by LV Burns of Natural-Ness.com
Is it just me, or does hearing the term “good hair” make you cringe? I was at the cable company paying a bill a few years ago with my biggest stretched afro. When it was my turn, the teller who was helping me began telling the teller next to her about her son. The teller next to her was saying that my teller’s son looks really cute with his afro. My teller said,”Yes, but he was really cute with his twists.” The teller next to her asked her what happened to the twists and my teller said, and I quote,”They came out because he was running around in the sprinklers like he has good hair!” I had to restrain myself from asking, “As opposed to what?”
This lead to me to ask myself a few questions:
1) Is running around in sprinklers only reserved for those with a certain hair type?
2) If the son does not have “good hair” and she tells him that, what kind of hair will the child perceive that he has?
We really have to be careful with the terms that we use with our children. Children are concrete thinkers. If someone tells a child that they do not have “good hair”, than they will automatically figure that their hair is “bad”. Look up “bad” in the dictionary and it says,”a) not good; not as it should be, b) defective in quality; below standard; inadequate“… The definitions go on and on, you get the picture. I’m sure that if my teller realized that she had just described her son’s hair as “defective in quality” or “below standard”, she would have felt pretty bad.
When a child is “bad” we discipline that child, right? So if a child hears that their hair is “bad”, they will believe that their hair is in a “state” that needs to be “disciplined” or “fixed”. Many of us once “disciplined” our hair with “relaxers”.
Now on the other hand, I do not have a problem with the term “nappy”. A “nap” is a “soft downy fibrous surface (as on yarn or cloth)“. There is nothing negative about the definition of the word “nap” or “nappy”. Actually, after looking up the definition of nap, I’m pretty proud that it can be used to describe my hair.
Can you see the difference between the two words? “Bad” is a negative term, period. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about something described as “bad”. “Nap” is not negative unless we conceive of it as being so.
Now I’m not here to tell you what to do, but if you find yourself using the terms “good hair” and/or “bad hair” on occasion, just take one minute to think about what you are actually saying. Especially if you are using it with your children.