My Hair Is Laid But…: A Writer Responds To Short Film ‘Can I Touch Your Hair?’

October 18, 2013  |  



From StyleBlazer 

How many black women have been asked the question, “Can I touch your hair?” Especially those wearing their hair in its natural state? I’ve always wondered what the big deal was and why so many people feel the need to touch something we all possess. Apparently,‘s founder Antonia Opiah had the same question. When Opiah started the discussion about people touching black women’s hair, she set out to discover why people of other races were so curious about black hair. Little did she know, she had sparked a totally different conversation without getting her answer.

Last June, held a two-day exhibit where three black women with different hair textures and styles stood in Union Square holding signs that read, “You can touch my hair.” You can just imagine the questions it raised as people walked passed wondering what those signs meant exactly. Why can I touch your hair? Why wouldn’t it be OK if you didn’t give your permission? And so forth.

By day two, there were women of a different group holding signs that read, “You cannot touch my hair.” And therein lies the controversy about whether people should or should not be allowed to touch black women’s hair. There’s Un-ruly who feels black women should be comfortable with letting people of other races touch their hair because it gives them the chance to educate those on black hair. Then, there are other women who feel no one should be able to touch their hair because their curiosity is based solely on the fact that they’re black. Why are black women the only women judged, characterized, stared at, and profiled whenever their hair is worn in its natural state? Asian women, Indian women, white women or any other women with straight hair don’t incite the same curiosity.

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