This Blogger Says You CAN Touch Her Hair And Here’s WHY

It’s no secret that black women, generally, don’t like when strangers, particularly strangers of a different race, inquire about touching our hair. It can feel invasive and dehumanizing. Nobody likes to be pet like  dog.

While having folks ask to touch my hair hasn’t happened since I was a little girl, the idea of it happening today definitely makes me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t mind when strangers touched my belly when I was pregnant, but my hair? Eh….too much.

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And here’s why:

When I was about 7 years old, a little girl in my ballet class was playing with my braids. She eventually asked to look at them more closely:

Her: Look! Your scalp is brown!

Me: Duh, my skin is brown!

Her: I know, that’s why no one likes you here.

And there you have it. I’ll never forget that brief conversation over 20 years, and it, for me, made my hair off limits. I’m just not here for it.  Blogger, Cynthia Andrew of SimplyCyn, however, sees things differently:

Cynthia told Yahoo Beauty :

The photos were taken while she and her husband were people-watching in Rome… “I can’t recall who spotted who first, but there was a group of two elderly couples, they looked over at us and smiled,” she says. “Then, one of the women walked towards me in what I think was amazement — just big eyes. She touched her own hair while looking at mine and said, ‘Bellissima‘ [meaning “gorgeous” in English], and came closer, looking me in the eye as if she was checking to make sure it was OK. I smiled right back, and funny enough, I don’t recall what other words that were exchanged, if any.”

Here’s what Cynthia had to say about the experience via her Instagram Account:

I wanted to reshare this photo taken 2years ago in Italy because it’s been reposted and shared over the past few without context and I thought I should put it in context- especially as I am not the only one in this image. You see, unbeknownst to me, many times when this image has been shared- it has been shared with negative connotations and implications- assumptions that this couple is doing something horrible, that they are treating me as an animal in a zoo, some even questioning my sanity for letting them “pet” me 😂- and this was so far from any of that. This lovely couple ‘s only fault is that they were unaware that their gesture is one that stirs up so many real and justified feelings of objectivity, judgment and dehumanization for many black women. But I think here is where intent is important and here is where we have to be careful about who we condemn. There are so many people deserving of condemnation and you’ve seen them very clearly over the last few and I don’t just mean past few days. This couple does not belong in that class- they were kind, they were complimentary- and Yes, I would rather someone reach out in curiosity than with hate. We can continue to educate our non black friends why this gesture carries more weight than they realize- but we should be careful not to vilify people so quickly- we should reserve that energy for those who are much more deserving of it- there’s quite a few of them out there showing their faces. #tbt#love#life#beauty❤️💛💚💙💜🖤#lovewins#blackgirlmagic

I wanted to reshare this photo taken 2years ago in Italy because it’s been reposted and shared over the past few without context and I thought I should put it in context- especially as I am not the only one in this image. You see, unbeknownst to me, many times when this image has been shared- it has been shared with negative connotations and implications- assumptions that this couple is doing something horrible, that they are treating me as an animal in a zoo, some even questioning my sanity for letting them “pet” me 😂- and this was so far from any of that. This lovely couple ‘s only fault is that they were unaware that their gesture is one that stirs up so many real and justified feelings of objectivity, judgment and dehumanization for many black women. But I think here is where intent is important and here is where we have to be careful about who we condemn. There are so many people deserving of condemnation and you’ve seen them very clearly over the last few and I don’t just mean past few days. This couple does not belong in that class- they were kind, they were complimentary- and Yes, I would rather someone reach out in curiosity than with hate. We can continue to educate our non black friends why this gesture carries more weight than they realize- but we should be careful not to vilify people so quickly- we should reserve that energy for those who are much more deserving of it- there’s quite a few of them out there showing their faces. #tbt #love #life #beauty ❤️💛💚💙💜🖤 #lovewins #blackgirlmagic

A post shared by SimplyCyn (@simplycyn) on


Although Cynthia may be in the minority on this one, I applaud her for speaking and owning her truth.

What say you, folks? Yay or Nay on letting randoms touch your hair?

Well Hello! My name is Lisa and you’ve stumbled upon my own little corner of the world. I’m a lipstick-loving, high heel junkie, mom, and wife. When I’m not here bringing you the latest in beauty, fashion, hot topics, and bits and pieces of my life with my family, you can find me over on youtube swatching lipsticks and sharing my latest natural hairstyles. Make sure you also follow me on Instagram and Snapchat under my brand name Lisa A La Mode. I’m a real person. I promise.

Lisa

Well Hello! My name is Lisa and you've stumbled upon my own little corner of the world. I'm a lipstick-loving, high heel junkie, mom, and wife. When I'm not here bringing you the latest in beauty, fashion, hot topics, and bits and pieces of my life with my family, you can find me over on youtube swatching lipsticks and sharing my latest natural hairstyles. Make sure you also follow me on Instagram and Snapchat under my brand name Lisa A La Mode. I'm a real person. I promise.

3 Comments
  1. I was in Ireland when the same thing happened. I tend to look at it like this: ignorance breeds fear which breeds hatred which breeds violence. I figure if someone can be educated via touching my hair or asking so-called uncomfortable questions with regards to my race, then that’s one less ignorant person in the world to spread racism or bigotry. Just my humble opinion.

  2. No, I don’t want any random person(s) touching my hair. I like red hair on white folks, I’ve NEVER asked can I touch. It’s simply rude. You wanna know how black hair feels, go to a black hair store. If you don’t have that in your ‘hood or country, have a wig mailed to you. 🤷🏾‍♀️

  3. I appreciate so much this post. Not a dis to my own race but I hear and see so many of us who have these types of complaints, however want to stay closed off to educating people who really have no malice in their intent. We expect them to get educated somewhere else and be educated on how to treat us with respect when we encounter them. Sometimes we may be the only black people these people will ever meet and if we come off hostile, it aggressive without assessing what’s really going on in a given situation, we pass on a pour sampling of “Black People” in general. Until other nationalities get to know us as individuals, all they have to go on n is media misinformation about us or the occasional interaction with us to base their opinion of us on. We know the media is severely biased against any positive portrayal of us, so what’s left? I am a cosmetologist and if I were out and about in the States, I probably would NOT be as understanding of someone asking to touch my hair- my own assumptions that they should know , however during traveling, I guess I believe even more so that interaction with black people is limited and discouraged so why not help destroy a stereotype as we are going along. To me it’s less about hair itself and more about patiently, understanding and educating people who honestly don’t know and are curious about us in some way. Just my opinion.

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