Beauty - Hair Care - Fashion : Having "Good Hair" In Africa

Discussion in 'Beauty - Black Hair Care - Fashion' started by cherryblossom, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    L.I.T.K (Leave In The Kinks)


    Half-Caste Hair In Nigeria: The Mixed Privilege?
    Posted by Z On 9/09/2009 06:02:00 PM



    ...I think that in my childhood, my hair was the first marker that I was mixed. It was long as hell, thick as any virgin jungle and drenched in Pink Lotion....

    ...I definitely had my experiences with the Just For Me relaxer line....

    ... My hair was thick, chile, I give her props for keeping it looking good for school when she had no previous experience working with coily hair (her's being all straight Indian).

    ...So yes, my hair was what gave me away as being mixed back home. But when I was ten, it all had to come off because I was starting secondary school and the rule was- short hair. Many of my classmates wondered if J and I were going to do it, we were known for being the mixed kids with the long hair, and it was probably a large part of why people thought we were such pretty little girls. But we did cut it, and boy did that amuse the crap out of our classmates. Gone was the luscious hair that was the envy of so many, replaced by a short crop.

    But our school was at least fair. The boarding school my brother spent a year at also had a short hair policy, except that half-caste kids were exempt. This probably wasn't part of the rule on paper, but the fact was that the mixed kids were allowed to wear their hair long and down their backs while the full-blooded Nigerian girls had to cut all their hair off. Can you imagine? In my school, the only kids exempt from the rule were the children of Indian expats who usually only spent a year or two in Nigeria before going back home. They would cut their hair into bobs, but never as short as the black kids.

    One of my classmates was a reversal of the typical mixed kid- her father was white while her mother was Nigerian. When it was time for them to chop off their hair, the father raised such a ruckus and everyone else waited with bated breath to see whose will would triumph- her father's or our proprietress (who was from Ohio). She and her sisters cut their hair and we heaved a sigh of relief. Fair enough.

    Now, in Nigeria, the mixed hair issue is just part and parcel of the half-caste identity. In the States, however, it's been the source of many an argument and stereotype.

    Mixed hair grows faster.

    Mixed hair is prettier.

    Let's all aim for that biracial spiral curl. It's prettier. It's good hair.

    If you've got white in your family, your kid will probably come out with that pretty 'good' mixed hair.

    You all have heard this a thousand times before. When I went natural and let my hair grow out, I occasionally heard the 'mixed hair' remarks. Now, my hair didn't go spiral until I colored it, and it isn't as silky as other biracial women's hair. But to Nigerians, it was definitely that half-caste hair, how else could it grow so long? At a friend's graduation, her mother walked up to me and went- Eh heh, you're from Ethiopia, right?

    No, actually. Then I get the confused look, made worse when I say I'm Igbo. But once they hear the magical word 'mixed', everything has been explained away. That's why your hair looks so nice, grew so long. You've got that Indian blood in you.

    SMH. All hair types can grow. The excuse of 'my hair is too nappy' is nonsense. The most coily, most tightly curled natural hair is just as pretty as the loose Tracee Ellis Ross spirals. When will we learn to recognise?

    So, today's questions are-

    Did you once fall prey to the 'mixed hair is better' mentality? Have you been made to feel that your nappier hair is less pretty?

    Have you tried to achieve that biracial spiral curl look once you went natural?

    My Naija folk, what are your experiences with how half caste hair is regarded back home?

    Does this mixed hair privilege extend to other cultures?


    http://www.leaveinthekinks.com/2009/09/half-caste-hair-in-nigeria-mixed.html
     
  2. medusanegrita

    medusanegrita Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Stuff like this make me glad to be US American in this time period (but I would love the 1960's!).

    'Half-caste' my butt. Half-breed, I got less qualms with... but half caste just sucks.

    Yeah, I know... if you're mixed you might hate both of them... but funny they same to have no problems with mulatta.

    Don't care, I have my pref.

    No to the first question. No to the 2nd question, I was not made to feel that nappier hair was less pretty; but the implication that nappier hair was less pretty was always there.

    I don't consider 'mixed hair' to be a type of hair or style, so I never used that to describe anything. I can get the curly look with water and grease.

    Pass

    No, not in the US. Skin color is a privilege more than hair. Only black people fawn over so-called 'mixed hair' and 'good hair' but that doesn't mean you are 'privileged' by it unless it follows light skin. A dark skin chick with 'mixed type' hair is just going to be seen as anomaly and thought 'how the hell you gonna be dark and have like that?' It's considered a waste to have 'mixed hair' and be dark skinned.... because most of (if any) 'privilege' is going to be bestowed upon skin color... and having that type of hair can supposedly carry a light skin further than a dark skin socially.
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Thanks for your input, M.N.

    I just thought this was an interesting blog from a "Mixed" African woman with natural hair.

    To read of the same mindsets about so-called "Good Hair" within Africa as in the States was intriguing.

    ....especially the part about the school which "EXEMPTED" the racially-mixed students from its "short hair policy" but the Nigerians girls had to cut theirs. (smh)

    That feeds into the very psychology too many little Black girls and women think/feel about their own natural hair and their own natural beauty....that if it's not long or wavy or silky, then it's not acceptable.
     
  4. medusanegrita

    medusanegrita Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I was told that Nigeria and other places in Africa doesn't practice colorism, that it is a western thing. Why would someone in a country where the majority of people are a dark shade of brown automatically think that lighter is better? Who indoctrinated them to believe that? They don't because there aren't many white people there to tell them that. I was told that only happens in places that have a lotta contact with whites, such as in the US where you are indoctrinated with colorism through racism.


    But it was a Nigerian who told me that yes, colorism (and that hair texture thing) is practiced there, and they think being light skinned is better and 'marrying up.' He said they also thought that everyone who was light(er) skinned was also mixed - and I now that is not true. About 5 or 6 generations back into the 1880's and all I got is black, black, and more black. Haven't came across any mulattoes or indians or whites... and for sure they were be there because.... I'm not dark skinned?

    But yes, it is interesting to know that Afrika has fell prey to this sorta thing, especially since their own standards of beauty revolved around their skin color and their hair....... what happened?
     
  5. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Well, just because not many White people may been there NOW does not mean that the same poisoined mindsets that African American have absorbed from White supremacy is not present in Africa.

    African Americans and Africans, for CENTURIES, have been bombarded with direct and indirect teachings that "White is Right"...that anything, hair or skin color, which is closer to WHITE is better.
     
  6. StefiA

    StefiA Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That spiral curl look does seem to be associated with mixed folk for sure - so much so both my sisters spent ages getting their hair to look just like that. The fact they had to work at that though even though they're both mixed makes me wonder how common that look is naturally.
    Half-caste is something used by older folk here in England so I guess that got taken over to Nigeria by the British. I think the problem with being called half-caste or half-breed is the suggestion in the word that you're only half a person - I know some mixed folk who hate the word mixed too, and biracial, and mulatta - personally I think the last one is the best sounding.
     
  7. Ezinne

    Ezinne Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Nigeria was colonized by the British. This Friday marks officially 50 years of "independence" from colonial powers. Where white people have been in contact with Africans and non-whites for a notable period of time, you will see colorism. However, there are some members in various ethnic groups in Nigeria that are fair complexioned, so light skin is not a new phenomenon, however divide and conquer based on phenotype is a fairly new phenomenon (in the comparative span of human history particularly in Africa)

    So in short the answer your question is like many other countries where there has been a white presence, there exists colorism. Plain and simple.
     
  8. Ezinne

    Ezinne Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    And I await the day when African people the world over can get hip to the game of divide and conquer in this respect. Cause it's just that...a game.
     
  9. kde

    kde Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is disturbing, but not surprising, given the history.
     
  10. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    So true....But, if I had been the mother of one of those Nigerian girls who still had to cut their hair when the "mixed" girls didn't, I woulda been up at that school with some serious attitude. :whip:
     
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