Content Warning: strong language, racism, anti blackness, realness
it’s repulsive how much saint lucians (and probably other west indians) hate blackness. i could spend all night counting the ways but for now i’m just gonna focus on their hatred of black hair.
it starts at home of course… good hair v. bad hair. no need to rehash what’s been done a ton of other places by black bloggers who can break it down twenty thousand times better than i can. colorism… white supremacy… we know what’s preferred.
but in schools down here… HOOOLLLLYY shit… it’s bad.
basically black boys are told that their hair bad, ugly and messy! if you have any type of hair showing as a black boy you are immediately painted as a thug.
“all rastas are thugs”
“cornrows are for thugs”
both of these are VERY common ideas here about black men’s hair.
meanwhile a white boy can have hair that’s a few inches long.
what else besides white supremacy makes three inches of white hair okay but three inches of black hair messy?!
black hair is MESSIER?
black hair is DIRTIER?
that’s what they’re saying essentially (and of course no one sees it)
it’s so colonial and backwards and when these men internalize this self hatred, they bring it with them into adulthood. and of course, they don’t just hate themselves, they hate black women too. Sometimes, being so emotionally dead inside, they project ALL their self hatred onto black women who are forced to suffer….this can happen through mockery…disgust w/ afro textured hair on women… and worse.
in this case black women are also both victims and perpetrators of these white supremacist hair standards unfortunately…
in school, black girls weren’t allowed to wear their hair “dropped” but they would let it slide for white girls. pretty much “neatness” has always been contingent upon how white hair looks.
in secondary school… neat hair = complicated ass styles OR relaxer.
relaxer DESTROYS natural hair. It destroys blackness at the root. yet it’s clearly preferred amongst students, teachers and everyone.
even if you have looser curls (like i do)… your hair is still considered a “bird’s nest” or “uncombed” if you do ANYTHING with it beyond brushing down every last strand.
women enforce this HARD with other women (hence perpetrators as well as victims). you experience a lot of verbal abuse from the women in your community if you dare to wear your hair as anything but “neat” (read: white)
i’m still getting used to my hair being aggressively political… i had forgotten in which ways it was hard to be unapologetically black here. (but no going back of course. i’d rather have healthy AFRO textured hair than be damaged and fit in)
then in adulthood… it’s a nightmare too.
when i look up around a room at any given point most “professional” women have the EXACT. SAME. STYLE. Relaxed hair. so broken that the ends are mere wisps. rolled into a high bun (or the closest thing the wisps can get to a bun) with not a strand out of place.
who taught you that your hair was inherently messy?! White women wear their hair down all the time and get to be considered professional but when black women do it with the way their hair grows out of their head, it’s a different story…
of course luckily i’ve seen a few natural women down here and a few with dreads. but we all know that this isn’t the “preference” and especially amongst middle and upper classes it’s very much looked down upon either explicitly or subtly.
amongst blogging circles regarding natural hair on the web there’s very much the idea: you can have weave and not be self hating!! you can have relaxer and not be self hating!!
but i have yet to see the collective consciousness that proves this is true in the caribbean. in fact, it’s just a plain fallacy and anyone who claims that about the caribbean is expressing willful ignorance. hair is still very much political territory.
it makes a statement against white supremacy to wear natural hair here, ESPECIALLY if you wear it “dropped”. relaxing your hair and wearing weave down here IS an expression of self hatred. and until i see that there’s been change, i’ll stand by this statement.