Discrimination Against Black Hair Types & Lengths

(Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini – Backstage – Milan Fashion Week/Matteo Valle/Getty Images)

This was brought to my attention by a fellow reader. I’ve noticed this myself in the natural hair community. When the natural hair community first began to gain popularity on YouTube, I was happy because I thought real black hair was finally getting accepted…until I noticed this.

A lot of black women who first start going natural wear weaves at first because they refer to their short natural hair as the “ugly phase”. They will wear weaves until their hair grows to a certain length (Some women say that they do this to get their hair to grow longer easier, but I explained in this post why I believe that is an outright lie and excuse). A lot of people only like natural black hair when it’s a certain length. I feel like some people took the black women with long natural hair the wrong way (probably purposely) in the natural hair community online.

There aren’t as many popular natural hair YouTube channels where the women have short hair. I don’t think people compliment women with short natural hair as much as they compliment women with long natural hair. When I first cut my hair and went natural and it was really short, I didn’t get many compliments for it. I didn’t start getting a lot of compliments until after I grew some length to it.

The women with long natural hair on YouTube was supposed to show that black women’s hair can grow long and how to get it to grow long. For a long time, there was a myth going around the black community that only mixed or nonblack women’s hair could grow long. It wasn’t to send the message that only long natural hair is beautiful.

I noticed the natural hair length discrimination, but what I didn’t notice, which was brought to my attention by this fellow reader I mentioned at the beginning of this post, was texturism. Only a certain type of texture of natural hair is more acceptable in the black community than other textures. To make things more clear, looser textured natural hair or the texture mixed women have when they wear afros are sometimes more acceptable than women who have kinkier textured hair.

I searched natural hair on YouTube and women with looser textured hair popped up first, their videos took up most of the page and, for the most part, had more views than women with kinkier textured hair. The same thing happened when I searched it on Google.

(Photo: Flickr)

We have to learn to accept our hair AT ALL lengths and textures! Cut out the discrimination and “picky-choosiness” between hair textures and lengths! We have to learn how to accept our all of real hair textures and lengths just like we accept straight or loosely curly hair in every length and texture.

Like I believe I’ve said in a different post about natural hair and what you might see me saying a lot more in the future, we won’t accept our hair as our own unless we accept it at all textures and lengths. We will always come up with some excuse to cover it up and be insecure about it if we don’t. We shouldn’t be ashamed and insecure about our own real hair that grows out of our scalps!

Weave As A Protective Style Is A Lie & An Excuse!

I kind of didn’t want to write about this because it’s such a touchy subject and ruffles quite a few feathers, but I think this had to be said anyway. As of recent years, I’ve been hearing more and more black women say they wear weave as a “protective style” for their natural hair. I hate to say it, but hearing so many black women say this irritates me! It’s a really big, obvious lie, but so many black women cling onto it like they don’t see it.

I went natural a few years ago and I did it with the help of lots of natural hair tutorials on YouTube. Through watching those videos, I saw that no one needs weave to grow hair. I saw so many black women who grew their hair to bra strap length and longer WITHOUT weave.

I think of all the black women who had big, beautiful afros during the ’60s and ’70s and I never saw them use weave to grow it. I think of how long black women have been on this earth. We’ve had this same hair since the dawn of time. Why now, all of a sudden, do we need weave to grow our hair? When I think of it this way, this excuse sounds even more ridiculous. It really sadly proves how brainwashed we are about our own hair in this society. The truth is we’ve been conditioned with straight hair for so long, we literally forgot how to take care of our real hair how it grows out the scalp.

I believe women who wear weave hijacked the protective style term from the natural hair community. While on my journey of learning how to grow and care for my natural hair, I learned that protective styles are styles that you do with YOUR OWN hair to protect the ends, like braids or twists. Not once did I see these women use or mention weave.

I believe these women hijacked this term from the natural hair community because they want to go natural, but they aren’t 100% ready to give up weave completely. They’re so used to wearing weave, they don’t want to give it up just yet. The natural hair community has really shattered a lot of lies and excuses that’s been going around about our hair for many, many years—black people’s hair can’t grow long; only nonblack and mixed people’s hair can grow long; our hair is unmanageable; our hair is ugly—amongst so many others.

Since the natural hair community shattered all of these lies and excuses, there’s literally NO reason to wear weave at all. So the weave wearing women made one up to make it seem like there’s still a use for weaves amongst black women. I’m also thinking that maybe the hair industry made up and is pushing this lie. With more black women going natural, I’m sure it’s threatening the weave business. With more black women going natural, less of them would buy weave. So they needed to push that to keep black women buying weaves.

I know we don’t like to hear this, but we as black women need to give up weave FOR GOOD! Let’s stop following this society’s rules about how straight hair is better. Let’s stop allowing this society to force us into hating our hair. Let’s give up weave 100%. I know you might be afraid, but please don’t be. We need to go back to loving and accepting our true selves. We don’t need to wait until it’s considered “cool” by the rest of society to do it. We have to just do it and forget about anyone who has a negative comment.

When I first cut my hair and went natural, I had to hear negative comments from my own dad and brothers, saying I needed a texturizer to “make my hair easier to manage”; saying I would never get a job with my hair; saying that my hair was going to fall out; all kinds of stupid, ignorant comments. But my want and love for my own hair far outweighed the negative comments from those closest to me. Also, lots of other people outside of my family always complimented my hair, so I knew that they were full of crap for saying what they were saying about my hair. Now that my hair has grown a lot, they’re saying they want their hair to grow and look like mine. Isn’t that something?

I’m sharing a little of my story because I know that many women are mostly afraid to go completely natural and give up weave because they’re afraid of negative comments. I know many of the negative comments will come from people closest to us. I want to encourage other women to not be afraid.

I now realize after being natural for a few years that the people who make negative comments are afraid, too. I believe that when women go natural, it sparks something in other people. I think deep down, they want to do it, too, and your hair inspired them, but they just don’t have the courage. I also think it has to do with them just not being used to your hair not being straight. They’re so used to seeing you and other women around them wear straight hair that when they see one that doesn’t have straight hair, they think it looks weird.

We really need to let go of these lies and excuses. We will never fully accept our hair as our own if we keep using them. Never in history have we ever needed weave to grow our hair! Let that sink in and let’s act accordingly.