This bizarre monitoring has taken place for years and the recent events gave me flashbacks of the hair adversity I faced as a kid. Being the only black girl in my school, I constantly fielded questions about my locks.
Them: You mean this is fake?
Me: It's not my hair, but it's real hair.
Them: Ew!…Can I touch it?
Me: You're already touching it. Get your hands the fuck off my hair.
I was nicer than shown in the example, but that was part of the near-daily line of questioning. Less often I'd hear, "Sorry, teach, I can't see the blackboard, The Miserable New Yorker's rats' nest is blocking my view." I'm not exaggerating. They called it a rats' nest. Again, classy. Being the only black kid is fun :).
This fixation spans centuries and can be documented in books, films and a trillion op-eds. The black hair industry is expected to rake in an estimated half trillion dollars by 2017. "That's more than double Greece's Gross Domestic Product." Gross. And I don't mean the G in GDP. It's gross. Why? Because a half trillion is made off of black women's insecurities. Insecurities that stem from centuries of being told their hair is too kinky; unmanageable; coarse; ratchet; not long or silky enough. And when black women try to hone in the ratchetness with braids and sew-ins, their efforts are met with criticism over their finances (or for "selling out") or in my case, taunts and laughs. And if you're too invested in maintenance, your husband won't want to sleep with you. This is the kind of shit black women must deal with on a regular basis. So I'm asking you — begging you—all of you —kindly, shut the fuck up about black hair. I don't care if you're black, white, proud of your fro or your weave. The truth is that hair is the filamentous outgrowth of skin, not a political statement or a cause for concern. If I'm not worrying about my locks, neither should you. Chances are, I already know my hair is a hot mess. Growing it is hard enough without your opinion. Black people have enough problems. Christ. Once more for good measure, shut the fuck up about it.