I am originally from Martinique where people’s relationship with their hair is conflictual and ruled by chemical relaxers!
My grandmother was a hairdresser over there and relaxing hair was what she had to do most days!
The relationship I have with my hair is highly conflictual as well. Sometimes I just want to go back to relaxers simply because it’s easier (or seems easier).
In my younger years keeping my curls was too complicated and didn’t enable me to look like who I wanted to look like, but having it relaxed either. It was straight, but never straight enough.
As rain and humidity always reminded me that straight hair wasn’t what I was born with I decided to stop everything and go natural.
I am thankful that my mother supported me in this hair acceptance journey, and I am actually lucky that she knew how to take care of my curls.
A biracial friend of mine wasn't that lucky. Her black dad isn't really present, and her white mother handled her mixed hair in a similar way than her own.
For many of us, women of color with curly hair, micro-aggressions are common and clearly shed light on ignorance towards the questions of race and identity. For so many people this is just hair, while for us, this hair is a representation of our background, ancestry, and very often defines people’s behavior towards it.
The fact that people have fun by throwing things in it (shoutout to my former classmate who emptied his entire pencil case in my hair), put their hands on it, keep commenting on it, just reminds us that we are minorities, that we are different, not part of what’s normal or acceptable.
That’s why fighting for it is important.