When I was in fifth grade, I had a teacher who took it upon herself to try to shatter my 10-year-old confidence.
It didn’t take long for her to settle on my hair as a target.
My parents decided at an early age to let me learn how to do my own hair and style it correctly. Unlike all of the other African-American girls in my grade, my hair was natural. My teacher would tell me my hair was a distraction to the class when left down but she wouldn’t say that to anyone else in my class when they did the same. She was basically chastising me for having the type of hair that grew from my scalp. I didn’t understand what I did wrong.
What does this say of America’s supposed evolved views on textured hair?
Turn on your television and you’re almost guaranteed to find ensembles of actors with straight hair. Most powerful women with curly hair still choose to hide it. In fact, out of the 20 female senators currently serving--none of them wear their hair curly! When kids don’t see people who look like them in the media and in powerful positions it affects their confidence and makes them feel less able to be in these situations.
Living in a society where straight hair is normal affects children’s confidence and how curly women are seen in general. The fact still remains that straight hair privilege exists and the only way to combat it is for us to have a real open discussion about it.