Causal Rewrite- P1nk123456

In America, generations of Black people have internally suffered self hatred. This hatred has been displayed through the way that the majority of Black people style their hair. The oppression caused by early White society and the social construct of American caused Black people to style their hair using harsh chemicals and processes to have hair that is similar to White people. Black people without “tamed” hair are have a harder time finding employment, are discontent with how they look in comparison to mainstream beauty standards, and were considered inferior to other Black people.

Generations of Black people, specifically women, in America have dealt with the social struggle of meeting the ideal beauty standard lead by White people in this country. This includes the style of their hair. They battle between not being White, but trying to look as though they fit in socially with the Eurocentric beauty standards of this country has impacted the hairstyle of Black people.

To understand the social struggles of Black Americas, one must look at the history of hair during the times of slavery. To look similar to the White people, African Americans developed a hierarchy imposed on themselves where those with lighter skin and straighter hair over those that reflected more African features were regarded as more attractive and appealing (Donaldson, 2018). This idea was internalized by African Americans and thus considered the beginning of the idea of “good hair” and colorism among Black people as slave owners would compare Black hair  “wool” and considered it inappropriate (Bryrd and Tharps, 2001, p. 26). To softer kinky hair texture, butter, bacon grease, and even kerosene were used in their hair (Vissa Studios, 2012). As damaging as this could be to the skin and hair, they were willing to do it to meet the expectations of the time.

Post emancipation, the idea of “good hair” grew stronger as African Americans wanted to be of a higher social status, as Eurocentric features were still considered ideal. It was hard enough to  prosper in a society while being considered second class, it was even harder without trying to have straighter hair and “to gain access to the American Dream one of the first things Black had to do was make White people more comfortable with their very presence (Bryd and Tharps, 2001, p.26). Black Americans continued to follow the double duty of investing in two things to “fix” their differences between them and the White side of society: Skin bleaching and hair straightening. These were the two remedies to fix their differences. This was when Black women, and some men, used hot combs and a harsh, alkaline chemical with lye known as relaxer to tame their hair. Relaxers are known to be damaging for the hair and scalp and causes breathing problems, but people still used them. At the time, Black women were seeking long straight hair that is flat, sleek, and shiny, which they consider “good hair”.

As time went on, skin bleaching dramatically reduced as a practice, but still occurs, since it is has been seen as a ritual of self-hatred for their skin. Even though self-hatred is recognized, permanently altering hair texture continued to be a flourishing practice in Black communities and determine social status. In “Hair Alteration Practices Amongst Black Women and The Assumption of Self Hatred” by Chanel Donaldson, she writes about hair straightening being a form of self hatred and a way for Black people to emulate White people. Donaldson also writes about how White people caused the desire for Black people to want to physically assimilate and meet their ideal beauty standards. Black people had to put effort into minimizing the difference between themselves and White people.

Another issue arises when searching for a job. For years, even today, there are official and unofficial policies within a work place that make the usual hairstyles of a Black person unacceptable in a work environment. Afros, curls, and dreads are considered unprofessional, even when they are neatly groomed. Even if they did not want their hair to be straight, it became a choice between having what they want and having a job. Straight hair became a financial advantage and a necessity.

Even if they are not told that straight hair is more attractive on women, it is seem in the media as that. In “Hair Alteration Practices Amongst Black Women and The Assumption of Self Hatred” by Chanel Donaldson, she explains how there is a lack of representation for Black women with natural hair, “The preference for straight hair that originated in the days of slavery is especially highlighted in the media and advertisements. When thinking of Black female celebrities, it is a challenge to pick out any that have kinky hair”. From hair commercials to models in magazines and catalogs, for years we as Americans are exposed to predominantly White representation. Women, no matter what race, are susceptible to wanting to look like the model on the magazine cover or on the television advertisement. This is stronger within the mind of young Black girls because they have lacked the visual representation within the media for decades. The possibility of a younger Black girl looking like the beautiful women that are broadcasted is very slim. This leads to the feeling that their skin and hair are not worth being shown, to slowly morph into self-hate. The closest thing that they can change about themselves is their hair, which is chemically changed for unattainable aesthetics. Leading, again to the idea that the self-hate within the Black community is caused by the social construct of America’s predominantly White society.

Another cause for the desire to keep straightened hair is that fear of not prospering social and economically. It is widely known that if a Black person wears their hair in its natural state, they “belief that on some level their daily lives could be affected in negative ways unless they straighten their hair” (Donaldson, 2012). Groomed hair is a docile form of economic survival (Donaldson, 2012). Straightened hair is a Black women’s attempt at being attractive within the job market.

 

 

Byrd, A., & Tharps, L. (2001). Hair story: Untangling the roots of Black hair in America. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Donaldson, Chanel. “Hair Alteration Practices Amongst Black Women and the Assumption of Self-Hatred.” NYU Steinhardt, Department of Applied Psychology, 2018

Vissa Studios. “Back to the Basics – What Black Women Used During Slavery”. VS+. 2017

Reflective- P1nk123456

Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

I met this goal with the majority of my writing throughout this course. While writing the first draft of my definition essay I was quickly made aware that there was a social aspect to writing using a blog. I knew that anyone could see the work of everyone in the class.  Along with that, they could form their own opinion. While writing and editing my definition essay, one of the girls in class commented under my post. She asked me a simple question that was somewhat challenging to answer since my topic is somewhat (very) controversial. I wouldn’t say that is was an intricate or very moving interaction, but it was definitely a part of the social aspect of writing in this class. This minor interaction made me search different ideas within my topic and different point of views. It was easy to discovery different opinions when I knew there was a completely different opinion right in front of me. I revised and edited my definition essay multiple times until I felt that it was complete.

Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

In my casual essay, I believe that I demonstrated that I read critically and I placed my texts within my writing with meaning. My casual essay demonstrates that I read critically and analyzed all of my sources. I was able to to take my idea and explain how there are different causes for self hatred in this country. For example, when I found a source that explained a cause for my research paper, I had to read the entire source and decide if an idea presented caused Black people to hate their hair. While reading the work, I am deciding whether the information and ideas presented can fit into my essay or not. If it does, I have to mentally specify what makes the most sense textually and matches with my topic.

Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

While writing for each second of my visual rhetoric, I learned to observe and analyze every detail. Whether or not the detail in each scene was important, I had to assume that they were all on purpose. I was able to consciously think about what everything could mean and the purpose of small details towards the future scenes of the video. The videos for the visual rhetoric assignment all had a specific audience depending on the context. All of the video’s had an intended audience, whether the audience was new teen drivers or employees that could possibly discriminate while hiring, . Each visual rhetoric video had a sole purpose that needed to be shared with the intent to shape the viewers opinion within a short frame of time.

Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

The research essay that I am writing is on natural hair and Black culture within American society. To write this research paper, I met the expectations of the academic writing. I used the school’s multiple databases and the Google search engine to locate possible sources for each of my essays. I had to evaluate each source I found and make sure that it fits into my essay. I used each source as evidence to support my research essay and all of the other essays for this course.

I needed to read and analyze each article I search in hopes that it supported the ideas of my writings Another part of writing is interpreting ideas presented in every source by explaining the meaning of behind the context.

Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

Citations in writing are about giving credit where it is needed. This is the most common reason for citing any outside sources, especially work that is used for secondary or tertiary writing. The idea that plagiarism isn’t write is pretty straightforward and that sourcing the author is giving credit where the credit is due and showing appreciation towards their writing.

Citing work also goes along with academic integrity, which is a stressed aspect of the academic world. Academic integrity is mostly along the lines of honestly and fairness, which are both the complete opposite of plagiarism. So, citing a source is showing fairness towards the original writer and being honest about where ideas originate from, whether it is a short phrase or word for word sentence.

Definition Essay Rewrite- P!nk123456

Definition- Good Hair

Nappy, kinky, or curly; they are all descriptions of Black hair. Natural Black or African hair can range from a soft, ‘S’ shaped curl pattern to tightly curled hair and even to the tight, ‘Z’ shape cross-section of a kinky afro. Originating in Africa, kinky hair evolved for the dry heat by pushing away heat and moisture from the scalp. The relatively sparse density of Afro textured hair in combination with its spring-like coils results in a light, airy, almost sponge-like form. Jablonski states in her writing that it likely facilitates an increase in the circulation of cool air onto the scalp. This hair type should be appreciated as a biological advantage and not considered “bad hair”. A strong majority of Black people believe their natural hair is considered unprofessional or unattractive. The negative connotations of natural Black hair seem to be ingrained in our minds from a young age. With this, I believe that Black people do not wear their hair naturally because they have been taught for centuries to assimilate into White society.

Generations of Black people, specifically women, in America have dealt with the social struggle of meeting the ideal beauty standard in this country when it comes to their hair. The battle between not being White, but trying to look as though they fit in socially with the Eurocentric beauty standards of this country has impacted the hairstyle of Black people for decades. To understand the social struggles of Black Americas, one must look at the history of hair during the times of slavery. “The devaluation of African physical features, including hair, came as a result of being thrust into a cultural context where Blackness exists as the antithesis of beauty” (Donaldson, 2012). To look similar to the White people, African Americans developed a hierarchy imposed on themselves where those with lighter skin and straighter hair over those that reflected more African features were regarded as more attractive and appealing (Donaldson, 2018). This idea was internalized by African Americans and thus considered the beginning of the idea of “good hair” and colorism among Black people as slave owners would compare Black hair  “wool” and considered it inappropriate (Bryrd and Tharps, 2001, p. 26). To softer kinky hair texture, butter, bacon grease, and even kerosene were used in their hair (Vissa Studios, 2012). As damaging as this could be to the skin and hair, they were willing to do it to meet the expectations of the time.

Post emancipation, the idea of “good hair” grew stronger as African Americans wanted to be of a higher social status, as Eurocentric features were still considered ideal. It was hard enough to  prosper in a society while being considered second class, it was even harder without trying to have straighter hair and “to gain access to the American Dream one of the first things Black had to do was make White people more comfortable with their very presence (Bryd and Tharps, 2001, p.26). Black Americans continued to follow the double duty of investing in two things to “fix” their differences between them and the White side of society: Skin bleaching and hair straightening. These were the two remedies to fix their differences. This was when Black women, and some men, used hot combs and a harsh, alkaline chemical with lye known as relaxer to tame their hair. Relaxers are known to be damaging for the hair and scalp and causes breathing problems, but people still used them. At the time, Black women were seeking long straight hair that is flat, sleek, and shiny, which they consider “good hair”. As time went on, skin bleaching dramatically reduced as a practice, but still occurs, since it is has been seen as a ritual of self-hatred for their skin. Even though self-hatred is recognized, permanently altering hair texture continued to be a flourishing practice in Black communities and determine social status. Black people had to put effort into minimizing the difference between themselves and White people.

Even with that, permanently altering hair texture continued to be a flourishing practice in Black communities and determine social status.

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, there was a new sense of identity among the Black communities. They started to appreciate the beauty of being Black and embodied the “Black is Beautiful” trend and as a reflection of Black pride (Davies, 2008). At the same time of this movement, it was more common for hair to be worn in its natural state as an untreated afro. Black Americans were rejecting the idea that they had to permanently alter themselves to assimilate and integrate into White America (Davies, 2008). Simultaneously, men and women were both realizing the afro style was easier to maintain without being costly or physically harmful.

On the other side, there were Black people that did not want to engage in the movement nor wanted to wear their hair in its natural state and “[c]onsequently, some African Americans begin to perceive some of their group members as not being “black enough” or not wanting to be identified as African American, which can lead to negative impacts on one’s self-esteem, and if persistent, may cause one to engage in self-hate” (Maurice, 2016). This caused another element of self-hate as these outsiders of the time were considered to not be Black enough or going against their people.

Towards the end of the 1970s, the afro because less of an empowering statement as the afro hairstyle started to become popular with people that were not Black. Instead, Black people started to style their hair with braids, cornrows, and straight weaves; all of which are still prevalent styles. The idea that having good hair is the same as having straight hair became a mainstream belief again. Donaldson states: “The example of altering kinky hair to emulate a celebrity role model can make it seem that hair straightening is always a free choice. However, in many cases the process is a social and economic necessity. Black women also use hair alteration techniques as an assimilation mechanism based on a belief that on some level their daily lives could be affected in negative ways unless they straighten their hair” (Donaldson, 2012). She explains that Black people feel as though they need to change their hair for the fear of being inferior socially and economically.

References

Byrd, A., & Tharps, L. (2001). Hair story: Untangling the roots of Black hair in America. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Davies, Carole Boyce. Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture. Vol. 1, ABC-CLIO, 2008.

Donaldson, Chanel. “Hair Alteration Practices Amongst Black Women and the Assumption of Self-Hatred.” NYU Steinhardt, Department of Applied Psychology, 2018, steinhardt.nyu.edu/appsych/opus/issues/2012/fall/hairalteration

Halder, Richard. “Structure and Function of Ethnic Skin and Hair.” Academia.edu, Dermatologic Clinic, 2003, http://www.academia.edu/6741767/Structure_and_function_of_ethnic_skin_and_hair.

Jablonski, Nina G. Skin: A Natural History. 1st ed., University of California Press, 2006. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pn8zt..

https://www.derm.theclinics.com/article/S0733-8635(13)00125-3/pdf

THE POLITICS OF BLACK HAIR A Focus on Natural vs Relaxed Hair for African-Caribbean Women by Michael Barnett

../The Politics of Black Hair- A Focus on Natural vs. Relaxed Hair for Afrian- Caribbean Women.pdf

WHY AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN TRY TO OBTAIN ‘GOOD HAIR’ Whitney Bellinger University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afro-textured_hair

 

Annotated Bibliography-P!nk123456

Background: This essay talks about the characteristics of Black hair and the different styles used to maintain it. Also talks about modern Black hair styles.
How I used it: I used this reference to describe how braids and other hairstyles have become popular in recent time. I also included what was considered good and bad hair and the correlation they have to oppression.
Background: The book defines what Black hair is and womanhood involving hair. The book is on the beliefs and stereotypes around Black people and their hair. This source goes in to what Black hair symbolizes and how it has been the center of oppression and low self-esteem for black women. The author interviewed many women of different ethnicities and documented their opinions on their hair and other women’s hair.
How I used it: I used this to explain the opinions of Black hair and why Black women style their hair the way they do. I also use it to define an aspect of bad hair and what afros mean to Black people.

 

3. Source:Bellinger, Whitney. Why African- American Women Try To Obtain ‘Good Hair’. University of Pittsburg: Sociological ViewpointsWeb. Fall, 2007.

Background: An study examined the definition of “good hair” according to African American women in order to understand the reasons young African American women choose to change their hair from its supposed “natural” state.

How I used it: Younger African American women say they no longer follow historical norms of wanting to appear White in appearance, but claim that they change their hair’s chemical make-up for time, ease of styling, and the creation and perpetuation of healthy hair. Other choose to not change their hair based on racial pride taught.

 

4. Source: Byrd, Ayana., & Tharps, Lori. Hair story: Untangling the roots of Black hair in America. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 2001. Google Books. Web. November 2018.

Background: This is a book on Black hair and culture. The author writes about the beauty and biological advantage of kinky hair. The author ties together the idea of inky hair being a political and/or personal statement.

How I used it: Describe why relaxed hair is preferred by White and black people. A description of Black hair and why it is disliked.

 

5. Source: Chaplin, G., and Jablonski, N. G. “The Evolution of Skin Pigmentation and Hair Texture in People of African Ancestry.” Dermatol Clinics. Web. 2014. 32: 113–121.

Background: A reference for information on the historical, political, economic, and cultural relations between people of African descent and the rest of the world community.

How I used it: Background of Black culture in the last 60 years and what defines beauty. The belief of whether to alter their hair or to leave it in its natural state.

 

6. Source: Davies, Carole Boyce. Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture. Santa Barbara. 2008. ABC- CLIO.

Background: This is a book on the African diaspora and the lasting changes on the descendants. The book evaluates the political, economic, and changes involving Black people in America.

How I used it: I explained the time period in which Black men and women started to appreciate their natural hair and embodied Black pride. I explained the afro and how it is correlated with black militancy and antiwhite beliefs. How the afro changes daily life and workplace capability.

 

7. Source: Donaldson, Chanel. “Hair Alteration Practices Amongst Black Women and the Assumption of Self Hatred.” NYU Steinhardt, Department of Applied Psychology. New York: New York University. Web. 2018.

Background: Academic research and popular culture often assume that Black women who alter their natural hair to make it straight are practicing a form of self-hatred. This article describes why it is believed that Black women hate their hair and their ethnic features. It explains what it means to look White.

How I used it: I wrote about what is considered attractive or appealing to White and Black women. I used it to describe how Black women want to look when it comes to their hair and their features.

 

8. Source: Jablonski, Nina G. Skin: A Natural History, 1st ed. University of California Press, 2006. JSTOR. Retrieved 2018.

 

Background: This books is written about the biology of hair and skin. It explains the use of hair and how it helps us naturally.

How I used it: I explained how hair was biologically advantageous. I used the information to talk about how kinky hair is biologically made for hotter climates.

9. Source: Jackson, Alicia C. “Attempting whiteness : Black women’s expected and actual results of skin bleaching” (2013). Theses, Dissertations, and Projects. 1003.

Background: This essay and study’s topic is on Black men and women wanting to look as White as possible and why they do. The purpose of the study is to explain the different reasons for changing their physical appearance.
How I used it: I talked about the practice of skin bleaching and why it is so common.

 

10. Source: Martin, Areva. “The Hatred of Black Hair Goes Beyond Ignorance.” Time.  August 23, 2017. 

Background: This article discusses the beliefs and stereotypes that other people that are not Black have on Black women’s hair. It discusses the pressures that Black women have when it comes to their hair in the workplace. Discusses policies that were put in place in schools, military, and corporations to control Black hair.
How I used it: I discussed the study on the negative stereotypes and their consequences on young Black girls’ self-esteem. The learned to hate their natural hair.

 

11. Source: Schottham, Krista M., Sellers, Robert M., Nyugen, Hoa X.  “A measure of racial identity in African American adolescents: the development of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity–Teen” Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology, vol. 14(4) (2008): 297-306.

Background: A study conducted on black teens and their racial identity. They used a scale called the MMRI to define racial identity and its hierarchy.
How I used it: To explain why some Black people belief that other black people are not black enough.  I also used their essay to discuss negative self esteem and identity.

 

12. Source: Okura, Lynn. “Inside the Controversial Skin bleaching Phenomenon.” Huffpost. OWN. December 2015.

Background: Bleaching creams and gels have been used for decades as a way to lighten skin and not just for Black people. These creams encourage discontent with their darker skin and encourages lighter skin to be held on a platform. Darker skin within the Black community is considered unnattractive and these women seek lighter skin tones. The article goes into the controversy by discusses how damaging this can be to the skin and cause cancer.
How I used it: I used this for background information for the practice of skin bleaching. I explained its form of self hatred for darker skin and how the practice is mostly held by Black women who are trying to look more attractive.

 

13. Source: Vissa Studios. “Back to the Basics – What Black Women Used During Slavery”. VS+. 2017

Background: This is an article from a blog on hair during slavery. Women and men used different types of harsh chemicals to tame and control their hair to make their hair more similar to White people. It discusses what hair means as a status and how styling their hair was a group effort and had value.
How I used it: I used it as background information. Slavery was the beginning of the change in hair for African and African- American people. I explained what they used in their hair and why they did it.

 

 

Research- p1nk123456

Peace, Love, and Kinkiness: The Real Talk on Black Hair Politics

 Written as Tertiary Literature by Nat V. Chin

Nappy, kinky, or curly; they are all descriptions of Black hair. Natural Black or African hair can range from a soft, ‘S’ shaped curl pattern to tightly curled hair and even to the tight, ‘Z’ shape cross- section of a kinky afro. Originating in Africa, kinky hair evolved for the dry heat by pushing away heat and moisture from the scalp. The relatively sparse density of Afro textured hair in combination with its spring- like coils results in a light, airy, almost sponge- like form. Jablonski states in her writing Skin: A Natural History that it likely facilitates an increase in the circulation of cool air onto the scalp. This hair type should be appreciated as a biological advantage and not considered “bad hair.” A large part of society, including Black people and non- Black people, believe that natural Black hair is essentially considered unprofessional or unattractive. The basic negative connotations of natural Black hair seem to be ingrained in their minds starting at a young age. With this problem, it is clear and apparent that Black men and women do not wear their kinky hair naturally because they have been taught to detest their natural hair and to style it in a way that assimilates them into White society.

Generations of Black people, specifically women, in America have dealt with the problematic social struggle of meeting the ideal beauty standard in this country when it comes to their hair. Black women who wear their kinky hair naturally are considered less feminine in comparison to Black women who choose to straighten their kinky hair. This is a particular struggle between not being White, but trying to look as though they fit in socially with the Eurocentric beauty standards of this country. It is also a battle between wanting to look and feel a part of the upper class. This identity crisis has literally impacted the hairstyle of Black men and women for decades. Bellinger’s social experiment and essay, “Why African- American Women Try to Obtain ‘Good Hair’,” states that “[a]ccording to theorists, hair has always been an important factor in defining one’s identity,” this identity being considered upperclass, considered attractive, or being considered affluent within the Black culture hierarchy.

There are social, cultural, and personal reasons why Black men and women choose the hairstyle that they donned everyday. To understand the social struggles of Black Americas, one must look at the history of their hair during the times of slavery. In “Hair story: Untangling the roots of Black hair in America” by Byrd and Tharp in St. Matin’s Press, the idea of “good hair” within the African American communities began when slave owners would compare Black hair “wool” and considered it inappropriate and problematic. In Donaldson’s “Hair Alteration Practices Amongst Black Women and the Assumption of Self- Hatred,” he writes about how in order to feel similar to the White women or men, African American slaves developed a hierarchy imposed on themselves where those with lighter skin and straighter hair over those that reflected more African or non- White features. Features that were more similar to White people were regarded as more attractive and appealing in comparison to features that reflected an African individual. According to Bellinger’s essay, straighter and less textured hair in the 1800s was a sign of one’s slave status. Vissa Studio’s 2012 article, “Back to the Basics – What Black Women Used During Slavery,” explains how during slavery, Black women and men lacked the palm oil and special combs to easily style their kinky hair. Instead they often tried softened their kinky hair texture with butter, bacon grease, and even kerosene. As  unhygienic and damaging as this could be to the skin and hair, they were willing to do it to meet the expectations of the time. Vissa Studio’s article also explains that females slaves that did not have access to this these liquids would often secure their unkept hair in head wraps and head scarves so it was not seen.

Post emancipation, the idea of “good hair” grew stronger as African Americans wanted to be of a higher social status, as Eurocentric features were still considered ideal. In Byrd and Tharps “Hair story: Untangling the roots of Black hair in America,” it is explained that it was hard enough to prosper in a society while being considered second class. The two women also wrote how it was even harder without having straighter and textureless hair and “to gain access to the American Dream one of the first things Black had to do was make White people more comfortable with their very presence.” Black Americans continued to follow the double duty of investing in two physical changes to “fix” their differences between them and the dominant people of society: Skin bleaching and hair straightening. These were the two remedies to fix their differences. This was when Black women, and some men, used hot combs and relaxers to tame their hair.

In America, generations of Black women and men have internally suffered a form of self hatred that has expressed itself through the way they style their hair. The oppression caused by earlier White society and the social construct of this country has caused Black people, majority women, to style their hair using harsh chemicals and processes to have hair that looks similar to a White person. Generations of Black people have dealt with the social struggle of meeting the ideal beauty standard lead by White women and men in this country by seeking what they considered “good hair.” In the Black community, “bad hair” is not the equivalent of having a bad hair day, which is explained by Bank’s writing “Unhappy to be Nappy.” She continues to explain in her essay that bad hair is considered tightly coiled or unruly natural hair that is hard to style. They battle between not being White, but trying to look as though they fit in socially with the Eurocentric beauty standards of this country. Whitney Bellinger writes about young Black children in “Why African- American Women Try To Obtain Good Hair,” and says that around the age of three years old or four years old, young African American children start to understand the concept of “good hair” means for themselves and they understand the social hierarchy it can create. She also adds that parents start the process of chemically altering their child’s hair between the ages of six years old and eight years old. In Arena Martin’s article, “The Hatred of Black Hair Goes Beyond Ignorance”, she discusses a study that “policing young Black girls- and their hair- can have detrimental consequences and reinforce negative stereotypes.” These reinforced negative stereotypes lowers the self- esteem of young Black girls, and boys. At a very young age, they learned to hate the natural hair that they are born with.

Hair relaxers are a creamy chemical placed on hair to make it appear straighter and less texture permanently. They known to be extremely damaging for the hair and scalp of the user since it is a harsh alkaline that is composed of lye, calcium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, lithium hydroxide and others chemicals that can easily burn through metal. Hair Relaxers are also known for causing breathing problems, skin burns, permanent scarring, baldness, temporary or permanent blindness if it gets into the eyes an other known and unknown health problems. Even with the obvious damaging effects of hair relaxers on the skin and hair, Black women still used them to take away the kinks and curls of their hair. At the time, Black women were seeking long straight hair that is flat, sleek, and shiny, which they consider “good hair.” Black people had to put effort into minimizing the difference between themselves and White people. Even though self- hatred is recognized, permanently altering hair texture continued to be a flourishing practice in Black communities and determine social status. According to Bellinger’s essay, another reason why this practice has continued was because young African American girls relied on their mothers to style their hair, who also used relaxers in their hair, and previously, their mothers used relaxers in their hair. Relaxers process that have been passed down through generations according to Bellinger’s essay. This explains how hair has become more than a social construct in Black culture, but also a convenience for Black women.

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, there was a new sense of identity among the Black communities. In Carole Davies Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture, explains how Black men and women in America started to appreciate the beauty of being Black and embodied the “Black is Beautiful” trend and as a reflection of Black pride. According to Bellinger’s essay, “Why African- American Women Try to Obtain ‘Good Hair’,” these Black men and women believed that their large afros were a symbol of strength and power. At the same time of this movement, it was more common for hair to be worn in its natural state as an untreated afro. She continues by explaining how Black Americans were confidently rejecting the idea that they had to permanently alter themselves to assimilate and integrate into White America. Simultaneously, men and women were both realizing the afro style was easier to maintain without being costly or physically harmful.

Although many Black people began to embraced their nappy, or natural, hair in the late 1960s and early 1970s, some still perceived the word nappy and natural negatively and did not want to engage in the movement nor wanted to wear their hair in its natural state. In Schottham, Krista M., Sellers, Robert M., and Nyugen, Hoa X.’s  racial research study on Black teens, “A Measure of Racial Identity in African American Adolescents: The Development of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity-Teen,” the writing explains how consequently, some African Americans begin to perceive some of their group members as not being “black enough” or not wanting to be identified as African American, which can lead to negative impacts on one’s self- esteem. If this belief persists, it may cause one to engage in self- hate and to have a problem with their racial identity. This caused another element of self- hate as these outsiders of the time were considered to not be Black enough or going against their people. Others, especially in the 1960s, viewed afro styled hair as a political statement and also as a symbol of the Black power movement. Davies also explains that this was also parallel to the idea that the afro was a symbol of Black militancy and anti- whiteness. The era of natural Black hair died down until the 1990s when afros were considered in style for a few years according to Ingrid Banks “Unhappy to be Nappy.”

The decision to chemically change kinky hair is also considered an economic decision. It has been observed that Black women and men without “tamed” or caucasian- like hair have a harder time finding employment as many jobs called for appropriate grooming practices, which is hair that is not in an afro, in thick braids, or cornrows. These common Black hairstyles are stigmatized and are believed by White people to be related to crime and gang related activities as explained in Ingrid Bank’s writing. In Bellinger’s social experiment and essay, she writes about how some Black women go as far as having micro braids. Micro braids are diminutive in size and give the appearance of having long, straight, and flowing hair. In Areva Martin’s article in the Times, she states that a study in 2017 “found that black women feel more anxiety about their hair type and are twice as likely in comparison to white women to feel pressure to have straightened hair in their workplace.” Black and non- Black of both (all?)  genders are more likely show an implicit bias against Black women’s textured hair due to ingrained stereotypes it. Martin’s study also showed that a majority of people, not just in this country, hold some bias towards women of color based on their hair, regardless of their race or gender; this bias holding White women as the worst offenders. Davies also explains that some Black people didn’t want to be considered political and anti- white for fear of losing their job and being targeted by people that were racist. For years, even today, there are official and unofficial policies within a work place that make the usual hairstyles of a Black person unacceptable in a work environment. In Martin’s article, she wrote about the previously made policy in 2014 by the military against traditional Black hair styles including cornrows, twists, and locs. (Fun Fact: I learned that the term dreadlocs was coined by slave owners who considered the style to be dirty and dreadful.) These styles are considered unprofessional, even when they are neatly groomed. The choice of a lock of Black people starts to be between having the natural hairstyle they want and having a career. Chemically straightened hair is a financial advantage and a necessity.

Towards the end of the 1970s, the afro because less of an empowering statement as the afro hairstyle started to become popular with people that were not Black. Instead, Black women and men started to style their hair with braids, cornrows, and straight weaves; all of which are still prevalent styles. With these natural styles though, came a big target. In Ingrid Bank’s “Unhappy to be Nappy,” she reports a study conducted by Angela Davis, a naturalista, in the 1970s. The study reports that Black men and women with natural hair are more likely to become a target of oppression versus a Black men and women with straighter hair. The Black women of the study with afros were more likely to be accosted, harassed, and arrested by police officers. Even though we are in a different century, the belief that wearing a natural afro will make a Black person a target for police harassment is still a feared belief that widely shared within the Black community.

Even if Black women are not told that straight hair is more attractive on women, hair commercials to models in magazines and catalogs, tell women that straight hair is more attractive. Women, no matter what race, are susceptible to wanting to look just like the popular models that are seen on the magazine cover or on the television advertisement. This is stronger within the mind of young Black girls because they have lacked the visual representation within the media for decades. The possibility of a younger Black girl looking similar to the beautiful women that are broadcast is very slim. This leads to the feeling that their skin and hair are not worth being shown, to slowly morph into self- hate. The closest thing that they can change about themselves is their hair, which is chemically changed for unattainable aesthetics. Leading, again to the idea that the self- hate within the Black community is caused by the social construct of America’s predominantly White society.

Another form of self hatred is show through the dangerous practice of skin bleaching. Skin bleaching or skin lightening are using chemicals including injections, creams, gels, and pills to lighten natural skin tones. In Alicia Jackson’s “Attempting Whiteness: Black Women’s Expected and Actual Results of Skin Bleaching,” she explains about how skin bleaching has been a practice among many cultures for centuries for the purpose of obtaining a lighter skin tone because darker skinned women hate their skin color. Nina Jablonski and George Chaplin’s essay “The Evolution of Skin Pigmentation and Hair Texture in People of African Ancestry,” states that “the persistence of racism and colorism has contributed to the promotion of skin lightening and the widespread use and abuse of skin bleaching.” Colorism is the belief that those with a lighter skin tone , light- skins, are more attractive then those with a darker skin tone. It is considered a prejudice against darker skinned people within the same race or ethnic group. African and American Black’s are prominent consumers of the dangerous practice of skin bleaching, particularly deeply dark skinned women. Those that do not have access to the expensive creams opt to stay out of the sun or cover their skin in sunscreen to reduce the possibility of becoming darker.

Colorism among Black people has deemed darker colored complexions unattractive and undesirable; the darker the skin, the more unattractive you are considered within the Black community. Black women especially feel pressure to be more attractive and desirable and feel as though a lighter complexion is a way to look good. Lynn Okura’s “Inside the Controversial Skin bleaching Phenomenon,” of Huffpost writes about how even in modern times, the practice of skin bleaching is still common, but is socially looked down upon within the Black culture of this country. Skin lightening dramatically reduced as a practice, but still occurs, since it is has been seen as a ritual of self- hatred, but towards their skin instead of their hair.

A counter belief is that in today’s society, a Black person’s need to conform is not the fault of White people and that it is the fault of whoever feels the need to chemically straighten their kinky or curly hair. The oppression of slavery and segregation caused White people to feel shame in the presence of all Black people, who reminded them of the crime of previous centuries. Black men and women straightened their kinky and curly hair to ease White people’s conscience by appearing to assimilate and following their beauty standards. When Black people maintain chemically straightened or flat ironed hair, it makes them and the White people around them comfortable since straight hair appears as a way to conform.

In modern America, Afrocentric hairstyles, like afros and braids, have slowly donned popularity and has become increasingly more accepted as professional and attractive. The increase of media representation of Afros and braids even makes these styles popular with White people, to the point of sometimes being controversial and appropriating. Juang and Morrissette’s article “Hair” from the journal Credo says that Afrocentric hairstyles such as braids and afros increased in fashionability and popularity with the aid of popular Black professional athletes and entertainers in America. The authors believe that since these styles are public and are now more common, they reduced the negative stereotypes that were previously associated enough to make the styles more acceptable. The current generation and future generations in this country are starting to understand that nappy, kinky, and curly hair are not necessarily the equivalent of having bad hair and straight hair is not the equivalent of good hair.

 

*Well, I hope you like this and that you do not think that I am prejudice in any way, shape, or form.*

 

Works Cited

 

Bellinger, Whitney. Why African- American Women Try To Obtain ‘Good Hair’. University of Pittsburg: Sociological Viewpoints.Web. Fall, 2007.

Byrd, Ayana., & Tharps, Lori. Hair story: Untangling the roots of Black hair in America. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 2001. Google Books. Web. November 2018.

Chaplin, G., and Jablonski, N. G. “The Evolution of Skin Pigmentation and Hair Texture in People of African Ancestry.” Dermatol Clinics. Web. 2014. 32: 113–121.

Davies, Carole Boyce. Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture. Santa Barbara. 2008. ABC- CLIO.

Donaldson, Chanel. “Hair Alteration Practices Amongst Black Women and the Assumption of Self Hatred.” NYU Steinhardt, Department of Applied Psychology. New York: New York University. Web. 2018. 

Jablonski, Nina G. Skin: A Natural History, 1st ed. University of California Press, 2006. JSTOR. Retrieved 2018.

Jackson, Alicia C., “Attempting whiteness : Black women’s expected and actual results of skin bleaching.” (2013). Theses, Dissertations, and Projects. 1003.

Martin, Areva. “The Hatred of Black Hair Goes Beyond Ignorance.” Time.  August 23, 2017. 

Schottham, Krista M., Sellers, Robert M., Nyugen, Hoa X.  “A measure of racial identity in African American adolescents: the development of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity–Teen” Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology, vol. 14(4) (2008): 297-306.

Okura, Lynn. “Inside the Controversial Skin bleaching Phenomenon.” Huffpost. OWN. December 2015.

Vissa Studios. “Back to the Basics – What Black Women Used During Slavery”. VS+. 2017

Visual Argument Rewrite- P1nk123456

  • Visual Analysis of One Second of Video

     

    0:00-0:01

    These scene takes place outside of a nice house in a seemingly nice suburban neighborhood. It is a new, middle class neighborhood with houses that are close together; they are nicely detailed. The house is on an incline. The weather is nice and sunny as if it was the morning.

     

    There is a little girl riding in a black toy car on the grass in front of the house. The toy car is most likely a Jeep. The front door is opened and she is on the front lawn so we know that someone is watching the girl since she is in a vehicle close to the road. There is also a nice red SUV parked in the driveway without a license plate. The person who drove the car last backed the car into the driveway all the way to the garage. It makes it easier to drive out of the driveway. It also keeps the car off of the decline.

    0:02-0:04

    The video zooms into a young, teenage girl of the age of 17 or 18. She is texting on her phone while she is walking outside of her front door. She turns right towards her driveway.

    The camera points towards the little girl, assumed to be the younger sister. The older sister reaches her hand down, looks as if she wants to give her sister a high five.

    0:04-0:07

    The teenager had her handout for a high five so we can believe that she is a nice older sister and a possible role model. She gives her sister a fie and after the high five, the little girl drives out of the shot in her toy car. The older sister continues walking towards the driveway.

    0:08-0:10

    As the teenager walks to the car, a woman who can be assumed to be her mom also walks outside. She is saying something to her daughter before she enters the car. Possibly a warning or telling her something to remember. The woman looks happy.

    0:11-0:14

    We watch the teenager enter and sit in the car. The camera goes back to the mother who states something to her daughter while putting her hand onto her chest. Possibly still reminding her to do something.

    0:14-0:15

    The camera goes back to the daughter who is responding to her mom while closing the driver’s door.

    0:16-0:17

    We watch as the driver puts her cellphone into the glove compartment in the car. I am guessing that her mom reminded her to put her cellphone away and out of reach.

    0:18-0:19

    She then proceeds to fix her rear view mirror. We can believe that she has been practicing driving and knowns how to be safe and responsible.

    0:20-0:23

    Her mother then says one last thing, possibly a goodbye then the teenagers slowly drives out of the driveway.

    0:23-0:25

    The mother watches her daughter drive away and places her hands on her hips. The younger daughter drives back onto the grass with her toy car.

    0:26-0:29

    The camera the angles directly onto the younger daughter. She states something that is probably exhausive or sarcastic in a kid way. And her mother remarks something back in a lighthearted manner.

    0:30-0:37

    The camera points towards the little girl while she smiles and laughs towards her mother. She smiles down at her fake iPhone while still sitting the toy car.

    The camera goes to a side angle of the girl. She is raising her phone to her eye level. She is still in the car. She proceeds to throw the phone behind her out of the side of the car. We can watch as it hits the grass and she drives off in the toy car.

    The message is conveyed that we should not use our phone and drive at the same time.


     

    I just realized that this video is longer than 30 seconds. But the point was that texting and driving is no good when you can just pay attention to the road.

Causal- P1nk123456

In America, generations of Black people have internally suffered self hatred. This hatred has been displayed through the way that the majority of Black people style their hair. The oppression caused by early White society and the social construct of American caused Black people to style their hair using harsh chemicals and processes to have hair that is similar to White people. Black people without “tamed” hair are have a harder time finding employment, are discontent with how they look in comparison to mainstream beauty standards, and were considered inferior to other Black people.

Generations of Black people, specifically women, in America have dealt with the social struggle of meeting the ideal beauty standard lead by White people in this country. This includes the style of their hair. They battle between not being White, but trying to look as though they fit in socially with the Eurocentric beauty standards of this country has impacted the hairstyle of Black people.

To understand the social struggles of Black Americas, one must look at the history of hair during the times of slavery. To look similar to the White people, African Americans developed a hierarchy imposed on themselves where those with lighter skin and straighter hair over those that reflected more African features were regarded as more attractive and appealing (Donaldson, 2018). This idea was internalized by African Americans and thus considered the beginning of the idea of “good hair” and colorism among Black people as slave owners would compare Black hair  “wool” and considered it inappropriate (Bryrd and Tharps, 2001, p. 26). To softer kinky hair texture, butter, bacon grease, and even kerosene were used in their hair (Vissa Studios, 2012). As damaging as this could be to the skin and hair, they were willing to do it to meet the expectations of the time.

Post emancipation, the idea of “good hair” grew stronger as African Americans wanted to be of a higher social status, as Eurocentric features were still considered ideal. It was hard enough to  prosper in a society while being considered second class, it was even harder without trying to have straighter hair and “to gain access to the American Dream one of the first things Black had to do was make White people more comfortable with their very presence (Bryd and Tharps, 2001, p.26). Black Americans continued to follow the double duty of investing in two things to “fix” their differences between them and the White side of society: Skin bleaching and hair straightening. These were the two remedies to fix their differences. This was when Black women, and some men, used hot combs and a harsh, alkaline chemical with lye known as relaxer to tame their hair. Relaxers are known to be damaging for the hair and scalp and causes breathing problems, but people still used them. At the time, Black women were seeking long straight hair that is flat, sleek, and shiny, which they consider “good hair”. As time went on, skin bleaching dramatically reduced as a practice, but still occurs, since it is has been seen as a ritual of self-hatred for their skin. Even though self-hatred is recognized, permanently altering hair texture continued to be a flourishing practice in Black communities and determine social status. Black people had to put effort into minimizing the difference between themselves and White people.

Another issue arises when searching for a job. For years, even today, there are official and unofficial policies within a work place that make the usual hairstyles of a Black person unacceptable in a work environment. Afros, curls, and dreads are considered unprofessional, even when they are neatly groomed. Even if they did not want their hair to be straight, it became a choice between having what they want and having a job. Straight hair became a financial advantage and a necessity.

Even if they are not told that straight hair is more attractive on women, it is seem in the media as that. From hair commercials to models in magazines and catalogs, for years we as Americans are exposed to predominantly White representation. Women, no matter what race, are susceptible to wanting to look like the model on the magazine cover or on the television advertisement. This is stronger within the mind of young Black girls because they have lacked the visual representation within the media for decades. The possibility of a younger Black girl looking like the beautiful women that are broadcasted is very slim. This leads to the feeling that their skin and hair are not worth being shown, to slowly morph into self-hate. The closest thing that they can change about themselves is their hair, which is chemically changed for unattainable aesthetics. Leading, again to the idea that the self-hate within the Black community is caused by the social construct of America’s pred