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Is Touching ‘Natural’ Hair Unnatural?   By: Nsenga Burton



In an article on, Lisa Respers France recounts the story of being in a chain restaurant with her husband when a white woman reached out in an attempt to touch her hair because it was “neat.” France’s experience mirrors that of many black women who endure constant questions about their hair, whether “natural” or chemically altered. France goes on to outline the different responses that black women have, from that of amusement to outright anger.

She quotes blogger Losangelista, who explained her response to a woman’s incredulous “Are you serious, I can’t touch your hair?” by writing that no, she couldn’t, “Because my black ancestors may have been your ancestors’ property, and had to smile while they got touched in ways they didn’t want to, but I am not YOUR property and never will be so you’d best move your hand away from me.”

For some it’s not that deep, and for others, like Losangelista, it is not only deep but also invasive. Other than being really tired about this focus on black women’s hair, as if we’re some type of alien beings, we have to say that grown folks touching strangers in any way, shape or form is inappropriate. Since hair is an extension of the body, we say it’s a no-no, especially when dealing with adults who should know better.

What do you think about strangers touching your hair? Would you call flag on the play or just let it go?


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