Through primary school we were all taught to keep our hands and feet to ourselves. This was the very early stages of teaching informal norms of consent. Meredith College is an institution of higher learning, and by now, members of our community should know to follow this golden rule. However, there seems to be an exception to this rule when it comes to Black women's hair on campus. Recently, I have been in several conversations with Black students centered around members of the Meredith community touching our hair.
I’m thoroughly surprised and confused that this is still happening to Black women. Each Black woman experiences a hair journey as they try to navigate a white world that considers the hair that grows out of their head “unprofessional” or “ratchet.” Then there’s the time and devotion it takes to carefully care for hair. It has taken me years to finally accept, love and learn how to take care of my hair. To have it grabbed is not only unsanitary (because we should be following community standards while in a pandemic), but a micro-aggression. It furthers the narrative that Black hair is abnormal and puts the individual in an uncomfortable situation. If they react negatively then they are being difficult. If they say yes they’re put on display. If you think it is an innocent act, consider this: why do you want to touch it? Do you consider doing that with non-Black individuals?
If you really want to show appreciation for the time Black women put into their hair, keep your hands to yourself. With consent, consider having a conversation about hair to normalize all hair types.
By Jeanine Carryl, Staff Writer