Hair+child abuse

I like cynthiarf's take on this and she brought a good point of "why is she brushing it like she has Marsha Brady hair?"

In the video you can see that she was brushing her hair to abuse. She brushed the same sections over and over in different directions creating more knots. She wasn't trying to make a style or anything. Just abuse.
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Speckla
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There is never any reason to cause that much pain no matter hair type or ethnicity.

1. Wet hair with tons of conditioner
2. Separate into sections
3. Detangle with a widetooth comb

Basic hair care all types of curls. I know small kids will run away or not want their hair combed. It works best to do it while bathing them.

I like long hair but I do think shorter is better to deal with then enduring that type of treatment all the time.

Last edited by Speckla; 07-20-2009 at 12:14 AM.
I watched some of it...

The mother is obviously...well...awful, that's the only word I can think of at the top of my head. I don't condone that sort of behavior, but at the same time, I don't think the video was THAT out of the ordinary. That doesn't make it OK, of course, but it's not..."shocking," I guess.

I was "tender headed" as a child, and my mother would cuss and rip her comb through my hair every morning. The "move your hand!" was almost nostalgic to hear in the video, lol.
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In seeing this on various places on the net, I'm surprised at the number of people who think this is ok or normal.

If I brushed my cat like that, I'd be reported for animal abuse. I don't see why it is somehow OK for a kid.
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I like cynthiarf's take on this and she brought a good point of "why is she brushing it like she has Marsha Brady hair?"

In the video you can see that she was brushing her hair to abuse. She brushed the same sections over and over in different directions creating more knots. She wasn't trying to make a style or anything. Just abuse.
Originally Posted by afrosheenqueen

OMG that video was hilarious, I was on the floor laughing @ "sperm should just be ZZZZZZZzzz"

And kinda sad becuase so true. This is happening in so many homes, probably as I type this. Mentally unstable, sadistic "mothers' using a child's beautiful kinky coily nappy hair as an excuse to abuse. Becuase you can really see the hair wasn't the reason for the abuse so many people are seeing it as, it was the vehicle.


My Fotki
I hear a lot of people here and elsewhere bringing up two points that usually then leads them to say this isn't child abuse
1. It happened to them and they turned out okay
2. The kid was tenderheaded/nappy hair requires some amount of pain.

My response is
1. You know better and you do better. I'm just gonna outright say it, there has long been a problem in the Black American community with confusing abuse for good parenting for a myriad of reasons. Not saying White people don't abuse their children but I think there are specific dynamics when many Black people actually do something they consider to be good parenting that is actually uneccesarily torturous and that this stems from slavery in so many ways. I've done quite a bit of research on this in my own family and it seems with every successive generation hitting your kids has become less and less acceptable, in fact in talking to my great grandmother (who was born in 1914 in southern Georgia) before she passed it was considered accepted to Blacks in her generation to beat your children until marks were on them. And yeah probably among White people there was more violence towards children (most cultures have moves toward a more liberal school of discipline) but the difference is rough treatment of children had a purpose for Black people.

You knew you had to discipline them and get them in control becuase if they acted up in front of a White person they could be killed. It was actually a sick twisted sense of love actually. I consider the reactions to this mess a holdover to those days personally. People are confused thinking this woman is acting out of love and not seeing the enjoyment she is taking from doing it. There isn't ANY form of love in what this woman is doing.

2. I have begun a mindset in which I do not accept the word and concept of tenderheaded. I do not believe this myth to be real anymore. This idea that there are some scalps tenderer and more sensitive than others (and usually the lighter you were the more tender your scalp was supposed to be, darker you were the more punishment your scalp could take). I consider it to be manifestation of this prevalent idea that Black people are tough, our hair is tough and actually needs MORE punishment, rougher treatment becuase it's so coarse and rough. This has been said by many African American hair care books and stylist until recently (actually still is), was the prevailing theory (the nappier the hair the stronger the perm needs to be, etc) until actual scientific data has come out that says kinky hair is actually very very fragile both becuase of it's thickness and structure.

The tighter the curl the more fragile the hair in fact (and of course the more painful it will be to comb it), so it flies in the face of all we done towards kinky hair for hundreds of years. Treated it as the most tough when we should have been treated it the most gentle. So the word tender headed to me came about becuase we believed this so much we couldn't understand how people could be screaming, you're treating their hair as it should be treated. So we blamed our ignorance on the victim. I came to realize tender headed doesn't actually exist when all my life I believed my hair couldn't be detangled without pain but then I found out it could with the right treatment.

So I had no choice but to accept I had been lied to though the liars actually believe the lie themselves so it made it somewhat better. And it's quite an insidious lie, very believable. We still believe it. I was even told I was even more tender headed apparently becuase of my White genes. It seems so silly to me now that I really believed I got my dad's White fragile scalp and my mom's tough Nappy hair. But I did. And it led to nothing but badness, feeling I had to get a relaxer. Feeling there was something wrong with my natural texture. Feeling I got two different racial traits that don't mix (and don't get me started on the kind of mind job that can do to somebody, unfortunately there are still a lot of people that attempt to divide mixed people in seperate parts and refuse to see we are whole.)

So yeah I hereby refuse the notion of tenderheadedness in all it's backward beginnings and the way it can be used to blame the victim.
Originally Posted by KinkyKeeper

Girl, I agree with everything you are saying... very well put! As to point #1, I have heard the same thing (how roughness with children, and each other, in the Black community stems back to slavery.) I have also noticed how hitting your child is gradually becoming less acceptable. I'm the first generation to choose not to spank my child, and I have had a lot of people think that that is crazy but as they get used to it, more and more people have told me it's actually not so strange or bad. I do know of others doing the same thing and hopefully there will be more and more of us.

I wouldn't say that I personally was "abused" looking at it in context (I heard "move your hand!" a lot too when doing hair, LOL) but I wouldn't consider what my parents did acceptable to do to my child knowing what I know now.

As to #2, I don't agree that "tenderheaded" has to do with skin shade or being mixed. I think it just means having an extra-sensitive scalp, which can happen with any skin colour, just like sensitive skin. At least, that is the only way I meant it or have heard it. Some hair is less able to take chemicals, pulling etc. I agree with you that often it is the most tightly coiled hair that is the most fragile. I have family members we would describe as "tenderheaded" who are darkskinned and have very tightly coiled hair. IF there is a dynamic of people using the term in conjunction with skin colour, there's no basis for that, but I don't think there's anything wrong with the general concept of tenderheadedness. In fact, it probably leads reasonable people to try to be as gentle as possible with their kids' hair. My son certainly seems to be "tenderheaded" because any motion of a comb or brush causes him to say "ow" and try to grab his scalp. Maybe most kids are tenderheaded, I don't know.

In fact, growing up, I usually heard that my mixed hair was "resistant." My curls/coils were harder to tame or straighten than a lot of tighter ones because while the tighter ones would flatten with heat or a pass of the comb through wet hair, mine stretch right out but then bounce right back up and basically laugh at hot combs unless they are done a very certain way. I once saw a video of a stylist trying to iron Alicia Keys' hair and being frustrated that it kept bouncing back curly. That's my hair. So I got mine treated a lot "harsher" than the so-called kinkier hair types did and it took a lot more effort to "do" my hair. When I used to relax or texturize, I needed the solution to sit on my hair way longer than for coilier hair, which used to surprise stylists because they assumed my hair type would straighten easily.

eta: I don't think any of the posters saying they were "tenderheaded" are tying it to skin colour or "looser" textures. I know at least one is darkskinned with very coily hair and one has a sig saying they have type 4 hair.
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Last edited by Amneris; 07-20-2009 at 02:41 AM.
There is never any reason to cause that much pain no matter hair type or ethnicity.

1. Wet hair with tons of conditioner
2. Separate into sections
3. Detangle with a widetooth comb

Basic hair care all types of curls. I know small kids will run away or not want their hair combed. It works best to do it while bathing them.

I like long hair but I do think shorter is better to deal with then enduring that type of treatment all the time.
Originally Posted by Speckla
Sounds good, doesn't it, but that doesn't mean there still won't be pain and discomfort (nothing like it sounds that there was in this video, but it's still there - I hurt myself sometimes doing my hair this way, and I do that to my son and it still hurts him. eta: more than once a brush or comb has broken in our hair - I knew my son was my son when his hair snapped the first tooth on a pick!

Yeah, sounds good to do it in the bath too, but he just tries to climb out and run away, and he doesn't get a bath every day due to his eczema, so there are some days when I'm starting from dry hair (I usually spray it so it's damp at least.)

In no way am I condoning the behaviour of this woman, but basic hair care is not always that simple.

If this person is as sadistic as it sounds, short hair wouldn't solve anything since she would still be abusive and cruel and when differences arose with her child would express them inappropriately. In general for reasonable, non-abusive people, a child's hair length is a choice like everything else in parenting, but I personally prefer long hair even with the hassle it comes with and I think shaving off a little girl's long hair because it tangles is unkind and could hurt her self esteem in some cases.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali












Last edited by Amneris; 07-20-2009 at 05:26 AM.
In seeing this on various places on the net, I'm surprised at the number of people who think this is ok or normal.

If I brushed my cat like that, I'd be reported for animal abuse. I don't see why it is somehow OK for a kid.
Originally Posted by redcelticcurls

Sadly, as KK said, abuse and violence are common experiences in child raising in the Black community and have been for generations thanks to slavery and colonialism, so that's probably why. Many people went through this themselves. There are also huge issues with hair type and hair in general - a lot of self-hatred and internalized racism. It doesn't really surprise me for that reason. I'm not even getting into the issue of single/young mothers not equipped for the stresses of parenthood.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











All the flagging must have worked because the account on YouTube is now closed, and from what I've read on here, I don't think I'd want to watch the video.
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I haven't watched as it sounds awful. Reminds me of when I was young though - I can remember hairbrushes breaking in two on my hair. Given that my hair would have been softer then than it is now, I can't help but wonder how harshly my mum was brushing my hair!!
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This brought me back to my own childhood, sadly. My mother would smack me with the hairbrush when I cried and wouldn't hold still. I remember a first grade teacher reporting my mother after a lice inspection that we had in school because my scalp had so many brush marks. Damn, that video took me straight back.
Originally Posted by redcelticcurls


I used to get hit on the head with the brush too. My mother would put me in 2 tight braids each morning. She wanted them TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT. She would make me lean away from her so she could get them tighter. I fought against it, because it hurt, so she'd hit me with the brush, which also hurt. Eventually, she cut all my hair off one night in frustration, then took me to the hair dresser the next day to fix it up. I loved my little pixie haircut. It finally didn't hurt.

My mom never cursed at me though and by the time my hair grew long again, I was old enough to handle it myself.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
This brought me back to my own childhood, sadly. My mother would smack me with the hairbrush when I cried and wouldn't hold still. I remember a first grade teacher reporting my mother after a lice inspection that we had in school because my scalp had so many brush marks. Damn, that video took me straight back.

But, this woman is taking it to such a further extreme, and I am surprised that some of the Youtube comments are in support of the mother, assuming that the negative comments must not be from black people.

The attitude, the cursing, ignoring that screaming, and the laughing and comments from the person recording it are all abusive, IMO.
Originally Posted by redcelticcurls
This brought me back to my own childhood, sadly. My mother would smack me with the hairbrush when I cried and wouldn't hold still. I remember a first grade teacher reporting my mother after a lice inspection that we had in school because my scalp had so many brush marks. Damn, that video took me straight back.

But, this woman is taking it to such a further extreme, and I am surprised that some of the Youtube comments are in support of the mother, assuming that the negative comments must not be from black people.

The attitude, the cursing, ignoring that screaming, and the laughing and comments from the person recording it are all abusive, IMO.
Originally Posted by redcelticcurls
happened to me too and i agree.
Originally Posted by Sleigh
Yeah it's interesting rough detangling has happened to a lot of White curlies as well. And I saw that too on the youtube video where the person was being all crazy "you must not be Black, that's how kinky hair is supposed to be detangled" and trying to discredit White people into not speaking out. It was funny when they got their butt handed to them when Black people were telling them I AM Black AND I have that hair type and what you are saying is not true.

And attempting to discredit people on basis of race from talking about this is completely brain dead anyway becuase White Black or Green can tell that isn't how you detangle ANY texture of hair. And I hate that she and others probably discouraged some White people from talking about this by making them question whether they should get involved in the discussion becuase they can't understand or don't know what their talking about.

Honestly I believe White Guilt is a prominent reason why this hasn't already been on a major network (that and Missing Blond White Woman Syndrome meaning anyone else is out of luck if they want news coverage when their in pain or missing). Someone pointed out if this had been a little White girl and/or White mom (heck a cat) this would already be on NBC, CBS, ABC, Telemundo, BBC, and Dateline. And the mom would be in jail awaiting trial.

And that we lost one more person to that ridiculous nonsense- "Maybe I'm wrong, maybe that IS how kinky hair is supposed to be detangled. I would think the people with the hair type know best." And then went on their merry way with this bad information to be pulled out in future. In the course of this thing I have seen far too many people who got silenced becuase they felt their opinion didn't count. Which is why I'm glad to see not everybody is cowed about talking about issues that are supposed to be outside their understanding. I do think there are some racial and color motives and cuases in this specific case that can't be ignored. BUT at the end of the day abuse is abuse.


My Fotki
Wonder what's going to happen to the mother now?

KK-

What's that video under your siggy? One of the Village People?
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Well we will have to agree to disagree that the concept tenderheadedness isn't all negative or is even real. I mean I see where you are coming from, not having had it intrinsically linked to your skin color and having grown up hearing it's impossible for certain skin colors. And then also now how you do still experience some pain when detangling your hair and your son does for his hair.

But for me it's was like a lightbulb went off, I just knew when people called my hair tenderheaded they were using it as a way to excuse their own ignorance of my hair texture. This seemed clear to me from my life experience which was not like yours. Having it implicitely linked to my color/race and also all the experiences I can recall where someone called me tender headed I now realize they were attempting to comb my hair in the exact opposite way you should comb hair my texture.v

And then to further reinforce how wrong they were, I have felt no pain once I finally realized how to comb my hair. Water+conditioner. From tip to root. Fingers or wide tooth comb. Holding the strands between the root and tip. Etc and so forth. So there is now a strict demarcation line between the time I still thought my hair was bad and I too tenderheaded to accomdate it and the time I realized my hair was good and there is no such thing as tenderheaded.

But eh, my main beef with the concept of tenderheadedness is it always came with a sense of blame laced in their voice "I've never seen a child this tenderheaded." Like I was some side show or rare (when I have come to find out my experience is far from rare, every little girl with kinky hair has been called tender headed at some point) or the blame was on me for having a tender scalp and bad hair type. And further was always followed by them pushing a relaxer or heat on me. "What do you mean you don't want a relaxer? Didn't you just see me try to force a narrow tooth comb through your dry kinks starting at the root going all the way to the tip? Your hair is too nappy to be left nappy. Do you want to feel that pain again?" Until I finally caved and got a relaxer. So as long as we all can all agree shaming someone for being tenderheaded or forcing a relaxer on them becuase of it is wrong, that was really all I am saying anyway. But thanks for sharing your experience Amneris, I found it interesting in a lot of ways, I had never heard someone refer to mixed hair as resistant before. [/quote]


My Fotki
Wonder what's going to happen to the mother now?

KK-

What's that video under your siggy? One of the Village People?
Originally Posted by Phoenix

To be honest I don't know. I copped it from a user over at Nappturality becuase I thought it was hilarious.


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Speckla
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In seeing this on various places on the net, I'm surprised at the number of people who think this is ok or normal.

If I brushed my cat like that, I'd be reported for animal abuse. I don't see why it is somehow OK for a kid.
Originally Posted by redcelticcurls

Sadly, as KK said, abuse and violence are common experiences in child raising in the Black community and have been for generations thanks to slavery and colonialism, so that's probably why. Many people went through this themselves. There are also huge issues with hair type and hair in general - a lot of self-hatred and internalized racism. It doesn't really surprise me for that reason. I'm not even getting into the issue of single/young mothers not equipped for the stresses of parenthood.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I grew up thinking that was the normal way to brush hair. My sisters used to fix my hair in the morning and they'd chase me around the room and I'd be screaming and crying until one tackled me and held me down. The brush would get tore from root to tip in one stroke and I'd be crying and get hit with the brush or pinched to try to make me be quiet. I used to hate when they braided my hair or did a ponytail because they'd pull it really tight. I went to live with my grandmother and she used to call me names and talk bad about my hair. She called me her African Bush Woman, N**ger Hair, and other harsh names. Her solution was to crop it boyshort. I hated it at the time but now I realize that it was better than her trying to brush it for me. used to brush my hair like that when I started fixing my own hair. Let's not get into the degrading things I said about myself because I hated my hair and view it as a defect.

My grandmother was Sicilian and you did not talk back or disobey because there was hell to pay. The society she was raised in viewed childbuse as just normal ordinary discipline.

My mother used to do my hair until she became too sick and it never hurt when she did it. She used to wet my hair and use a widetooth comb and do it in sections.

Last edited by Speckla; 07-20-2009 at 06:48 AM.
I agree with Amneris on tenderheadedness. It was not linked to skin color. In fact I remember my mom distinctly telling me what tenderheaded is and what she tried to do to alleviate discomfort when combing our hair.

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being tenderheaded has more to do with a person's tolerance for discomfort and pain of having hairs pulled during grooming, not just detangling and combing.

i am tenderheaded. my mother wouldn't allow me to have chemicals on my hair as a child, even during high school. when she did my hair, i seldom flinched. she took her time. but i still had a couple of areas on my scalp (still do) that were more sensitive to tugging than the other areas. that's what made me tenderheaded.

my hair is fine and naturally curly, wavy, and coily, with these textures being visible even when dry. my hair is also frizzy and tangle-prone. when i detangle my own hair, i'm not flinching or scowling because i take my time and i'm not hurting myself. but the next day, areas of my scalp are tender and it takes a day before that tenderness subsides.

i've watched my niece get hair done and her aunt rakes the fine-tooth comb through her hair and the little girl never even bats an eye.

i think some people just have more sensitive nerves running through their scalps than others and it has less to do with the texture of one's hair, as i'm sure that if you pull hard enough on anyone's scalp she'll scream or flinch or complain from the pain and discomfort.

i couldn't view the video and i'm glad. i don't like the reactions that i've read here.
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I don't see child abuse
Originally Posted by kindredspirit1983
Then what do you see?


Oh Hell Naw! I just can't. I'm not even gonna watch it, because I know how emotional and angry I will get. I'm sure it's more than horrible. I have seen a video like this before, but maybe the one I saw was less harsh. SMH

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