to touch…because you are just a little black gal to them…a little pet…beware of states that do not have a lot of black people, and even states that have a huge black population…this is STILL AMERICA…some will get angry when you tell them no!

mishapley
What’s wrong with allowing people to dip into black culture before returning home to safety? That’s what people do with things new and different. You checkout something new and take the experience home and share it. You begin to see and appreciate and value the differences as well as the commonalities. I think it’s unsatisfied curiosity that can lead to misconception and sometimes harmful speculation. That some feel diminished by this experiment tells me a bit about their life experience. Why do you feel so viscerally about what someone else is doing, because they’re also black, because it reflects back… Read more »
Emma J B W
Hello all, I visited NYC for the first time from London, UK, in June last year. I had a fantastic experience on the whole apart from one afternoon while visiting the Empire State Building. I had a white American lady approach me from behind and say “can I touch your hair?”. It was a surprise to say the least. I said “I’d really rather you didn’t” and carried on with my day. It’s only after the experience with the months between that I have considered the position of the women. From my perspective, I didn’t want to be petted and… Read more »
s

great article!!! im a central american woman, i have straight hair that i wear in braids down to almost my waist.. id get the same respond from people wanting to touch my braids.sometimes they’d ask sometimes they would just touch.. think anything that looks exotic is open season for sone folks…

Boyhead

Mixed feelings about this. Makes us seem ‘exotic’… like we’re alien to the rest of society that has ‘normal’ hair. This exotic quality is good and it can be bad — depending on the context. I dunno…

Trice
The only way we can dispute the myths is by telling the truth and sharing who we are culturally with other people. Without people who are willing to openly introduce the culture we would maintain a constant pattern of exclusivity or even mysterium. True, I do not want a random person touching me, but for the parameters of what they are doing I think it is a good idea and I would actively participate πŸ™‚ When we were little girls how often did we “play” in each others hair. I grew up in DC, where the majority of the population… Read more »
Tisha

So…I understand doing something that is shocking and/or usually frowned upon to gather some info/data but I don’t really understand what they were trying to achieve? Are they trying to figure out if “others” are still ignorant about black hair??…why not just walk to the street and ask people questions?…this reminds me of the “Ask a Jew” expo that was held in Germany(I think). A little weird IMO but oh,well…

On another note, if that were me, I would have bitten some fingers off…especially the less than tender ones!!

Aude

My opinion is that the fact of people touching your hair is nothing negative. If you allow them to in order to break down prejudice and ignorance, then why not?

Difference are not negative they are beautiful and enriching. They become negative when they are used in a harmful way.

I believe that these ladies did a good thing. Instead of just let people create ‘myths’ around black people’s hair they have engaged them in a way that could lead to talking about racial discrimination within society.

jacqueline
i have been asked… can i touch your hair when it was long and i wore it out poof style pulled back in a hair tie. it was a colleague, and i thought he was a creeper, but i let him touch it. it’s so soft. he was amazed. i have also been asked how long it is stretched out by a female colleague at work. so i loosened my braid and we stretched it out almost to my waist. i cut it short, but it’s type 3 whatever hair. folks were curious, blacks and whites, when i cut my… Read more »
Tee tee

I agree with the writer of this article.

This can also look at why people on the whole think we (black people) are unapproachable and can only be accessible with ‘experiments’ such as these. That would be interesting for me.

Also . . . . . I am curious . . . What exactly happens once their hair has been touched? A general chat about hair practices? A little history provided on the politics surrounding black hair? Or do the people just touch the hair of silent hair models and leave?

Megan

Yeah…I’d like to see this on video and observe the reactions as well as self-selection of who decides to come up and touch…really curious which model gets the most attention too.

Erika
Do I think it’s a good experiment? Not really. If someone (black, white, or other) decided to touch anyones hair, they should then be asked to fill out a survey or be contacted at a later date to really determine why they felt the need to touch the hair of person A B or C. If it was to be a more productive experiment there should be more of an experimental component that would add to the overall findings. On another note, I would not let anyone and everyone touch/ feel on my hair because who knows when those paws… Read more »
Megan

“A significant percentage of women in the natural community are married inter-racially. 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.”

That’s the issue right there–The voyeurism that Americans already exhibit way too much of. People of other ethnicities aren’t walking exhibits from EPCOT. Form real, human relationships if you want the experience. Encouraging people to further separate individual human beings that are “foreign” to them into a collection of characteristics is irresponsible.

LBell
THANK YOU SO MUCH for this post. Without going into a lot of detail (for once, lol) I have spent a good chunk of my life being that representative/educator (obviously not just when it comes to hair, but Black People(TM) in general) and at this point I am DONE. If other sisters want to go on and demystify what really isn’t that all that frickin’ complicated — and in public, no less — then good for them. I, however, am pretty much over it. And I REALLY have to applaud both the idea of repeating this experiment in a black… Read more »
Mai
My irritation with the natural hair community is the assumption that people of other races have negative opinions about our hair, and while definitely dependant upon location, I truly don’t believe this to be true. When I BC’d all the positivity came from white people while my black family and friends seemed to have an endless supply of negative comments. I think it would be more beneficial to have this project, or something very similar, in black communities so that we as a race can appreciate and love our own beauty instead of trying to unnecessarily prove it to another… Read more »
TWA4now

I agree! If we wore our natural hair out more, it won’t be a mystery not only to others but our own black race as well!#enoughsaid4now

'Quel

Girl, please. Yes, WE know our hair is beautiful. But, how many little white girls are rushing out to the salon tryna get their hair to look like ours? You KNOW the answer to that. They DON’T envy our hair. They would rather have their silky, smooth limp hair than our thick sometimes coarse hair. It’s not racism that I speak, it’s fact.

Mai

I’m not sure why you are comparing white people wanting to look like white people to black people wanting to look like white people. The fact of the matter is, in many black homes, little black girls are being taught that their hair is bad. They are taught that, without long, silky hair like their white counterparts, they cannot be beautiful or successful. So no, we (generally speaking as a culture, specifically the black American community which I am familiar with) do not know our hair beautiful.

Rea

Yeah it’s just ignorant/rude people in general. A lot of women have to deal with negative attitudes from their own family and sometimes it’s black people that are being the worst bullies. Some pass along the good hair/bad hair mind set to their kids, which I think is far worse

Lillian Mae

RE: Some pass along the good hair/bad hair mind set to their kids, which I think is far worse

Blacks are the #1 perpetrators of the good/bad hair BS. Speaking personally, I received my initial mind-set from my mother, who when I needed a touch up would snear at my new growth. That set the standard in my mind about my hair! It wasn’t until I saw other women with beautiful natural hair that made me curious about what grew out of my scalp. I agree, take this exhibit to the black communities as well!

Iris
@Lillian I think both societies perpetuate this good hair/bad hair but it all stems from historical attitudes. When you look at the power dynamics of race in the United States it is understandable why there is a hair complex in the black community. A lot of blacks wouldn’t have gotten a job unless their hair was straight. I’ve been told by white co-workers curly hair is unprofessional so I certainly understand the pressure to have straight hair. When kids look at who is in power they see mostly white, straight haired people. And the few black women who are CEOs… Read more »
merry

@mai

and ursula burns is a BLACK WOMAN. you will not mistake her for being mixed or whatever to make you like her or embrace her more.

and, she didn’t just change her hair when she got into that position. it’s been like that for years.

the company also has been doing well under her.

i admire her perhaps more than i do someone like oprah or michelle obama.

there are interviews of her posted on youtube.

Mai

Iris, I just want to point out that Ursula Burns, who is the CEO of Xerox and the only black female who is a CEO in a Fortune 100 company, has a TWA.

TWA4now

We/I need not take it too personally. It is “their” experiment. I welcome hair touching from my black and white friends (when they ask)and questions about my nature hair too. Perhaps we wouldn’t have to do this if we wore our real natural hair out more. All their hair looks beautiful. #askbeforeyoutouchmyBBA

yourekiddingright

But that’s the difference TWA4now… it is your FRIENDS who are touching your hair. Friends who already have a relationship with you and appreciate you for more than your hair. Not STRANGERS on a street corner looking to have an experience.

TWA4now

@ yourkidding….I had strangers touch my hair or ask questions…I welcome the dialogue but I am more open to it. Yes, i was a bit werided out a out it but most are just curious 8especially other black folks–most of the men like my hair better) and it produced some great conversations vice popping, snapping, and cussing folks out. Everyone has a different comfort level/personal space comfort level. HHJ 2 u #HHJ2us!

Sabrina Antoinnette
I agree 100%. If the vast majority of African American women didn’t chemically treat or hide their natural hair under wigs, weaves, or scorch it to hell regularly with a flat iron there would undoubtedly be less curiosity and questions. I love and support this – though some think it is like a “petting zoo” i feel like it is most definitely a social experiment and an opportunity to interact with those that do have questions bringing a positive experience and association to our natural state. I trust those that have opted to participate in the experiment mostly because they… Read more »
Fii
Honestly, because most black people’s hair is so vastly different than the rest of the world population, people would be curious regardless of what we did to our hair. It’s the same way people refer to black people by negative stereotypes despite the fact that majority of us do not act the way. Adding this sense of blame is unwarranted,black women should be able to do whatever they want with their hair. I remember watching an episode of Oprah once (the talk show) and there was a white woman who is naturally brunette but dyes her hair blonde. The way… Read more »
Naija81

That slavery mindset is for real. The need to justify or explain your uniqueness to other people in order to gain some type of acceptance is pathetic.

Jonette

Regardless of what we do with our hair, it will always spark a certain amount of curiosity because it differs from the majority.
I also agree with the experiment, it opens the door to allow meaningful conversation amongst all .

yourekiddingright

So you’re saying it’s OUR fault that there are curiosity and questions???

Why are black women concerned about bringing “a positive experience and association to our natural state”?

Why is that OUR job to do??

Isn’t that already happening with the many, MANY natural women who are married interracially and have loving and supportive husbands??

Why the *$%& do I have to stand on a street corner like an ANIMAL and have STRANGERS touch my hair to help THEM understand it???

I swear, the slavery mindset in this country is NOT gone yet…

Kan
OMG – PREACH yourekiddingright!! Didn’t know ‘putting ourselves on display and educating people because they don’t understand us’ was part of the Black woman’s guidebook of living. Gee, I thought we were just supposed to live and be human like everyone else. Didn’t know we had the responsibility of explaining ourselves to others. And for those saying it’s just curiousity and we should allow it, I think it’s bad manners. Kids go up to one another and poke each other, not grown adults. It’s MINDBLOWING to me that although our hair is different from other ethnicities, people don’t get that… Read more »
AC

I kinda agree with you because it isn’t ALL our fault but … It wasn’t just other races that attended the event so I’m not understanding this slave mentality you speak of. It is however our job to teach our own … Which is also being done by this exhibit, the positive experience and association to our natural state is necessary so other women may enjoy their natural hair one day too. After all there were many women of color present and touching the hair as well, I think this is a good thing.

Sabrina Antoinnette
It is definitely NOT our job to teach anyone about our “natural state”, but we all know that fear and hatred stem from ignorance. 1st step would have to be on them, to have the desire to learn. Just FYI, my husband is Norwegian, therefore he has blue eyes and white skin. I think if they want to stand on the street and allow others to touch their hair, more power to them… and regardless of the cursing and backlash you’ve provided, SOMEONE is (weather we are liking it or not) having a positive experience. I have definitely cursed out… Read more »
D.K.
That’s right, because if we don’t step up and educate in sometimes radical ways, then who will? It IS our job to enlighten because people with no african descent will never be taught (or will ignore it) if left up to themselves. Stigmas will continue if we’re quiet (how else could we now sit in the front of a bus?). I support this experiment 100% because the honesty (of admitting they don’t know), sincerity (of wanting to find out), curiosity (without shame) and open-mindedness of individuals wins out in the end. They are definitely all the better for it and… Read more »
'Quel

OMG. PREACH ON!!!

Rea
They made a personal choice to do this, even if it’s viewed as a petting zoo. I personally hate when people play with my hair, It makes my scalp crawl and they might be the person that used the commode and didn’t wash their hands, etc. It’s not black peoples job to educate ignorant people. I wasn’t offended when my teacher ask the black girls in the class how did they take care of their hair, it sparked a discussion about black hair diversity and it educated some people. Some people just don’t know how to be respectful. I had… Read more »
Crist

yeah no she wuda got socked

'Quel
Girl, I WISH a teacher of mine had asked that question in school. Cause you know what? I would’ve told them. That’s right, I would’ve been a good sport and walked them through my hair routine. And then, I would’ve said, “Ok, now I have a question for all you white people. Why is it that when ya’ll hair get wet, you smell like wet dogs?” And I’m pretty sure all jaws would’ve dropped to the floor. How dare people feel like it’s ok to “touch” or ask to touch a black woman’s hair? This little “experiment” is degrading and… Read more »
Fii
I would have been like, but y’all don’t shower for 3 days at a time and think it’s cool. I know quite a few white people who admit to not showering daily. But then everyone wants to come out with this black women don’t wash their hair every day and its nasty. I’m still trying to figure out how some white people wash their hair everyday if they don’t shower everyday. I feel like things such as washing your hair in the kitchen since sick as opposed to in the shower is something also culturally devised. But whatever. Those ladies… Read more »
'Quel

You know what? That’s is so true. It’s a lot of questions that could be posed to them. Like, why do they take shower’s without a washcloth? Just a damn bar of soap? Come on. I just don’t understand how they feel so intrigued by anyone that’s different from themselves, like anyone not like them is a freak of nature or something. Wanting to touch my hair to see how it feels? That’s not curiousity. That’s freakin racism and ignorance.

TWA4now
@ Rea I would’ve loooooved for my teacher to ask me to explain how I take care of my natural black hair. I would have taken about 25 minutes plus Q & A session too. Yes,we do need to educate the ignorant folks black and white and brown and yellow about our hair and dispel the lies and myths especially in our own black community. Unfortunately, a lot of the “dirty” looks and negativity is from other black women and some men but most of the men seem to like it more. I can count the number of compliments I… Read more »
Rea

HHJ To you too! I agree. I just think some people are too thick to reach when you try to educate them. I think keeping discussions like this open is healthy. πŸ™‚

Haduko

This feels National Geographic to me. Or petting zooish like the previous commentor stated. I get what they’re doing but damn it’s so…public!

That being said I do at times allow ppl(who ask)to touch my hair. And yes, I feel like I’m starring in an episode of Nat Geo Wild. I have made allowances for admirers and the genuinely curious because despite some feelings of weirdness, I do acknowledge the intrigue that is linked with our hair.

Cece Danielle
I personally think it’s the mindset behind it, when they ask to touch it. This one white guy randomly came up to me while I had an afro and said, “omg your hair’s so cool can I touch it? I was like uhhhhhmmm, no. He made me feel like it was some type of weird, “cool” thing and I felt like I was on display. I didn’t feel good about it at all. Another white guy I know is genuinely interested, he asks questions all the time, how long does it take to do, how long is it when it’s… Read more »
Ekene
I think I get what you’re saying- (especially) a city like New York is relatively diverse so there should already be some curiosity leading people to some acknowledgment that hair of people of African origin is different. However, just a thought- I’m Nigerian, and I live in Nigeria. Since I went natural, I’ve had quite a few people at random ask me if they can touch my hair. They touch it, I’ve had 2 or 3 people pull it to stretch it out without asking lol (shrinkage is a mystery to them) It can be annoying but they do it.… Read more »
AC

I agree, more Black people touch my hair without asking opposed to other races, actually no one of another race has dared to try that lol..

Cece Danielle

I think this experiment is great, although I wouldn’t do it personally. I just noticed how mostly white people are touching the girl’s hair. I think a lot of white people are curious about our hair. As long as they’re being respectful, I welcome curiosity.

Lillian Mae

Exactly! Black and Non-Black alike are curious!

I don’t have a problem with this and the women who signed up are good sports.

Alisa

I think it sounds and looks degrading…as though these women( and other African American women) are animals at a petting zoo. Thanks, but no thanks. I would not do this personally.

Eloisa
It doesn’t just sound degrading, it is. WTH is people’s obsession with black people’s hair?! Why was this necessary? We are not here to satisfy others’ curiosity about our hair. Let them STAY curious. You actually think there would ever be an asian or white exhibit where random black people pet them like animals? NO! And touching some random white or asian woman’s hair sound so nasty to me! It would never even occur to me. Smh @ the people who think this no big deal. This is disgusting as hell. Those women should be ashamed of themselves. But I… Read more »
merry

personally, things like this make me feel like black people will forever be stuck on stupid.

wpDiscuz