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Curly Nikki

White Boys and Black Girls’ Hair

By January 27th, 202198 Comments

White Dude Coworker: Like, I don’t get it. What’s the big deal about having natural hair?

Me: It’s not really a big deal, it’s just a difference in the look, texture, and upkeep of the hair.

White Dude Coworker: Well, what’s the difference? What does natural hair look like?

Me: *pointing to my fresh twist-out* This is natural.

White Dude Coworker: What does un-natural hair look like?

Me: Mostly permed or relaxed hair is considered to be un-natural.

White Dude Coworker: My sister got a perm once, she looked terrible.

Me: What most white people call perms are different from what black people call perms. Perms make white peoples’ hair curly, but make make black peoples’ hair straight.

White Dude Coworker: Oh. I don’t see lots of girls around here with hair like yours though.

Me: Probably because they have perms or weaves.

White Dude Coworker: So….Michelle Obama, her hair is natural, right?

Me: No.

White Dude Coworker: Yes it is!

Me: No, really, it’s not. She has a relaxer!

White Dude Coworker: What?!?!?!? *Mouth drops open*

Me: Yup

White Dude Coworker: *long pause* Are you sure?

As nuts as this conversation may sound, it’s not the first time I’ve had to give a white guy a short lesson on my hair, weaves, relaxers, locs, or natural hair in general. No matter how I try to slice it, most white people, guys especially seem to be very fascinated with natural hair.

When I met my husband, the first thing he wanted to do was touch my hair. I had it in an afro puff/ponytail. He was fascinated with the texture, how it smelled, how “spongy” it felt, and thought it was the most unusual thing EVER the way my hair stayed stationary no matter how hard the wind blew. We’ve been together for 4 years and he still finds himself playing in my hair, sometimes greasing my scalp and helping me retwist. He loves my kinks and curls and actually doesn’t care for me to straighten it. He loves afro puffs, twist-outs and braid-outs especially because he says it shows off my texture best. But even as much as hubs knows about my hair now, back when we first started dating, he had to learn the hard way about my day long hair washing sessions and how messy and time consuming henna can be. For a while, he assumed that if a black girl had bone straight hair, it was naturally so. You would be surprised by the strange things that some white guys just assume about our hair in it’s natural state. When I broke the news to a white associate of mine that his favorite actress Gabrielle Union was more than likely sporting a weave in his favorite photo of her, he looked as though he could cry. When he was able to collect himself, he retorted “Well, that’s just ridiculous! I bet she’d be just as stunning without all that fake stuff”. I agree!

Now, I know that some naturals don’t like to be approached about their hair, or even have anyone request to touch or get a closer look, but you gotta remember, not all people who are inquiring are doing so to be rude or nosey. There are some people who are genuinely intrigued by what’s going on atop your head! Let’s face it, there are probably not a lot of people walking around looking like you, and the fact that you are so uniquely beautiful may attract attention. *Kanye shrug*


  • Anonymous says:

    This is me, posted above.

  • Anonymous says:

    How about I hate the fact that people cannot accept that I am naturally curly, with tight ringlets. and I am white, with no trace of black ancestory. How I would have killed for straight hair growing up in an all white town. How annoying it is to be the odd ball out no matter which side of the fence I am on. To be looked at like I am crazy if I walk into a black salon, or to be looked at like I am a freak or a nuiscance when I walk into a white salon. How I wish people would chill with the race part of it and just deal with the hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Every time I relaxed my hair it would fall out after a month. So when I went natural my friends were horrified and called me all sorts of names. But it was my husband who happens to be white who encouraged me to be natural. He felt that the chemicals in relaxers were more harmful than the name calling. So here I am natural and loving it…

  • Cindra says:

    I thought natural hair is when you did not alter the curl pattern of your hair. I think your hair is only natural when you don't use chemicals or HEAT to change the pattern of your curl. Am I not correct? I have a little color in my hair now, and no Lye nor do I put any heat on it. Am I still natural? Comments please!

  • Nikita Beautiful says:

    Everyone has a right to allow or not allow people to treat them a certain way. If you are comfortable letting your friends touch your hair that is great! if you are not comfortable, that is great too! It's your body you dictate how you want it to be treated. The requirement is that YOU dictate-Don't let anyone come up to you and touch on you without them receiving permission first-it's disrespectful.

  • Erica S says:

    Thanks for the post! I agree, we shouldn't really be so quick to snap back or get annoyed when people of other races ask questions. They simply just don't know. i try to think of it like this, I don't know all their is to know about every single culture or social group, so why should I turn into the "sensitive black girl" once someone asks a question about my hair? The only issue I would have is when the line gets crossed, where it goes from curiosity to rudeness. lol

  • Anonymous says:

    I read it awhile back, there was an article with her stylist. Michelle is natural. She wears a half wig and blows the front out, but she is most definitely natural.

  • Anonymous says:

    My experience with natural hair and White men hasn't really happened yet, beyond the fact that my ex (who is White) dates Black women exclusively and knows that naturally our hair isn't straight. He loves the different ways it is worn and mostly doesn't care for relaxed hair unless it's curled or styled in some way. When we were together I relaxed my hair, wore weaves as well as extensions.

    He prefers Afros and braids and things like that. Funny that we're not together anymore and now I'm natural. The next time we see one another I'm sure it'll be the first topic of conversation though, lol!

  • Ahyl says:

    I don't think it is a race issue at all. Most non-"black" people have no knowledge of "black" people's hair. Just like we most likely don't have knowledge of how other races deal with their hair. It's not ignorance or racism, it's just curiosity and cultural differences, which I think is perfectly normal and acceptable. As long as the questions are asked in a rude or condescending manner, it's fine.

  • Anonymous says:

    same anon as above, i'll say that if i'm not in the mood to be social and want my space, then the endless inquiries are annoying but then again, my face always shows what i'm feeling so i think that might keep folks at bay haha…

  • Anonymous says:

    I got the same kind of questions when I would wear my long box braids. In undergrad, I did an internship at a small start up company and was the only black person there, almost everyone else was white but they were all very friendly and chill (this was in Austin, Texas). When I walked in with my braids, compliments and questions started flying…they were obviously genuine and inquisitive…some just couldn't get past the fact that I sat down for 12 hours getting it done LOL….I haven't had the opportunity to wear my natural hair out but I can imagine it will be the same deal as with when I wore my braids.

  • homeskillette says:

    I think the important thing to remember is that by virtue of having natural hair, it doesn't necessarily make you a nicer, more patient, more tolerant person. But most people cite being different and standing out as one of the best things about being natural, but then they act like big old grumpy pants when it attracts attention and someone asks about it. Obviously you aren't obliged to answer their questions or respond, but really…unless the person is being disrespectful, what's the big frickin deal? Most of us were ignorant about our own hair until someone (whether they were a youtuber, a blogger, a stranger or a family member), gave us tips and taught us a little something about our hair…and that was hair growing from our own heads. Imagine how confusing it must be for other people. I'm not saying you have to be a walking public service annoucement, but gosh…lighten up.

  • JessJess says:

    I am so in love with this article! I posted it on my FB and tagged all of my natural sistas. PS I had no idea the topic of Michelle's hair had such an affect on her husbands political gain! For shame Taneica! Shame for doing something even honest ppl do from time to time! Repeat something they believe to be true! Cuz "Anonymous" had tea with her that's what she said… press and curl!

  • Anonymous says:

    Lady Obama and her girls have a "press and curl".And Taneica – shame on you for making an assumption about anybodys hair. Plus, this stuff gets on my last making statements that are not true. Its ok to have conversations about hair -but spreading falsehoods…please!! Michelle is trying to get her husband re-elected and you need to stop it.

  • Lauren says:

    The white guys I get. Sometimes they don't even know how their own sister styles her hair let alone a black woman's.

    I just hate it when I run across someone who is the authority on black hair yet having no black friends or knowlege of their own.

    I told my boyfriend's friend the other day I had more than one hair texture and he proceeded to tell me I was wrong. Unbelieveable!

    My boyfriend's issue with my hair is the same I've had with every guy, white, black, latino in my life. "You're hair is too short!"

    Shut up!

    My hair is short because of breakage, but for all they know my hair is short because I want it that way.

    My boyfriend actually doesn't care if my hair is straight or not, he likes how soft it is. Our insane discussions revolve around the length. Since I've started to go natural Sept 2010 was my last relaxer…my hair hasn't been this long especially in the back!

    We went to the BSS store one day and the whole concept of having hair in a bag and sewing, gluing or brading it in blew his mind.

    If you have questions, that's fine. If you're a friend touching is fine too (ask first!) But being a know-it-all about anything you have no idea about…really pisses me off.

    I'm from Philly, I'm in WV now…and a) I can't find a natural hair salon and b) I'm finding a lot of people just haven't thought about black people, let alone their hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    not too many guys, black, red, yellow, purple, whatever know the difference in hairstyles.

    i've dated my boyfriend for over 8 years and he only notices if my hair looks "nice" to him or not. the neater, shinier, and longer it looks the "nicer" it looks to him.

    i can say whites notice my hair and like it more, white women that is, but im sure any male would just say neat or not, nice or not, or sometimes i get 'your hair is an afro' (which my hair is never an afro, i just think everyone thinks not straight = afro), lol.

    i love that they are even curious, white men especially have the privilege to not even focus or concern themselves with race or the difference. it's a sad truth.

    yea for differences!

  • Anonymous says:

    Ladies, ladies, ladies………. can't we all just get along?? If I was a white person, I would probably be thinking "this is what I am talking about" laughing at how we are "fighting" and bringing out the gloves over questions about our hair. These post are crazy! The more and more I read the post, the more and more I get turned off. I guess I will just stick to the articles and skip the comments. Too much negativity for one day.

  • Anonymous says:

    i date a white guy also and he STILL doesn't know the difference between relaxed, natural etc. even though he watched me big chop yesterday lol. so this post (including the comments lol) will defintely be part of my educating arsenal :)

  • Missy says:

    Hot topic!!! The comments should be a post on their own :)

  • Anonymous says:

    Part of the perpetual misunderstanding in the white community regarding "our" hair is the perpetual misunderstanding among "us"…First Lady Michelle Obama is NOT relaxed.

  • BKelz says:

    I almost spit out my v8 laughing at that "well that's ridiculous…" comment. Too funny.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post. I could have sworn Lady ��Obama was natural and wears her hair pressed/straightened.

  • Melinda says:

    Anon..5:49pm – I re-read my statement and I did not equate children to adults…however I was using the example to show how some are naive. I know this may be hard to believe, but adults get curious as well and may not know where to start looking for an answer. What is 'intrusive' to YOU may not be 'intrusive' to ME. As someone stated, it is not a white vs. black situation and I never stated to know everything about black people…I only know about me and I have no problem answering a honest question from anyone regarding MY hair. I also understand that lots of ladies do not like being questioned and I definitely respect their P.O.V. I will 'Do me' and I always 'Knock myself out'

    Anon 5:55pm – Ignorant is an adjective not a noun…and I did not say or do ANY of those things in your post. I hope you don't throw names at everyone who disagrees with you.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've noticed all of the White and non-Black men that live in my apartment complex look in my direction much more longer than they did when my hair was relaxed. None of them have asked to touch my hair (thank God), but they appear to be fascinated by my ever changing natural hairstyles. When I wear a wash 'n go, it shrinks up and looks extremely curly. But, when I do braid-outs or bantu knot-outs, it looks wavier and longer. I receive the most fascinating looks when I wear it big, like an afro from men of all races!

    The older White men are the worse, they stare at me like they are ready to jump my bones or they become extra chatty with me. Talk about the amazing power of natural black hair! When you wear your natural hair with pride, it's pretty powerful!

  • Anonymous says:

    Interesting post, but the comments take the cake!! I'll leave at that.
    Moving on . . . . . . . .

  • Anonymous says:

    Michelle is relaxed, but the girls are not.

  • TWP says:

    i probably would have to resist the temptation to not answer those questions and get up and leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    After being together for two years, my white boyfriend now has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things black hair. When we first dating, I was transitioning, so naturally he had questions. When I big chopped, he absolutely loved my natural texture. He's interested in just about everything I do to it. He even calls me out when I come to bed without my satin scarf! lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    While I think it is important to talk and educate others about our hair, it is equally important to remember that few women, not matter what race, can wake up, hit the shower, and walk out the door after simply running a comb through their hair. Many white women blow dry their (curly)hair straight on a daily basis – you would never guess they weren't born with pin straight hair. Even when curly haired women of other races get perms,or add extensions, no body talks about their hair not being natural. I simply tell curious co-workers and others that that I choose not straighten my hair anymore. Most responded that it looked more full and they liked it way better this way. I don't mind people touching my hair if they ask first. Since I do not know Michelle Obama personally, I cannot and do not say that she does or does not have a relaxer. As far as I know she wears her hair straight, that's it.

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Anon 10:11 pm: This is a hair blog. They would fully expect her to discuss hair if they are being interviewed by a hair blog. If they want on a food blog, they would discuss cooking. That is the way it works.

  • Anonymous says:

    Some of you are too thirsty. Nobody wants desperate women; you need to get some self esteem and stop seeking validation outside yourself. Some of you seem giddy that a white person paid attention to you. SMH.

  • Sophie says:

    Some of the comments on here are unnecessarily angry. I don't mind getting questions at all. Indeed, as a woman interested in men, the attention my hair has gotten from men has been rather flattering! I think it is well within one's rights to deny a stranger access to your hair, and it is silly of them to assume you would say yes, but I don't think it is akin to asking an Asian person about their eyes. One of my friends (white) has lovely, heavy, shiny, straight hair and people are always interested in touching it. It feels different from my fluffy, light, curly-coily-squiggly, hair and it is interesting to me too, although I understand that people need their personal space sometimes. It's not white vs. black vs. whomever, it's familiar vs. different. I think some people also try to use it as a conversation starter, which is why they don't just go Google it. Plus, Google won't show you how nice it feels!

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow – I just gotta say I hope that if Nikki were to ever have the priviledge of interviewing Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, Regina Benjamin or anyone of that level of importance, I pray that she would not waste that opportunity grilling them about their hair. C'mon now!

  • noim says:

    i have a white male coworker (early 50's) who's fascinated with my natural hair. He looks forward to my style changes (~2-3 per week) and always has lots of questions about them. i sat with him for abotu 20minutes one day explaining "black hair". i called it his BLACK HAIR 101 session. He feels very comfortanle asking me questions (and i dont mind) that many of them want to ask but are afraid to thinking that they may offend us. I especially notice how white men stare at my hair, especially when i wear an afro. I find that white people in general are fascinated with our natural hair and seem to love it more than many black people. I've heard comments lik 'i wish i could do those styles on my hair' and 'i want my hair to curl like that.' I only wish that many of us could appreciate the beauty that makes us unique!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Some of ya'll need to get a life, stat.

    Mrs. Obama is trying to get her husband re-elected, and you want her to spend time on this foolishness?! How will it enrich your life to know exactly what she does with her hair? This is one of my biggest pet peeves–Black women who either demand to know about someone else's hair; or make assumptions the way Taneica has done.

  • DSiobhan says:

    My goodness….someone writes an article, some assert their opinions on it, and we feel the need to assault the intelligence and that of those who are different and curious. Everyone is entitled to their opinion (they're like buttholes, everyone has one and they all stink), it's not right or wrong it just IS.

    People inquiring about something that is not familiar to them of a person who would be an expert can be acceptable and flattering as long as they do it with the spirit of wanting to learn. If we want the advice and information of an expert we ask an expert. In a forum where people with like situations can share experiences, challenges, and information….let's take it as just that…..find your joy

  • Bonita says:

    #correction…permed or press and curl

  • Bonita says:

    Nikki, get an interview with Michelle Obama to talk about her hair and the hair of her children. Then, we can all stop guessing whether she is natural or press and curl.

  • Anonymous says:

    I just want to say…

    If I pull a strand of my relaxed hair, and it hurts…

    Real enough to me. :x

  • Anonymous says:

    Why, but why is it so important if Michelle Obama (or any other woman for that matter) relaxes her hair or not?
    Isn't it about choices and what makes us feel comfortable?

    Michelle Obama is waaaay too busy addressing the issues which she has deemed to be important to her personal interests and this country. Hair, from what I have heard from her in the past few years, is not something that is (or ever was)on that particular list OR something which she obsesses over.
    I think we would all be better off realizing (and accepting) that hair is not as earthshatteringly important to everyone as it may be to some of us. I don't mean this in a negative way, but in an a way that suggests that the world is full of people who have varying interests.

    The topic of the post was white guys' questions about black women's hair NOT whether Michelle Obama CHOOSES to relax her hair. The Obamas get enough crap from people who hate them for their politics and /or their race. They don't need further scrutiny from people who want to use them as a poster child for some cause.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am going to have to agree. I think a lot of people go too far when they start assuming things about other black women's hair. Just because another black women wears her straight often does not mean she has a perm or relaxer. I have never had a perm or relaxer but I wore a press in curl all my life. I have chosen to stop that and wear my hair natural but at the end of day why must we judge women who choose to wear their hair straight. Just because you are natural does not mean you should point fingers at that next chick. Half the women in the entertainment industry cannot wear their hair out all the time because it would get damaged (a weave is a protective style for some)

  • Anonymous says:

    Like many others have stated…I thought the first lady was natural. Actually I thought that I had read that she and her daughters were all natural. Hummmm….

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Taneica- You posted a photo of your husband before and he appears to be a Black man, or bi-racial. Why is he so fascinated with the texture of natural hair? Has he never been exposed to natural hair before?

  • Anonymous says:

    how can one know for sure if the first lady has a relaxer? i thought she was natural and simply flat ironed her hair, at least that is what i heard when she first went to Washington. perhaps, she has now relaxed her hair. i always remember the natural look her older daughter sported when they went to Europe during the president's first year in office. she received a lot of criticism from some because of the natural hair style. i loved that style, and it was one factor in my decision to go natural. i also agree with some of the commenters here—it would be so great if Nikki could interview the first lady about her hair. would love to read that interview.

  • Susannah says:

    I have nothing really to add, but wouldn't it be awesome if the First Lady did an interview with Nikki. Natural or not that would be fab!

  • Anonymous says:

    Who knew people would get so angry over the thought that Mrs. Obama might not be currently a natural. Oh the horror lol!

  • es says:

    Loved this article. It really made me laugh.

    Honestly, I tend to suss out if the person is being sincere or rude like Jamie said. From that I tailor the response. I try to be understanding because I know that honestly, there are some people who do not interact with black people so they really don't know. I met some north europeans last year and they had alot of questions. I answered them because I understand that they just did not know.

  • Anonymous says:

    Funny! Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    Has the other ran her hands through Mrs. Obamas hair? No? So how then would she know what she does with her hair?

    Didn't Mrs. Nikki just have her hair straight and didnt it look like a perm? Yes. Just bc Michelle doesnt share her regiment with you folks doesnt mean she has a relaxer.

    I smh at you people who take these so called "natural hair guru's" word…when clearly most of them know nothing.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anon 5:28–and you are ignorant. If you want to be a black hair wikipedia ambassador, you are more than welcome to let folks get all in your scalp. But you are going to call other Black women the stereotypical ABW because they have boundaries? You have no problem with people asking you personal questions, but call yourself checking Black women who decline from being prodded? Wtf?! You can be a specimen since it thrills you so.

    And if a man of any race I am dating asks about my hair and wants to touch it, of course that would not be an issue-what does that have to do wth anything? Maybe you can ask yourself why the idea of "teaching" random others about your hair excites you so badly. Aside from the racial issue, do you know how many people don't wash their hands when they leave the restroom-better they have a teachable moment with you instead of me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Are people equating children of 3, 6, 9 with adults? Okay then! Children are curious about a lot and often do not have the tools to find the answers themselves. Are we really comparing children asking us intrusive questions with adults asking us intrusive questions? Again, as I said before – do you. If you want to pretend to know everything about all black people to answer a white person's questions, please knock yourself out. I live in a veeeerrry white area – about 1% of the metro area are black, but I have never been called on by my boyfriend, his family, friends, or co-workers to be the spokesperson for all black people.

    Taneica is neither Gabrielle Union's nor Michelle Obama's hairdresser. She has no idea what they do with their hair, but decided she would answer definitively because in her clairvoyant blackness she knows what all other black people do. This is very problematic.

  • Anonymous says:

    Michele Obama has stated on many ocassions that she is not relaxed, she presses her hair.

  • Ms. Em. says:

    Black people get perms also. The relaxer straightens and the permanent (wave) makes it curly/wave like Jheri Curl, Wave Nouveau… Anywho, I've had the natural conversation with white co-workers but it goes something like this, "How do you get your hair to do that?"
    "The Bob Ross afro."
    "It's naturally like this"
    "What you see on most black women are relaxers, which permanently straightens afro-textured hair"
    "Why do they do that? Your hair is so awesome"

  • Melinda says:

    I think some are taking the respectful curiosity of others toooooo seriously. Some people are okay with others touching their hair…others aren't. That does not mean they are treating them like a 'petting zoo' or a 'black encyclopedia'. I work in a predominately white area and I have younger children (ages 3-9years) touch my skin ALL the time because they are honestly curious – but I am okay with that. It is also my prerogative to move away and ask that they don't touch me. If you don't like people to touch your hair than that is DEFINITELY understandable…especially if you don't like people in your space, but don't down play those who do not mind…Some people enjoy enlightening others. I agree with the author, there are times when someone who ask honestly does not know…and you may be the first person they mustered enough courage to ask

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article Taneica!!

    Some of you sista's are really bitter and angry. I'm sure if a brotha you were interested in wanted/needed to be schooled, you wouldn't have a problem explaining to him the difference.

    Each one, Teach one…

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not that excited about this article. I felt some of your answers to the white man were stereotypical and will cause him to make ignorant comments to other black women.

    I think we get too happy to break down the nuances of black hair to other races, especially when we are excited that we are "natural."

    Most white women aren't natural, but they don't go around making blanket statements about other white women's hair. If your hair is straight, it does not mean you have a relaxer or a weave. You may have blow dried it or pressed it.

    Sometimes we take it too far to make the other races feel inferior for not "understanding" or to make ourselves feel superior to the woman who isn't doing what we do to our hair.

    When he asked what's the big deal? You should have said there isn't a deal. Plain and simple.

    By the way, you made it seem as if FLOTUS' hair was a weave. That's why he was so stunned.


  • Anonymous says:

    Great article Taneica!

  • Anonymous says:

    I think most "other" races like natural hair even more than our own race. I only get strange stares with my natural hair from black women esp the older ones. Anyway just cause you like my hair doesn't mean you can touch it or smell it or anything else no matter what race you are. I also don't think it's my duty to explain weaves wigs or anything else that other people are doing to anybody. It's simply none of your business and not my business to say well this actress does this and that. I mean we don't even know these people! It's like your trying to downgrade someone or something when you say oh that's not hers. I co-sign with whoever said sometimes we just share too much.

  • Anonymous says:

    I commented earlier, but just want to amen Anon 4:04. And imagine asking a East Asian person about their eyes (!), or any other race of person questions about their unique physical characteristics. It baffles me how many Black women are ok with being a petting zoo. Compliments are always wonderful, allowing yourself to gleefully be "othered" is some other ish.

    Plus, I have no idea why the author felt compelled to school some white dude on Gabrielle's hair. If he complimented her photo, was weavology 101 really necessary? And her amusement at his disappointment…wonder if she would also point out the White celebs who have extensions. I just wonder about my people sometimes, some of us just like to talk too damn much.

  • Anonymous says:

    Reading these comments, I am beginning to think people have dumb white friends. Did you ask your friends if black women have natural straight hair, why they don't see this straight hair on black men?? God help us all.

  • Pecancurls says:

    Funny article. I have never had that particular experience. I did run into my son's former teacher (White lady) in a social setting. I was rocking a fierce twist out —she had never seen me natural before as I was transitioning. She complimented me on my hair and how great it looked. Me: "yeah, I stopped perming to get it straight because I have been working out a lot, so it is now natural." Her response: "It is as it should be. I love it."

    Oddly enough in those few words she was more accepting of my switch than a lot of my Black friends and some family. :)

  • Anonymous says:

    Anyone that wants to be a tutor should feel free to do so. I don't ask people questions about their hair, lips, nose, skin, etc because I think it is rude. I will just like the same consideration. I just want to be allowed to go about my life like everyone else and not be burdened with explaining "me" everywhere I go. Fortunately, my friends don't treat me like the black encyclopedia so I don't have to deal with it.

  • Anonymous says:

    You actually dont KNOW Michelle is relaxed.

    I co-sign on the general point though. When there is genuine interest, I let people question and touch. It's part of learning and understanding.


  • Jeannette says:

    I have no problem when people ask to touch my hair (as long as they ask). As for White Guys, I actually like when they ask questions like that. Instead of making assumptions, they just ask. One thing I think we as Black Women need to stop doing is calling relaxers perms, especially when talking to a White Person…we are confusing the hell out of them with that! LOL. First Lady Michelle is chemical free but she she wears a press and curl. This was something plastered all over the net when she first became First Lady and her stylist was even mentioned and interviewed about what she likes. I feel that one of the joys of being chemical free is that you can wear your hair in a variety of styles and be chemical free at the same time :).

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post but just because the FLOTUS hair is straight doesn't mean she gets relaxers and we all know women that are natural under their weaves. I know it may be too much to explain in one session.

  • Bridget says:

    Awesome post! Gave me a good chuckle.

  • Anonymous says:

    Cute:o)) Great Post!!!

  • Young Suburban Mom says:

    LMAO! I have had this conversation before. I couldn't help but laugh @ mouth drop & long pause are you sure.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Unknown says:

    My white guy experience was totally different…I opened the door to retrieve a package from UPS and when I did, it was a white delivery guy and he paused and stared for a few seconds and then said I love your hair…(smile, say thanks and have a great day!)

  • Anonymous says:

    Michelle Obama is natural; she sports a press and curl.

  • Dana says:

    Nice story! I take the time to answer questions from curious people. I appreciate the fact they are taking the time to learn something new versus assuming things about natural hair.

    I don't mind when people ASK to touch my hair. I like to satisfy my curiosity so why would I allow someone else to do so?

  • miesha says:

    What a great story! I truly agree with your comments. I work with all white guys and the first time I wore a twist out you'd think a celebrity came through the office. My boss even asked "can I touch it", I didn't realize what the big thing is with touching my hair. I think it's pretty interesting how they have no idea about different styles we have. One day, ponytail another day straight with a little length ("omg your hair is so long"), and the next super big twist out. I mean what can I say, we're blessed and we have that swag. ;0)

  • Anonymous says:

    Anon 1:16– I don't have a weave and still don't want random people putting their hands in my hair. Now what?

    I don't understand why so many Black women seem to feel honored when quizzed on our hair. It does not matter if they ask respectfully, I would respectfully tell someone to google Black hair if they are so curious. I worked with an Iranian girl who had gorgeous, waist length curly locks, but I had no bdesire to touch it. I mentioned a few times how pretty it was, and left it at that. I didn't require a seminar on her hair texture, etc. If you want to educate White people or anyone else, that's fine. But some of the comments here (not from the author) implying we have a social obligation to teach are stupid. Letting people rub/feel/embrace all up on your body is the key to ending racial insensitivity? Yeah ok. I am glad I don't know any Black people like this in real life. Maybe some of ya'll watched The Help too many times-lol

  • Jamie says:

    LOL, I have tears in my eyes. Especially at the Gabrielle Union part. Btw she is one of my favorites and I know she is stunning without all that weave! You are totally right some people are genuinely curious. I remember I was babysitting a couple of white children and the little girl had been watching me for a while. I could tell she was nervous but she worked up the nerve to ask me "What do brown people feel like" and "What does your hair feel like?" I tried not to laugh because I knew she was being sincere. I also knew this experience could be for the better or worse. So holding in my laughter I let her rub my arm and feel my hair. Her response "your soft" and she was amused by the "magic" of my hair that it could bounce back. The little boys, fresh as could be, kept rubbing my arms while I read him a story before bed. The whole point of my story is you are right. You have to think about someone's intentions before reacting in any situation. Embracing who you are means being open to allowing others to embrace you too.

  • Casimiransmom says:

    Bwahhahahahaha. That was funny. AT the beginning he was asking what is natural, and near the end he was an expert and able to say with certainty that Michelle Obama's hair was natural. This convo is my life all day long at work..

  • BlackgodessISIS says:

    when the opportunity arises to teach someone something about black people we should take it, it is in those instances and those moments that understanding is created and ignorance defeated. Ignorance is the darkness that causes so much stereotyping and harsh racial stigmas…let the know the truth so they can see the beauty…

  • Anonymous says:

    The kids aren't, but Michelle is.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post! And Michelle is relaxed.

  • Alaina says:

    michelle obama does NOT have a relaxer, nor do her girls.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with the article AND when I was relaxed, many of my white co-worker friends when they felt like we were friends, would ask and I'd let them touch my hair. They were amazed it was soft, shiny (not greasy, etc.). I even had one ask where I went to get my hair done and she booked an appt. (I went to a salon that welcomed a diverse clientele in downtown Chicago). I didn't wear false hair so I wasn't afraid or offended. I felt like this might have been the only time they get to be schooled about our hair. And those same folks are amazed at me with natural hair now (going on 2 yrs in August) and it's 4 inches past chin length now same as when it was in a bob back in 2005. Black women are way too silly about folks respectfully wanting to touch their hair, I guess most don't want hands getting stuck in their tracks–hahahaha

  • Kelly LaTrice says:

    I am finally learning not to get on the defensive tip when people approach me or show curious stares at my fro. I was just thinking this morning as I was pinning up my braid out how cool it was that today my hair is has a crinkled textured look, last week it was in a wavy puff, and the week before that a loose-curled bantu knot-out, and before *that* I was rocking coils. People never know what I'm going to look like from one day to the next and it HONESTLY must be intriguing to them. The lady who sits in the cube next door always comments, "your husband is the luckiest man in the world to wake up to a different woman every day!" LOL

  • kiesh says:

    It's funny that people ask what's the big deal about natural hair when they are the ones who make a big deal out of it. Asking questions every day, requesting complete details on how you achieved a particular style, commenting on your hair EVERY DAMN DAY. Ooops wait that's my own personal rant. I'm working on not being annoyed by the fascination w/ natural hair. I don't recall anyone making any negative comments about my hair which is a great thing. But I could live w/o being stopped on the street by randoms asking 8000 questions.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not sure why people try to claim Michelle O's hair as natural. It looks like it's relaxed and at any rate she never wears it unstraightened . I'd be surprised to find out it's not relaxed just b/c she seems to be someone who exercises a lot and that doesn't mix well with a flatironed do.

    I feel like for whatever reason, a lot of natural haired women feel this need to "claim" high profile women to somehow justify their choice. Which seems silly to me. I think that someone started the "rumor" that the FLOTUS was natural and now people won't let it go.

    A lot of celebrity hairstylists like to promote the idea that they aren't relaxing their client's hair.

    It is funny that white people can't tell the difference between real and fake. I've had people who weren't sure if my hair was naturally straight or naturally "curly" either.

    Of course, to my woman black eyes, I can almost always tell relaxed/flat-ironed vs. naturally straight on other black women. The bounciest and shiniest flatiron or relaxer still doesn't look like naturally straight hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I understand some and maybe most naturals have negative experiences when white people inquire about our hair. They may say some ignorant stuff. But in my experiences they don't mean any harm. My boyfriend sounds a lot like your husband, and the one time a coworker asked about my hair, he was very respectful and was genuinely curious. I didn't take offense. As long as you're respectful and have good intentions I don't mind educating. Heck, I'm still fascinated with what my hair does, so why not expect others who'll never have my type of hair not to be.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think Michelle and her girls are naturalle

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok we weren't put on Earth to educate white folks…BUT

    As long as questions are asked respectfully and come from a place of true curiosity, why not just answer instead of getting offended?

    I love talking about my natural hair and have no problem educating anyone as long as they come correct. I would rather them have accurate information and perspective than relying on stereotypes and ignorance.

    Just my opinion – It seems like some naturals have a chip on their shoulders and are bracing themselves for negativity, even from other black people. So God help any white person who asks about their hair.

    If you truly own and embrace who you are and the physical appearance you present, you won't be offended by genuine curiosity.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have also gotten the "I thought your hair was naturally straight comment " from white people as well. It is not always a "racial " issues, some people truly do not know.

  • ExpatCentral says:

    Maybe I've gotten lucky because no one has been nasty yet(my grandma would if I was near enough to her), especially white people(I've gotten some strange looks from older black women, though). But they've all been genuinely interested in natural hair and my transitioning process, and love to see the difference between my permed ends and my natural roots.

  • MelMelBee says:

    Because I'm in an immersion moment (racial identity model)… response would be "Go read a darn book". Maybe when I move out of this phase, I'd be more willing to explain, but I'd still end with "Go read a darn book", but I'd say it nicely and with a smile!

  • ShoeHOTLINE says:

    I have had this happen to me a million times and like you always take the time to educate. Great Job on helping him get a better understanding.

  • Taneica says:

    @ Chez Who's worried? It's a TOPIC. Something to write about. Thanks for reading!
    @Dani lol! Yea…having a sense of humor helped alot, but it was fun watching him learn about my hair.
    @Berthia and Marlyne Thanks for reading! I agree though, some times a little patience goes a LOOOONG way.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm pretty sure Michelle Obama is natural…

  • Unknown says:

    I agree! I've had black and white people approach me and ask to touch my hair. Its embarassing sometimes but I know that they are genuinely fascinated at how long it is and some just can't believe I've never had a perm. I just try to be accomodating and not be stank about it, lol.

  • Berthia D. says:

    First? LOL I've been answering hair questions my whole life due to the fact that I'd always wear braid extensions and weaves. It doesn't really bother me. What annoys me is when people try to imply that my hair is not superior to white hair and try to tell me that I'll never have hair past my shoulders. Anyway now that I'm transitioning I'll show them how long natural hair can really get >:O lol

  • Dani @ says:

    I'm glad my husband wasn't ignorant about the variety(ies) of Black hair. And I'm glad he doesn't care what the heck I do with it. Curly, straight, short, long, twists, braids, knots….As long as my indigo and henna doesn't stain the bathroom up, he's happy.

  • Unknown says:

    Uhm…I could have sworn that I saw somewhere that Michelle O is a natural. I could be wrong though.

    And who cares what white boy thinks? Stop worrying about what everybody else thinks.

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