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Mixed race hair rant(11 Posts)
I am fuming, for the past 9 years since my eldest daughter was born, total strangers think it's ok to approach me and tell me how to do my daughters hair. My daughters are mixed white and black Caribbean and most of these comments are from black people, it just upsets me, they assume that I don't know how to care for Afro hair which is not the case, but I don't want to plait it or cornrow it and nor do my girls want their hair like that - their choice. Sometimes they like having a natural Afro look, we cream and brush it carefully so it doesn't get knotted or matted. It just makes me so cross that strangers KEEP making snide comments, sometimes really nasty in passing such as 'that white girl doesn't know how to do black hair' etc etc. Most of the time the girls like bunches or a high pony tail but it seems unless we conform and get tight cornrows it's not acceptable here (I live in Peckham) - if this was you, what would you say to these people? I'm quite shy and quiet so usually just listen and nod.
My DS is mixed, but a different mix. If it were me, I'd probably politely ask them if it were me they were referring to in that passive aggressive comment and then ask them why they think black hair can only be in a certain style and why they think pushing stereotypes are acceptable
If I were feeling particularly annoyed I'd say something like "I'm not into taking style advice from someone with Lego hair/insert-any-hair-insult"
I'm pretty mouthy though, the "right" answer is to ignore it.
You should post this on Chat as not many people post on the Multiracial forum.
But I'll just simply nod and walk away, who cares what others think of you in regards to your daughters hair. It must be intimidating though, but don't fret.
Do you leave your daughters hair out? DS is mixed, so I always cut his hair. Apparently, in regards to AFRO hair, it's best that the hair is kept in a protective style... whether this is in a bun or cornrows as the hair can get damaged quickly and quite briskly and we need to keep the moisture in our hair. I don't know if that is right, but it's something my mum always use to tell me.
I used to be very sensitive about this issue, too, as both my DC (also mixed white/black Carib) always got comments.
I got comments about my DS because I allowed his hair to grow into a big unruly afro ('why dont you braid it/cut it/ oil it?' etc etc...um, because he is little and his natural hair is beautiful and doesn't need messing with!...funnily enough he is now approaching teenage hood and likes it skinned right off in a very low fade, so glad we had those years of him with all his lovely hair ).
My DD also got comments (or rather, I did...because of course, her father has nothing to do with it ) because I don't plait her hair beyond two simple braids, and mostly she wears it in simple ponytails or buns (I can plait hair, but her hair is not afro texture, its tightly curly but fragile and it doesn't respond well to tight braiding at all).
My take on it is this: Hair is a big thing in some parts of the black community. Pride in how you take care of your hair/your DCs hair is important. And I think there is a perception by some black people that some white mothers are lazy/ignorant and don't bother to learn how to look after their mixed race DC's hair. But if you know thats bollocks where you are concerned, I would honestly just ignore, ignore, ignore and dont let other people project their assumptions and issues on to you and your DC.
Funnily enough, I dont take advice from anyone other than mixed race people or other parents of mixed race children on mixed race hair issues, because in my experience, both black and white hair people can be generally pretty rubbish with many mixed hair textures. White stylists are scared to cut it, black stylists want to weigh it down with heavy products or braid it so tightly the hairline breaks. No thanks!
Also, re: protective styles.
They're different for some mixed race hair textures than for afro hair textures.
Tight braiding, for example, is not going to protect my DD's hair. It puts too much stress on her hairline, and smaller braids become difficult to unpick and cause breakage and knotting. After raising our DC for several years, we do actually know their hair better than strangers .
I really sympathise. I wouldn't be rude, just say 'Right you are' or something similar then move on. If the person is being quite nice about it you could just say 'I'm keeping the styling quite low key while they're small, I don't want them getting traction alopecia' etc.
In my day (I'm old enough to say that sort of thing now) in West Africa girls never had their hair plaited except perhaps on 2-4 large knots or plaits until after puberty and their families considered them old enough, precisely because a lot of plaiting and styling when young would weaken the hair too much. We all had a very short natural crop, and the boys had it shaved or almost shaved. No one got to do interesting styles until the mid-teens. And the styles we then did were not always corn-row. It could be threading or other things.
So your approach sounds very normal and sensible to me. One of my friends is keeping her child's hair similarly natural for the same reason.
There is a white mother locally whose adopted black daughter's hair is in an awful state, makes me sad to look at her. But from what you say, OP, your children's hair will obviously look moisturised and untangled, so what you are getting is more likely to be point-scoring and bossiness than genuine concern.
As other posters have said, it might be that other parents have seen kids with neglected hair and dumped you unfairly into that category. As long as your DC's hair is kept detangled and moisturised without over washing, your DC's hairstyle choices don't really matter. Besides it's just people sticking their noses in.To be honest, I've seen kids whose hair fit into the poorly cared for category and thought that's a shame but would never be rude enough to say anything to the parents. It's usually pretty obvious though that their hair is being treated like it's naturally bone straight instead of curly/kinky. Btw plaits don't have to be tight cornrows/canerows. They can just be a few or many normal plaits or two-strand twists.
Just wait till they're teens and people start piling on the pressure to get their hair permed or texturised (both involving chemically straightening). Now that is truly annoying. It's likely someone has already suggested that to you. It's maddening.
Ignore the comments. You need to let your child see that ignorant comments are not worth a response. I get comments and whisper to my kids after we walk away "and THAT, is what is called a meanie".
I've had this too, op, and I'm black. My dd is mixed. But her hair texture is more like her father's than mine. Try & ignore it, although it is very frustrating...grrrh
Yeah wait until you get the get a perm comments..
My dds dad has messed up her hair line by either getting his mum to cainrow it or putting it in to tight bunches. The curly girl method doesn't work for us either as the conditioner flares up her eczema and it dries out within a couple of hours and looks shit.
Dd now rocks an afro most of the time now to give her hair a break from being messed around with and to hopefully grow her hairline back. I do get looks and comments ironically when I used to put her hair in bunches with two twist plaits and loaded down with product I had loads of comments from black people saying how nice it was that her hair was done properly blablabla and now I get tuts about her looking like a boy and she needs a perm. Her hair is in much better condition by being out instead of up or cainrowed but it's not the norm and no way is she having a perm.
Didnt want to read and run. Im mixed race and wear my hair in its natural state always and have had many comments from Black women some in my own family telling me I should 'tame' it etc. Unfortunately decades of Black women being socially pressured (not all of course) away from wearing their hair in its natural state has left many Black and mixed women with the perspective that natural hair should be plaited, straightened etc and generally not be seen. Also some of the comments are simply down to ignorance. I would respond that your daughters enjoy wearing their hair in its beautiful natural state. End of. When they get older if they want to have cornrows then that's their choice.