“You got good hair.”
“She’s pretty for a “dark” girl.”
“She’s “light” skin but she has “bad” hair.”
“Girl you need to perm that “bad” hair of yours.”
No matter where you are on the color line and no matter what your texture of hair, these are phrases that many Black girls are familiar with. Many of us grow up wishing we had lighter brown skin – often times regardless of how light or dark brown our actual skin color already was. A lot of girls who grew up believing that they had “bad” hair (or a very tight, coily or kinky curl pattern) spent their early years longing for “good” hair (or hair closer to the texture of Europeans) that could blow in the wind.
Though we are familiar with these sentiments, we don’t often take time to learn where these beliefs come from. We just sort of accept them as true and act accordingly. But what do these belief systems mean for our self-esteem when we become women? How do these belief systems shape our view of our community and the Black people in our world?
I tackled these and other questions in the following clip which explores the origins of these beliefs – and their modern day impact.
So what do you think? Have you heard these comments before? Did you grow up hearing similar messages? If so, how did you navigate the color complex?