I was interested to see this meme about the overall picture you get when you google 'professional hairstyles' and 'unprofessional hairstyles' and especially interested to see how much it shocked people.
It doesn't shock me at all, but if racism hasn't affected people in 'small' ways (I've heard it explained well as 'death by 1000 cuts'!) then how on earth are they supposed to know it is happening? I can't expect them to just know! Again, it just shows how important it is to talk about it.
My hair is curly, and when I leave it curly there is no doubting that I have a black heritage. Like many curly girls of all ethnicities I spent most of my teens and early 20s trying to make sure it was straight all the time; at one point, if I pulled lightly at it a whole bunch of it would break off in my hand. The number of hours I spent chemically and heat straightening my hair because the world made me feel my real hair isn't acceptable or 'normal' makes me feel kind of ill.
When I was young my parents gave me some products designed for black hair but I tried a couple and felt they made my hair greasy and horrible. Most importantly, they didn't make me look like my friends.
I stopped straightening around 2 years ago and started to look into how to care for my natural hair as I had no idea. I didn't know there were any other ways to describe hair other than the 'normal', 'fine' or 'dry/damaged' type labels I saw on products designed for white people. I have learned so much! My hair is mostly '3a' and my 'transition' to natural hair that isn't damaged by straightening left me truly hating it some days. However I could follow people on Instagram and Youtube who would assure me that it was all temporary, and inspire me to keep going.
The very most I will do to make my hair look professional nowadays is putting it back in a bobble. When I feel it's necessary 💪 I know it's a relatively small change, but it says to the world that I'm not ashamed of my heritage.
My hope is that people are reading this in the future, googling these terms to try it out and finding much more balanced results that don't imply that my natural hair is wrong but Kãmil's is right.
Fingers crossed ay?!
Some days my hair looks like this. Other days it's more of an afro. There seems to be no way to tell how it's going to turn out from one day to the next!