One mom on Reddit asked if it would be appropriate for her daughter to style her hair like her Black friends. Well, this sparked the question…can white children wear black hairstyles? And of course, parents weighed-in.

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The Reddit question:


So my daughter (2nd grade) has long, straight blonde hair. Many of her friends are black, including her best friend that comes over to play a few times a week. Daughter really wants lots and lots of little braids in her hair because she thinks it’s pretty and her friends at school have them. She’s upset because I told her that may offend some people because that’s a hair style common for people with black hair, it’s part of their culture. She didn’t really get it. To be honest I secretly think it’s a compliment to mimick a hair style after someone and think it should be accepted to do whatever hairstyle you want to do, but I know many many people think differently on this and I want to be respectful of that AND I do not want to get my sensitive little girl in trouble for having a black hair style.

So what’s the appropriate thing to do here?

Edit there would be no cornrows nor would they be tight. She just wants lots of tiny braids hanging down, not along her scalp.

Edit #2 I spoke my friend (my daughter’s friend’s mom) about it and she’s super excited and supportive of it and wants to help with the braiding. It will not be tight and we will keep her scalp and hair type in mind. No cornrows or anything tight against her scalp either. I will also be having a conversation with my daughter about it.

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Most of the responses were positive and gave the mother options for her daughter.

“There’s a children’s book that’s about this exact thing called “the hair swap” or something like that!” One Reddit user suggested.

Another shared her similar story with her daughter, “My blonde, white daughter (first grade) has asked for the same. I told her that her Black friends wear their hair in styles that are meant to protect their hair, but would not work or be safe for her hair’s texture. We do braid styles suitable for the health of her hair, like Wednesday Addams, Guinevere braids, Dutch braids, bubble braids, etc.”

One commenter told the mom to go for it, just be careful of her daughter’s edges and not to braid too tightly!

“I don’t think it would be inappropriate (as a black person). But I would be very careful with how tight you pull the hair at the edges and around the crown if her head.”

Photo Credit: Adobe Images

Even the experts at weighed-in on the conversation, giving a few pieces of sage advice for people to consider and understand when they navigate and experiment with cultural hairstyles. The experts hone-in on the fact that a simple hairstyle can carry deep meaning and significance for some.

  • Remember: Cultural appropriation hurts.
  • Understand that many Black hairstyles are protective hairstyles.
  • Dressing like others is fun, but explore individuality.
  • Use the “hairstyle” moment as an opportunity to explore and learn about different cultures and others.
  • Research hairstyles that are particular to your heritage, and honor it. (i.e. Viking braids). Teach your friends something new about you!

To read the Reddit conversation in its entirety, click here. And maybe, you too can weigh-in!

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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