Category Archives: Personal Essay

Creating a Center Part

By | Personal Essay, Wander | 3 Comments

Do you know how hard it is to find a black girl with hair like yours?

Ten years ago I was in a stand-off with my southern parents in my ultra-conservative hometown. I had just informed them of my intention to cut off my thick mass of bone-straight hair and never again incur the burden of a relaxer. They were, to say the least, flabbergasted.

Do you know how hard it is to find a black girl with hair like yours?

The question was provocative: not only was I disappointing my parents, but shaving my mane apparently meant failing an entire culture. It was my first peek into the supposition that my hair does not belong to me but, rather, is part of some trenchant responsibility — a birthright, if you will — and deeply engaged in identity politics whether or not the body/mind attached to it desires such.

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