Wow- I'm so sorry you all went through that!
I come from a family of frizzmops and grew up in predominantly minority schools, so I wasn't out of place with my curls- I was pretty sheltered from teasing about my hair.
I just got it about being chesty, chubby, smart and the nasty gigantic pink plastic glasses my grandmother insisted on buying for me. So I guess the hair was overshadowed by the rest!
Anyway, most people love my hair, but I had a self-hating curly cut my hair recently. I told her I did NOT want to straighten my hair and her response was: "don't you have a boyfriend?" I asked what the <ahem> that had anything to do with it and she replied "well, I just thought if you did you would want it to look nice for him."
I told her I LOVE my curls and the men I've dated do too and they would have been mortified if I straightened it "to make it look nice."
Once in high school a guy was ripping his fingers through my hair (sans permission) and told me I was the only white girl he'd ever known with nappy hair.... I just told him I never asked him- nor gave him permission- to touch my hair.