Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Hairy Situation...

Have we somehow made other cultures afraid to compliment us? I wear my natural hair in an Afro puff, and yesterday, as I was at the grocery store picking up a few items, I heard this little voice behind me say, “Your hair is soooooo pretty!” I wasn’t sure they were talking to me at first, but when I turned around, I saw the cutest little grey-eyed, brown-haired girl (maybe 3 years old) standing in the back of a shopping cart. Her mother had her hand clasped over the child’s mouth and she had a horrified look in her eyes. 

Before I could say anything, the mom said, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. She didn’t mean anything.” I was totally confused. I said, “Didn’t she say my hair was pretty?” Her mom (still with her hand over her daughter’s mouth) said, “Yes. But she didn’t mean anything by it.” I reached forward and put my hand on the mom’s hand and moved her hand away from her little girl’s lips. By now, the kid was looking like she was about to be beat down too. If it weren’t so sad, it would’ve been funny. 

I said, “It’s okay.” Then I looked at the little girl and said, “Thank you, sweetie. Your hair is pretty too.” That made her smile. Then her mom said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know how you’d take it. Sometimes… we don’t know what to say. We don’t know what’s offensive.” I just replied with, “Genuine compliments should never be found. And children tend to be genuine even when we adults
aren’t. It’s really okay. I’m flattered.” The mom finally smiled and she looked relieved when she said, “Thank you. I’m glad. And your hair really is very pretty. It’s so perfect. Like a painting. Not a hair out of place.” At that point, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because she seemed to be cautious about every word she was saying. 

As I thanked her and walked away to continue my shopping, I started to wonder to myself… What have we done as a people to make those of other ethnic groups afraid to give us a compliment? Everybody of every racial background has to do better. Race relations in America have really gone down the toilet, it seems. As I’m approaching my second year of being a natural, my eyes are continuously being opened to new things… both good and bad. Heaven help us all…

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