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Barber said he doesn't do afro hair as it's too hard !!! How hard is a grade 2 all over ?!

(16 Posts)
DefNotYummyMummy Thu 19-May-11 18:12:06

Just wondering whether there is anything I can do about the following.

I went into a barbers probably about a year ago and got DS1 (4 years old)haircut.
DH also went at some point last year.

Then about 3 months ago I went to the same one and he said that they don't do children at the weekend. Fair enough.

Then I went into today with DS1 and asked if he was doing children today. I saw that there was a child in the seat and said oh but you do.
I then went onto say that I just wanted a grade 2 all over (very easy for a boys hair as I have done it myself !) and he looked at Harrison and said we don't do afro hair. It's different and too difficult.

His hair isn't even that long. I keep it very short.

I was completely shocked and just said are you kidding me ? I had to leave.

I have been quite emotional about the whole episode and despair for my children for the future.

The barbers was in Godalming - a leafy Surrey village, near Guildford. I knew at some point my children would experience racism,
but I expected it to be mostly in the innocence of the playground at this age.

I don't even know what I hope to achieve, or what is the point, but I do know that I have left there feeling completely ostracised and segregated.
I just think it was wrong.

Can't believe we have to go through this.

I have been in floods of tears, but I think it's mainly because I despair for their future.

DefNotYummyMummy Thu 19-May-11 18:15:29

Forgot to say that my DH is Black African and I am white.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 19-May-11 18:21:11

My gut reaction is you need to complain. I could understand it if a white barber in the middle of Surrey said he didn't know how to do cornrows or similar but as you'd told him it was just for a Grade 2 then surely there is no excuse. Not unless you need special clippers or something <not a hairdresser emoticon>

Bumfuzzle Thu 19-May-11 18:26:26

Afro hair is a bloody bugger! That's a simple fact and in no way racist in itself.

That said, he's clearly incompetent at the very least cos even I can run a clipper over and get a half decent result.

Do you feel that the reason he did not want to cut your child's hair is because your child is black and he did not wish to serve a black person? Or that he didn't want to cut your child's hair cos he's a shit barber who actually can't run clippers over afro hair or can't be arsed cos he thinks it's hard work and he doesn't actually hold any racist views?

If you feel that he discriminated against your child on the grounds of their ethnicity, then that's unlawful (equality act 2010) and you can complain about that.

info here

meditrina Thu 19-May-11 18:36:51

I've had this the other way round. Local (West Indian) barber was happy to cut DS1's hair, but not DS2's because it was "too fine and floppy" and he wasn't sure he could cut it well. So I suppose that was a (black) barber denying my (white) son a service on the grounds of a racial characteristic.

But I just took it as fair comment on the limits of his professional comfort zone, that he didn't want to do an inadequate job, and that it was a kindness to tell us rather than try and make a bit of a hash of it.

For the sake of your peace of mind, perhaps you could decide to see it in a similarly neutral (or even benign) way? And look for a barber who is more skilled at the type of hair your DC has?

Straight2Extremes Thu 19-May-11 18:41:35

Not really racist Afro hair is different from Caucasian hair and the Barber may genuinely not know how to cut it. I recommend that you go to a Black/Eastern European/Asian barbers. There is a Asian Barbers near where I live and they can do pretty much everyone.

DefNotYummyMummy Thu 19-May-11 18:49:02

But he did cut it before ! I am so glad I posted to get some mixed feedback as I have been quite emotional about it.

This barber also cut my DH's hair - afro- before (he just doesn't realise that that was my husband !)

Having two daughters I am only too aware that their hair is different. Obviously I would understand if I brought my daughter as she has a big head of hair and it has never been cut.

That's why I keep my son's hair nice and short.

Thanks for all the comments. It has helped me calm down and think a bit that maybe it wasn't so personal and he didn't fancy it, but I suppose I just got shocked as I thought you have done it before and I have done it myself. It's not hard. My clippers broke which is why I am not doing it.

DefNotYummyMummy Thu 19-May-11 18:50:19

BTW - anyone know a good hairdresser in Godalming/Guildford that can cut mixed race hair ?! I would honestly love to know as my daughter will need it shaped at some point.

DefNotYummyMummy Thu 19-May-11 19:05:36

Yep. Starting to think he's just a shit barber who didn't fancy it. Not sure if he holds any racist views.

QBEE Thu 19-May-11 19:27:15

Buy some clippers and save yourself thousands grin

He may well have been recovering from a traumatic afro hair experience and felt unable to serve your needs.

Does your dh have local relatives? Maybe they can help out?

Afro hair is harder to no.2 (or whichever) than caucasian hair is to be fair.
I have broke the plastic bits on my clippers doing my ds twice (his hairstyle gets cut longer and longer the more plastic bits that I break grin) although they are cheapies rather than metal salon quality and his hair is more texturedish than afroish.

I used to go into salons when I was 15+ and be turned away 'for insurance reasons' [hmmm] and even now I have not had my hair cut in it's natural state by a hairdresser. They all are more confident straightening it first which is fine with me as I can go two weeks without having to do anything
with it once straight [dirty emoticon]

Hope you find someone for your girls at the very least. I had no black input as a child and my white mother knew nothing of how to style my hair and I looked like a microphone for most of my primary days lol.
My own daughters have only a ringlet type curl and can do whatever they please with theirs.

DefNotYummyMummy Thu 19-May-11 20:59:02

QBEE - yes. My poor girls. I have no idea what I am doing. I have tried to do a lot of research. One (2.5) has ringlet hair mostly but I have to use a hell of a lot of products and hard work to maintain that (I use mixed chicks from the states shampoo, intense conditioner, leave in conditioner, coconut oil and then a daily conditioner spray !). My other one is only 9 months and still has straight hair so we'll have to wait and see about her.
DH was fostered into a white family and we don't really know his biological family and so no hope there !
I'm surprised the microphone look never took off ?!
My son's hair doesn't have the tight afro curls anyway. It thick and wavy when it gets long - but as I said it isn't long.

Anyway, breathe in, breathe out. It doesn't matter. I'm just taking this all a bit too personally now I guess.

I can't believe that you were turned away 'for insurance reasons'. That seems ludicrous. You'd rather someone just admit that they are not talented enough to cut your hair.

When I was preg both times with my girls I was praying for a boy as I thought nice and easy grade 2 all over. Now I can't even find someone to do that !


jonnilisa Mon 15-Dec-14 16:11:05


Don't assume it's racism. I have two mixed race boys, I'm white. We just moved to Devon!!

I had a difficult time finding them a barber, I have found one now but there have been a few tears along the way. Currently I do it myself and I'm getting pretty good.

You gotta toughen're not on your own in this. I'm sending you plently of good will.

Sammy3 Wed 31-Dec-14 16:38:51

Obviously I don't know the exact words he used but the barber doesn't sound racist. As you said he cut your DH's hair before. Perhaps he had trouble cutting someone's hair since then & would prefer not to mess it up again. You do have to use different techniques for cutting afro hair. For a start, it needs to be combed through properly before you start cutting, so that the clippers can cut effectively. A black colleague came in to work once with a very patchy haircut after going to a white barber & I wanted to offer to cut it for him since it looked terrible. He was new to the area & there aren't any black barbers nearby. I wish he'd asked me first since I'd have recommended he went to a town a little further away that was more ethnically diverse & had black barbers & hairdressers.

I also cut DP's hair (he's white) & was very nervous the first time since his hair texture is totally different to DS' whose hair is more like mine. It took a while before I was comfortable so I can understand it from both points of view. Barbers & hairdressers do have to actually learn how to deal with different textures so it's not racism, prejudice or incompetence when they say they can't. It's just lack of experience in the other hair type.

By the way, I'd recommend only Wahl clippers for afro hair. My brothers only ever used them & I did try another brand once, it was awful on DS' hair but ok on DP's, so even the clipper brand makes a difference.

shanioops Wed 03-Jan-18 17:26:46

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

RavingRoo Thu 04-Jan-18 01:56:40

It’s not racism. Clippers can often get stuck in Afro hair - it’s possible he had some near misses last time and doesn’t want to take the risk. Take him to an Indian or Pakistani barber - they will be cheaper and used to dealing with all hair types.

CALLMEMUM Thu 25-Jan-18 23:47:10

Hi I don't find it racist because Afro mixed race hair are difficult to cut and most barbers and hair dressers don't have a clue how to cut, comb and style even not afro curly hair ..I'm taking my kids to saloon specialised for their specific hair type.

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