Relaxer Controversy

Here is a clip to Chris Rock's movie "Good Hair" it is a documentary that goes in depth on black hair and the contraversy behind it.

Black women and their hair are like men and sports. It is a serious matter. However, throughout the years, there has been a lot of controversy over black women chemically altering their hair. I know, it seems juvenile but the issue over hair goes back centuries. When Africans were forced to be slaves and transported to America, a lot of their heritage and culture was lost. Black women were told by European-Americans that that they were subhuman and could never be as beautiful as the European-American women. Now fast-forward to 2009. Most black women are chemically altering their hair at ages as young as five. Why are black women altering their natural hair type to make it straight? The controversy lies in the answer to this question. Some black women say they don’t feel beautiful with their natural hair type so they chemically alter it to make it straight. Other black women say that applying a chemical relaxer to their hair makes it more “manageable” and easier to deal with. However, there are some people that trace black women’s desire to have straight hair all the way back to the beginning days of slavery. The theory is that black women chemically alter their hair so they will have more Eurocentric features, therefore making them look beautiful. This subject is very touchy for a lot of black women because if they do apply a chemical relaxer to their hair they get accused of hating themselves and wanting to look more like European-Americans. My own personal story is that I got a relaxer when I was 9 years old. I always wanted my hair to be straight like all of my friends. When I was 9, all of my friends were white (European-American). I knew that a relaxer would help me obtain my goal of wanting straight hair. When your 9 years old all you want to do is fit in. My mother finally allowed me to get a relaxer, but she never explained to me why she did not want me to get one at such a young age. Growing up and doing research I realized that I was trying to look more Eurocentric. It’s not that I hated myself, it’s just what I was told is beautiful. Straight hair in America=Beautiful. Although there is a lot of controversy, I am happy with my hair and my decision to still apply chemical relaxers to my hair. Although, black women’s decisions are rooted back to the days of slavery, one thing has changed. Black women now have the decision to do what they want with their hair regardless of others opinions. The biggest thing that has changed since the days of slavery are a Black woman’s right to choose how she wants to look.