Please, Don’t Touch My [Natural] Hair

Natural Hair. It’s beautiful, curly, and to some, quite interesting.

If it’s one thing about some women of color, it’s that we care about our appearance — especially our hair. Our hair is very important to us as it’s a reflection of who we are. We can be pretty versatile with our hair as well. Whether it’s natural hair, locs, braids or sew-ins. We find a way to rock it and make it work. 

natural hair - don't ask and don't touchThere are some out there who are quite curious about natural hair.

People have wondered what natural hair is like, how our curls occur, etc. They wonder how we wash it, how we deal with it, along with many other questions.

While understanding your curiosity about my natural hair, I have a problem with how some deal with that curiosity — and that is by touching it.

It’s a violation of our personal space, privacy, and what is ours. When someone proceeds to touch my hair or my children’s hair without permission, I feel like an animal, or an object and not a person.

It goes back to Black history, when Black people were recognized as animals and horrific beings. Everything about Black people did not fit the standards of beauty. In early African civilizations, hairstyles could indicate a person’s family background, tribe, and social status. Just about everything about a person’s identity could be learned by looking at their hair.

I’ve heard people ask, “well why don’t you just say something?”

For some, it’s not that easy. However, this can end up being another issue for a Black woman. We can be looked at as angry, aggressive, controversial, etc. The moment that someone speaks up, people aren’t as receptive to it — but that’s a topic for another day.

I’ve experienced people reaching for and touching my hair without  permission, and then asking or saying:

“Wow, it’s so soft!”

“Oh, I didn’t know this was your hair!”

“It’s so long! I didn’t think it grew!”

These are things that I have encountered, and yes it is demeaning and also hurtful. Why would anyone think that my hair isn’t mine? Why is it confusing that my hair is soft? What makes anyone think that it doesn’t grow?

These are degrading and rude comments and questions.

Women love to have fun with their hair. We love to give our hair a break by doing braids, or extensions, etc. It allows our hair to get some time to not be manipulated as much and help it grow as well.

I hope that no one gets discouraged from being who they are and wearing their hair anyway they want to, and for as long as they want.

If you are someone who receives questioned about your hair, be honest and let it be known how you feel.

As the years progress, I don’t believe anyone knows what natural hair is truly like unless you’re the individual. There are many assumptions and I’m sure many people aren’t as knowledgeable about it.

However, we are aware of our manageability and hair maintenance so it is important for us to educate others. Because our natural hair is not as publicized, there are some who don’t understand it and are curious.

We often see celebrities such as Taraji P. Hensen, Beyonce, Gabrielle Union, or Queen Latifah with different looks and styles. Many women who aren’t as wealthy cannot afford to take care of our hair the ways they do.

People also don’t realize many of these celebrities are also wearing protective styles to preserve their hair.

All in all, remain true to who you are, be mindful of your actions, and remember that your crown is beautiful!

Please respect my hair in all of its gloriousness — please, don’t touch my hair.



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