Kamara Taylor: Black America and “Good Hair”

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By: Kamara Taylor

It’s amazing to me how individuals are perceived and judged on different criteria.  As African Americans are still working diligently to assimilate into a country that we were unwillingly brought into, our skin tone is no longer a good enough factor to expand our possibilities of growth academically and in the workforce.

When compared to my peers and colleagues, my hair is considered a “better” grade due to its fine and curly texture.  As I pondered on the thought of locking my hair with a friend, she warned me that I would limit myself in the job market and perhaps damage the opportunity of climbing the academic ladder as a professor.

It made me think about how we continue to be profiled.  Whether you’re considered a threat as a young Black man wearing a hoody or an intelligent Black woman wearing a natural hair style, we continue to be judged and limited by what we wear and how we wear our hair.

This is the same mentality that considered Blacks to be three fifths of a person, while others were considered a whole person.  India Arie’s song “I Am Not My Hair” states ‘If it’s not what’s on your head, it’s what’s underneath’.   How many more excuses will be created to limit our growth?

Therefore, I will lock it up and remain the same woman I’ve always been regardless of the fact that my hair is worn naturally curly, blow dried straight or dreaded.  I am not my hair.




Kamara Taylor

Masters of Art Political Science
Phd candidate Cognitive and Instructional Psychology

32 Comment

  1. Amen

  2. I have had my hair ‘loc’d’ for 20 years and have a few college professors with dreadlocks.
    Yes, some (mis)judge me but they would have found something else if not my hair.

  3. So tired of this subject, especially now with the number of sisters opting for natural hairstyles. When will these writers be satisfied? Or was this just another platform for you to emphasize your own hair. “When compared to my peers and colleagues, my hair is considered a “better” grade due to its fine and curly texture.” Self promotion.

  4. As you stated, we arrived to America unwillingly. The hair, and everything about us is rejected. We are not at Disney World, we are in the land of our oppressors. They will never accept us for who we truely are until we go back to Yah. We are here because of our forefathers disobedience. Not because of the “white man”.
    We have given the white man too much credit, when actually he really isn’t that smart. If the Most Highest had not wanted us to be here, we would not be here. It is the hand of the Most Highest that had allowed this. Before anyone gets all tied up in a knot, check it out in Deuteronomy 28. He tells “US”, (it was us who he was talking to) that if we obey we will be blessed. If we turn our backs to him, all of those curses will come upon us. Look it up for yourself. Many people have already read Deuteronomy 28, but just have not realized that we are the people who he was talking to. We are the Hebrews! So, it doesn’t matter how well we present ourselves in this society, we will be oppressed as a result of “whose” we are. If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then shall I hear from heaven and heal their land! Shalom

  5. Good hair is when your mother combed your hair you cried and the hair did not come out. Hair that is easy to comb is dog hair.

  6. Good grade “fine and curly”. Dream on. I have “good hair”. It’s thick, course and extremely curly”. I’ve worn locks for seven years. I am complimented constantly on my “grade” of hair. I imagine this “grade” of hair will go with me to the grave. I’m 61 years of age.

  7. I’m 62 and have had locs for a dozen years. Before that, I had braids, twas, and other natural styles for about 25 years. I have been a college professor, worked as a corporate executive, and have won national awards from mainstream organizations. I continue to get lots of compliments from my hair from men and women and people from a variety of races and cultures.

  8. This article did nothing but rehash the same stuff we already know, experienced & read before. I wore a huge afro in the 70s,went to curly perms, & am back to natural again since 2009. I don’t see all this on the job anti natural talk & I just retired from teaching in a big city school system. There are teachers that wear locs, afros, twas, wigs, weaves, braids, extensions, etc. I see the same styles coming out of office buildings and in college professors on campuses. Many blacks however, have said that when they do hear negative remarks about their hair.THOSE REMARKS MOST OFTEN COME FROM OTHER BLACKS !!

  9. Beauty is a force that emanates from within like a glowing light that has no color or shade. It has no form or structure. It is not hair texture or skin color. It is not eye color or skin texture. It is virtual. It is invisible and cannot be seen only felt like the warm rays of the sun.

    There is a branch of philosophy that deals with aesthetics. Beauty is a learned phenomenon subject to conditioning. It is not concrete; it is abstract.

    Do not let anyone put an image of beauty in your mind. There is no one standard of beauty. There is not a symbol of beauty.

    Curly hair is not more or less beautiful that straight hair. Black skin is not more or less beautiful than white skin. Physical feautures do not capture the essence of beauty because it is a light that originates from the soul.

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