Wednesday, July 18, 2007
During one of our "parent workshops" at the family week we just attended was a session on multicultural families. What I thought would be a sharing of information, resources and information quickly turned laughable. One particular area that always gets to me is the lack of interest in learning about AA hair in transracial adoptions. It really was scary how many people thought it would be better to cut off their little girls hair rather than learning how to properly care for hair different than their own. Out of our small group of parents I was the only person who enthusiastically enjoyed creating different hairstyles.
It was obvious many parents spent zero time learning about hair care and the cultural implications of hair in AA culture. The facilitator asked me to do a workshop next year.....which is in itself laughable to think that a midwestern white girl like me was the best expert they could find on the subject.
As a white woman trying to raise strong, proud, black women I am aware of how critical the definition of race, culture and beauty is tied to hair- specifically curly hair. Hair has strong personal, cultural and even political meaning within and out of the black community. I'm constantly trying to learn more about different styles, products and resources -not only for myself, but for the women my girls will become.
I hope to arm them with enough information and resources that they can make educated thoughtful decisions about their own hair. I hope to take the learning curve out of caring for their hair by passing on what I've learned about what works for each of their individual hair types. I hope to give them strong ties to their culture of origin by maintaining hairstyles that are stylish among their peers. I hope to build a strong mother-daughter bond by spending time lovingly grooming and styling my daughters hair. I hope to always let them know how beautiful they are by being informed and thoughtful in caring for their beautiful curly hair.