Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Roots



Hair. Our enemy. Our friend. Our fascination.

As a child, my mother had difficulty with my hair. She, being a white woman from Texas with a half black child, seemed confused and anxious about the upkeep of my hair. She would sit me on her lap and rake a pick through my hair. I would scream, and she would mutter "Sorry," and continue working through my hair, taking the teeth of the comb roughly through my curls.

Once I was able to get off of her lap and stand before the mirror myself as a preteen, I discovered that it was not necessary for me to comb my hair at all. It was too difficult anyway, so I opted to take a shower every day, put conditioner in, and rinse it out. By 10th grade I had unknowingly grown dredlocks underneath my curls. Once at a friend's house with a group of girlfriends, one friend discovered it after touching my hair. "Why do you have dredlocks?" she asked, confused. "I do?" I asked, surprised. I reached my hand under the curls and discovered two fat locks. It was time to comb my hair.

My friends and I cut the dredlocks out, which thankfully was unnoticed to any observer since they were growing under my hair. One of my friends, who was also biracial, gave me some suggestions for taking care of my hair, and its been taken care of ever since.

Black women's fascination with hair began so long ago, it is hard to find its roots. We can assume that it began with the rape of black women by their white masters. Suddenly there was a new race of humans walking the fields of the South, and immediately were just ever so slightly given a step up on the discrimination ladder. We now had a new race, with a curl that was slightly looser than their mother's and lips slightly thinner. They were now silently told that life would be easier for them, and harder for their mothers. What a strange burden to carry.

Hair. It can tell many stories. It holds within its roots the history of our lives.

Posted by Jaimie :: 4:23 PM :: 14 Peeked Into My Diary:

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