I read about the little girl in the story above, and it touched me. My heart goes out to her because I remember losing my hair as a child, and other children bullying me and teachers making jokes. My stepfather took me to the wig shop, and bought me a natural looking wig. Before that I would walk around with my head down, not looking anyone in the eye. I would skip school and go to the park or the beach and sit around talking to God. My hair fell out in clumps and there wasn’t anyway to hide it. That wig (an inanimate thing) saved my life. I am concerned about the internal narrative that eats away at a young person’s self esteem because someone in authority said too much, or went too far.
Hair loss is not this child’s problem.
Teachers and principals with serious ethical leadership deficiencies is of concern here. But it’s that term nappy that has me twisted and upset. I will take back this term for me and every child that has been called nappy.
My hair is nappy because my brain is working overtime deflecting garbage ideology and intolerant rhetoric that would dismiss, deny and ridicule me for being differently beautiful. Some of the greatest thinkers and courageous people in the world had nappy heads. I could name a few, but the list would grow long and unwieldy because everyone would then claim to be nappy headed.
I’ll share a secret with you. The earth is nappy headed.
The grass you walk on is her napputrally beautiful, coily, curly hair. The water that we call rain, I believe is God spritzing her with Stay-Soft-Fro.
I’m not lying.
So the next time you spread a blanket out for a picnic, or roll in the grass, remember, you may be messing up a black woman’s hair do. I don’t want to tell you the kind of trouble that can get you into. Be careful…
Copyright © 2012 Kimberly Yarbrough Carpenter