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Ending Our Association of Long Hair with Mixed Heritage

• Mar 18, 2013

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by Nicole Pennant

What do we mean when we assert that we are 100% Black? I have been natural since 2004.  I became a follower of natural hair blogs/vlogs over the last couple of years because I started caring for my own hair at home.  The information that I have learned from these sources has been invaluable. However, I have also observed the often heated debates that occur about natural hair.  One that stands out in particular has been about individuals that have grown long natural hair.  Questions or statements about an individual’s background always seem to arise. The following statements/questions come from the comment sections of a selection of bloggers/vloggers: “Are you mixed?” ‘You’re mixed with something right?”

These questions/responses are then followed by either the individual or others asserting the Blackness of the individual: “Why do people think black people need to be mixed to have great healthy long hair?!!!” “No. No she’s not mixed with something.”

And in some cases people make the claim that they or the person is 100% Black: “Yes, I’m 100% Black.” “[insert vlogger name] is 100% black…” “I am 100% Black and my hair has always been lengthy.”

I find assertions like “100% Black” or those alluding to someone being “all black” to be puzzling since it is just not true.

When I was in college I took a cultural anthropology class while pursuing my degree in African American Studies. It was first time I was introduced to how DNA was being used to trace a person’s genealogy and ancestry.  We watched a documentary in the class called “Motherland: A Genetic Journey”.  In the film, we observed three British African Caribbeans trace their ancestry using DNA.  Since this film then there have been many more programs focusing on the science of ancestry. Some of the most prominent programs have been Henry Louis Gates’ “Finding Our Roots” and “African American Lives.”  I find these shows fascinating because of the history that is often hidden underneath phenotypic characteristics like race.  For instance, on “Finding Our Roots” actor Don Cheadle found out that he was 19% White and that he also had Native American in his family lineage. In “African American Lives” Chris Rock found out he was 30% White.  Samuel L. Jackson found he could potentially apply to be a member of the Sons of the American Revolution because of a White ancestor on “Finding Our Roots.”   

Recently Gates wrote an article in The Root entitled “Exactly How ‘Black’ Is Black America” discussing the ancestry of Black Americans.  In the article he indicated that most Black Americans have mixed race heritage when DNA testing is conducted.
* According to Ancestry.com, the average African American is 65 percent sub-Saharan African, 29 percent European and 2 percent Native American.
* According to Family Tree DNA.com, the average African American is 72.95 percent sub-Saharan African, 22.83 percent European and 1.7 percent Native American.
* According to National Geographic’s Genographic Project, the average African American is 80 percent sub-Saharan African, 19 percent European and 1 percent Native American.

These findings indicate that the majority of Black Americans ARE NOT 100% Black.  Making this claim to percentage of Blackness is simply inaccurate.  Who we are today is significantly shaped by our past.  From my perspective acknowledging this racial mixing does not diminish our history because it is a part of the history. Nor does it downplay the Black experience and what it means to be Black in America. The creation of racial groups in American society was a social construction that had a lot less to do with genetics and more to do with physical appearance.

In the area of hair care I think awareness of this history is also important.  Trying to make claims about Black authenticity or 100% Blackness with regards to something that is actually shaped to some degree by genetics like hair seems odd.  But, we also know that good hair care practices have a significant influence on hair growth and that many of us were unaware of that until recently. A lot of the information that we were lacking was due the uplifting of European standards of beauty and the stigmatization of curlier and textured hair commonly found in the Black community.  Consequently, many of us never learned the proper care for our hair.

So when we observe someone with hair that would be considered exceptionally long or a looser curl pattern we shouldn’t immediately run to determine their racial/ethnic make-up in order to explain the ease of their hair care routine or growth.  For one thing, those same individuals proposing the question are more than likely some sort of racial mix as well. Additionally, being aware of the racial mixing in the past does not minimize the new history being created by Blacks who wear natural hair.  

The Black community is diverse and the differences we observe should be accepted as part of the Black experience instead of being used as a litmus test for Blackness.

Nicole Pennant is a guest contributor.  She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Political Science with a focus on Black Politics.  You can reach her at nicole.pennant@gmail.com.

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204 Comments on "Ending Our Association of Long Hair with Mixed Heritage"

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Nooni
Guest

I think she is taking the term 100% black to literally. When people say that, what they really mean is their parents are not different races and/or that there is no immediate non-black ancestry that they are aware of.

Nicole Pennant
Guest
Hi Nooni, I understand what people mean when they say that they are 100% black. You are right…most of the time they are referring to their parents or no immediate ancestry that they are aware of. However, I think this notion to claim 100% blackness makes no sense when the evidence says otherwise. The qualifier of 100% makes the expression problematic because trying to prove “blackness” is much more complicated. In all honesty I don’t think people need to explain how black they are. My argument is about just accepting that our black identity is most prominent but that our… Read more »
Nooni
Guest
Race is not an objective characteristic, and the whole concept of talking about black and white race etc is inherently flawed because ‘race’ does not exist. As such, we often use largely flawed terminology to say what we feel, therefore using the term 100% black is fine. The underlying meaning is conveyed. Saying I am a black person makes as much sense scientifically as saying I am 100% black, both are scientifically incorrect, but they convey a specific meaning. Using the term 100% black is fine and perhaps not all of us want to acknowledge our past ancestors equally. I… Read more »
goyta
Guest
i’m sure it’s just an expression that simply means that, as nooni said, their parents or grandparents or even great grandparents aren’t “other”. in any case, no matter how factually incorrect it may be, we all understand what is meant by what is said. it’s the same as when someone says “i’ve got mixed hair…” whether the person making that statement is mixed or not, we all, even if begrudgingly, get about the same mental image conjured up in our heads of some type 3ish curly, wavy (not black, but not white) curl pattern. it’s probly a dumb way to… Read more »
Chereace
Guest
agreed. I don’t think any black AMERICAN believes they are 100% black literally. but it’s a shared understanding that we mean that there has been no recent race mixing in our genetic makeup. I really thought this post was going to be about something else, more specifically delving into issues like this: ” the uplifting of European standards of beauty and the stigmatization of curlier and textured hair commonly found in the Black community. Consequently, many of us never learned the proper care for our hair.” it is like this BECAUSE of our history in american and BECAUSE of european… Read more »
Jessica
Guest

I totally agree Chereace.… I thought the article was a nice way to state the obvious… I mean… That is common knowledge that no Black American is 100% black, right?.….right? Lol. I think it would have been much more beneficial to delve more into what this flawed thinking has to do with our hair and how we care for it. While the actual breakdown of the percentages was very interesting- this article told me nothing that I didn’t know already

silkynaps
Guest
There’s the traditional West African black aesthetic and there’s the black aesthetic that was tremendously influenced by miscegenation. Of course, the black aesthetic in the Americas is more likely to be influenced by miscegenation due to slavery and interracial unions…yes, that means some black people will have hair textures and complexions that are not what we’ve come to know as traditionally West African. In the Americas, miscegenation is a fact. Regardless of having two brown or black parents, it’s naive to think that miscegenation does not play a role in the way we look. DNA is funny…sometimes, first generation mixed-race… Read more »
Nana
Guest
I wonder where people get this notion that West Africans or Africans in general aren’t mixed. There are whole tribes stretching to Angola whose heritage is partly due to Portuguese miscegenation dating back waaaay back to the 1400s. There are whole slave heritages (such as in Liberia) where after the fall out of slavery in Western countries Black identified persons were shipped back to random areas of Africa. Recently scientists have finally accepted that Chinese and Kenyan people share genetic similarity due to trade routes. And then you have people like me. 100% Nigerian but my great-grand mother’s maiden name… Read more »
Nana
Guest

Oh I should point out I wasn’t disagreeing with you, just adding more facts 😀

SJ
Guest
Well, I am a person of Nigerian descent who can trace my lineage back quite a few generations. My hair has come a long way and has grown to great lengths. I have 3 textures on my head, with mainly 4a, but also some 3c and some 4b. I know that I am predominantly black, if not 100% black. In Nigeria, miscegenation is in our history, but not nearly as prevalent as it was in the Americas. But at the end of the day, people still question my background and assume that I am mixed with something. I like that… Read more »
Nana
Guest
It makes me wonder what we consider a “prevalent” racial phenomenon. Would it be the kinky hair? Many women of the Caucasus region (note: Caucasian actually does not denote White) also share that distinction. Wide noses? Many Asiatic cultures same the same features. Or perhaps it is the skin color– which we already have established is not unique to our own dynamic. Racial classification is so interesting when you realize how little it actually accounts for. Also it’s funny you point out Igbos are lighter. I’m Yoruba and we all tend to be dark as hell LOL I always thought… Read more »
eve-audrey
Guest

here we go again east african countries are not predominately made of mixed race people where the hell does that myth come from? as for north africans i don’t know so i won’t make any statement. i don’t mean to attack you but as someone else stated there was a foreign presence in west african countries too leading to some admixture but how do you actually know that east africans are more mixed than west africans? we still have a long way to go busting myths and misconceptions.

Nana
Guest

… Who said East Africans were more mixed than West Africans. Can we stick to what was actually said? If you need me to reinterpret my words for you because it wasn’t clear enough I can do that.

Everything I said can be attributed to well known anthropological facts provided to us by the dedicated scientists eager to trace the human genome.
If you have a problem with that, I can’t help you.

Google is Your Friend.

http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/14/17315481–600-year-old-chinese-coin-found-in-kenya?lite
http://www.mfa.gov.cn/ce/ceke/eng/sbgx/t204436.htm

I cannot with the ignorance in the rest of your comment.

eve-audrey
Guest

@nana my bad i wasn’t responding to you but to silkynaps whostated that entire nations are comprised predominately of people with mixed race asthetics including east africa. i was just correcting by saying that east african countries are not predominately made of mixed race people that’s all. i’m fully aware of the fact that common genetic traits were found between chinese people and some african people and that some african people actually have common genes with jews thanks for your information.

Nana
Guest

Op! Then I apologize for my brash response haha. I was so confused because being “mixed”/miscegenation does not guarantee the traits we commonly associate with the mixed identity (light skin, curly hair, light eyes, etc).

Actually part of the reason why early Egyptologists refused to classify Egyptians as classically “Black” was because they didn’t have the features we commonly associate with West Africanness (wide everything, dark skin, neotenized skulls). However Egypt’s antiquated named– Kemet– itself means “Black Land” and lemme tell you the land ain’t actually Onyx Black lmao.

(Can you tell I love this subject)

Anyway I do apologize and be well!

eve-audrey
Guest
@nana i actually agreed with your comment ^^ and concerning ancient egypt you’re right but making people accept the fact that ancient egyptians were black and not white is another thing and let me tell you not an easy one! it reminds me of the legend of the queen of sheba (english is not my mother tongue so i really don’t know if that’s how you her in english) proofs of her existence have acctually been found. ethiopians call her makeda and i strongly believe she was from abyssinia (the empire that later became ethiopia) but again you’ll have people… Read more »
SJ
Guest
When I say miscegenation was less/more prevalent, I mean how culturally common it was to mix with other races in the region in question. In some regions of Latin America, miscegenation was not really as frowned upon as it was in Africa. I have taken a course on this stuff and did a research paper. A lot of it has to do with the prevalence of slavery and “ownership”. Many white slave owners justified rape with the fact that they thought they “owned” these women and could “do whatever they wanted”. Depending on the region considered in Latin America, some… Read more »
SJ
Guest

I agree, Nana!

SoSad
Guest

I find it interesting that whenever broad features, dark skin and coarse hair are attributed to West Africa people feel the need to point out “but but but Asians have broad features too.!!!!” or “my mother’s cousin’s boyfriend is white and her hair is so kinky!!!” First of all, who cares? No one was talking about “them” and secondly, the exception isn’t the rule and lastly, would the reaction be the same if thin features, light skin and silky hair was the association?

shelikes
Guest
this is an aside, but you are so lucky to be able to trace your lineage!!! and not through some dna internet order, but through stories handed down each generation…just like the white folks. so cool. i was in west africa once years ago and most of the women i saw had thin dull hair. i just chalked it up to poverty, poor diet, stress, relaxers, weave, etc. those who had short natural cuts were prettiest. i really think that once a person begins to live a healthy lifestyle and finds healthy products for their natural hair, it will grow… Read more »
natu
Guest

WOW! Am really impressed by your answer. It always good to see black people that know their history. To add on to your answer the Arabs also mixes with the Kenyans and Tanzanians. We now refer to them as the Swahilis. Many people keep forgetting that the ‘whites’ settled in Africa for a long time therefore our line was corrupted. That said, Africans had various skin tones and hair textures even before these other nationalities discovered the continent.

kem247
Guest

ey! I am from West Africa, and correct me if I’m wrong but there really isn’t a traditional aesthetic, being from Nigeria you see a mixture of women and men who look “mixed” or have lighter skin. All parts of the world like you said have people with a mixed race aesthetic, in fact I have met black men and women who look “West African” but they’re ancestors go back to the Native American.

What I’m trying to say, is that one cannot tell if a person is mixed just by looking at them.

kem247
Guest

The comment was for silkynaps.

Miss T
Guest
I don’t understand why some people think black people come in one shade and one hair texture. I have a light complexion and my hair is in the 4b/4c range, I’ve had some people seem to get irritated with me or surprised because I don’t have the texture of hair “a light skinned girl” is supposed to have (very funny too me). I have been called white, mexican, chinese and almost every other race, most people who are half white are darker than me, My parents are black and so are their parents, my mother is lighter than the average… Read more »
Nia
Guest

I find it draining discussing race and such..bc its the same arguments/points over and over. New conclusions are seldomly reached

liberiangirl
Guest

@ nia, thank you. i’m getting a headache just by reading the caption alone.

Nicole Pennant
Guest
Hi Nia, I enjoy discussing. I think the topic is complicated and I agree that there aren’t clear conclusions. I do believe it is worthy for dialogue and discussion especially in a community (natural hair broadly) where questions of racial authenticity are frequently used as a way to challenge one’s natural journey or struggles with hair care. I highlight the point mainly to say we all have a dynamic past that is shaped but in many cases horrible and terrible events however blackness is more than just skin color or being 100%. Rather it is about a life experience that… Read more »
me
Guest

discussion is fine as long as ACTION of some sort is happening as well…

Nicole Pennant
Guest
Hi me, My only call to action in this case is that we think more about how divisive with each other (the natural community) when it comes to hair based on how black people are. You may not be the person doing that and that is cool however there are plenty of people that do. This article was mainly written to dis-spell the idea of some sort of “black pureness.” I am definitely aware of the fact that a lot of people hold myths about Black hair and what it can and cannot to. Therefore, I think action is being… Read more »
Antrelise
Guest
Although I understand the jest of your position, I do believe that when black girls with long hair refer to themselves as 100% black they are not ignorant to the fact that somewhere in their ancestry lies different blood (just like the people with kinky and short hair) I’m constantly accosted by people who insist that I must be mixed!! I tell them no, I’m all BLACK/non-Caribbean!! Of course then they want to know where my parents/grandparents are from. I say Georgia. Then I have to explain that both of my parents are black, both of their parents are black,… Read more »
jjac401
Guest

@Antrelise — Girl Preach! I also contribute my hair’s beauty to the 70 percent! Heeeeeeyyyyyy now!!!!!

Nicole Pennant
Guest
Hi Antrelise, I agree with you. Be loud and proud about your hair and why it is the way it is! I love mine as well! I think the people that this article is directed at are those who are accosting you. You shouldn’t have to explain a lineage to justify your hair because we all have a lot going on in our backgrounds. Therefore, people shouldn’t press to find an explanation just appreciate. I too have been accosted and I have dark skin and on any race measure or categorization I would be seen as Black. You can’t win… Read more »
Antrelise
Guest
Thank you Nicole for your thoughtful response. I will make great efforts in the future to answer as you’ve suggested. I hope I live to see the day when black women embrace our hair. Our hair is so unique, versatile.….beautiful. No other “race” has our texture.…not even close!! I’m really in awe. Our hair is not the problem, but our historical lack of education about our hair is. Our men already set the standard with their style; now we need to stand proud (with our hair) and show the world a standard of beauty that only “we” we’re given. God… Read more »
Jessica
Guest

Antrelise…I think you are awesome…that is all

anastasia
Guest

God never meant it as a curse, but instead, as an honor.”
YES!

Anne
Guest
I hear you. I get that ALL the time. People tell me I cannot possibly be ALL black and truthfully I’m not– I’m part West Indian but to ignorant people Black is Black if your skin is brown and your hair is somewhat thick and unruly or nappy then YOU ARE BLACK that’s just the way the world works. It bothers me because people often pick me apart from hair to my skin complexion to the sound of my voice telling me because I have the attributes that are considered “beautiful” by the world then I MUST be mixed because… Read more »
Kandis
Guest
Anne — you said it…It’s so sad..whenever a Black woman has long hair or is attractive, someone ALWAYS asks if they’re mixed. And I look at Black actresses and many of them are always blurting out a list of 6 — 7 things they are…not that there’s anything wrong with being mixed at all, but most of these folks don’t have anyone but Black folks at their family reunions and they’re just passing along incorrect information that some misinformed relative has said about their heritage.I look at Asian/White/Hispanic women and they proudly represent their heritage and say they’re 100%…I wish… Read more »
Kandis
Guest

Perfectly stated Antrelise! And I do the exact same thing…it’s so funny to see how frustrated people get when I tell them my parents, grandparents and great grandparents are all Black…their minds just can’t handle it! SMH

Antrelise
Guest

I know right, Kandis!! And even after all that, they still say.… You probably have a grandparent from Jamaica or Trinidad and you just don’t know!! Happy to hear I’m not alone 🙂

anastasia
Guest

I’m smiling reading this b/c just today I told someone I was mixed w/ black, blacker, and blackest. The look on her face was priceless.

TINA SMITH
Guest

YES LORD SAY IT AGAIN!!!! IT’S ANNOYING WHY CAN’T WE CREDIT FOR OUR BEAUTY BECAUSE WE ARE BLACK, NOT BECAUSE OF A MIX IN THERE

maralondon
Guest

What is your perception of a Caribbean? I find that an odd statement since America, South and North are of the same Continent

maralondon
Guest

What is your perception of a Caribbean? Don’t you know that America, North and South and the Caribbean are of the same Continent?

Antrelise
Guest

Not sure if your question was for me but, I live in South Florida, and if someone says you look like you are from the Caribbean what they mean is that you look like you are mixed with Indian, Chinese, etc. maybe it has a different connotation where you are from. So that’s why I said black/noncaribbean to emphasize that I am not mixed.

maralondon
Guest

Not all people from the Caribbean are mixed with Indian, Chinese etc… where do people get this notion from? The majority of these people tend to stick with their own anyway so it kind of dispels that myth.

Antrelise
Guest

I agree!!
In fact , the people who ask me this question are almost always from the Caribbean, but NEVER look like they are “mixed” themselves. Not sure what that’s all about 🙂

Cleo
Guest
People will always credit being mixed with having long hair, that’s how it is unfortunately. In reality there tons of biracial or multiracial people with damaged, short, unhealthy hair. While there are black people with healthy heads of hair. It’s about hair practices and regimens, but a lot of black people don’t want to hear that it’s oh you must be mixed with something right?? What American born citizen isn’t mixed (including white people) I will never credit an Indian ancestor from 200 years ago on my hair texture and how it grows, that crazy. Even when I had long… Read more »
Nicole Pennant
Guest
Hi Cleo, Hello Cleo, I understand your point and let me clear I don’t think mixed race equal healthy hair either. I have seen people with all kinds of hair from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds struggle to grow hair because the hair as been treated poorly and is damaged. I have had friends that identify as white discuss their difficulties with growing hair because every White female doesn’t automatically grow long hair. There hair can handle more damage due to the strength of the strands but you still have to treat it properly for it to be… Read more »
CONNIE1
Guest
NICOLE, THE ARTICLE MAKES THE ISSUE WORSE. SOME OF US ARE NOT MIXED. WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO BELIEVE? THERE ARE CERTAIN TRIBES IN AFRICA THAT ARE 100% AFRICAN. NO MIXTURE, NO EUROPEAN BLOOD. BASICALLY WHAT YOUR SAYING IS THAT WE ARE ALL MIXED AND OUR HAIR IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE OF IT. NOT TRUE! AFRICANS HAVE ALWAYS HAD BEAUTIFUL HAIR BEFORE THE EUROPEANS EVEN DISCOVERED THE CONTINENT. SO WHEN PEOPLE SAY I AM 100% BLACK, THEY TRULY MAY BE. THEY ARE TRYING TO TELL YOU THAT NO ONE IN THEIR FAMILY IS EUROPEAN OR NATIVE AMRICAN OR WHATEVER. THEIR… Read more »
jjac401
Guest
Thank you for this article. I have always had to deal with other African Americans (AA) question my racial admix because of the length and texture of my hair. For some reason I used to find these questions and comments annoying. The truth is that AA are typically admixed due to our history and often times it shows up esthetically. But should this be a big deal? Just for my own fact finding about my family I had a DNA test last year which provided me the results of my admix, of course it indicated percentages of Sub-Saharan African and… Read more »
Nicole Pennant
Guest

Hi jjac401,

I completely agree! I am glad that you liked the article.

J. Nicole of UrbanExpressive
Guest

People have been conditioned for years to believe Black hair doesn’t grow, and if it does, it means because you’re “mixed with something”. It’s going to take a while for them to realize that, but in the meantime I find it unecessary to waste much time on them. I think its common knowledge (or should be) that because of the diaspora Black people-all over the world have various aesthetic appearances. There’s way too much info out there for people to still be so ignorant.

Nicole Pennant
Guest
Hi J. Nicole of UrbanExpressive, I think your right that conditioning of one idea over time has had a significant impact. However, I wouldn’t just assume what people know. I have taught undergraduate course in higher education now for many years. I used to always find myself floored by what people do and don’t know. I have undergrads, Black and White, who believe that Black Politics for instance didn’t start until Martin Luther King and that Blacks fighting for rights is a “new” movement. They don’t think of Harriet Tubman, the Slave Trade, Nat Turner, the abolitionist movement, or even… Read more »
J. Nicole of UrbanExpressive
Guest

Right, that’s why I put “or should be” in parentheses. I’m grateful to be around & continue to meet people who know better and all I can do is hope everyone else falls suit, but if they don’t I won’t lose sleep over them.

Cass
Guest

Thoughtful post.

Nicole Pennant
Guest

Thanks Cass.

Carla
Guest

This was a really great read. Like you I am fascinated by our diverse ancestry and want to do research this year to discover more about my own. I believe that when women refer to being 100% black they are referencing what they know. I am black as far as I know although I have some mixtures like many of us do. The mixtures are beautiful, but also unfortunate. So many of us don’t know our history or where our people come from outside of MS or NC smh.

Nicole Pennant
Guest

Thanks Carla. Glad you liked it!

Ingy
Guest

I have been a conscious natural for a year 1/2. I identify myself as an African American woman with a combination of (what I think is) 3c, 4a & 4b textures on my head. My mother’s racial background is primary Irish & Native American (Lakota). My father is a propionate mix of African (Eastern African) & Native American (Cherokee). I strongly believe that without that African touch my hair WOULD NOT be as dope as it is. 100% or not I got my “good hair” from my African roots!

Nicole Pennant
Guest

:o) Excellent. I love my hair texture as well. 4A/4B here. I love that it can be molded, sculpted and shaped to do so many things. I am always getting question and compliments my hair from people of many different backgrounds. Wouldn’t want it any other way.

Michelle
Guest

Thank you for writing this article, it was very informative. 🙂

Nicole Pennant
Guest

Thanks Michelle. Glad you liked it. I love being Black and identify strongly with it but I do find DNA and ancestry to be fascinating.

Lenya Jones
Guest

Thank you so much for posting this very well written and informative piece.

Nicole Pennant
Guest

Thanks Lenya Jones. Glad that you liked it.

boazwife
Guest

It seems to me that the author had a premise and floated a few sparse facts to support it. In all honesty, for those of us who have regularly researched natural hair care on the popular blogs, how often has any of these arguments surfaced, less than 1% of the time, I’d say. I’ve seen more articles on the controversy of long hair and ethnicity, then any actual controversy.

Nicole Pennant
Guest
Hi boazwife, I am not saying this is the major debate of natural hair. I asserted that I have seen it often enough that it stood out to me which led to writing this article. I have statistical training and I am not trying to assert that the small sample of quotes I took from various websites is indicative of the whole natural population or discourse. They served as inspiration for a broader piece. I would ask though, this is not meant as snark, but if your claim is that this happens less than 1% of the time is this… Read more »
Maggie
Guest
@SJ — What about the presence of the Portuguese and other races in Nigeria before the onset of American slavery? When there was happy free trade going on. I mean the land mass wasn’t always considered “Nigeria”. From my understanding many Nigerians can’t really trace their lineage past great-great-great.…let alone saying who was where or “what” (mixed and such) before 1600. One generation is only 30yrs (some say 25yrs) not 100 or 50 years. So to say you can trace your lineage back 6 generations is not that much. British people have records (not just artifacts and pieces of art… Read more »
Nana
Guest
You make good points as there are 250 cultures in Nigeria alone and most of them are misplaced heritages struck by the damages of colonialism. The Yoruba language alone has surprising elements of Arabic and Portuguese and oral tradition will tell you that our people come from the kingdoms of Axum, Songhai, Oyo etc (which are far from being in the same locus of West Africa. Also they recently discovered the oldest boat was from Nigeria (I think it’s over 3000 years old). Combine this with the fact that many Olmec and Maya god-like structures have facial features similar to… Read more »
eve-audrey
Guest

interesting i just found a korean site that states the oldest boat was found near seoul 8000 years ago could you give me your sources?

Nana
Guest
Stace
Guest
I find it questionable on why there is even so much work being done into decoding the black race, and identifying who is or isn’t black (eg. aboriginal peoples of Australia, and paupa new guinea). Africa is the largest continent and it has been established that human migration moved out from the heart of africa. So with that being said how can someone by examining the DNA of peoples who migrated thousands of generation ago and then isolated on islands say that this person is not black, but only looks black. When there are so many tribes and peoples of… Read more »
SJ
Guest
Hi Maggie, I do understand what points you’re making, but realize that I said predominantly black, if not 100%. And you bring up a good point: other races may have mixed before the presence of the British. This is all true. But it is important to realize as well that after a certain number of generations, can we even really count it for much? In other words, if I had a Portuguese ancestor from the 1100s, would it count for much more than 10%? 5%? 1%? Think about it: the more recent the miscegenation, the more apparent the legacy of… Read more »
SJ
Guest
Hi Maggie, I do understand what points you’re making, but realize that I said predominantly black, if not 100%. And you bring up a good point: other races may have mixed before the presence of the British. This is all true. But it is important to realize as well that after a certain number of generations, can we even really count it for much? In other words, if I had a Portuguese ancestor from the 1100s, would it count for much more than 10%? 5%? 1%? Think about it: the more recent the miscegenation, the more apparent the legacy of… Read more »
Maggie
Guest
“Light skin, narrow noses, thin lips, type 3 hair was also on the continent, depending on what ethnic group you want to look at…” You can find these traits in Australia, South America, Oceania, India and some parts of Asia as well. Miscegenation has added to diversity of the planet IN GENERAL. Not to mention being able to find Dark skinned, broad nosed, type 4 hair people in all those same regions. Depending on what “theory” of human evolution and mass migration you believe, we have been mixing since we as humans came into existence (whenever that was). If you… Read more »
CONNIE1
Guest
AND WHAT ABOUT JUST PURE 100% AFRICANS. AFRICA IS THE BIRTH PLACE. SO WHY ARE YOU ALL SO STUCK ON NOT BELIEVING THAT THERE ARE SOME 100% BLACK AFRICANS OUT THERE WITH NO MIXES. IM SURE YOU WOULDNT DEBATE THAT THERE ARE SOME 100% EUROPEANS OUT THERE. SO PLEASE STOP WITH THE LIES. ALSO MOST OF YOUR HISTORY BOOKS ARE WRONG AND WRITTEN TO MAKE BLACKS FEEL DEGRADED. HALF OF IT IS UNTRUE. I AM BLACK 100% AND I HAVE LONG NATURAL HAIR. NOT BECAUSE OF ANY MIXES IN MY FAMILY. I HAVE NO MIXES. I AM JUST MIXED WITH… Read more »
African Naturalista
Guest

Most Blacks in America are not 100% black, which is why your hair is most completely different from Blacks in Africa. They grow at different rates, they look different, they even react differently to the same set of products. When it comes to length of hair, race will always have something to do with it, though I see no way it should cause a controversy. It is just what it is.

African Naturalista
Guest

I meant I see no reason why it should cause a controversy

eve-audrey
Guest

wrong again i don’t know which planet you come from but you find as many different hair types and lenght in african americans as you find in africans. this site shows it just take a second look.

Candice
Guest

I personally am offended when people assume that there is something in my culture makeup other than it appears because they think my hair is nice. I feel that person is basically saying White (or some ethnicity other than black) is making me better and that Black can’t be naturally beautiful. It is not a compliment.

AimHighLoveWide
Guest
Although this discussion can become mundane at times to adults please continue to have these conversations with your surrounding youth. As an educator in a predominantly African-American school you would be surprised at the comments our young, black girls make regarding our hair and complexion. In a school of 750 students there may be one or two students and maybe 6 staff members who are natural (most of my middle school students wear weaves or wigs). The constant “are you mixed” question to my 16 yr old daughter at school is also draining to her. She has a loose 3B… Read more »
Trini
Guest

Right on! I also encourage the natural students that encounter in the hallways.

Jessica
Guest

I realize that I am taking away such a small part of what you said, but seriously- middle school aged girls wearing wigs and weaves is so sad to me. It starts young- if we don’t enforce the notion of our natural beauty, who will? I am not a teacher (which, by the way, I commend you for) but hope that I can be an example to my sons and nieces of just how beautiful we as Black women are…naturally!

Antrelise
Guest
Hi Jessica. I also have sons (4 & 6) and I make it a point to point out various chocolate women/girls and say how beautiful they are. I say “look how beautiful; her tone is so rich; or look how chocolate she is!!” I feel that as a mother of black sons I have to be diligent. I want my boys to never question Black women’s beauty or subscribe to the European standard of beauty.…..and before anyone says anything.….I don’t point out our lighter skinned beauties because they get enough validation 🙂 :). But seriously, I’m just saying that hardly… Read more »
Candice
Guest

Also when blacks say “100% black”, this is coming from our history of naming the percentage of blackness in our immediate ancestry (e.g., 50%=mulatto; 25%=quadroon; 1.25%=octoroon). There was a percentage of blackness at which you could once again consider yourself legally white. The expression, “a touch of the tarbrush” meant that you couldn’t pass for white even though a person looked predominately white. It seems as if the author of this article has either chosen to disregard this or has just completely missed the point on this.

gigi
Guest
all well stated, and we need to remember, genes are an unwieldy lot! You blend them up and sometimes the dominant ones do their job as they should & and sometimes the recessives take over, then in the next generation they might leave or show up again in full force! 18% this, 32% that, 4% the other can come out in ANY way it pleases, so people need to love all their lovely blendings and just be… the little bit of hazel flecks in your eyes doesn’t give you more value than someone with a solid brown… a looser ringlet… Read more »
Ellie
Guest
You know, I’m glad to see that we can have this conversation without all the verbal-bloodshed that usually happens (like, say, Youtube…) But honestly I had long hair when I was relaxed and genetics had very little to do with it. My hair was long because I took CARE of it, and honestly, that’s the only thing people need to know. There IS NO cheat in growing long hair! Not really. It’s all in the way you take care of your hair (and yourself in general, to a certain extent). Even all the “get long hair quick!” schemes have to… Read more »
CONNIE1
Guest

I AM MIXED WITH BLACK, AFRICAN, AND NEGRO! MY HAIR IS NATURAL AND LONG! GET OVER IT!!!

Ellie
Guest

You missed the entire point, Connie1. Race/ethnicity does NOT matter when it comes to hair.
EVERYONE can grow long hair. They just have to know how to take care of it.
The fact that you have to “assert” what you are and what your hair is only adds to the problem.

I certain don’t give a damn. What you are and how long your hair is is none of MY business.

Please don’t sit there and tell me to “get over” something that you’re trying to shove in MY face. It’s not helping anything here.

AlphaCentauri
Guest

chile aint nobody got time to be claiming 19 percent white.i am 100% black i dont care how light i am! do you see white people claiming 19 percent black? why is it such a big discussion for black people to claim some other race? black people just wana be something else other than black. there is a clear obsession with this topic.

efa
Guest
tell me why that is EXACTLY WHAT I SAID WHEN I STARTED THIS ARTICLE!!! personally i am Nigerian American and from what i know i am 100% black i do not care what white man might of come to my village and raped one of my ancestors. i will not claim that as part of my heritage/ancestry because 100% of these traces of white is through rape! Also was this study done on only African americans? because i wonder if the results would of been the same had they done it on Africans. intresting article… but totally unecissary i feel… Read more »
Bree
Guest

It was only African Americans. I participated in the one from 23 and me.

Temple
Guest

I was with you until you brought up white people. Who cares what they do? Why must we as black folk always guide ourselves by what they say and do???

Farzana
Guest
“But, we also know that good hair care practices have a significant influence on hair growth and that many of us were unaware of that until recently” “…many of us never learned the proper care for our hair.” First of all I love the use of the pronoun “we” in the first sentence quoted. Are u seriously making the claim that the slaves in America didn’t know how to take care of their own hair? This is baffling. Where are you getting your facts from woman! Please next time when you want to make such claims think about what you… Read more »
Farzana
Guest

FYI: I am Asian and you would imagine my tresses to be slick and oh so easy to manage… On the contrary! Dark black coarse curly hair that really should be on the head of a black girl have landed on mine. I don’t really mind. I don’t have a choice! Ha! I am just on a spectrum. Maybe I am –% Black or –%Spanish or –%Middle Eastern… It doesn’t really matter to me. God gave me hair. And I am thankful for it.

eve-audrey
Guest

if you don’t mind me asking since you say you’re asian how is your hair perceived in your family/community? i might be a bit ignorant but i have never seen an asian person with coarse/curly hair and i’m just curious.

however i don’t know if the slaves in america did know how to take care of their hair or not but good hair care practices have certainly been lost since a long time in the black community that’s why we’re learning to take care of it again.

Farzana
Guest
Well I am Central Asian. Not the typical Chinese/Korean Asian. Some family members like my hair others not so. I also cover my hair in public because of my religion (Islam). I was watching a FRIENDS episode one day and found this old clip: http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=vf9-mxgzWeQ&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dvf9-mxgzWeQ The husband tells the wife to chill out and stop playing the opponent. He adds, “your hair is inexplicable” And there is laughter from the audience. Then he says: “let’s go upstairs, order room service, take a shower and shave your head”. Ofcourse laughter follows suit. I found that so shocking! Is her hair really… Read more »
Aanii ahmed
Guest

assalamu alaykum sister 🙂

eve-audrey
Guest
@ farzana well africans have been submitted to the same conditions as african-americans. they think their hair won’t grow because it is black hair when in reality their apparent inability to grow hair lies in their hair care practices not their genes. what i want to say is they have been confronted to the european standard of beauty just as much as african-americans. that led them to all the hair practices that stunt their hair growth aka relaxers, bad weaves, not knowing that our hair will be manageable if properly moisturized and all that just to fit the western standard… Read more »
goyta
Guest
“I still think that African Americans didn’t somehow forget to take care of their hair and now are learning to after freedom from slavery.” you’d be amazed to find what you’d forget if your culture, practices, traditions, etc. have been systematically beaten out of you for generations on top of generations. it’s not that it was forgotten, though. i think that would be a word choice error. it was that hair was not nearly as important as surviving. considering that most black women didnt have time to do anything to their hair, and indeed were encouraged if not commanded to… Read more »
Jo Somebody
Guest
If your hair looks like hers, then it *is* lovely, especially when she had the cap on. Big volume, thick and dark, it draws attention! (I suppose this might not be what you desire) You can have it straight when you want with a bit of effort, but it will go curly again on its own too. Granted she looked a bit crazy with the cap off and flat, greasy hair at the top, but all hair can look crazy! Lol! Have you thought of, well, copying practices that Black women (100% or otherwise!) employ? I’m talking keep it in… Read more »
efa
Guest

i agree it wasnt slaves that didnt know how to take care of their hair, it was the lack of resources to do hair that made “us” lose the knowelege of how to care for our hair in the first place.We had it to begin with but slavery and the complexes it ingrained in African americans culture made us forget and also forfeit the knowelege. That is why people gave up twisting and braiding they knew of with shea butter and other natural hair conditioners for relaxers and hair grease to get the “good” hair we were forced to accept/desire.

Jo Somebody
Guest
Also, which slaves would have brought shea nuts with them? Who grabbed the traditional combs before they were forced on the boat? How many slave-women had time to sit and braid their sister/daughter/cousin/friend’s in intricate, time-consuming styles? Is it easy to remain proud of your hair when it is mocked or left unclean/unstyled because of circumstances, when you are instructed that it must be covered when in the presence of your ‘owners’ or when it is even forcibly shaved? What’s the point in remembering the styles that marked birth, death, coming of age and marriage and passing them and the… Read more »
Farzana
Guest
Thanks for your responses ladies and walaykum musalaam! Goyta! my mom used to braid my hair until freshman year of HS. She just stopped one day and said i was old enough to do it myself. I don’t know how to braid it! I can braid other people’s hair with some effort but mine is so crazy I can’t imagine even attempting to bring it to order on my own. It’s thick extremely frizzy and has lotssssss of volume. The easiest thing for me is to put it in a bun and that’s not really fun cuz the weight of… Read more »
Farzana
Guest

Jo somebody the comment above is actually meant for you I don’t know where I got goyta from! Lol. But really anyone that can help your suggestions are welcome. Thank you.

Sophie
Guest
I think it would help to stop getting upset when people question your lineage. People calling you a liar is annoying, but its really their problem. Another thing is that people talk all the time about “mixing” but a lot of the natural variation in people all over the world came from people becoming suited to different climates which exist on a spectrum. It’s not as if there were “pure” races to begin with which then mixed to give the diversity we see today, so I think different features exist even without people being “mixed”. Also, race is not a… Read more »
Saye
Guest

I learned that having long or growing hair depends on how you take care of your hair and also genetics plays apart. I am Liberian-American and both my mother and father side of the family has long and growing hair. Furthermore I have relatives with type 2 and 3 hair also 4 and we are Liberian. I do have relatives who are Liberian mixed with European and middle eastern. If I am mixed with anything I know that the African will be the highest percentage and the others will be less than 20 or 10 percent.

Stace
Guest
I think this article is only adding the the problem honestly. I understand what the author is trying to say. However, the article starts out with the appearance of stating that black people can grow long hair just as well as any other race. It seems to want to say that a black person with long hair does not necessarily have long hair only because they are of mixed racial background, but then it goes on to say that “all” or most black people are of mixed heritage. I can’t with nonsense like this. Cause like someone else stated no… Read more »
Bogotjadi
Guest
I’m South Africa and the question of how black a person is, is still very relevant to us when it comes to our hair. Unlike the African Americans we follow and learn how to take care of hair from, most of us are not mixed.We have very clear identification categories here. Mix people do not refer to themselves as black but rather colored ‚even if the mix is not evident aesthetically. And this has to do with the social conditioning and oppression we experienced, that mixed people here do not want to associate themselves with their blackness but will be… Read more »
Natasha
Guest
I am of Zulu and Sotho heritage, my mother’s hair is similar to that of the Bushmen of South Africa: very, very, very coarse! However, she grew very long hair. On my father’s side, his family are Ndebele with some very distant Shona, but they also have very thick and even longer hair. It has just proved that even though, from what I know, I am 100% African and have 4c hair, our hair can grow long and my hair has now reached to below my shoulders in 2 years. I never thought it could happen because I never thought… Read more »
Angelic Messanger
Guest

Wow! What an incredible time to be alive. Kudos to you, Nicole, and thanks. No matter what DNA testing may reveal about my ancestory, I LOVE being african-american, black, soul sista, baby girl, etc. Never wanted to be any other, but I understand I represent all who have come before me, and I’m the sum of their genetic contributions. I just hope to make them proud. Fantastic article!:)
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Snapshot_20130209_2-1.JPG[/img]

Carlita
Guest
Very interesting. Here in France, being mixed is more a cultural thing than a racial one. French white people tend to associate any black people to African people even if a big part of us are from the french Carribean. That being said, I’mixed and it really doesn’t mean a thing, my sisters have 4b/c hair types when my brother is more of a 3b. The only origins I worry about are the ones that have influenced my education, my social back ground, my culture THIS is the heritage that define me, the way I have learned to love and… Read more »
SweetBonita
Guest
The arguement that no one is 100% black has very little to do with the arguement people are aluding to when they ask what someone is “mixed” with in the context of hair length and texture in my opinion. I get what the author is trying to say. No one is 100% anything as far as lineage goes. We are all a mixture of races. However, when said arguement is brought up int he context of black hair, most people posing the question of “what are you mixed with” mean what is your more recent racial makeup. I may be… Read more »
more
Guest

Thank you! We not talking about your grandma from 200 years ago we talking about your recent admixture

Alicia
Guest

Genetics do play a role –its not just those regarding racial ancestry. My cousin is the same admixture (roughly 60 percent African, 30 percent European, 10 Native American) as I am and we follow the same routines, but her hair is bsl 2 years post-BC and I am only collarbone length 3.5 years post-BC. Our grandmother could sit on her hair. Clearly, my hair grows slower and I suspect sheds sooner.

Ace
Guest
Its been scientifically proven that African hair grows at a slower rate than other ethnicites. It’s mostly due to the fact that the coarser and weaker the hair, the easier it is to break. I mean lets be real here, its takes a 4c person a lot longer to grow their hair out than a 3c person. I mean 4c hair is so weak and fragile it breaks easily and is hard to grow. This website is proof enough. The 4c section is so limited, and half the articles are people with Multi-Texture hair which is no help for a… Read more »
Renee Drummond
Guest

I don’t think our hair grows slower, it may take more maintenance, but it defo doesn’t grow slower. I had no hair last year March I now have a lot of hair, it’s reached my neck already and I believe that is because I stopped using products and went 100% natural from Guinness as shampoo to avocado and olive oil as conditioner and my hair thrives on that

Ace
Guest

Yeah I’ve been using those natural products as well. Olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, mayo, yogurt, honey, eggs, etc. Still no major hair growth.

Tabatha
Guest
Those ingrediants does not “make your hair grow” it aids in hair growth I guess you can say. I use coconut oil in my hair cause my hair needs the fat to keep my hair moistuerized and soft. When its not it snaps like a branch. I would say (and its just a suggestion) instead of smearing it in your hair change what you eat, so your hair is getting the nutriants that it needs from the inside. This was a lesson that I had to learn cause I love foods that just isn’t all that beneficial nutrician wise. You… Read more »
Ace
Guest
I eat very healthy thank you very much. And I take natural whole food vitamins. Healthy eating and exercise is not the magic key to hair growth. Its genetics. I’m sorry. Say what you want, but genetics make a big difference in hair growth. My great great grandmother was half Indian. Only one of her daugthers got her long curly hair, my aunt. My other aunt and great grandmother did not acheive this long curly hair. Interesting enough my great grandmother’s hair so so soft it never needed a relaxer. But it never grew. And it passed down to my… Read more »
Ace
Guest

But thanks for the advice though. I’m sorry, I guess Im just so frustrated with my hair. I wasnt happy when it was relaxed and I’m extremely not happy now that its natural. I just don’t know what to do.…

Jo Somebody
Guest

My dear, that had better not be Nigerian Foreign Extra Guinness you’re pouring on your hair? If so, me and you, we go fight o!!!

Lol! Jk! Happy growing! 🙂

Dawn
Guest

I don’t think 4c hair grows any slower than other hair. My youngest (she’s 7) has waist length hair and I just learned in the last year or so how to really take care of it. If I knew then what I know now I’m sure it would have been much longer. It took time to find the right products, etc but it was worth it.

eve-audrey
Guest

@ace again no two people are exactly the same black or not. i am 4C too and i’ve been natural since two and a half years and i’m past APL in fact my goal is to reach BSL by the end of the year and i am from african descent. genetics might play a role yes but your classification is too narrow as not two people on this earth are exactly the same. you’d be surprised to know that some creole people fight to grow their hair too and somme have very kinky hair too.

Ace
Guest

You are very lucky to be blessed with hair that grows. But this website speaks clearly on the matter. The 4c section, minus the multi-texture articles, is severely lacking. Why? Because most 4C people are limited to short hairstyles because its takes extremely long to grow. Yet look at the 3 sections and 4a. They are overrun with articles because their hair grows easier and is more manageable and able to achieve more styles than that of a 4c person.

Jo Somebody
Guest

No, I do believe it’s because having absolutely 100% zero curl pattern or the zigzag pattern that 4C hair is supposed to have is actually very rare.
Those that have some have it mixed with other textures, so they join other categories (in your eyes anyway, seemingly). I would say 4A or 4B are the most common even among my fellow direct Nigerians/Africans.

anastasia
Guest
Hi Ace, I have found that these products work quite well for 4c, including very fine and wiry 4c: Afro Detangler (conditioner) (growafrohairlong.com)official site; Oyin products, but my favs are their moisture sprays; kimmaytube conditioner; Luv Naturals leave-in; Shea Moisture curling custard and curling souffle (for braidouts etc), EVO/coconut oil yada yada. Really consider giving the detangler a try. BTW, all of these products can be layered w/o any residue remaining when fully dry. Hang in there =) Once you find the combo that works for you, I promise you will be less frustrated and your hair will thrive in… Read more »
Jo Somebody
Guest
What you’re describing is length retention, not growth rate. But yes, genetics plays a massive part, but it plays that part across all races and even within families. There are PLENTY of 4C ladies here, enough to ease your worries I should think. Most of them are stunners as well. I always enjoy seeing them. In fact, I’d tentatively say there have been more 4B/4C ladies than 3B/3C ladies. But my advice is not to be length obsessed. Is your hair healthy and can you style it in a way that is pretty? If yes, then please just enjoy your… Read more »
CONNIE1
Guest

@ACE, I AM 4C AS WELL AND MY HAIR IS WAIST LENGTH. I HAVE ALWAYS HAD LONG HAIR EVEN BEFORE I WENT NATURAL. SO YOUR STATEMENT IS UNTRUE AND IGNORANT. YOU ARE YOU. SOME PEOPLE WITH YOUR SAME HAIR TYPE HAVE LONG HAIR AND IT GROWS FAST FOR THEM. SO PLEASE, SPEAK FOR YOURSELF. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE MIXED TO HAVE LONG HAIR THAT GROWS FAST.

Renee Drummond
Guest
Wow, I didn’t even know that was a debate until now, I live in the UK and I’m Jamaican, yes I am mixed, but I know Africans, 100% African, no mixes, with very long thick hair. So I do not believe it has anything to do with being mixed. Sure some Africans have “coarse” hair for want of a better word, but there are all different types of Africans, like Eritreans who have curly wavy hair or Somalians or Ethopians. It depends which African you are as to which hair type you get and even then that’s no guarantee. I’m… Read more »
Mocha Dier
Guest
I think we need to just accept our hair for what it is. My brothers have 3c and 4a hair type and i have 4c maybe even 5a. We have the same parents. So should I say that genes doesn’t play a role? My paternal grandmother’s grandfather is a white man. So is my paternal Grandfather, is grandfather is white. When I look on my mother’s side, her great great grandmother is white woman, her grandmother is dark a midnight with curly soft hair. See where I am going with all the confusion? LOL I’m Jamaican by the way, and… Read more »
Tabatha
Guest
I am mainly black and Native American ( other mixes are far down in the DNA strand) and all that it gave me was really Kinky hair that can handle punishment =) . But it hasn’t really helped me in the length department at least not now. When I was younger it was different situation. That is really interesting that the women on your island don’t know how to take care of their hair. I’m learning knew organic stuff to use to get away from chemicals. My cousin has sold her hair she has really light colored hair and its… Read more »
readthisladies
Guest
I don’t think the point of the article was to claim how “black or not” you are or to “claim a percentage of white”. She’s just trying to prove any person no matter what color their skin is can grow any texture of hair out of their scalp and skin color does not predetermine how long your hair can be. By talking about the Percentage stuff she was just proving her point that people who claim to be “all black” have long hair and those who aren’t “all black” but “look like they are” have long hair too and can… Read more »
Hansy
Guest

I agree, I was about to post the same thing. The people who got offended clearly didn’t get her message.

Pseudonym
Guest

I think instead of worrying about the association of long hair with mixed heritage, we should end the obsession and glorification of long hair in the black community. From the looks and texture (eg. shrinking tendencies) of black hair (not just in the US, but all over the world), I suspect this is a European beauty standard that we took on. and need to let off, pronto.

Once long hair is not considered the standard of beauty, the questions of mixed heritage b/c of long hair won’t be so offensive.

Tabatha
Guest
I saw on the Andrew Zimmerman show on the travel channel. That there is a trib eini Namibia that puts a mixture of red clay and lard through their hair to keep it noce and I guess put together in their standards and their hair is LONG! I mean the majority of the time its all slicked back because of the mub, but their hair is as long as to their waste and this tribe is untouched by outsiders (normally). I just noticed that having long hair is not that important when it comes to beauty because there are some… Read more »
cteno
Guest

Exactly!! If it werent put on such a high pedestal it wouldnt be uch a high concern. you dont see people trying to figure out of someones mixed based when theyve just B.C’d or have clearly damaged, breaking and therefore short hair. Samne for facial characteristics too. No one goes around asking what someone is when they have certain kinds of nose, lips, curves. Smh.

Stace
Guest
No questions when someone has damaged horrible hair because the associate that type of hair with being black. Like its just a matter of fact and life that if you are black your hair should be short, damaged, dry, brittle, ugly. That is the reason why suddenly when a black person has decent healthy hair in both a appearance and length the question of being mixed comes up, because healthy hair was and is still associated with other races. As far as people not making these association with nose, hips, etc. they do! People of various races have questioned why… Read more »
jjac401
Guest

You just told it like it is!

eve-audrey
Guest

stereotypes just kill me! i can’t believe we’re in 2013…

cacey
Guest

and now, 2014 lol

anonymous
Guest
Y’all got time to waste or what? I am so tired of that topic, of being black, blacker, african, 100% this and that. I am 100% black, since I am african from west africa. I was born and raised in Africa, and I know my heritage, my langage, my tribe etc… And y’all guess what? I am 100% sure that if Africa was the leading continent in the world right now, african american people or black people of the caribbean wouldn’t be that eager to claim their other ancestors…That being said we should all move on from those topics. because… Read more »
Tabatha
Guest
I’ve known since I was little that my family is pretty much America’s melting pot. We have so many enthicities in our DNA its like whooo! So I know I’m mixed and until I joined the Navy I always had long THICK KINKY hair, but after the Navy I have had such a hard time growing it back and keeping it long. The longest that I have been able to get it was to the top of my shoulder blades.But it wasn’t the fact that I’m mixed that I had long hair. It pretty much came down to maintenance and… Read more »
cteno
Guest
Im just going to take the wild card and say what most people wont: because to be “black” or “black enough” or “fully black” to most, especially non “blacks” or those that may not look “black”, being black is inferior. So anything beautiful or positive or good strikes them as odd and therefore they look for an odd loop out that explains the positive phenomenon. “oh you have long/nice hair?” “youre not black”. “oh you have a pretty skin complexion?” “you must be mixed with something”. “youre fit and take of yourself and youre not even in a sport?” “where… Read more »
coffeeandfingernails
Guest
I think this is part of a much larger issue–the problem is that “black” is not a term that has an objective meaning. It’s meaning shifts depending on the intention of the user, as does “mixed” as do most racial terms used in the United States–“100% black” is just a nonsense term. I was recently in the Dominican Republic for a couple of weeks and noted that there was no one there who would be out of place in one of my family’s photo albums. I could blend in with a crowd of Dominicans, but stood out from a crowd… Read more »
Negroit
Guest
There is no such thing as 100% Black. Being 100% sub-Saharan in ancestry does not equate to be 100% Black in race or identity as the concept of black race is not indigenous to sub-Saharan Africans. Europeans invented that -ish. Reference the Youtube video — Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story She did not know of black identity until she moved outside of Nigeria. She was born in the late 1970s. It is only recently that the majority of Africans of sub-Saharan African descent consider themselves as black. Rewind 60 plus years ago, few did as much the… Read more »
Gianetta
Guest

I recently decided to stop using chemicals to relax my hair for several reasons. So glad that I did. One of the reasons I decided to become natural is because most of the African American community still do not accept “nappy hair” as beautiful. It became disappointing when I started researching on various blog and it became evident that all “naturals” have not totally accepted the ideal that “nappy hair” has its own beauty and personality. Whatever your ancestry maybe and your hair type maybe it is yours; accept it, embrace it and love it.

CONNIE1
Guest

THERE IS A SUCH THING AS BEING 100% BLACK. SOME OF OUR ANCESTORS WERE NOT RAPED AND DID NOT MIX WITH OTHER PEOPLE FROM OTHER RACES. CERTAIN PARTS OF AFRICA WAS INVADED HOWEVER, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT EUROPEANS STARTED MAKING MIXED BABIES ALL OVER THE PLACE. NO! THERE ARE STILL PLENTY OF AFRICANS WHO ARE PURE SUB-SAHARAN AND THERE ARE STILL PLENTY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS WHO ARE 100% AFRICAN! SOME OF OUR GREAT-GREAT-GREAT GRANDPARENTS ON BOTH SIDES ARE BLACK (AFRICAN OR AFRICAN AMERICAN).

Mocha Dier
Guest
This reminds me of the controversy that was stirred up when Melanie Fiona said she has a good mix for growth. SMH. Yes we all can grow long hair, but the techniques that a 4C hair chick would use to reach waist length as opposed to maybe a 3A or even 2C chick would use, is a lot different. Yes, I understand we need to stop this thing, assuming that it is because 1 is mixed why their hair is so long, and accept out hair, and use techniques to minimize breakage. But being mixed can influence the type of… Read more »
Mocha Dier
Guest

This is a pic of me n my bro, we hv same parents, but the gene that determined his hair type was wayy different than mine.

Mocha Dier
Guest

[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Fotor0117125228.jpg[/img]

april
Guest
This is a waste of a post. Seriously who is the writer to convince? I’m wondering if she think we are just a bunch of idiots. I am very sure most black people that say they are black and not mixed are just saying that the majority of their ancestors are black and proud of it. I am aware that I may be some minuscule drop of white or whatever but I’m not going to go into race details (which I don’t really even know) when someone ask me what my darn race is. Majority rules in this case! This… Read more »
Shirley
Guest

I completely agree.

Nicole
Guest

You still seem to miss the point. The claim to 100% blackness is still false and ignorance spreading. Yes, you don’t have to explain all of that. But the concept is still flawed as a whole.
It is an ingrained one that needs to be looked at and flushed out with more people being aware and yes, getting a little bit more detailed about their ancestry.

Stace
Guest

I don’t know if I really hear too many people (anyone really) saying that they are 100% black , but I do hear alot of people saying simply : “I’m black” , or “I’m just black, not mixed”. Saying that one is 100% black is a major issue somewhere though? That doesn’t seem to have the same effect as a black person saying I’m not black but (insert nationality instead of race here). That to me seems to be a more common “ignorance spreading” than someone asserting their blackness for sake of argument. What’s the agenda in arguing this point?

Nooni
Guest

As I said before, TALKING ABOUT RACE IS INHERENTLY FLAWED! The vsat majority of racial statements are based on the idea that ‘race’ exists which it doesn’t. I’m with April. I don’t understand the point of this article at all. Saying you are 100% black is no different to describing yourself as a black person or a white person. Both are equally false since race does not exist.

AS you said, it’s ‘THEIR ANCESTRY’ and they will call it what they wish.

Temple
Guest

Race is a social construct, tho. Technically it does exist…

Helen Willis
Guest

Shouldn’t you call it what it is instead of what you wish though?

CONNIE1
Guest
I DONT KNOW WHO THE WRITER IS BUT GUESS WHAT, SOME PEOPLE ARE TRULY BLACK! NOT ALL OF OUR ANCESTORS WERE RAPED. SOME OF US HAD GREAT GRANDPARENTS, GREAT-GREAT, AND GREAT-GREAT-GREAT GRANDPARENTS THAT ARE BLACK (AFRICAN OR AFRICAN AMERICAN). SOME OF US ARE NOT MIXED AT ALL. SOME OF US HAVE LONG HAIR BECAUSE WE COME FROM AFRICA. THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE IN AFRICA WITH LONG HAIR. SO THE REASON WHY IT BOTHERS PEOPLE TO HAVE TO CLAIM BEING MIXED IS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT BLACKS CAN HAVE LONG HAIR, GORGEOUS SKIN, BEAUTIFUL FEATURES WITHOUT… Read more »
Tam
Guest
This article was to address the individuals who go on the videos of vloggers that give tutorials on their long hair and ask about that the person’s ethnicity because intrinsically they believe in the perpetual stereotype that “black people” can not grow long hair, I dont even understand how you came to formulate this argument you have, you can go to Chime edwards, youtube channel and see in the comment section how many people ask about her ethnicity and whether she’s mixed because somehoow that would be the only way her hair could be that long, you should reread the… Read more »
Zharnée
Guest

It’s not just about black n white. I am mixed and my family is period. I don’t have to have a white parent and a African American one. I am creole(which contains black)

Helen Willis
Guest
Touching upon the fact that you said “don’t really even know.” I think it behooves us all to find out and be more open-minded about it. Look, it is what it is, I think we would be better off knowing that we are more blood-related than we think. Maybe then, we would make greater strides toward becoming a more united nation. I would love for Dr.Gates to give a white supremacist a DNA test and let him or her find out his or her great great grandmother was a slave. Could you imagine? And yes, in case they didn’t know,… Read more »
Elizabeth Ashe
Guest

I love this article, My thoughts exactly. Great article, she is not saying we are less black. She is just speaking from a genetic, scientific and cultural stand point.

Great Read!

CONNIE1
Guest
HORRIBLE ARTICLE! THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I AM LEAVING THE UNITED STATES AND MOVING TO AFRICA. YES AFRICA IS A CONTINENT HOWEVER, I AM WILLING TO GO TO ANY PART BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE OVER THERE WHO ARE PROUD TO BE PURE 110% BLACK AND THEY NEVER QUESTION IT. THIS WRITER JUST WANTS TO MAKE US BELIEVE THAT WE ALL HAVE TO BE MIXED TO HAVE A CERTAIN TYPE OF LOOK. GO TO AFRICA, AND YOU WILL SEE THAT, THAT IS NOT TRUE. EVEN IN AFRICA, DEPENDING ON WHAT PART YOU GO TO, THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE FROM… Read more »
Camille
Guest

You don’t know anything about Africa. Please stop embarrassing yourself.

Shahidah
Guest

Good luck Connie. You are in for a big awakening. Wish I could witness the look on your face

Zharnée
Guest

But most of them were and speak for yourself because I have Native American great grandma and she loves us now white no some if them are mean but so wat. I love my African heritage too n Hispanic I love all my ethnic backgrounds!!!!!

Helen Willis
Guest

I agree Elizabeth, and who’s to say how much black is enough or just right? And who gets to decide? I don’t have these answers and I don’t know if anyone does.

Umm Ebraheem
Guest

This was a great read. I studied American History in college and have found the Skip Gates’ show to be very fun to watch. People are always surprised by what turns up in their genetic profile. Living abroad has really drive home the idea that I am American, full stop.

Umm Ebraheem
Guest

I didn’t mean to use the word “idea,” what I should have said was, living abroad has drive home the point that I am American period, without qualification.

penelope
Guest

The article is contradictory..if race is a social construct (true) then you can definitely be 100% “black” if that is your lived experience. What the author should have said is that African Americans are not 100% African…which everyone already knows. But they can still claim to be 100% black.
And she seems to want to debunk the myth that only mixed people can grow long hair but then she also asserts that all African Americans in the US are mixed so that point seems lost as well…Well, I’m Nigerian so this doesn’t apply to me anyway lol

Nooni
Guest

Exactly race is a social construct, so all race talk as a whole is ‘wrong.’

Jo Somebody
Guest

Everything you said… included the Nigerian part.

What was the point of this exactly?

Camille
Guest

Agree with most of what you said but many Africans are also “mixed”.

Zharnée
Guest

They sure are. Blue black ppl with straight ass hair naturally!!

Joyce
Guest

Which Africans are you referring to? Africans that are mixed is directly from their parents. Not great, great, great grandpas and grandmas who were Blackfoot, Cherokee, whatever native tribe. American black history and how a lot of blacks feel about themselves doesn’t affect me as I am African and know my roots. Please stop.

glenny
Guest
When some people say “Africans” are just…(Insert whatever stereotype), I cringe. Africa is not a country — made up of 54 countries and Africans do not all look alike! North Africans do not look like each other in terms of (hair texture, skin color, eye color, bone structure, etc) and definitely do not look like their East, West or South Africans who also look different from each other. Regarding hair texture, you should be aware (if not, please go visit some countries in the different parts of Africa and see for yourself or do some legit research) that Africans hair… Read more »
eve-audrey
Guest

agree!

mercy
Guest

Whoaaaa I sooooo agree! We have 54 different countries and I wonder why people insist on making it seem like we all come from one little village #smh

Porter-50+
Guest
Growing up in the 60’s & 70’s, we were “Black.” In school (really progressive at that time), we were challenged with this concept: if a “white” person who was born in Africa is considered an “African” were they to move to the U.S., are they now legally an African American? It is well know that every “Black” person has a mixed heritage, otherwise we would all be African. The terminology of Black speaks for itself. I don’t believe that people think ONLY mixed races (either by choice or force) can have only long hair. But, if they are interested in… Read more »
Camille
Guest

I disagree. See above, two people can have same mom and dad and totally different hair.

Helen Willis
Guest

I agree, the AA terms annoys me to no end. Just like all of the other “Ethnic-American” terms, either you are American or you’re not.

Barbara
Guest

So fine most of us are not “100 percent” black BUT 65–90 percent African descent does not equal “mixed”. It just means somewhere allllllllllllllllllll the way down the family line there was “mixing” by force or otherwise.

I’ve never had a non black person show up at a family reunion–ever! I am NOT mixed. IDK why some black Americans are so quick to gleefuLly announced “but we all mixed anyway” SMH

Temple
Guest

Why people are so adamant about claiming race isn’t real when it infiltrates almost every aspect of our lives is beyond me… This website in itself is product of being racially aware because black women with natural/afro/‘ethnic’ hair need a space of our own since we’re barely represented on ‘mainstream’ (ie white) forums and when they do cater to us, they spread misinformation (have you ever seen those horrid ehow videos on youtube, tho). Yea, race is a social construct, yet that doesn’t negate fact that racism still exists. Bye.

Temple
Guest

We are constantly under a microscope. Constantly having to prove ourselves and ‘fit in’. sigh

S. Amy L.
Guest
Oh, this one has got the blood boiling with a few people. 🙂 Well, I agree with Glenny and Porter-50+ makes an interesting point about Africans too. At the end of the day, Africans (indigious) range from the Abrabian types (north) to those with very dark skin and kinky hair. I like how South Africans these days have embrassed the ‘rainbow nation’ notion and just go with it. I feel that those — no matter where in the world they may be who jump to their ‘mixed’ heritage to explain why their hair or whatever it is about their appearance… Read more »
Jumoké
Guest
This is interesting but at the same time a pointless article. Let me start of by saying there is no such things as race. (If you’ve taken an anthropology of race and ethnicity class, you know what I mean.) society uses it today to classify people based on conceived notions (i.e. skin tone, hair, eye color). Now with that being said, what is determined as “black” or “white” might not fall under the same group if one was to move elsewhere in the world so why are we arguing about this? What is considered “black” in the United States won’t… Read more »
Starr
Guest

Race is a social construction, it is as you have said, utilized by society in order to classify people mostly on physical characteristics. Biologically/genetically there is “no such thing” as race, as there aren’t any genetic markers for it, but to suggest that it doesn’t exist is very misleading. You can’t utilize something that doesn’t exist, and race is still used to categorize and classify people. Anthropologically you’re right, sociologically you’re wrong.

Jumoke
Guest

I know that but for the sake of this article there is no such thing is race. The writer is speaking form a genetic standpoint which is incorrect. How can she say someone is not “100% black” when being “black” is a social construct? If she had formed her argument around being African American than eh heh it’s a different story and it would be valid.

Odie
Guest
I believe a lot of angry or seemly angry comments under this post are due to a lack of understanding the point that the writer was trying to get across. As an African American woman, raised in an African American family in Detroit, I have seen and heard things come out of A-A women’s mouths that truly saddens and surprises me. I have see women of all shades of brown that have been questioned on youtube and other social media sites as well as in public about what race that were due to the fact that they had longer, well… Read more »
Shanelle
Guest
This stereotype is just plain stupid and ignorant.I don’t need to be mixed to have long hair. Black hair doesn’t grow is just a myth if black hair didn’t grow then why are African American boys going to the barber often?Hair growth is all depended on how you treat your hair. Hair grows half an inch per month (six inches a year) so if you are straightening it everyday and pulling clumps of it out and your not seeing difference in length that doesn’t mean black hair doesn’t grow.you have to take really good care of your hair like moisturizing… Read more »
Lizzy
Guest

I’m black. Period. But if people want specifics(seldom happens), then I tell them that I’m black of African, Native American, and European ancestry. I’m getting my DNA done to find out what country in Africa my ancesters come from. Some people ask why would I care. And I tell them that I know what country my dog originates from. Seems like I have the right to find out about me.

Zharnée
Guest

U tell em girl!!!!

Helen Willis
Guest
I follow the frame of thought, Lizzy. Going further, I think that the black people who get upset if you simply “mention” the breakdown of your ethnicity are those that have the problem. I can say, that “Yes, I am genetically mixed with Native American, black, hispanic and European” just as a statement of fact, just as if I say I am a mail carrier or cop. If this then annoys a black person, then that’s your issue not mine. Every person that has ever asked me if I was mixed has been black. I have often heard that some… Read more »
Git
Guest

How are you mixed with Hispanic when Hispanic is not a race.You sound as if you think you’re just so much better and above everybody but you really just sound conceited.Like most mixed people.

Dabney
Guest
This is a good article but an incomplete article. The genetic issue was not fully fleshed out. For instance there are a large number of black people in this country who are also of Chinese descent. Like Oprah and Mae Jamison. But that is irrelevant. The bottom line is that we know more now about hair care and how to grow our hair to great lengths and this is a positive thing. Now we have to work against Societies ignorance that thinks its impossible. I find it empowering to have the information on how to cultivate a healthy head of… Read more »
keepin tha peace
Guest

Thank you for this article! So appreciative!

NapturallyKia
Guest

Not feeling this post. At all.

KenyanGirl
Guest

I think being black is beyond skin/hair type, it is also a function of the society you live in…In my country any half white half black person is regarded as white. Beyonce/Rihanna would not be regarded as black.

christinanolanXD
Guest

Same with my country!!

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