Sun. May 26th, 2024

One of the biggest concerns that I’ve seen for a long time is the discourse of African American and Black people’s hair. Some issues include cultural appropriation, discrimination amongst our own race and just flat-out racism. Between the internet warriors having problems with Black people wearing wigs and employers being reluctant to hire someone with bantu knots, it seems like it never ends. But where does the line draw? Do other ethnicities go through the same discourse, or are only Black people the ones being hated? What exactly would count as cultural appropriation and what wouldn’t?

Hair discrimination has been around for a long time, but recently, it’s been highlighted more so through the evolution of technology. Growing up, there was peer pressure for Black children to straighten their hair and had been discouraged from wearing their hair out in an afro by students and occasionally by teachers. Even though the rise of TikTok’s one-minute videos has popularized the idea of Black people wearing their hair out in different African styles — still, there’s backlash. According to @nowthisimpact (via Instagram), there was a high school student in Texas named Darryl George who had recently been suspended from high school for refusing to cut his locs per school policy. His family sued the school, but the judge said it was legal for the school to punish him for it. This is one of many examples of hair discrimination.

Another problem is the cultural appropriation of celebrities wearing hairstyles inspired by and made from African cultures. We all know the notorious scandal of Kim Kardashian wearing her hair in cornrows, as well as other celebrities doing the same thing. But instances like that seemed to encourage more discourse on the internet. Some people argue that Black people do the same thing by wearing wigs, but other people argue that cultural appropriation for hair isn’t a thing.

The problem comes down to self-expression and being able to do so while being respectful. At the end of the day, every woman and man is allowed to express themselves, as long as they are being respectful to others. Black hair, just like anyone else’s hair, can be just as elegant and just as beautiful.


Jasmine Stewart is a third-year Statistics major.

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