When it comes to hair texture, African Americans, biracial and multi-ethnic men women and children are not a one size fits all. This is not a matter of simple black and white. It takes different strokes, for difficult locks, but they can be managed.
My son is law is biracial, and has soft wavy hair. Each of his 3 children, (my grandchildren) have a different texture of hair. The oldest son has the kinky hair that is predominant within the black community. When kept short and oiled, it has a slight tendency to for a wave pattern.
The middle son has long hair that is soft and curly after washing, and springy yet not quite nappy when dry. The baby girl has soft hair like her father. Each one of them will have a different method of maintaining their hair.
I have watched a number of white women over the decades, struggle with how to manage their biracial daughter’s unruly tresses. Several have been disappointed when they apply a relaxer, only to have the hair revert within a few days to it’s previous wiry state.
My brother’s 3 children are biracial. Two of them have “white” hair. The third child, a daughter struggles today even at age 25 to maintain her hair. In it’s natural state, her hair is very frizzy. When she brushes it and adds a little water it curls. She once tried relaxing her hair. The result was damaged ends, and a lot of frizz.
Because we are in America, where Caucasians are the dominate race, it seems that their long straight hair seems to be the standard which many desire to adapt to. Unfortunately this causes disappointment for those whose hair will not cooperate.
Many African American women, are now beginning to embrace their natural hair. Everywhere I go I see dreads, twist’s, locks, spiral hair do’s and Afro’s. Biracial and multi-ethnic individuals with varying hair textures should take note, and not feel a need to conform to anyone else’s standards of beauty. They too should accept and embrace what makes them unique.
There are today more choices for different hair textures than were available previously. There are now websites, that support those with mixed race hair textures. There are also products on the market, which have been specifically designed with biracial men women and children in mind. There are instructions for straightening your curly locks, and maintaining them as is.
Our nation is evolving, and more people are marrying outside of their race. This will cause a natural of increase of those with varied hair textures.
Recently my 5 year old grandson ran his hand across his natural hair and asked why he did not have a pony tail like his younger brother. In days gone by I would have told him that he had nigga naps and his brother had good hair. Unfortunately many African Americans were told such things.
Instead, I told my grandson that baby brother had softer hair like daddy, and he had thicker hair like mom, grandma and granddad . I explained that his hair would take more time than his brother’s too grow out, but a pony tail was possible. I desire to see the days of describing hair as good and bad is a thing of the past.
Here are some tips I believe will help individuals as well as children with diverse hair textures.
1. Do not make a difference between siblings whose hair grade varies. There is a tendency for blacks to gravitate towards the child with the softer grade of hair. Don’t allow yourself to become so fascinated with the softer longer hair that you ignore the other siblings.
2. If you get a question from a child regarding difference in hair textures, explain gently as I did. Please do not use racial slurs and negative phrases. Early on we told my daughter over and over that her hair could not be managed because she had that rough stuff like her dad and his mother.
I actually cried many times, asking God why my daughter did not have the easy to manage hair as did I, my mother and grandmother. Today my daughter accepts and enjoys her unique texture and share tips with others. Her hair is growing long and thick now, .because she works with what she has, instead of trying to change the texture.
3. Do investigate options. If you desire to straighten coarse hair, be mindful that it may not take the first time or two. Keep trying until you find what works for you or your child.
4. Nip negativity in the bud. If you hear children discussing the hair of another in a negative light, please enlighten them. Explain that God made us diverse, and variety is the spice of life.
5. Reinforce the positive. Point out to your child others you see with similar hair texture. Compliment your child often on his or her hair. By reinforcing the positive this may eliminate jealously and bullying of children who have softer grades of hair.