Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I saw this poem a while back but had yet to reflect on it. I find it to be a beautiful poem that outlines the very real struggles of my own hair that did not fit into the man-made "good" or "bad" hair categories. I've been told my hair is either too "nappy" or too "good" for certain styles. I was always on one side of the fence or the other. Just like this poem, hair has always been a large part of my identity and of course my self-esteem. I remember girls in elementary school that were "oohed" and "ahhed" over just because they possessed the rare combination of light skin and curly hair. My skin was very light but my hair did not pass the length/texture test when it came to being the class beauty queen. Who, as the golden child, was not only beautiful but did everything perfectly such as write well and had the most supportive parents. However, I was not a jealous person at all and instead I decided to reexamine myself and try to grow my hair out which I ended up doing and discovering how my own hair curls. I got backlash and praise for wearing my hair natural but I did it ever so often and was able to grow my hair out to almost MBL from shoulder length in the 8th grade in about 2 to 3 years. I definitely have this biracial hair that, contrary to popular belief, my ancestors were not raped by the masters to create and I do think that if they were, their traits would not be showing up now. Wouldn't you be like 1/64th white by now if your great-great grandma got raped in 1863? I mean how often do we look like our great-grandparents? Anyway, I carry African, Irish, and Creole (French and possibly, just possibly Native American Choctaw/Cherokee blood). I had a full blooded Irish great-grandmother on mom's side and I believe my father's side has the Native/White/African roots. My hair is certainly a product of so much mixing being that I don't have a brown skinned Black or white relative for quite a few generations as in a grandparent.
I still consider my hair mostly African and I only press it, I've never permed, colored etc. I don't like wild hair styles either. I prefer to embrace the hair God gave me sometimes and when I straighten it I still call it natural hair because I can pour water on it and it will come back to life in a sense. Biracial hair, to me, is not just the texture of hair on your head. It was a lifestyle that you had to endure especially through childhood by being on the thin line between the man-made categories of "curly" and "kinky". I embraced these categories accordingly as well as the un-categorizable hair and process of wearing it that makes my hair my own and not limited to 3c/4a.
Biracial Hair Poem: