The struggle is real when we delve into the world of ethnic naturally curly hair and all that it embodies. A long time ago I wrote a blog post for my Italian American Girl site talking about my feelings around being ethnic, first generation Italian American and having extremely curly hair. My feelings and hair have not changed much but society and our ways of digesting and accepting others may or may not have changed too.
In that post found HERE I talk about my feelings around how people perceive and treat people with curly hair in and around work environments or just anywhere. This is a real topic and real instances of discrimination do occur from what seems to be very a light topic or comment usually of "wow, I love your hair, how do you get it that way, or wow, that's a lot of hair.. how do you manage it...?" as if my hair is an issue or it makes someone else feel uncomfortable or even opens up the door for some people to cross my boundaries and assume because my hair is big and curly its associated to some sort of stereotype. No women with naturally ethnic curly hair are not more wild, or put forth a vibe of more sexual energy.
As humans we obviously perceive and absorb what ever feelings we have naturally, but when we are programmed by the media and cultural stereotypes we are in fact discriminating and maybe against other people for even more different qualities than curly hair. If you look at more ethnic men and women who are in the public eye they tend to keep their rather ethnic naturally curly hair straight because that's more widely accepted and I believe makes people feel more comfortable because its more common. Different scares people.
More recently over the summer, I read this amazingly interesting story out of NYC, "This year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights received seven complaints detailing similar incidents, in which employees were told that their tresses had to be straightened in order to comply with business standards. In February, the agency stepped in and officially banned “hair discrimination” in the city, granting victims of this kind of racial bias grounds to take legal action. (The cases that prompted the move are still under investigation.)" READ THE FULL STORY HERE
I love my curly hair, I do straighten it once in a while, but guess what? That's not me: the picture above is me, I don't think everyone is OK and or ready for the ethnicity of real curly hair and there continues to be stereotyping and discrimination, we must do a better job at educating our children and communities about acceptance and equality. Also, the reason why I'm writing this blog post is because I've been asked a million times by my readers to talk more about this topic, and believe it or not the article was read over 20,000 times and counting. I may do more on this topic, talk to someone for podcast and even do a video on how to do my curly hair. If you have thoughts on this topic or want to add something for me to talk about, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org