I do not believe that black women who do not relax / perm their hair are more politically or socially aware, or even nicer / friendlier than those who do. Nope.
People are complex, complicated beings. A hair style doesn’t tell me anything about them.
I think a number of people do make interesting assumptions. Think of the evening news after a mass murder has been committed.
What do the people usually say? “But he was such a nice, normal guy.” My favorite is, “That doesn’t happen in this kind of neighborhood.” I always want to slap the person who utters that kind of nonsense. They are so caught up in their idea of specialness. Anything can happen in any neighborhood. Sheesh.
I do, however, make assumptions with regards to relaxed versus natural hair styles. My thoughts relate to health and normalcy.
I read my share of magazines, and the first thing I do is seek out pictures of black women. I’m always curious as to how the media is portraying us lately.
I’m moderately pleased to see that natural hair is quite popular. The hair styles range from nappy kinky coily curls in Afros to twist outs big or small. All of which I regard as normal.
Yeah, I said it, normal. My internal programming says that a black woman with a natural hair style is normal. Whenever I see relaxed hair, I regard it as abnormal. I’ll explain why.
A relaxed hair style makes me think: Wow, I hope she’s okay.
I know that may be out of the norm thinking. In fact, a hair study shows that relaxers don’t make black women sick. In an age where coffee is good for you one day and bad the next, I’ll take that report with a truckload of salt.
This report comes about because researchers have found that a particularly aggressive breast cancer targets black women more than white women.
I’m not making any assertions that relaxers cause breast cancer in black women.
I automatically think there is a connection: I can’t help myself.
To recap my hair fixation, if I see a natural hair style I think: she looks normal. If I see a relaxed hair style, in the back of my mind, I’m hoping that the woman lives a long and productive life.