Column: Don't touch my hair

Column: Don't touch my hair

As an African American woman, I have been asked many questions about my hair.

My hair has been compared to some unbelievable things. At some points of my life, my hair has even been touched randomly and without my permission. When I react, people see me as the issue.

“Why is she acting like that? It’s not that serious!”

Here is why it is serious and not appropriate. Our ancestors were owned and mistreated by white people. We all know the history, and the damage that was and is still being done. To this day, some white people feel they still have a right to say and do as they please. The President does it via Twitter, so it’s not surprising that some white people think they’re superior.

Your curiosity about my blackness does not give you the right to approach me and touch my hair. You do not own me.

Many Black women grew up not liking their hair because it was not considered the norm and always felt out of place. Now things are changing. Many websites, including LA Times, report that relaxer sales have decreased tremendously over recent years. It is a beautiful thing to begin loving yourself and realizing that you, a black woman, are more than what you are taught.

Natural hair is revolutionary because it screams ‘I do not covet whiteness and my black is beautiful.’

It says, ‘I have decolonized my mind and I as a black woman, no longer seek to embrace the qualities that are considered the norm from my oppressor.’

It gloats in the face of beauty traditions that seek to portray black women as unfeminine and therefore undesirable.

My natural hair is one of the truest expressions of the ways in which I love myself because I have made the conscious choice to say that I am beautiful without conforming. My beauty is a gift from my fore-mothers who knew, on a more instinctual level than we know today, that a woman is as beautiful as she believes herself to be.

When you wear your natural hair you are free, radiant and regal. Unfortunately, these ideas are out of reach for most people and it makes them unhappy. Protective styles are also something that others take interest in and still want to touch on. Relaxers straighten the hair so it is not looked at as “different” because it is the colonized idea of how black women should look.

Having someone touch my hair makes me feel like I am put on display in an exhibit. So no, you cannot touch my hair. I know this is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s our harsh reality.

It’s time to be treated with respect.

Columns written by editors and writers of Pacer Times do not necessarily reflect the opinion of staff members or leadership. Letters to the editor may be emailed to Editor-in-Chief Cecilia Maddox at, and will be published at the editorial staff’s discretion.

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