Black Hair History

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After slavery, the 'good hair mentally' continued to dominate the black community. The more they identified with their oppressor, the more value they became. African Americans who resemble or had a white feature were more likely to get a job or be treated better. After slavery ended whites favored black women who styled their hair similar to that of their female counterparts. Having straight hair or 'Good Hair' became the prerequisite for entering any facilities such as schools, churches, restaurants, or any social gathering. The hot comb was invented in 1845 by the French to temporarily straighten Afro-textured hair. Following the hot comb, Madame C.J Walker created different types of hair products for African American women. She is famously known for creating the perm, which chemically changes the texture of afro-textured hair. People of color began losing their identity in order to fit into society and their beauty standards. However as time progress, change in the black community began to take place, people of color began to embrace their natural hair.

The Black Panther broke White Americans' beauty standards by promoting black beauty. The Afro rejected the typical beauty standard in white American.'In 1943 an art student named Annabelle Baker decided to let her hair grow naturally and was told by her black that she should be ashamed to be seen with her hair in its natural state (Vargas p97).' The Afro gave African American women confidence, it allowed them to fully accept their black beauty. However, Baker receives backlash from some individuals in her community due to years of oppression and the lack of education about their own natural hair. Many people of color have lost their identity due to this false beauty stand that has been pushed onto them by the media. 'In 1969, Newsweek polled African Americans as to their feelings about the Afro and 75% of northern blacks under the age of 30 said they approved whereas only 40% of all southern blacks gave their approval (Walker p185).' Afros were now the beauty standard, Afro rejected white beauty standards and restructured beauty standards for African American women. The Afro became a symbol of black pride and identity. Although the natural hair community began to grow and take pride in their identity, there have and will always be setbacks.

For young girls of color, hair isn't only something to play with, it is something that is weighed down with messages. It has the ability to dictate how others treat you and how you feel about yourself. Rooks (1996) states, “Hair in 1976 spoke to racial identity politics as well as bonding between African American women. Its style could lead to acceptance or rejection from certain groups and social classes, and its styling could provide the possibility of a career” (p. 5-6). This is very prevalent in today's climate. In the Washington Post, the article states 'In recent years, staff members at the prestigious Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa’s administrative capital had taken to telling black students to “fix” their hair, according to some current and former pupils.' Young girls in South Africa are fighting for their right to wear their natural hair in schools after the code of conduct unfairly discriminates against their hair. These young women are fearlessly fighting to reclaim their identity. They understand the significance of their hair and its origins because this is a tool used to keep them from getting a good job in society. African American women are very aware of the negative stigma that black hair has, but nevertheless, they continue to fight for change. Black hair and culture are not appreciated unless present of a white body.

Cultural appropriation is the remodeling or stealing of symbols, ceremonies, and mannerisms from one culture or subculture by another. Generally, this occurs when the subject culture is a minority culture or some way or another subordinate in social, political, monetary, or military status to the appropriating society. Cultural appropriation happens with no genuine comprehension of why the original culture participated in these practices or the implications behind them, regularly changing over culturally important ancient artifacts, practices, and beliefs into meaningless fashion or giving them a noteworthiness that is totally different from the initial culture.

For years, black girls were told that their natural hair was dirty, unprofessional and that it did not meet the standard of beauty. Many may say it's just hair, however for people of color, it’s not just a hairstyle. This goes past insignificant Aesthetics, it is more about the social mistreatment and refusal to recognize the oppressor's privilege. For a considerable length of time, Black Women were exposed to hatred because of their hairstyles, they were told that their hair was a mess, unkempt by society and the media. There were even laws targeting Black women to control how they keep up their hairdos. The majority of that just to now have it appropriated by the same culture that viewed it as bad. Black women were once constrained by law to wear head wraps 'maintain control'. Locs were once called messy, yet they are now being worn by white models down the runway for no particular reason. Slicked-down baby hairs that were considered 'ghetto' is currently strolling down the runways of Marc Jacobs' shows. In addition, influencers like Kim Kardashian, taking from a culture that is not their very own is just empowering the social burglary. Not long ago, she posted this pic of her sitting up in bed half-dressed, with a head filled with cornrows, calling them 'Bo Derek Braids. After receiving backlash for the black Twitter and the media Kim does not make an attempt to correct herself or issue an apology to those whom she has offended. She gives her reasoning as to why she called them 'Bo Derek Braids' and proceed with her daily life. This is the issue that a lot of influencers and fashion media have, they refuse to acknowledge the cultures that exist and give credit She is a troublingly oftentimes and careless social appropriator and, more regrettable of all, declines to recognize it as an issue ever. This is the reason social apportionment is such an issue inside the form media world and also society. Influencers, big-name marks, and even simply customary individuals take from these underestimated social without giving the best possible acknowledgment, utilizing appropriate phrasing, or not perceiving its history. These are the few motivation behind why social apportionment is hostile to numerous ethnic gatherings.

Cultural appropriation is hurtful in light of the fact that it is an augmentation of hundreds of years of prejudice, slaughter, and mistreatment. Cultural appropriation treats all parts of marginalized groups as free for the taking. This is also similar to the justification that has been and still is used to take land and assets from people of color, especially local individuals. Put all those factors together of the stealing land, assets, and culture of groups that are being oppressed gathering add up to annihilation. social allocation isn't an adequate method to respect, regard, or acknowledge People of Color. In the event that you wish to respect, regard, or acknowledge Black individuals or Black culture, at that point you ought to figure out how to perceive, go up against, and disassemble deliberate prejudice as opposed to appropriating dreadlocks, an image of the wearer's responsibility to Jah Rastafari what's more, Black protection from prejudice. On the off chance that you wish to respect or acknowledge Native individuals or Native culture, figure out how to tune in to Native individuals when they distinguish genuine issues (and how to stand up to them) looked by Native individuals today, for example, galactic suicide and liquor addiction rates on reservations or the proceeded with the! of Native terrains by asset extraction organizations. Regardless of whether you don't comprehend why it is terrible to see different parts of one's way of life appropriated, or you think there are more regrettable issues that People of Color should be investing their energy going up against (despite the fact that it is white individuals obligation to go up against bigotry), it is as yet basic to tune in to People of Color when they distinguish and call for a conclusion to the social assignment. As focuses of bigotry, Ethnic minorities are the specialists in bigotry, and accordingly hostile to bigot endeavors ought to be coordinated by the necessities identified by People of Color.

The purpose of this research is to educate individuals on traditional African hairstyles and grooming techniques that began to disappear due to enslavement. The process of their grooming technique was a part of their civilization, representing a progressive community. Through the creation of their hairstyles, we are able to analyze different components of these tribes, such as one’s own psyche, life, trends, and politicals events that were occurring at the time. The purpose of my exhibit is to educated individuals on African American hair. I want people to understand not just the importance of African hair, but the traditional grooming method and history. Viewers should walk away with an understanding of what hair means to people of color. 

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Black hair history. (2021, Oct 07). Retrieved June 25, 2024 , from

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