July 20, 2015

"Does this hurt?" "Did you feel that?" "What about that?" "Will it come out if I pull hard enough?"
"What would you do if I ripped your hair out?" "Would you feel it?" "Would it even hurt?"


I recently had a brief conversation with my older sister (8 years older) about something that regularly happened to both us in school and went completely unrecognized as an issue. As a young black girl, we had many different hairstyles, which at the time were often considered, "ugly" or "weird" but will now be seen on Kylie Jenner and described as "trendy" or "edgy." However, apart from the constant unnecessary hair comments from ignorant white folk, there was a specific reoccurring issue that didn't strike me as disgusting until years later.

"Does this hurt?" "Did you feel that?" These comments always followed someone pulling (or in two cases, cutting) my hair. Now before you start saying, "Every girl had their hair pulled in grade school!" -- This is not that type of hair pulling. This type of hair pulling was different in the sense that, for one, we were not in elementary school - the peak of my "does it hurt?" was in eighth grade.. We are 13/14 years old in eighth grade, so we've discovered other ways of flirting and we are perfectly aware that hair pulling hurts. This hair-pulling wasn't "cute," it wasn't "flirtatious," or a way to get my attention; these boys had no intention to do any of that. This hair pulling was purely experimental and for degrading purposes. "Your hair isn't real, and that's weird, so if I yank on it hard enough - will you feel it? Will it rip off? Will you notice?" "I think it's a wig! Let me pull it to make sure it's not!" The amount of times I have asked a teacher to allow me to sit in the back of the classroom, so the little white boys that couldn't control themselves in my eighth grade class would refrain from having the irresistible urge to pull my hair was concerning; the amount of times a teacher said no and told me to "stick it out," was even more-so. Many of these instances would accompany sticking writing utensils in my hair to see how long they'd stay before I noticed, lifting my weave to see "how it stayed in," or trimming the ends to see if I'd notice or "feel it." 'It wasn't my real hair, after all. I could just go buy more.'

This situation was not only disgusting because a couple of these little white boys had been picking on me all year, but because they were honestly curious as to whether or not I felt pain. And they tested it, all. damn. year.  But let me make this very crystal clear to you all who are still 'curious' and borderline idiots, if anything that is attached to your body is yanked on, real or artificial, sewed or glued, long or short, white or black, it will hurt. If you pull on a clip-in extension, it may not always come out, but it will hurt. If you pull on a braid, it will hurt, and it might come out and if it does, you might will catch some hands. Also, someone else's body is really, like, none of your f!@#ing business, so it just might be in your best interests to keep your hands to yourself.

This is one of the situations where I question the sanity of white people. Many white people believe POC (that means person/people of colour) don't feel pain. It's been confirmed back in history and also in children nowadays. White children believe that people who are darker in complexion feel less or no pain compared to whites/people of lighter complexion. White people have also staged fake statistics in trying to convince themselves that black people feel pain. Disgusting, right? 

(If you are a borderline certified idiot: THIS IS FALSE. PEOPLE OF COLOUR FEEL JUST AS MUCH PAIN AS YOU DO.)

In my opinion, this is just a way for white people to justify excuse their lack of empathy towards POC, their perception of POC as "dangerous," and to not feel like a raging asshole after they've done some stupid shit to a black person like lick a cucumber and stick it to their forehead in the middle of class or allow another child to call them the 'N' word repeatedly outside your classroom.
no shade.

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