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Hi, I’m Liz. No, You Still Can’t Touch My Hair

Avatar • Jul 26, 2011

Recently CNN did an article entitled ”Can I touch it?’ The fascination with natural, African American hair’. It included the following quote from blogger Los Angelista (real name, Liz);

Because my black ancestors may have been your ancestors’ property, and had to smile while they got touched in ways they didn’t want to, but I am not YOUR property and never will be so you’d best move your hand away from me.”

A reader notified me this morning that the quote was taken out of context, and apparently Liz, who describes herself as a ‘Black/Irish MidWesterner’, was not notified that the quote would be used.

She wrote a response to the CNN article, and I’ve included it here. 

**********************************************************************************************

Hi, I’m Liz. No, you still can’t touch my hair.

Since I stopped chemically straightening my hair in 2007, I’ve been surprised by the number of people who’ve felt that they have the right to put their hands on my head and pet me. I’ve written about it–and occasionally joked about it–for the past few years. Well, Monday morning I woke up to my Blackberry buzzing because friends were sending me a CNN article that quoted and linked to “No, You Can’t Touch My Hair,” a piece I wrote in September 2009 about a particularly disturbing incident at Los Angeles’ Griffith Park pool:

…a woman, a white woman, approached me, her hand extended toward my head. “Ooh your hair is sooo pretty. Can I touch it?”


I immediately leaned away out of her reach and said, “No.”


Her response? A shocked and outraged, “Are you serious? I can’t touch your hair?”


“No, you can’t,” I replied. I guess she’s never seen my #donotpetmyafro hashtag on Twitter.


Indeed, she had the nerve to look confused and offended as she asked, “Why not?”


Really, lady? You want me to explain to you why I don’t want you to touch my hair? Let’s see…


Because you’re a STRANGER.


Because I’m not an animal in the zoo.


Because this is my body and I don’t have to let anybody touch any part of it, EVER, if I don’t want to.


Because my black ancestors may have been your ancestors property, and had to smile while they got touched in ways they didn’t want to, but I am not YOUR property and never will be so you’d best move your hand away from me.”

I didn’t actually say any of that to her in the moment. I simply told her no. I was polite but firm–I don’t feel that I have to allow people to experiment on me, or have a cultural experience when they decide they want to have one, or whatever that woman thought she was doing.

The CNN article only included the last thought about slavery. Not the context and not the woman’s response, which was to first rant–in front of her child–“I’m a nice person and I try so hard to be nice to THEM, but I’m tired of trying to be nice to bitchy black women.”

Then she continued griping, in earshot of my sons, “All I wanted to do was touch her hair. What’s the big deal about that? She should be happy I asked to touch her hair.”

I received a lot of email from women thanking me for what I wrote, because they’ve had similar experiences, but I also received a lot hate mail today for saying that the incident had anything to do with race.

At the crux of most of the anger is that I connected what happened to the cultural legacy of slavery. I guess I could’ve related it to Jim Crow instead of slavery–but the larger point, which I know is not popular to talk about, is that there has long been a historical and cultural expectation in this country that black people must meet the demands or whims of white people. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that saying no to a white person could get a black person beaten or killed. Some might say that, depending on where you live, that’s still the case. Or, at least, there are serious repercussions for doing so.

I watched The Color Purple a couple of weeks ago, and today I realized that the reaction of the woman at the pool reminds me of this scene where the mayor’s wife asks Oprah if she’d like to be her maid. Oprah, pretty bluntly, says no.

Of course, everything’s not exactly the same between the two situations. I didn’t swear at the woman at the pool and her husband didn’t run up to slap me. But her shock that I refused to let her pet me matched the shock of the mayor’s wife when Oprah declined the chance to be her maid.

Some of the emails I received today remind me of the crowd that gathers around Oprah towards the end of this scene, yelling at her. I’ve read that I’m a) I’m a racist bitch that wants to see racism in everything, b) the poor woman was just trying to be nice and give me a compliment but I’m ungrateful, and c) my husband probably hates me and spends his time f*(&#@g white women to get away from me.

And those are some of the nicer emails.

I get that some people don’t believe asking to touch a black woman’s hair is racism. I also understand that some folks don’t think that what the woman at the pool expressed after I declined her attempt to pet me is racism either.

I said it two years ago, and I’ll say it again now–the way she flipped out and referred to me as a “bitchy black woman,” the way she said I should be grateful she even noticed my afro…I strongly believe those things are rude and racist. And yes, I do believe asking to touch a black woman’s hair has roots in racism. People may not intend to be racist, but there’s a larger context, sometimes subconscious, that goes beyond the mere action.

Given the racial climate in this country, I don’t know why I’m surprised that so many people seem to feel that I should’ve just acquiesced to this woman’s so-called “good intentions,” and allowed her to feel my hair. However, let me be clear: while my parents raised me to be an advocate for racial unity, they also taught me that I’m inherently noble, and that I deserve respect–which means that no, you still can’t touch my hair. Please don’t ask.

You can find Liz at her blog Los Angelista.

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mina
mina
9 years ago

THIS!!!!!!! A THOUSAND TIMES THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS AND FOR ARTICULATING IN SUCH A SUCCINCT WAY WHAT IS AT THE ROOT OF white folks wanting to get their hands all up in black folks hair.

Ms. Pillowz
Ms. Pillowz
9 years ago

Love the response.

b.
b.
9 years ago

Thank you and bless you for including Liz’s response. I read her blog (as well as this one) and I hated that they took what she said and didn’t give context. She makes it plain and I applaud her. I’m not one for getting uber defensive about every little thing, but the innocent-sounding “can I touch your hair” can quickly turn ugly when the presumptive toucher doesn’t get their way. It’s not so innocent when the person asking is asking with the assumption of getting a “yes” as though it’s owed to them. I didn’t even read the comments from yesterday… Read more »

boho.barbie
boho.barbie
9 years ago

true.

Yahlah Yisrael
9 years ago

Yeah, half the time their grubby little hands are all in your hair before you can open your mouth to answer their question. I was “petted” in a work meeting infront of 4 other people (all white) without my permission once. I’m an admin that started-out there as an intern 4 years ago, so they really think of me more as a piece of property or an office supply or something. I was LIVID, but guarded my tongue to keep my job. Yes, it is demeaning as we don’t just run around petting their heads on a whim.

WinnieMae
WinnieMae
9 years ago

I love her response!! It’s sad that she’s gotten so many hate mails. I had noticed how the comments were turning nasty yesterday when I read the article. She makes extremely valid points and I hope the people without our hair texture (I’m trying to write this nicely while at work) reads this and use their heads. They need to stop and think if this were happening to them wouldn’t they react in the exact same way. I freak out when someone accidentally brushes up against me in a public place, so naturally I would freak out if someone were… Read more »

thelady
thelady
9 years ago

patiently waiting for the stampede of commentators who thought she was over reacting in the other post to show up and explain away this one

Lissie
Lissie
9 years ago
Reply to  thelady

LOL

Lin
Lin
9 years ago
Reply to  thelady

Haha, same here.
I can’t wait to see the backpedaling.

Anon
Anon
9 years ago

Ah most people did not get the context in which this hair petting situation was meant. Truly, the woman Liz encountered was obnoxious, rude and entitled. I responded to the last post saying that it depends on how the subject of touching your hair is broached and also that some people lived in environments or experienced encounters where the commenting and touching was meant in a negative way. While I accept that Liz had an awful experience, I do not feel that ALL people of other races have racist or negative intent when they show curiosity over our hair. I… Read more »

nappyct
nappyct
9 years ago

This was a great response. I don’t think touching natural hair is always race-related… but sometimes it is. I know I’m going to get into hot water for this, but here goes. I think the commenters on BGLH are very ‘white people friendly’. Which is fair, since many of us are married to white people and have white friends. But just because our PERSONAL experiences with white people may be positive, it doesn’t neutralize other people’s negative experiences… and it CERTAINLY doesn’t erase a very troubled and painful racial history, that continues into the present. Liz is bi-racial, and had BOTH… Read more »

nappyct
nappyct
9 years ago
Reply to  nappyct

Oh, and if you check the comments to this post on Liz’s blog, a WHITE MOTHER of two adopted Ethiopian girls speaks of how infuriating it is when people touch her daughters’ hair unprovoked. So, apparently, it’s not just “us”.

b.
b.
9 years ago
Reply to  nappyct

nappyct, I ain’t mad at’cha.

thelady
thelady
9 years ago
Reply to  nappyct

I agree with everything you said. Lately this blog has been attracting a different crowd, a year ago this type of post would have been 80% comments supporting the black woman’s right not to be petted. Now we got 80% telling her she is over reacting and playing the race card. I wouldn’t place the blame on interracial relationships. It does seem that this blog is now frequented by those who seek to assimilate at great personal sacrifice to their own person. This blog used to be a safe space for black women with natural hair. Now it seems to… Read more »

Anon
Anon
9 years ago
Reply to  thelady

I don’t think that is true in the least. I’ve read this blog since it was in it’s old incarnation and the women who post here have always held strong opinions and there have always been disagreements and debate. This site is different from hair boards and other blogs in that there is no general concensus of opinion among its readership. There is also no enforcement of censorship or command for boundless positive/agreeable comments only. It has always been a place where support was on offer as well as honest and thought provoking opinion. We do not have to agree… Read more »

Come on People
Come on People
9 years ago
Reply to  thelady

So i guess we should always have a hate “whitey” party.

Mae
Mae
9 years ago
Reply to  nappyct

Beautifully stated.

Lissie
Lissie
9 years ago
Reply to  nappyct

Hmmm Nappyct…you’ve made some interesting points and really got me thinking. Don’t worry, I won’t pour any hot water on you for writing what you wrote. If anything I’ll stick up for you because I can’t stand cyber parking lot fights, LOL! Btw, what I’m about to say is VERY OFF TOPIC but relates back to your comment. I find what you wrote (particuarly the last sentence) very thought provoking: “I think the commenters on BGLH are very ‘white people friendly’. Which is fair, since many of us are married to white people and have white friends.” I’m just curious… Read more »

African Violet
African Violet
9 years ago
Reply to  nappyct

I just discovered this blog a couple months back, so I don’t know what the general culture was like a year ago. I did want to respond to this comment, though: “It can be a tough balancing act, but we have to learn to, yes, be receptive to changing attitudes about black women, to let down our guard and make sure we’re on the right side of history. But we also have to be willing to acknowledge racism for what it is!” I just responded to another poster’s comment below about the term “bitchy black woman,” which triggered me to come… Read more »

AceNubia
AceNubia
9 years ago
Reply to  nappyct

I’ve just come across this whole blog and am very happy I did. I wanted to comment specifically to this post because, as I continued reading for later posts, I find it interesting of what appears to be an assumption made by you regarding the parentage of this Liz, the blogger, and with that assumption comes more credibility(which I take some issue). Per Oekmama below-at 11:21am- the blogger Liz’s parentage is BW/WM…so how is it her sense of self is more “credible” coming from a white mother?

TheRYL1
TheRYL1
9 years ago

Liz…you said it so well.

I hope many of those who had such negative comments about your “extreme” view can read this.

marie
marie
9 years ago

Liz I support you all the way!!!

Tonna
Tonna
9 years ago

I loved this! However, I’d much rather prefer that a person ASK ME before they touch my hair. If a person asks to touch my hair, I would like that better than someone just touching it without my permission. I think walking up to anyone and touching them — especially when you don’t even know them — is rude.

Eboni
Eboni
9 years ago
Reply to  Tonna

That’s what this whole situation boils down to; just COMMON COURTESY.

It think it’s sort of a step in the right direction that people of other races are learning to embrace what we black women are learning to embrace, i.e. our hair. But there’s no reason for some RANDOM person you don’t know, to feel it’s actually okay to cross the line and touch you WITHOUT asking.

This is part of reason why I keep my hair in twists all the time 😛

Remy
Remy
9 years ago
Reply to  Tonna

AMEN!!!!! I agree wholeheartedly. Ive been natural all my life and have always been asked questions about my hair, from 3rd grade till now being a senior in college. By people of all different Races, Indian, white, Hispanic. No one of another race has just come out and touched my hair, asked questions? Yes. Asked if they could take a close look? yes. But never reach out and put their hands in it. The fact that Liz told the woman no, understandable. The woman calling her a “bitchy black woman”. Overboard. A person has a right to their personal space,… Read more »

My thoughts
My thoughts
9 years ago

To be honest, I think that American culture is very ‘fetishized’. Although we live, work and play beside people of other ethnicities, we still don’t know much about them. I’m not trying to be crass here, but I’ve heard white men wonder what it would be like to f*ck an Asian girl, or black guys talk about what it’s like to f*ck a white girl. It’s just this unhealthy American obsession with race and ethnicity, that overshadows the fact that, where it counts, we really are not that different. If some white person wanted to touch my afro, my first thought… Read more »

b.
b.
9 years ago
Reply to  My thoughts

Your comment is the best one yet and I feel you are definitely on to something.

thelady
thelady
9 years ago
Reply to  My thoughts

A+

Lissie
Lissie
9 years ago
Reply to  thelady

A+++

julia
9 years ago
Reply to  My thoughts

amen!

Aivlys
Aivlys
9 years ago
Reply to  My thoughts

+1

Florida Steph
9 years ago
Reply to  My thoughts

I agree with the fetishized society. I have a Google+ account and I tried the “hangout” feature where you can set up a video conference with people all over the world. Since Google+ has not been made public yet, it is about 80% white men in these rooms, and about 95% men in general. So when women come into these rooms, of course men pay them attention. Attention is fine, but when someone decides to nickname me “sugar lips” and another man in another conference said “DSL!” (which is an anagram for something dirty, not an internet connection!) when I… Read more »

African Violet
African Violet
9 years ago
Reply to  Florida Steph

I was about to ask what the acronym DSL was for, but I think I have it figured out. Was it by any chance used in the Nas song, “Ether,” to describe Jay‑Z? If so, I definitely know what the acronym is for, and that’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone would feel that it’s OK to say to you!

And you’re right; unfortunately, if black women speak to harshly (which is subjective, if you ask me), they get saddled with the descriptor “Angry Black Woman” or “Bitchy Black Woman.”

African Violet
African Violet
9 years ago
Reply to  African Violet

*too

MJ Labonte
MJ Labonte
9 years ago
Reply to  My thoughts

+1 and a great insight

Come on People
Come on People
9 years ago
Reply to  My thoughts

I remember working with this white woman, and she had hair that was down to her butt. It was not that i wanted her hair, way too straight, but I just love hair. When she would get stressed out, I would brush her hair. Weird I know, as i brushed, we talked and had our counseling sessions. we worked in the back, not much traffic and too much free time…lol. I just wonder what it would have been like if we had those hang-ups. I guess i am just one of those open people, I have even encouraged people to… Read more »

Lola
Lola
9 years ago
Reply to  Come on People

not wanting strangers to touch your hair does not men you have a hang up

wtfshanee
wtfshanee
9 years ago
Reply to  Lola

yeah but calling someone a racist for wanting to touch your hair is a problem.

Shay
Shay
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

Liz did not call anyone a racist. She specifically points to the woman’s words and attitude as being racist, NOT the woman herself. People can say and do racist things without being racist. I am a biracial black woman and for example, my white bf has said (and probably will continue to say) a lot of racist and ignorant things. That does not make him a racist by default, but that doesn’t also mean I can’t call him on his sh*t when he screws up. The woman who tried to touch Liz’s hair said: ”I’m a nice person and I… Read more »

Come on People
Come on People
9 years ago
Reply to  Lola

Stating that most white people have racist intentions when wanting to touch a black person’s hair is a hang up.

Ain't I an African
Ain't I an African
9 years ago
Reply to  Come on People

I highly doubt that the woman was looking to bond with Los Angelista.

Mzmillion
9 years ago

This is what I posted on CN I understand both reactions to this story, I personally don’t find it offensive in most situations but I’m sure when you are made to feel like you “should” feel special because someone wanted to “compliment” your on your hair or you should feel happy because someone noticed you, I would be a little put off. I just read the original bloggers response to this situation on BGLH and I feel sorry for all the hate mail and extremely nasty comments she is receiving for her personal feelings on the issue and the reaction she… Read more »

K.
K.
9 years ago

Ok it all makes sense now. I was with her on not wanting to be touched but was like “slavery, really?” because that part was extreme in the context of the original post. Makes sense now.

Kameelah
Kameelah
9 years ago

I don’t mind my friends touching my hair. I don’t want a stranger or some random person touching though.

LaToya
LaToya
9 years ago

I think Liz was very accurate in her writing. This has the undertones of a racial issue, but first and foremost its an issue of respect. I mean, since when does someone have to explain why they don’t want someone to touch any part of their person? The white woman’s attitude about her being denied to touch was horrible as well, and shows the subconscious mentality of ownership that SOME people still have in this country.

oekmama
oekmama
9 years ago

If you take the trouble to find Liz’s blog, you would see that her mother is a bw, and her father is white. I’m glad she posted that. It’s true. What if one day you just don’t feel like being touched by strangers? Why are people getting so worked up?

Even if we don’t take a race-reading of the situation, if someone touches me without my consent, that’s rape. Doesn’t matter if it’s my head or any other part of my body.

African Violet
African Violet
9 years ago

Wow. I’m a bit annoyed that people think that it’s OK to ask someone to touch a stranger’s hair. Luckily, I’ve never had to encounter that. Reading the background on the original comment, I have to ask Liz if she’s sent anything to CNN asking for a retraction or clarification on the context of that statement? What CNN did by totally misrepresenting her words is not OK, and they need to be taken to task for it. With that said, I’m on Liz’s side that she has every right to tell someone that she will not allow her hair to be… Read more »

Lissie
Lissie
9 years ago
Reply to  African Violet

+1 in reference to CNN

Nichole
Nichole
9 years ago

I still don’t believe its a rac-IST or rac-IAL issue when it is an experience shared by many different people of many different races. I will always chalk it up to curiosity — I have this hair texture and I just happen to be black. I admit that I commented yesterday, but I also read this story this morning and while it is nice and articulate, it is just not my experience and I don’t share the opinion. A commenter above said that last year 80% of commentators would have been defending her, well maybe attitudes have changed over the last… Read more »

My thoughts
My thoughts
9 years ago
Reply to  Nichole

I agree. This article was just terrible. Shame on CNN!

OMG
OMG
9 years ago
Reply to  Nichole

I really don’t think it’s as simple as saying “last year 80% of commentators would have been defending her, well maybe attitudes have changed over the last year and will continue to change” I think that black people are TOO quick, TOO willing and TOO ready to discredit themselves, their struggles, or their challenges. PERIOD. We have deluded ourselves into believe that America is “post-racial” or “post-cultural”, and WE are the ones paying for it. When our “changing attitudes” about white people result in better education for our children, better economic outcomes for us and better professional opportunities. Then I will… Read more »

Nichole
Nichole
9 years ago
Reply to  OMG

No wagon here — I’d rather not even bother to lump myself into any group, even if others do. I’m an individual and do what I have to do for me.

I do agree with the better education and better economic outcomes, but I have gone after those things for me, not for anyone else on my “wagon”

Great points though.

Eva
Eva
9 years ago
Reply to  OMG

You are on point. On the CNN article many blond white women claimed that when they travel to foreign land, the people there are in awe of their hair. But the lands they travel to, white people are not the majority. In America, blacks and whites live along side each other. It is not a strange thing to see a black person with their hair. So I can see why it is racial. A white blond person going to Africa, and getting their hair touched, is different from a black person who has been living in America alongside whites for… Read more »

MJ Labonte
MJ Labonte
9 years ago
Reply to  Eva

+1

wtfshanee
wtfshanee
9 years ago
Reply to  Eva

lets be forreal here. how many fros do you come in contact with on a daily basis? in areas that are predominantly black, probably all the time, but places where its majority white and the black people there more than likely relax their hair, they probably havent seen it. i live in bumfuck pa becuase of college and i can assure you, i BARELY see black people with their natural hair, in fact, i’ve only seen 2 other black women with natural hair. so please, cut the bullshit and get over the past.

Delightbunnie
Delightbunnie
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

I actually don’t see that many women with fros when there is a large populations of blacks.

The number of blacks wearing their hair naturally is growing but I still don’t see too many of them. :/

Melissa
Melissa
9 years ago
Reply to  Eva

+1

AfroStyling
9 years ago
Reply to  Nichole

Well no one is asking you to believe its racist everytime. This particular scenario is obviously racist with her calling her a black bitch and her use of the term “them”. But i agree with you on the CNN article.

uglykinks
9 years ago

I’m not a dog or some rare creature so there is no need to reach out and touch my hair.

Eboni
Eboni
9 years ago
Reply to  uglykinks

+1 well said, short and sweet.

Leo the Yardie Chick
Leo the Yardie Chick
9 years ago
Reply to  uglykinks

This, and it goes for everybody!

Lissie
Lissie
9 years ago

Thank You BGLH for including Liz’s response. It’s unfortunate that the media took this beautiful woman’s story out of context. Sadly, I’m not surprised.

Maha
Maha
9 years ago

thumbs up to this response.… Honestly, they will never get it.

anonymous
anonymous
9 years ago

Wow. This article was an eye opener. I never thought their was racism involved when white people asked to touch our hair. But as I read the Caucasian woman’s response–> “she should be happy” and “I am tired of being nice to bitchy black women,” I realized what her true colors were. Not to say that all Caucasian people have the same intentions, but I think subconsciously some may think that they are making us feel better about ourselves when they ask to touch our hair so “we should be happy” and grateful to them. I totally understand the point… Read more »

Taneica
9 years ago

Here’s an idea; next time somebody asks to touch your hair, smile and ask if you can touch theirs! If they look at you like youre crazy and say no, it’s far that you decline as well! If they say yes, you guys can enjoy petting eachothers hair! That way both parties feel equally invaded. lol
P.S. for a good hoot, ask them what kind of products they use.…

Taneica
9 years ago
Reply to  Taneica

*it’s fair that you decline as well*

MJ Labonte
MJ Labonte
9 years ago
Reply to  Taneica

funny but great tip.I will definitely try this next time

Taneica
9 years ago
Reply to  MJ Labonte

right on!:-)

Eboni
Eboni
9 years ago
Reply to  Taneica

lol that’s a good one! 😀

sherry k
sherry k
9 years ago

I don’t mind when someone asks first cause I love my hair and I want the world to love it. But I hate it when people just assume that it’s okay. No matter how nice a person is about it, it makes me feel petted (it usually is a white person, and me living in the south now it’s hard not to consider race). Curious or not, ignorant or not it’s not okay to invade my personal space without permission.

Amber
Amber
9 years ago

I’ve ben transitioning for 1 year and 5 months and never experienced a stranger asking touch my hair. I’ve had countless times, family and extended family just put their hands in my hair and pull out my curls. Even though it is family I still kinda feel like “back up, you are jacking up my curls” Well, just this weekend I was out with my friend and we met up some of her friends (whom I’ve never met before) After a chit chat at a coffee shop we trekked out into the rain and wind to get to the car. Next… Read more »

julia
9 years ago

Just because you ask — doesn’t mean I have to say yes. If I know you, even casually, chances are I’ll be fine with it — but I may not, and definitely not a stranger.
I don’t let just anyone in my hair — because truly in order to feel it you have to go *into* my hair — not just pat the edges. There’s something intimate about that.

I wish that these comments, and the context would get as much exposure as the original piece.

pinkgirlfluff
pinkgirlfluff
9 years ago

Touching is personal. If a person wants to touch some black hair they can go build a personal relationship with a Black person. I don’t see why that is so difficult. My body is MINE. For a person to feel entitled to touching me without trying to get to know me as a person would make me feel like I’m an artifact. If you like my hair, just say you like it and keep it moving. A woman has a right to chose who she allows in her space and those that have a problem with that probably have deeper… Read more »

Larissa
9 years ago

Wow,that a BIG Topic in the Afro-german (also Austria,Switzerland) natural hair care Community. The black media watch Organisation “derbraunemob” sell T‑shirts. On the T‑shirts they are printing “Fass dir in deine eigenen Haare” (touch your own Hair!)
Because germany is not a Country were we like if people are coming to close or body contact. It’s just disrespectful thing to touch somebody without his permission.

I told my Children to do the same to people, if somebody touch there hair.

b.
b.
9 years ago
Reply to  Larissa

Ooh! Love the shirt idea. It would be cool to have a shirt with that phrase in different languages, much like the banners with “welcome” in a multitude of languages.

I’d also like a shirt with the word “fabulous” on it in different languages…but that’s besides the point.

Larissa
9 years ago
Reply to  b.

That it is in german have another message too. Because some people are “impressed” when Black people speak perfekt german. Why is it impressiv if you speak your mother language?
So they have T‑Shirts with ” Your german is pretty well,too” also 😀

Aivlys
Aivlys
9 years ago

Wow Liz CNN sure did a good job of making you seem extreme. Ladies, lets help Liz out! Post this write-up on any site you have the CNN article posted (including Facebook/Twitter). People are always trying to make a black woman look angry for no reason.

Aivlys
Aivlys
9 years ago

*you have seen the CNN article posted

inita
inita
9 years ago

I hardly have white people asking to touch or touching my hair. Ironically enough it’s mostly black women!!!! The whole hair thing isn’t about race it’s about manners. You don’t invade a person’s space without asking as for the white woman asking what did she expect? Would she want someone asking “Can I touch your boobs or butt?” and then play the race card when she said no. Horrorible expample to her son and I hope he comes home with a ghetto black woman just to annoy her.

Vonmiwi
9 years ago
Reply to  inita

You’re right, I only get the ‘let me touch your hair’ from other black women who basically want to feel for weave tracks because they can’t believe it’s all mine. My white co-workers always compliment me on my hair to make conversation. While living in Germany I got more expressions of the word ‘schön’ which means beautiful than I could count from passersby on a daily basis.

yoli
9 years ago
Reply to  inita

Yeah, since I’ve started locing the people who feel entitled to touching my hair have all been black. It’s kind of annoying to get, “can I touch your hair?” and just as I’m about to answer, the instinctively reach out to touch it anyway. However, despite the annoyance I am not offended because the person doing the touching is black and so it feels less like a violation. If a white person ever does that, I don’t think I’d be as understanding, because the history and subtext is much different. I hope her son comes home with an articulate, intelligent… Read more »

barcelonera
barcelonera
9 years ago

I honestly don’t feel that people wanting to touch our hair is racist. I think it stems from curiosity, a natural human response to unfamiliar things. I’m not saying that everyone has the right to touch it because that is nobody’s right but ours, but at the same time why are we so quick to jump on the racist train. If you saw a person in the street with a mohawk and wanted to touch it does that make you racist? No! It makes you curious. I’m proud that my hair stands out and that people want to touch it.… Read more »

Mae
Mae
9 years ago
Reply to  barcelonera

Did you read the article or were in such a hurry to let us know how very post-racial you are?

*massive eye roll*

AfroStyling
9 years ago
Reply to  Mae

Like seriously! These willfully blind people discounting the entire post only to make some random comment.

ranuka
ranuka
9 years ago
Reply to  barcelonera

That’s true, but respect for that person and their personal space should override any curiosity you may have to touch that person. I’ve seen many things I’m curious about (things that look real pretty)but I just don’t go trying to satisfy it. That person’s right to decide whether to let the person touch their hair is taken away from them. It’s like they don’t have a choice in what is being done to their body. When that is done to you how would you feel- like an object, very demeaning,disrespectful and small. On top of that, that doesn’t even touch… Read more »

Leo the Yardie Chick
Leo the Yardie Chick
9 years ago
Reply to  barcelonera

Asking to touch it didn’t make her a racist, but flipping her shiggity when Liz declined to have her hair touched — as if it’s an honour owed to her -, and not to mention calling her a ‘bitch black woman’ is what made her racist. With the context given, it was a racist experience. Overall, though? It’s people not having a lick of home-training, and thinking that they’re entitled to have their own way in everything — including putting their hands on another person, whenever/wherever/however. The first thing my mother taught me right before entering nursery school was, “Do… Read more »

shannon
shannon
9 years ago

I agree with Liz. Though it might not be outright, there could be some subconscious racial undertones. I think many people of all races are fascinated with the texture of our natural hair. However in my experience it has been my non-black counterparts who want to reach out and touch (most times without permission).

Stephanie
Stephanie
9 years ago

I don’t think its racist. I think some people just touch more than others. It’s cultural. I’ve seen plenty of white people touch other white people’s hair. It’s a way of admiration.

Not that it has to be tolerated if you don’t want to be touched but I don’t think its something to get all upset about either.

shannon
shannon
9 years ago
Reply to  Stephanie

That’s a really good point about it being cultural.

df
df
9 years ago

CNN is utterly useless and should not be considered a legitimate news outlet. I’ve thought this for years and this terrible article confirms it. The sheep eat up every word that is posted and will ignore anything that is not SPOON FED to them. I read the replies to that post and I was incredibly upset but to read that they took your statement so out of context makes it 100 times worse…

Lola
Lola
9 years ago
Reply to  df

I agree with everything you said. CNN is a joke and the replies to the initial post are shameful.

mimi candy
mimi candy
9 years ago
Reply to  df

Lmfao… from reading these post, there seems to be a lot of sheep on this website.

Whatever
Whatever
9 years ago
Reply to  mimi candy

candy

Oh shut up.

Khalilah
Khalilah
9 years ago

I agree with Liz, and everyone else on this topic. It’s a violation of personal space to touch someone’s hair without his/her permission. I’ve never been asked if someone could touch my hair, but I do look kinda mean, so people might not feel comfortable asking me (hehehe). But if they do, I will politely and firmly say now, and if asked why, I’ll say, “Because I don’t want you to.” I don’t go around asking mothers if I can hold their babies just because I think they are cute and cuddly. Is it okay for a guy asking to… Read more »

Tiara
9 years ago

Why is it so hard for people to acknowledge racism when it’s not smacking you in your face? Rac-ism: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others. (dictionary.com) There is nothing in that definition that states you have to get up every morning and scream white power or go to KKK rallies at night. Racism can be so systematic and inherent that you don’t even realize how drastically it colors your belief system. She saw… Read more »

mimi candy
mimi candy
9 years ago
Reply to  Tiara

Preach! I know those who love white folks won’t get what you typed.

clare kendry
clare kendry
9 years ago
Reply to  Tiara

Thank you!! Seriously, what is up with folks making excuses for this particular situation? It is disturbing.

b.
b.
9 years ago

Here’s another great piece from Tami. She was also mentioned in the article: http://www.whattamisaid.com/2011/07/final-notes-on-hair-touching.html

wtfshanee
wtfshanee
9 years ago

this is utter bs. someone touched your hair without your permission. thats not racism, thats not having manners. stop turning every little thing into a damn racist issue. no, i am not “white friendly”, i’m a black girl with a fro. for someone being bi-racial, she has literally nothing to bitch about. her looks get her farther than us dark skinned women with tightly coiled hair. stop acting like you know how “hard it is to be black in america”. when people look at her, they see bi racial, half white, light skin, loose hair, that video model bs. we… Read more »

Aivlys
Aivlys
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

ummm did you read the whole interaction between Liz and the lady at the pool. She had a superiority complex for sure and called her a black b**ch in front of her kids for not letting her touch her hair. She even said that Liz should be happy that someone would want to touch her hair. I’m not one to call the race card but the white lady at the pool made it a ‘race’ thing. If the lady just asked to touch her hair, was denied, and kept it moving I wouldn’t call it a race thing. But her… Read more »

b.
b.
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

You accused Liz of being a reverse racist, and without stopping to inhale threw in some colorism ish about the fact that she’s light-skinned with loosely coiled hair?

Have you read her blog? Did you read the initial post where the entire quote came from, where the lady called her out her name on top of slamming her race just b/c she told her “no”? Since when can’t someone be told no?

girl…bye.

Mae
Mae
9 years ago
Reply to  b.

Honestly, I wonder about some people. Did she even read the post?

I agree with you: girl, bye

wtfshanee
wtfshanee
9 years ago
Reply to  Mae

i read the damn post, and the CNN post. liz saw racism from the beginning. just asking someone to touch her hair was a racist act. that is not racist. at all. the comments afterwards, YES, that was rude, racist and unnecessary. how about YOU read the damn post and get your head out of your “black power” ass and learn how to be tolerant and civilized.

Ashley
Ashley
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

Why don’t you get your head out of your childish ass and learn to act like an adult. If thinking you have the right to touch a black person’s hair because it’s exotic to you isn’t a case of white privilege I don’t know what is. Why black people spend so much time excusing people’s BS to buy into this color blind business I’ll never know. And if trying to call out he OP’s race (when she’s black enough to have an afro people want to touch) doesn’t show your bias… Child boo.

wtfshanee
wtfshanee
9 years ago
Reply to  Ashley

no one fucking said she had the right. are you fucking retarded as well as not being able to comprehend written text? she had no right to touch her hair without permission. thats an issue about personal space and manners, not slave ownership. god damn. and i’m acting like a tolerant adult, unlike half you assholes on here who want to revert back into the 50’s. white people mostly dont interact with blacks because of people like you. hell, i dont even like to talk to blacks for the fear of being called racist, and for the fact that you’re… Read more »

Red
Red
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

I’ve never felt a white person’s hair and marveled at the texture. I’ve never asked to feel a white person’s hair or did it without permission. The few times I have touched a white person’s hair was a baby cousin wanting me to do it for them. I’ve met white people who’ve considered themselves color-blind, but had no black friends in their circle. Doesn’t have shit to do with how some black people are distrustful of white people. He hadn’t had any black people in his friends circle for a long time, and I was the only one on virtue of… Read more »

Shay
Shay
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

‘are you fucking retarded’ … did you just say that for real. In a discussion about racism and personal space you had to bring ableist slurs to the table? Using discriminatory language against disabled people is never never EVER acceptable. ‘and i’m acting like a tolerant adult’ lol ‘white people mostly dont interact with blacks because of people like you. hell, i dont even like to talk to blacks for the fear of being called racist, and for the fact that you’re too damn defensive’ aaand there is so much internalized racism in all of your comments here I just,… Read more »

Ain't I an African
Ain't I an African
9 years ago
Reply to  Shay

+1

mimi candy
mimi candy
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

No we all have not touched a white person’s hair. I find nothing attractive or appealing about white people, and I do not want to touch them or there hair.

Aivlys
Aivlys
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

Your post is demeaning by the way. I understand that you disagree but you do not have to be disagreeable. What does her being bi-racial have to do with her experience? In what way did her looks help her in this situation? And how hard is it to be black in America, how do you know that your experiences are more difficult than hers? To me it seems that you may have wrote in the spur of the moment, in your anger.

Abi
Abi
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

“white people mostly dont interact with blacks because of people like you. hell, i dont even like to talk to blacks for the fear of being called racist” erm… BLATANT TROLL!!! you don’t even talk to black people because you’re afraid of being called out as a racist. I knew that racist white trolls had to be lurking around here somewhere. *sigh* what a shame. I totally understand Liz’s situation and that lady definitely WAS racist and insulting. But this site is for reasonable debate, not childish profanity and name calling and trolling around… Most ‘white’ people have seen afro… Read more »

GSoldier
GSoldier
6 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

Yes, black people gave some serious colorism issues, but what the hec does that have yo do with this?!! You vented on the wrong article. And if a white person came up to you and wanted to touch, let’s say… touch your hand, and reached out to hold it, you’d let them, especially say, if you’ve just got it done. If you’re leaning towards a “no” with that question how much more if they asked to touch your hair, the most distinctive feature, hands down of a black person, hec even some mixed people that highlights the difference and speciality between… Read more »

GSoldier
GSoldier
6 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

Ps. “I’m a black girl with a fro”
Fool I know you’re white. Go and sit down!

yoli
9 years ago

When I read the part about how she is receiving hatemail and being told she just wants to, “see race in everything” I got pretty upset. I got upset because it just goes to show that no matter how much evidence there is to prove otherwise (the white woman instantly referring to her as a “bitchy black woman” for not being ~grateful~ to have such a precious offer) we will still be seen as whiny and bitchy and just wanting to make everything about race. There can be 100 witnesses to a black woman being called a slur, and it’ll… Read more »

Mae
Mae
9 years ago
Reply to  yoli

The hate mail she and the other ladies are getting is just beyond believable. The irony! They are upset she documented a racist experience she had by making racist statements. Who are these people?

Dani
Dani
9 years ago

WOW…In my experience, it was simply FASCINATION with my unique texture that made people want to touch my hair, not racism. After all, dont all of the hair commercials (catered to silky straight Caucasians) talk of desiring TOUCHABLE hair? Any hair that is attractive is screaming TOUCH ME. I understand that you may not want strangers touching your hair. But please understand that many people have never seen beautiful full natural hair and desire to touch it. Same as many people feel the need to touch a pregnant womans belly! Not that it is welcome, but understand the DESIRE. Not… Read more »

yoli
9 years ago
Reply to  Dani

OK so is it still fascination when someone doesn’t get their way and calls you a black bitch?

Reading comprehension, you should get some.

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago
Reply to  yoli

Most of us are talking about the original incident that the writer reacted to not what happened afterward. The original incident was not in itself racist but yes the comments she made afterward were. And there’s no need to be condescending and rude on these blogs. People aren’t stupid just because their opinion differs from yours!

Mae
Mae
9 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

People are stupid if they don’t read the article. It was one incident. The woman asked, she said no, the woman made racist statements. If you are not stupid, why are struggling to understand a simple story?

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago
Reply to  Mae

The point that I am debating is whether it is racist for a white person to ask to touch a black person’s hair and my opinion is no it is not necessarily racist. I am neither stupid nor am I struggling to understand a simple story but you however are condescending and just plain nasty and give certain people a bad name. People like you are why blogs like this are completely distasteful. Keep your nasty disrespectful comments to yourself! I am done with this conversation

Mae
Mae
9 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

bye.…

yoli
9 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Sorry, when you’re reading comment after comment of, “it’s just curiosity! There’s no way a white person would ever want to touch your hair because there are racist and othering undertones!” I get a little frustrated. I find it pathetic that people like you would rather side with the possibly good intentions of white people than another black woman’s very real experience. I will not apologize for defending that.

Dani
Dani
9 years ago
Reply to  Dani

I dont think I’ll ever comment here again. Can’t we discuss without being hateful to each other? I understand all that is being said here, I really do. But it’s not fair to be bashed for simply stating my view resulting from my own experience. I’ll look for a more positive forum.

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago

I agree. I don’t chalk it up to race either and think it’s unhealthy for people to pull the race card in any arbitrary situation. Now the comment the woman made about “black bitch” AFTER the incident was racist but it seems Liz had decided it was about race even before this. Truth is, I’ve had several black people come up to me and rudely touch or “pet” my hair and without asking and I haven’t had that experience from any other race. It’s curiosity, yes it’s rude but you can’t call it racism just cause it happens to be… Read more »

Mae
Mae
9 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

I guess the reading comprehension fail continues…

wtfshanee
wtfshanee
9 years ago
Reply to  Mae

mae, youre a cunt. shut the fuck up and stop acting like youre smarter than others. get your racist head out of your ass and find something better to do then to attack people on the internet.

Ashley
Ashley
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

Who pissed in your cornflakes this morning, wtfuncletom?

wtfshanee
wtfshanee
9 years ago
Reply to  Ashley

you bitch. call me uncletom all you want, but in the end its US(blacks) that keep ourselves down. we enslave ourselves. we dont have the motivation to want to do better. if you sit in the ghetto and stay in the ghetto, do not expect someone to save you- save your damn selves.

Molly B
Molly B
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

Wow…what’s with all the vitriol and hate? There’s no need to call people bitches and cunts.

Anyway…I think what Mae was getting at was that the hair petting itself wasn’t racist, but the comments the woman made were what was racist. I mean…she called the woman a “black bitch” because she didn’t let her touch her hair.

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago
Reply to  wtfshanee

Wow. You must be a bored white person trolling around…

Delightbunnie
Delightbunnie
9 years ago
Reply to  Mae

+1
I have noticed alot of people getting their panties in a bunch about this. where are they from 4‑chan?

NEVER EVER GO TO 4‑CHAN

Melissa
9 years ago

Im from NYC… I really don’t care what race you are- Im not letting anyone touch my hair! This is a very dangerous thing. lol. However I have had many ppl ask me and as politely as I can, I reject their request. Sometimes I get a strange look but that doesnt bother me because it is my hair and I dont owe a complete stranger anything. I have noticed that White ppl in particular want to touch my hair. I guess it is that way with most white ppl. They have a fascination which Afro textured hair and want… Read more »

Mercy
Mercy
9 years ago
Reply to  Melissa

LOL I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being curious but like you said, I don’t think it’s right to expect any stranger to want you to touch their hair.
Why would anyone ask another stranger that? What would make someone think they’ll answer “yes”?
That’s invasive! Too personal. WTH is wrong with some people?!!

COME ON PEOPLE
COME ON PEOPLE
9 years ago
Reply to  Melissa

You know I have never heard anyone address the fact that white people have a different since of personal space. They tend to share differently than many black people.

Jasmine
Jasmine
9 years ago
Reply to  COME ON PEOPLE

But why is it OUR RESPONSIBILITY to consider how white people view personal space?? Is it because they’re the dominant race? Is it because they make the rules??

Because, honestly, I really don’t see any white people trying to figure out how black people view personal space… or even how we feel about our hair being touched.

Why do we have to tailor OUR lives to THEIR definition of personal space!!

pinkgirlfluff
pinkgirlfluff
9 years ago
Reply to  COME ON PEOPLE

They probably haven’t addressed it because it does not really matter. I’m a hugger but I don’t go around hugging strangers just because I’m in a hugging mood or because a person looks fluffy like a teddy bear.

Come on People
Come on People
9 years ago
Reply to  pinkgirlfluff

I am a hugger too, and i do hug strangers if they seem to need one. *shrug*

It is the responsibilty of everyone to try to understand where people are coming from, it is not a black or white thing. it is a human thing. I don’t think we have to tailor our lives by their definition of personal space, but what is wrong with considering the source.

Ain't I an African
Ain't I an African
9 years ago
Reply to  Come on People

So shouldn’t the petter try to understand that I don’t want my hair touched as well?

Leo the Yardie Chick
Leo the Yardie Chick
9 years ago
Reply to  Come on People

If the woman said she didn’t want to have her hair touched, then why push the argument? I like dogs, but I’m not going to stretch my hand out to one snarling at me! That’s its way of telling me, “Human? BACK. OFF! I do NOT want you near me!”. If I ignore the warning and get bitten, that’s MY fault.

Consideration goes both ways.

copelli
copelli
9 years ago

Liz is absolutely right and she has every right to say “no” without making any excuse or reason for her decision. I know this experience all too well. Why this, why do you use that? can i touch it? NO, NO and NO. It’s not my designated function to be the source of your cultural enlightenment. I’ve done my share of that nonsense. And the fact that this woman got offended!! LOL…what nerve. Who does she think she is that she assumes any person has to say yes to her requests.…freakin’ amazing…the arrogance. Just like someone said: touching is personal and… Read more »

Mercy
Mercy
9 years ago

I think it would be rude to go up to any stranger, whatever their race may be, and ask them if you could touch their hair. Why would you think they’d want a stranger to touch them? I don’t think her initial intentions were to offend Liz though. I do think the woman’s reaction to Liz’s no was racist. What did other black women have to do with with Liz? Why would a stranger let another stranger touch their hair? Like she said, she’s not an animal at a petting zoo! That white woman is totally clueless! I bet she’d be creeped out… Read more »

Leo the Yardie Chick
Leo the Yardie Chick
9 years ago
Reply to  Mercy

Or her breasts.

chi chi
chi chi
9 years ago

Right on, right on!!!

Kayla
9 years ago

Now that this is back in context it makes way more sense! Now ITA!

CupOf*T
CupOf*T
9 years ago

BOTTOM LINE- RESPECT. NO MEANS NO. It’s not just about hair as much as it is respect, if you ask me to do something and I say “no” then respect my answer and go on with life. You don’t have agree with it but you should respect it. I think the fact the that the lady wanted to touch her hair stemmed from curiosity, the fact that she got crazy irrate when Liz told her no- stemmed from the fact that YES SHE IS RACIST. Because subconciously if she was not racist it would not have been an issue of… Read more »

Nappynfree
9 years ago

*claps hands* Well said!!

foxyr
foxyr
9 years ago

People should be more upset with CNN, since they took this poor lady’s comments out of context to make her look like some angry black woman! That’s who should be getting the hate mail, today! I no longer have any respect for that TV news channel. Be careful what you say in an interview! I wonder if she can sue their @sses for that slick move, especially since people have sent her hate mail because of that quote they printed out of context!

Happykinks
Happykinks
9 years ago

Now I agree with Liz, 100% because I am trying to be open and see where she is coming from. In America, we get upset when people stare, or sit to close tpo us on the bus, or even cut us off when we are walking, yet we say she is overreascting. Now I say “Why would I let a stranger put their hand in my hair!”

rosie
rosie
9 years ago
Reply to  Happykinks

Well said!

anonymous
anonymous
9 years ago

Do you ladies let strangers in general touch you?
I sure don’t, so any stranger asking to touch my hair would be denied.
Co-workers shouldn’t be touching you either, that’s out of bounds, therefore denied.

You need to treat your body like a temple, and when you do, you’ll understand that only certain people should be touching you.

D
D
9 years ago

I seem to be part of the minority in this discussion but here goes: anyone of any race who tries to touch you without your permission clearly has no respect for personal space. On top of that, this lady clearly had a sense of racial superiority. So I definetly sympathize with Liz’s situation for those reasons. I don’t think she overreacted to this lady. What I don’t agree with is taking that and generalizing : “And yes, I do believe asking to touch a black woman’s hair has roots in racism”. So now any white person who asks to touch… Read more »

SA
SA
9 years ago
Reply to  D

I think saying something is racist is different from saying something has ROOTS in racism. America is a very racist country whether we like to admit it or not. We were built on racism and it is going to take more than forty years to get rid of it. While it is not blatant or intentional racism(at times), institutional racism is prevalent. That is the distinction the author may have been trying to make.

SA
SA
9 years ago
Reply to  D

Also, reading the original post gives further insight into her reaction and why she felt it was not only rude, but also racist.

NaturalSweety
NaturalSweety
9 years ago

i just dont see why people are outraged by her standing up to her personal space, its not like people just go around asking strangers can we touch their hair. If we want to go as far as black vs white, we black people surely dont go around asking white people on the street can we touch their hair and nor would I ask a black person either. Everyone is entitled to their personal space and I do not see anything wrong with her saying no, infact I dont understand why the lady was inclined to ask to touch her… Read more »

Monique, Sofull Sista
9 years ago

When I saw the article on CNN, I quickly went to Liz’s blog to check it out. I was surprised at how different the story sounded in the context which she wrote it. I’m sorry that Liz has received such harsh hate mail, when the story wasn’t even told correctly…

Los Angelista
9 years ago

Just wanted to say thanks to BGLH for reaching out to me and requesting permission to share my post so that the whole context of what happened is out there. I really appreciate it, and am really touched by those of you who engaged folks on the CNN comment section and on other sites. Being a journalist (I’m an education editor at my day job,) I have a thick skin, but wow, some of the hateful things people have taken the time to type are out of control! That said, your support means so much more so thank you. BTW, because… Read more »

Come on People
Come on People
9 years ago
Reply to  Los Angelista

thanks for sharing, and yes we do have some very angry people on here…lol

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
9 years ago
Reply to  Los Angelista

Have you asked CNN to print your entire article so that the context is properly available to their readers? It’s really unfair to take you out of context and then subject you to hate mail (although I assume you would get hate mail even if your whole article was printed by some morons anyways).

Nicholereo333
Nicholereo333
9 years ago

There;s a caucasion fellow that works at my local whole foods and he rocks locs down to his ankles and I do want to toucht them, so for me its just a curosity about texture.

Nicholereo333
Nicholereo333
9 years ago

There’s a caucasion fellow that works at my local whole foods and he rocks locs down to his ankles and I do want to touch them, so for me, its just a curosity about texture.

*pardon my typos

La'Tasha
La'Tasha
9 years ago

I honestly believe it is really simple, her hair is a part of her body, if she didnt want anyone to touch it she is allowed to say so. why should some stranger be allowed to fondle my hair, good intentions or not, it is MINE not public domain. It is upsetting that anyone would be angry because she refused to allow someone to touch her! her hair is just as much a part of her as her breast and her legs and i am sure no one would be offended if she refused access to those. Basic.

Donella
Donella
9 years ago

My answer is a polite “No, you may not.”

If there is an escalation, my answer becomes, “You can touch my afro if you can make it past this bag of nickels (pepper spray, finger nails, keys, aerosol breath freshner aimed at your eyes).”

It’s a health issue. I don’t know where your hands have been–scratching warts, rashes, cold sores, inside noses, armpits, groins, crevices, orifices, picking fleas off your dog.

No. You won’t put your hands anywhere on me.

Ghanana
Ghanana
9 years ago

Wow,I live in London and I have experienced the same thing! I have only been natural for a year, and before that I wore weave. WHEN YOU HAVE WEAVE NOBODY NOT EVEN YOUR BOYFRIEND TOUCHES YOUR WEAVE!!!! So if its natural why should it make any difference? if i don’t want you touching my fake hair, why should you touch it when its real??? apart from general maintenance of afro/natural hair (twisting, braiding, shaping) no one like their personal space invaded, that woman was rude and ignorant and that’s why SHE played the race card, THE FACT THAT SHE FELT… Read more »

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
9 years ago

Liz shouldn’t back down from her argument that the White woman was racist — calling her a Black bitch because she refused to allow her hair to be touched is racism. Pure and simple.

And no, a stranger is not going to touch my hair. I don’t go around asking to touch their greasy heads. Please!

luvnaturale
luvnaturale
9 years ago

LOL!!!!

Royalle
Royalle
9 years ago

Maaaaan, people touch my hair all the time! They don’t even ask me…wtf is that all about???

Leo the Yardie Chick
Leo the Yardie Chick
9 years ago

People seem to have forgotten both good sense and boundaries. Why should Liz, or anyone else, be obligated to be patted, poked, and prodded to satisfy someone’s curiousity?

And a big ol’ side-eye to CNN, and now CBS, for taking POC (people of colour)s comments out of context for more of a reaction.

Nicole
9 years ago

This kind of reminds me of Tracie Thoms bit on Good Hair, “Their just curious white people…” lol Anyway, this what this woman did was rude. Intentionally attempting and EXPECTING to invade a stranger’s personal (socially acceptable) boundaries. She didn’t even engage in conversation about hair and then ask, she just wanted to touch it. And then on top of that she just assumed that Liz declined her request because she was a bitchy black woman. I don’t necessarily consider the desire to touch racism, but singling out Liz’s reaction as unique and race-based and then applying it to an… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

The woman’s children who witnessed their mother berating, insulting, and reprimanding another woman for defending her body and her space have learned a very unfortunate lesson. Hopefully, they will not grow up to play for Duke’s lacrosse team.

trackback

[…] NO TOUCHING. […]

Ayse
9 years ago

Can I touch your hair?”

If you let me touch your nipples first.”

OK, yeah, that’s just my fantasy world where that would not turn into an even more horrible situation. But seriously, who just thinks they can touch a stranger, any stranger? And gets angry and outraged when a normal social limit is placed on them?

trackback

[…] Lanie submitted this amazing article from ChocolateHairVanillaCare.com. We’ve discussed the issue of “hair touching” before, but it’s great to hear a unique point of […]

Eloïse
9 years ago

Beautiful post, and full of sense, hope evryone could read and understand this.

Jo Somebody
Jo Somebody
9 years ago
Reply to  Eloïse

Bwaaaaahahahahahaha!

Keneesha
9 years ago

I’m not shocked at the news station; using words out of context is what they do. I’m not shocked at the white woman’s reaction to the response No because I’ve experienced many tantrums from that response while working at a bank. I can’t even say I’m shocked at the selfish hateful comments of people who never experience certain things and either can’t understand or refuse to become informed enough to be unbiased. I hate to see parents act stupidly in front or their children and both Liz and the stranger’s children learned an unconscious lesson on human interaction coupled with… Read more »

White
White
9 years ago

White people can also be petted or patted without even asking. You don’t need to be a kid for that. Happens more in places where virtually everybody has dark hair, like in China, Middle East, or Africa. I don’t see this as racism as in slavery or apartheid. It is just childish enthusiasm that can only be fought person by person. Children often learn about different hair types at young age so that they don’t have urge to touch hair when they are adults. Not always though. Sometimes you first see a westerner when you are 40. Sometimes you first… Read more »

Nikita Valencia
9 years ago
Reply to  White

@ White. if a man asked you can he touch your behind, can you just say, “No.”? Of course!! This is no different, your body- no matter who asks, or for what reason- is YOUR body. You can deny a person with a simple word, she doesn’t have to be nice. Just like you wouldn’t be in my “man example”. Liz was offended, and the woman should have apologized to her for offending her, not go on and perpetuate social/racial misconceptions in her children!!

KD
KD
8 years ago

I kind of agree with white, I am not sure people wanting to touch your hair is a racist thing as much as an ingnorance thing. Everyone who has touched mine has been black and they have ranged from age 6 to over 40. Its really sad that so few black people, even young kids, have seen or experienced our own natural hair that it is seems so shocking and unusual that people have to touch it.

Donella
Donella
9 years ago

If you are asked to be petted, and you do not like it, you can not – by the rules of nice behaviour – just bluntly deny it.”

This is passive aggressive manipulation. Passive aggression is not nice. It is nasty.

No” is always an appropriate response to rude, intrusive, aggressive, violating, vulgar, low-class behavior.

White
White
9 years ago
Reply to  Donella

Donella,

It is up to you to decide on how you respond. But, as I said, don’t be surprised. Ignorant people are not always overly humble.

It can also be that my cultural background assigns more evil tones to ‘no’ like the famous ‘what part of no you did not understand’. But that’s life, we do not speak the same languages.

Father of a petted one’

Donella
Donella
8 years ago
Reply to  White

Ignorant people will be both surprised and humbled by my pepper spray.

natural10
natural10
9 years ago

clapping clapping clapping…thats right

Nikita Valencia
9 years ago

I love this!! Sometimes, living in the place that I live, I feel that I am the only one who thinks this way. It is so wonderful to hear that other Napptural Chicks go through and feel the same things that I go through and hear.…..The first day I wore my natural hair to work, I was told that I looked like a “wild woman”.
[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/IMG_4110.JPG[/img]

aprilbaree
aprilbaree
8 years ago

BRAVO!!!!!

april
april
8 years ago

BRAVO!!!

KD
KD
8 years ago

I am really feeling this article, a few days ago a friend of mine just took his hand and put it on my head and it really pissed me off, my hair is my personal property and no one has the right to get that up close and personal unless given permission. And if permission is denied then just go on. I applaud the writer of this article and shame on CNN for only reporting part of the story!

gigi
gigi
8 years ago

Didn’t realize about the ‘racist origins’… but just on a decorum or manners angle though, I would find it odd to go up to a stranger to ask to touch their hair lol like I had no social skills or something… but friends and/or family of any race? absolutely touch away! and a nice scalp massage while you’re at it please! put your inquisitive ass to work! 😀 this is pretty timely: I was just seeing some musician friends in Minneapolis a few wkds ago, and they hadn’t seen my hair 1)natural or 2)out — at first it was nice… Read more »

gigi
gigi
8 years ago
Reply to  gigi

[oh almost forgot: they’re southern french gypsies]

Naturalbeauty
Naturalbeauty
6 years ago

AMEN! A lot of whites do have the mentality that they should be able to do whatever they want (especially to Black people) and it is okay. I’m glad you stood up and said NO. Kudos to you my Sister!

imani
imani
6 years ago

I am a little torn on where there the racism has its origins in this scenario. I dont believe its in the ASKING that makes it racist bc Im sure white ppl ask to touch each others hair too. I feel its in the sense of ENTITLEMENT bc its a cultural experience for them. They think we should know that as white ppl our hair is a curiosity to them and we SHOULD allow them to satisfy it. If a white person told another “no” they’d likely think that person just wasnt a nice person or has boundaries abt such… Read more »

ADRZ
ADRZ
6 years ago

Wait a min…slavery, races, or whatever is not the only thing that can make million ppl say “NO”, they also know abt stranger. They are like “You ask to touch my hair but I dunno where your hand been?” eeew! lol… let me broke down the point, did you know that if a person with germiest hand touching hair can cause hair breakage or hair loss? Hair strand is very fragile that is why we are told in every method to detangle very gentle and massage careful to not take up more hair. BUT did you forget the science we… Read more »

Youngin girl
Youngin girl
6 years ago

I thought the whole,” No, you cannot touch my hair” phrase was because they don’t know the person or where their hands been but since reading the origin of the hair and how she emphasized her attitude in which her explanation implied her to contrasting the movie–I love the movie–color purple to the reaction the woman was suggesting, I now know why. I have seen those phrases a lot if times but didn’t know the explanation of the point. She knew her hair history and implemented that into her answer,“No.” I love this site and all the updates I am… Read more »

Chel
Chel
5 years ago

So many white folks feel entitled to anything, I swear.

BattyByChoice
BattyByChoice
5 years ago

Lets just say this, no white person would go up to another stranger (white) and feel comfortable enough to even start reaching their hand out to touch the hair. How weird is that?!

Lexi Key
Lexi Key
4 years ago

For the sake of being objective, I’m going to say that some people are genuinely curious about things that are different from theirs. I think it’s great to ask questions (of people who seem open to them) if you really want an answer. I’ve had lots of moms and grandmothers of biracial little girls ask me for hair advice in Walmart. On the flipside, none of those ladies asked me if they could touch my hair. I don’t remember any complete strangers asking me that but I’ve had friends ask to touch it or style it to get some experience… Read more »

Wren
Wren
4 years ago

When I was younger I had black girls want to play/touch my hair all the time. They acted offended when I didn’t want them to. I don’t like my hair being touched and they usually wanted to brush it with their fingers, then braid it. One girl who was much larger than me sat behind me and everyday she
“styled” my hair. I have NEVER asked anyone black or white if I could touch their hair.

hoppytoad79
hoppytoad79
4 years ago

I’m white and I do not understand why other whites feel so drawn to touch the hair of black people, especially strangers. It’s hair. Big deal. It’s also hair on someone else’s hair, and they are not an animal in a petting zoo or a curiosity piece to be poked and prodded and felt up. I can’t think of any time when asking a stranger “Can I touch your hair?”–for no other reason than to touch their hair–is ever appropriate. Whites who become outraged and angry over being refused need to get the hell over themselves and our totally anachronistic… Read more »

Claudette UK
Claudette UK
5 years ago

I’m with you Liz! Even we tried to touch our mother’s hair she would pull her head away and say ‘I’m not a dog!’. I think the attitude that we should feel complimented by a stranger wanting to touch our hair is insulting and ludicrous. How courteous is it to invade a stranger’s personal space and try to touch them?

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