The Taboo Involving Parents of Biracial Children and Their Hair

December 13, 2011  |  

So the other day, I was on YouTube going down the rabbit hole of natural hair “how-to” styling videos when I came across this one gem called “Parents of Biracial Children Please Learn Hair Care Before Their Birth.” After I stopped laughing at the title, I was able to focus on the content of the video, which basically featured a black woman, with sunglasses (while indoors I might add) seated in front of a white man named Bob, who was destructively combing through her naps with a small-tooth comb (Yikes). The author of the video, which was posted by tag name Slapme77times a couple of years ago, was trying to make a point about the need for White parents to learn the hair texture of African American hair prior to birthing or adopting one into the family. However, watching Bob, who incidentally was holding the comb like one would a knife, painstakingly rake through her hair, I wondered if this was a big enough issue to warrant a tutorial video on the matter?

The short answer is: Yes.  It’s like the other taboos of interracial relationships that everyone thinks about but don’t want to discuss.  While folks may swoon over how Black and White people may make pretty babies, one thing that they can’t do is come together to achieve a decent head of hair for those kids.  And I’m not referring to the texture but the actual application or lack thereof of styling and maintenance.  You know, the real “good hair.”

I’m not saying that all non-black parents of mixed-race children are oblivious to hair maintenance but a large percentage of folks do have trouble. Look, I get it: doing somebody else’s hair, particularly someone of another or ethnicity, is not something most of us think about.

And yes, we do spend a great deal of time in our lives just getting to know our own hair. But when I’m out in the suburbs and see a mixed race child, maybe age six or seven, walking around with dry, brittle wiry hair or when I’m up in the richer part of the city watching a black child being scooted along in one of those older kid strollers by a couple of white parents, my first inclination is that the parents are just lazy or in some dire need of help – especially when the child’s hair has been hacked to the point that any attempts of gender identification are futile. It may not be the most politically correct thing to say but I don’t think we should sweep it under the rug.

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