Let’s face it…..the idea or the perception out in the world about black women is clear. We are Strong, mouthy, angry, and loud. We are difficult to get along with and many Black men have turned their backs on us as their choices for a girlfriend or wife. Do I AGREE with that notion of us? HELL NO!!
It’s shallow to assume any type of woman is easily categorized with the same attributes. Other than the majority of us being discriminated against because of the color of our skin, we are very different. CAN I be loud? Yes. AM I LOUD 24/7? No. CAN I be angry? Yes. AM I ANGRY 24/7? No. You see where I’m going with this. Any woman can be angry, loud, mouthy as well as difficult but somehow we’ve been labeled with these negative qualities. As if Black women don’t have enough to deal with!
It’s almost like being caught between a rock and a hard place. Perfect example:
Quite a few years ago, me and two girlfriends were out having dinner in a popular restaurant in New Orleans. I was in school and waiting tables at the time so I knew how a waitress was supposed to treat us. I was also aware that a table full of black women was labeled a ‘cold’ table.
That just meant we don’t tip. Yea, that pissed me off when I first heard it as well. You’d be surprised how many restaurant workers believe that shit.
The waitress was awful! I mean awful! She forgot about us, never refilled our glasses without us tracking her down and she wasn’t friendly. On the other hand, she couldn’t give enough attention to a white guy sitting a couple of tables down from us so she wasn’t too busy to serve us. She just didn’t care to serve us! I was livid.
My girlfriends wanted to leave nothing as a tip to show her how bad she was, but that’s where the rock and a hard place comes in. She would assume it was our ignorance for the bad tip and not her actual service. What did I do? I wrote down on a napkin all the things she did wrong and what she was supposed to do and left a friggin penny. I also found the manager and explained what I did and why so he could also know. Man, I felt so good after that!
That was an ideal example but doesn’t happen that often. In the real world of work people are much more subtle with their treatment of black women and if you call them on it they are quick to assume you are sensitive, explosive, angry, and not a team player. Oh yea…..that shit is real. So when you add Natural hair to the mix…are we asking for MORE negativity? Me getting angry at a valid issue any different with permed hair then with Natural hair? If so, how would I truly know? Like I said…it can be subtle.
The couple of times I have worn my natural hair straight to work a co-worker made a point to comment on how wonderful my hair looked. She even went so far as to say it was more ‘professional’. WTF??? Yea, she said that with a straight face. Yes, that person is in a supervisory position.
So, I pose this question to you Naturals. Does Natural hair intimidate some people? Do you think it makes them uncomfortable? I”d love your take on this since this has been rattling in my brain for a while now. Does my lack to assimilate offend or scare some people? What do you think?
It’s only a question so don’t feel like you gotta take up for anybody. I’m just seriously curious if I’m the only one wondering.
Happy thinking Naturals,
Originally posted in 2011
I do feel as though natural hair can be intimidating for some. But the same goes for why tight jeans on men can be intimidating, white girls with locs can be intimidating, hell… for some, black guys getting into the "skateboard" trend is intimidating. Why? Because we don't understand it and cannot relate. Anything that is outside of the "norm" is intimidating for some but I believe that is associated with ignorance. I've gotten the weird looks (mostly from other women) and you can almost tell the people who are stereotyping you based on how you wear your hair. The way you handled the situation in the restaurant was stellar. You didn't just leave the penny for her to brush it off as "well, you know THEY don't tip" but you gave her all the valid reasons why you didn't tip and even took it as far as involving the manager. I worked as a server for years so I've heard the sighs when our people are seated. I've even witnessed servers instructing the hostess not to seat any black women or elderly in their sections because it was time to "make the rent." I bet moving forward, she'll always remember this situation when she gets a table full of US in her section and will think twice. Then again, some people just cannot be changed…smh. Sorry for the book Sabrina!
Girl, don't feel bad cause I enjoyed every word!!! You understand perfectly and that's why I felt the need to write that post and mention that incident. Being different shouldn't mean wrong, or ugly. Being differnt should mean we are allowed to express ourselves anyway that doesn't hurt others and we are all ok with that! Yea, I know that a utopian thought but it would be nice.
Good question. Natural
hair can be intimidating. Women who are relaxed can feel intimidated if they
have encountered the infamous "Natural Hair Nazi". I think now that
natural hair is out of the bag, and we see more and more natural women and a
variety of hairstyles, the public is aware. I feel that natural hair for the
most part is accepted and is liked. However I feel that when a natural
straightens the hair, the straight hair because it may be a change, gets the
comment "you hair looks great". As time goes on I think people would
come to the conclusion that yes the straight hair may look nice, but
"she" looks better with her natural textured/ curly/Coily/kinky hair.
I feel there is negativity from both camps (relaxed and natural) from some who take it too far. Anyone can be extreme but needs to realize everyone has a choice. Sure, there are some who see the change and comment it looks great but there are others who truly feel straight hair looks better, more professional and less threatening. I'm hoping the bigger this movement gets the less we hear negative comments and it becomes the 'norm'. Thanks for sharing and commenting!
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i don't know if it's the hair, i think women are just put under more scrutiny when it comes to anything we do. i know of black men who work in corporate america that wear their natural hair in locs and they don't get any negative feedback, as a matter of fact black men have been sporting long natural hair for years and it wasn't getting this much attention until black women started rocking theirs, maybe it's not the hair maybe confident women are intimidating.
Yes it is very intimidating. The very idea of changing the description of beauty scares some to death. I'm starting to notice different attitudes now that I'm transitioning. No, I'm not paranoid. How we, in America, view beauty is never set in stone. It changes and evolves. As a young girl & teen I went to a predominately white school and was taught to assimilate to their view of beauty. Now I don't want to. Not only do I not want to change me but I want my place in the world. So maybe they may have to change. So be it. Let them be intimidated. Nothing wrong with Black and naturally beautiful.
I think any black woman with confidence, can be viewed as intimidating. I don't attribute it to being natural or relaxed. I think many people of many races are curious and others uncomfortable because over all as Black Americans we are uncomfortable with our natural hair. I think the more the natural hair community let others know that natural hair is just another texture and type but is just as beautiful, and continue to wear it with confidence the more others will believe it and accept it as well.