Black hair is beautiful. The coils, the curls, the braids, the twists, and the textured styles are all diverse and are true crowns for us all. We have all heard the stories of how not only Black women, but Black men as well, have met with discrimination on the basis of their natural hair. A new study confirms that Black girls, in particular, are indeed stereotyped by their natural hair.
The Arizona State University Department of Psychology is the first to perform a research study which examines hair satisfaction among Black girls. According to Parents.com, their recent new study found that it is common for young Black girls to have negative experiences related to their hair. Verbal teasing and unwanted hair touching were among the top adverse encounters, said the study. The test group consisted of 105 girls ages 10–15 years old who identify as Black or African American. More than 54% of the girls that were in the study said that they had had these issues. For many, they claimed that their problems started as young as preschool or kindergarten.
“Those statistics unfortunately track with history and what we know,” said Dr. Cynthia Lubin Langtiw, Ph.D., a professor of clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, in regards to the findings of the study. “I think that it all has to do with a lack of exposure. Many times, that’s why non-Black people want to touch Black girls’ hair because it’s not normalized for them. Images of Black girls with natural hair should be seen more in the media so they are normalized for everyone.”
Dr. Langtiw is calling for more young Black girls to embrace the beauty and sacredness of their hair and bodies in order for these findings to change.
“When there’s a sense of a lack of autonomy, there’s a sense of a lack of safety in the world,” she explained to Parents.com. “What these girls are saying is that time and again, people are crossing their boundaries and touching their bodies. When you think about it, that’s horrific. … The girls should see pictures that look like them with hair that looks like theirs. There are so many different things that schools, parents, families, religious settings, etc. can do to celebrate Black hair and blackness.”
She continued, “From a psychological perspective, the shift toward loving Black natural hair is a radical shift away from the standards of colonization, which is lighter, straighter hair. Loving our hair as it comes out of our heads has everything to do with turning away from colonization and standards that were never for us. It’s turning towards love, turning towards blackness, turning towards good psychological health.”
It is unquestionably time to spread and embrace some natural hair love. To read more about the study in its entirety, click here.