Guilty or Victim of HTD?

What is HTD?
No, it is not a cellphone manufacturer………..or an STD. It’s Hair Texture Discrimination.
Last week, I was deeply troubled by something I saw going viral on Instagram and Facebook. It was a meme showing the “difference” in natural hair textures. (pictured below)

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Distasteful meme about natural hair

As a woman who wears her hair natural, I was disturbed that this discrimination continues to perpetuate itself in the black community. There is no question that black women have always experienced a sort of difficulty when it comes to our hair.

Let’s rip the band-aid off!
If you are of the Negroid race, that is, having ancestry from the continent of Africa, chances are your hair texture will be super curly, coiled, and thick. So there, the cat is out of the bag. Black people do not possess naturally straight hair, in case you did not know!!!

Years ago, I was so excited when I saw the movement of black women going natural, embracing their God-given textures, and putting down the poisonous chemicals. I had to follow suit!

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Here I am: natural and loving it!!!

The love/hate relationship black women have with their hair was born out of decades of rejection by SOME white people who have not particularly enjoyed our dose of beauty.

We have been told for so long that our “nappy hair”, wide noses, dark skin, and curvy bodies are not the ideal standard of beauty and so with that, we have made leaps and bounds to change our appearance.

Embrace our differences!!!

Back in 2009, comedian Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair”, exposed that the hair industry made billions of dollars annually by black women alone. The perms, the weaves, the wigs, the this, the that, all contributed to the vast amount of money spent making ourselves look pretty and our hair look good.

With the natural hair movement kicking off, I had high hopes that black women were finally embracing their beauty, not to mention, appreciating the hundreds of thousands of saved dollars.
But why does hair texture discrimination exist pertaining to natural styles?

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The whole idea of going natural is that “original” textures are embraced. That might be – at least in my case – kinky, curly, thick hair. We are seeing a rising prejudice even in that. It is now about who has the softest, longest, bounciest…………..natural hair.

It is true that there are many African American women who may have ancestors of different races or ethnicities that do not share the same hair texture characteristics that most black people do, so I find it unfair and illogical to make such comparisons.

The style on the left is society's desired "look" for the black woman vs. reality on the right
The style on the left is society’s desired “look” for the black woman vs. reality on the right

I can remember a few years ago watching a program about race relations in South America. The documentary depicted the struggles of race and ethnicity, particularly in Brazil. For some, the color of their skin was not the only prejudice they endured.

They also had to deal with the “behind-the-ears test”.

One man explained that this test is the practice of looking behind the ears to determine someone’s true hair texture. In a country like Brazil (the plastic surgery capital of the world), where so many people change their appearance to look “whiter”, it is very normal for women get perms and chemical treatments that alter their hair texture.

So how does the behind-the-ears test work? According to the young man, if the loose hairs behind the ears do not lay smooth and soft, then you know their look is not natural.

This erroneous practice is also used to find the “perfect mate”. If a man finds that a woman’s hair is “nappier” than he would like, then he has no interest in her because he would not want their children having the same texture of hair.

I was truly sickened by this, mainly because this discrimination happens among minorities. Bad enough, we already have to deal with this from others, but now we are subjected to the same foolishness from our own.

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No one will embrace our beauty more than we ever could. We are all different, so what? Instead of setting these unconventional standards of beauty, let us try to find beauty in our differences.

If you have to alter every single thing about your body to attain an unachievable look, what does that say about you? And if you make others feel less than perfect, by encouraging them to hate who they are, what does that really say about you?

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If you have curly hair, straight hair, kinky hair, long hair, or short hair, embrace it! The only things that we should change as a society are our attitudes, not our bodies.

Remember that you are flawless because you woke up like that!!!

Have you been a victim of HTD? Or guilty of HTD?

-Reporter
Featured Image Source: skandikafrik.com

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