Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Touch my hair...

I know I may be a little late but I had to voice my opinion on the "Touch my hair" exhibit controversy. I know and understand that the ladies involved did this in the spirit of open communication but I have to side with the "protesters". I agree that there should be open dialogue between   people of all ethnicities about one another but I think it should be done on a personal level. I no more expect to have to exhibit my hair to start a discussion than any other part of me that less colorful people find fascinating. Would anyone hold a sign saying, "Yes, you can touch my skin."? 
I am not a hardliner, no natural hair nazi but I don't think having strangers fondle your hair at an exhibition furthers any cause. I have had many people touch my hair of many ethnicities. I have had conversations with them, they asked permission first and I usually touched their hair back because we were discussing hair. 
Lastly, your ignorance is not my problem. As a professional educator I'm off the clock and don't have to teach you about people who have lived in this country with you nearly since its foundation. Your majority privilege is showing when you think all members of minorities MUST have a teachable moment with you because you are interested. Consider the following:
- I don't know you
- I may be tired or unwilling to have a "natural hair moment with you"
- My hair is just as interesting to me as yours it to you
- Maybe a conversation with me would yield more knowledge than a simple pet, pat or touch

I was raised not to touch and be familiar with people unless you have established a rapport, seeing my hair on the street and thinking it is "cool" or otherwise alien is not establishing a rapport. Am I being sensitive?


Unknown said...

Great post Monica,

This exhibition really stirred up quite a hornet's nest!

I'm sure the ladies had the best of intentions, but such dialogue would have been more effective on a one to one basis as opposed to inviting random strangers to partake in a discussion they have no interest in.

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