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Black Women Stand on NY Street and Allow Strangers to Touch Their Hair as Part of Social Experiment

Avatar • Jun 7, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 12.04.24 AM

As part of a social experiment a group of black women — one natural, one loc’ed and on relaxed — stood on a street corner in New York holding signs saying “You Can Touch My Hair”. The experiment/exhibit is the brainchild of Antonia Opiah, a hair blogger. In an article for The Huffington Post she states;

Black hair is unique. It requires different care techniques and routines. And in a country where we primarily see commercials for white hair products and magazines that mainly cover white beauty topics and TV shows that mainly feature white characters, we, and those curious about us, have to find information about our hair from other sources.

It’s easy to cite the media as the cause for underexposure to the various cultures of America. The media definitely plays a huge role. But another factor is the lack of the right kind of curiosity across the American population.

The exhibit ran today and will run again on June 8th from 2 to 4 p.m. in New York City’s Union Square.

Okay, so I usually post articles without commentary, but for this I had to.

I think it bothers me that the impetus is put on us as black women to become accessible — and in some cases acceptable — to other ethnicities. I understand that black people are just 12% of the population so not everyone has ‘access’ to a black person. But it’s well documented that, for many Americans, segregation is a matter of choice and not circumstance. I fear that a display like this allows some people the opportunity to dip into black culture for an experience before returning to the ‘safety’ of a significantly less diverse world.

A significant percentage of women in the natural community are married interracially. Which proves that it is possible for men of other races to form meaningful and substantive bonds with black women without these types of displays.

I am still firmly opposed to strangers touching my hair. And while I take no offense at strangers asking questions about it (I welcome it), I hope we’ve gotten to a point in this country where my commonalities with a person of another ethnicity are more interesting to explore than my differences.

But that’s just me… And on an unrelated note, those colored locs and that curly fro are FIRE! What are your thoughts on this ladies?

Photos are from Un-ruly.com’s Instagram account.

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Alisa
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Alisa

I think it sounds and looks degrading…as though these women( and other African American women) are animals at a petting zoo. Thanks, but no thanks. I would not do this personally.

merry
Guest
merry

personally, things like this make me feel like black people will forever be stuck on stupid.

Eloisa
Guest
Eloisa

It doesn’t just sound degrading, it is. WTH is people’s obsession with black people’s hair?! Why was this necessary? We are not here to satisfy others’ curiosity about our hair. Let them STAY curious. You actually think there would ever be an asian or white exhibit where random black people pet them like animals? NO! And touching some random white or asian woman’s hair sound so nasty to me! It would never even occur to me. Smh @ the people who think this no big deal. This is disgusting as hell. Those women should be ashamed of themselves. But I… Read more »

Ekene
Guest

I think I get what you’re saying- (especially) a city like New York is relatively diverse so there should already be some curiosity leading people to some acknowledgment that hair of people of African origin is different. However, just a thought- I’m Nigerian, and I live in Nigeria. Since I went natural, I’ve had quite a few people at random ask me if they can touch my hair. They touch it, I’ve had 2 or 3 people pull it to stretch it out without asking lol (shrinkage is a mystery to them) It can be annoying but they do it.… Read more »

Lillian Mae
Guest

Exactly! Black and Non-Black alike are curious!

I don’t have a problem with this and the women who signed up are good sports.

Cece Danielle
Guest
Cece Danielle

I think this experiment is great, although I wouldn’t do it personally. I just noticed how mostly white people are touching the girl’s hair. I think a lot of white people are curious about our hair. As long as they’re being respectful, I welcome curiosity.

AC
Guest
AC

I agree, more Black people touch my hair without asking opposed to other races, actually no one of another race has dared to try that lol..

Haduko
Guest
Haduko

This feels National Geographic to me. Or petting zooish like the previous commentor stated. I get what they’re doing but damn it’s so…public!

That being said I do at times allow ppl(who ask)to touch my hair. And yes, I feel like I’m starring in an episode of Nat Geo Wild. I have made allowances for admirers and the genuinely curious because despite some feelings of weirdness, I do acknowledge the intrigue that is linked with our hair.

Cece Danielle
Guest
Cece Danielle

I personally think it’s the mindset behind it, when they ask to touch it. This one white guy randomly came up to me while I had an afro and said, “omg your hair’s so cool can I touch it? I was like uhhhhhmmm, no. He made me feel like it was some type of weird, “cool” thing and I felt like I was on display. I didn’t feel good about it at all. Another white guy I know is genuinely interested, he asks questions all the time, how long does it take to do, how long is it when it’s… Read more »

Rea
Guest

They made a personal choice to do this, even if it’s viewed as a petting zoo. I personally hate when people play with my hair, It makes my scalp crawl and they might be the person that used the commode and didn’t wash their hands, etc. It’s not black peoples job to educate ignorant people. I wasn’t offended when my teacher ask the black girls in the class how did they take care of their hair, it sparked a discussion about black hair diversity and it educated some people. Some people just don’t know how to be respectful. I had… Read more »

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

@ Rea I would’ve loooooved for my teacher to ask me to explain how I take care of my natural black hair. I would have taken about 25 minutes plus Q & A session too. Yes,we do need to educate the ignorant folks black and white and brown and yellow about our hair and dispel the lies and myths especially in our own black community. Unfortunately, a lot of the “dirty” looks and negativity is from other black women and some men but most of the men seem to like it more. I can count the number of compliments I… Read more »

Rea
Guest

HHJ To you too! I agree. I just think some people are too thick to reach when you try to educate them. I think keeping discussions like this open is healthy. 🙂

'Quel
Guest
'Quel

Girl, I WISH a teacher of mine had asked that question in school. Cause you know what? I would’ve told them. That’s right, I would’ve been a good sport and walked them through my hair routine. And then, I would’ve said, “Ok, now I have a question for all you white people. Why is it that when ya’ll hair get wet, you smell like wet dogs?” And I’m pretty sure all jaws would’ve dropped to the floor. How dare people feel like it’s ok to “touch” or ask to touch a black woman’s hair? This little “experiment” is degrading and… Read more »

Fii
Guest
Fii

I would have been like, but y’all don’t shower for 3 days at a time and think it’s cool. I know quite a few white people who admit to not showering daily. But then everyone wants to come out with this black women don’t wash their hair every day and its nasty. I’m still trying to figure out how some white people wash their hair everyday if they don’t shower everyday. I feel like things such as washing your hair in the kitchen since sick as opposed to in the shower is something also culturally devised. But whatever. Those ladies… Read more »

'Quel
Guest
'Quel

You know what? That’s is so true. It’s a lot of questions that could be posed to them. Like, why do they take shower’s without a washcloth? Just a damn bar of soap? Come on. I just don’t understand how they feel so intrigued by anyone that’s different from themselves, like anyone not like them is a freak of nature or something. Wanting to touch my hair to see how it feels? That’s not curiousity. That’s freakin racism and ignorance.

Crist
Guest
Crist

yeah no she wuda got socked

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

We/I need not take it too personally. It is “their” experiment. I welcome hair touching from my black and white friends (when they ask)and questions about my nature hair too. Perhaps we wouldn’t have to do this if we wore our real natural hair out more. All their hair looks beautiful. #askbeforeyoutouchmyBBA

Sabrina Antoinnette
Guest

I agree 100%. If the vast majority of African American women didn’t chemically treat or hide their natural hair under wigs, weaves, or scorch it to hell regularly with a flat iron there would undoubtedly be less curiosity and questions. I love and support this — though some think it is like a “petting zoo” i feel like it is most definitely a social experiment and an opportunity to interact with those that do have questions bringing a positive experience and association to our natural state. I trust those that have opted to participate in the experiment mostly because they… Read more »

yourekiddingright
Guest
yourekiddingright

So you’re saying it’s OUR fault that there are curiosity and questions???

Why are black women concerned about bringing “a positive experience and association to our natural state”?

Why is that OUR job to do??

Isn’t that already happening with the many, MANY natural women who are married interracially and have loving and supportive husbands??

Why the *$%& do I have to stand on a street corner like an ANIMAL and have STRANGERS touch my hair to help THEM understand it???

I swear, the slavery mindset in this country is NOT gone yet…

'Quel
Guest
'Quel

OMG. PREACH ON!!!

Sabrina Antoinnette
Guest

It is definitely NOT our job to teach anyone about our “natural state”, but we all know that fear and hatred stem from ignorance. 1st step would have to be on them, to have the desire to learn. Just FYI, my husband is Norwegian, therefore he has blue eyes and white skin. I think if they want to stand on the street and allow others to touch their hair, more power to them… and regardless of the cursing and backlash you’ve provided, SOMEONE is (weather we are liking it or not) having a positive experience. I have definitely cursed out… Read more »

D.K.
Guest

That’s right, because if we don’t step up and educate in sometimes radical ways, then who will? It IS our job to enlighten because people with no african descent will never be taught (or will ignore it) if left up to themselves. Stigmas will continue if we’re quiet (how else could we now sit in the front of a bus?). I support this experiment 100% because the honesty (of admitting they don’t know), sincerity (of wanting to find out), curiosity (without shame) and open-mindedness of individuals wins out in the end. They are definitely all the better for it and… Read more »

AC
Guest
AC

I kinda agree with you because it isn’t ALL our fault but … It wasn’t just other races that attended the event so I’m not understanding this slave mentality you speak of. It is however our job to teach our own … Which is also being done by this exhibit, the positive experience and association to our natural state is necessary so other women may enjoy their natural hair one day too. After all there were many women of color present and touching the hair as well, I think this is a good thing.

Kan
Guest
Kan

OMG — PREACH yourekiddingright!! Didn’t know ‘putting ourselves on display and educating people because they don’t understand us’ was part of the Black woman’s guidebook of living. Gee, I thought we were just supposed to live and be human like everyone else. Didn’t know we had the responsibility of explaining ourselves to others. And for those saying it’s just curiousity and we should allow it, I think it’s bad manners. Kids go up to one another and poke each other, not grown adults. It’s MINDBLOWING to me that although our hair is different from other ethnicities, people don’t get that… Read more »

Jonette
Guest
Jonette

Regardless of what we do with our hair, it will always spark a certain amount of curiosity because it differs from the majority.
I also agree with the experiment, it opens the door to allow meaningful conversation amongst all .

Naija81
Guest
Naija81

That slavery mindset is for real. The need to justify or explain your uniqueness to other people in order to gain some type of acceptance is pathetic.

Fii
Guest
Fii

Honestly, because most black people’s hair is so vastly different than the rest of the world population, people would be curious regardless of what we did to our hair. It’s the same way people refer to black people by negative stereotypes despite the fact that majority of us do not act the way. Adding this sense of blame is unwarranted,black women should be able to do whatever they want with their hair. I remember watching an episode of Oprah once (the talk show) and there was a white woman who is naturally brunette but dyes her hair blonde. The way… Read more »

yourekiddingright
Guest
yourekiddingright

But that’s the difference TWA4now… it is your FRIENDS who are touching your hair. Friends who already have a relationship with you and appreciate you for more than your hair. Not STRANGERS on a street corner looking to have an experience.

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

@ yourkidding.…I had strangers touch my hair or ask questions…I welcome the dialogue but I am more open to it. Yes, i was a bit werided out a out it but most are just curious 8especially other black folks–most of the men like my hair better) and it produced some great conversations vice popping, snapping, and cussing folks out. Everyone has a different comfort level/personal space comfort level. HHJ 2 u #HHJ2us!

Mai
Guest
Mai

My irritation with the natural hair community is the assumption that people of other races have negative opinions about our hair, and while definitely dependant upon location, I truly don’t believe this to be true. When I BC’d all the positivity came from white people while my black family and friends seemed to have an endless supply of negative comments. I think it would be more beneficial to have this project, or something very similar, in black communities so that we as a race can appreciate and love our own beauty instead of trying to unnecessarily prove it to another… Read more »

Rea
Guest

Yeah it’s just ignorant/rude people in general. A lot of women have to deal with negative attitudes from their own family and sometimes it’s black people that are being the worst bullies. Some pass along the good hair/bad hair mind set to their kids, which I think is far worse

Lillian Mae
Guest

RE: Some pass along the good hair/bad hair mind set to their kids, which I think is far worse

Blacks are the #1 perpetrators of the good/bad hair BS. Speaking personally, I received my initial mind-set from my mother, who when I needed a touch up would snear at my new growth. That set the standard in my mind about my hair! It wasn’t until I saw other women with beautiful natural hair that made me curious about what grew out of my scalp. I agree, take this exhibit to the black communities as well!

Iris
Guest
Iris

@Lillian I think both societies perpetuate this good hair/bad hair but it all stems from historical attitudes. When you look at the power dynamics of race in the United States it is understandable why there is a hair complex in the black community. A lot of blacks wouldn’t have gotten a job unless their hair was straight. I’ve been told by white co-workers curly hair is unprofessional so I certainly understand the pressure to have straight hair. When kids look at who is in power they see mostly white, straight haired people. And the few black women who are CEOs… Read more »

Mai
Guest
Mai

Iris, I just want to point out that Ursula Burns, who is the CEO of Xerox and the only black female who is a CEO in a Fortune 100 company, has a TWA.

merry
Guest
merry

@mai

and ursula burns is a BLACK WOMAN. you will not mistake her for being mixed or whatever to make you like her or embrace her more.

and, she didn’t just change her hair when she got into that position. it’s been like that for years.

the company also has been doing well under her.

i admire her perhaps more than i do someone like oprah or michelle obama.

there are interviews of her posted on youtube.

'Quel
Guest
'Quel

Girl, please. Yes, WE know our hair is beautiful. But, how many little white girls are rushing out to the salon tryna get their hair to look like ours? You KNOW the answer to that. They DON’T envy our hair. They would rather have their silky, smooth limp hair than our thick sometimes coarse hair. It’s not racism that I speak, it’s fact.

Mai
Guest
Mai

I’m not sure why you are comparing white people wanting to look like white people to black people wanting to look like white people. The fact of the matter is, in many black homes, little black girls are being taught that their hair is bad. They are taught that, without long, silky hair like their white counterparts, they cannot be beautiful or successful. So no, we (generally speaking as a culture, specifically the black American community which I am familiar with) do not know our hair beautiful.

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

I agree! If we wore our natural hair out more, it won’t be a mystery not only to others but our own black race as well!#enoughsaid4now

LBell
Guest
LBell

THANK YOU SO MUCH for this post. Without going into a lot of detail (for once, lol) I have spent a good chunk of my life being that representative/educator (obviously not just when it comes to hair, but Black People™ in general) and at this point I am DONE. If other sisters want to go on and demystify what really isn’t that all that frickin’ complicated — and in public, no less — then good for them. I, however, am pretty much over it. And I REALLY have to applaud both the idea of repeating this experiment in a black… Read more »

Megan
Guest

A significant percentage of women in the natural community are married inter-racially. Which proves that it is possible for men of other races to form meaningful and substantive bonds with black women without these types of displays.”

That’s the issue right there–The voyeurism that Americans already exhibit way too much of. People of other ethnicities aren’t walking exhibits from EPCOT. Form real, human relationships if you want the experience. Encouraging people to further separate individual human beings that are “foreign” to them into a collection of characteristics is irresponsible.

Erika
Guest
Erika

Do I think it’s a good experiment? Not really. If someone (black, white, or other) decided to touch anyones hair, they should then be asked to fill out a survey or be contacted at a later date to really determine why they felt the need to touch the hair of person A B or C. If it was to be a more productive experiment there should be more of an experimental component that would add to the overall findings. On another note, I would not let anyone and everyone touch/ feel on my hair because who knows when those paws… Read more »

Tee tee
Guest
Tee tee

I agree with the writer of this article.

This can also look at why people on the whole think we (black people) are unapproachable and can only be accessible with ‘experiments’ such as these. That would be interesting for me.

Also .… . I am curious … What exactly happens once their hair has been touched? A general chat about hair practices? A little history provided on the politics surrounding black hair? Or do the people just touch the hair of silent hair models and leave?

Megan
Guest

Yeah…I’d like to see this on video and observe the reactions as well as self-selection of who decides to come up and touch…really curious which model gets the most attention too.

jacqueline
Guest
jacqueline

i have been asked… can i touch your hair when it was long and i wore it out poof style pulled back in a hair tie. it was a colleague, and i thought he was a creeper, but i let him touch it. it’s so soft. he was amazed. i have also been asked how long it is stretched out by a female colleague at work. so i loosened my braid and we stretched it out almost to my waist. i cut it short, but it’s type 3 whatever hair. folks were curious, blacks and whites, when i cut my… Read more »

Aude
Guest
Aude

My opinion is that the fact of people touching your hair is nothing negative. If you allow them to in order to break down prejudice and ignorance, then why not?

Difference are not negative they are beautiful and enriching. They become negative when they are used in a harmful way.

I believe that these ladies did a good thing. Instead of just let people create ‘myths’ around black people’s hair they have engaged them in a way that could lead to talking about racial discrimination within society.

Tisha
Guest
Tisha

So…I understand doing something that is shocking and/or usually frowned upon to gather some info/data but I don’t really understand what they were trying to achieve? Are they trying to figure out if “others” are still ignorant about black hair??…why not just walk to the street and ask people questions?…this reminds me of the “Ask a Jew” expo that was held in Germany(I think). A little weird IMO but oh,well…

On another note, if that were me, I would have bitten some fingers off…especially the less than tender ones!!

Trice
Guest
Trice

The only way we can dispute the myths is by telling the truth and sharing who we are culturally with other people. Without people who are willing to openly introduce the culture we would maintain a constant pattern of exclusivity or even mysterium. True, I do not want a random person touching me, but for the parameters of what they are doing I think it is a good idea and I would actively participate 🙂 When we were little girls how often did we “play” in each others hair. I grew up in DC, where the majority of the population… Read more »

Boyhead
Guest
Boyhead

Mixed feelings about this. Makes us seem ‘exotic’… like we’re alien to the rest of society that has ‘normal’ hair. This exotic quality is good and it can be bad — depending on the context. I dunno…

s
Guest
s

great article!!! im a central american woman, i have straight hair that i wear in braids down to almost my waist.. id get the same respond from people wanting to touch my braids.sometimes they’d ask sometimes they would just touch.. think anything that looks exotic is open season for sone folks…

Emma J B W
Guest
Emma J B W

Hello all, I visited NYC for the first time from London, UK, in June last year. I had a fantastic experience on the whole apart from one afternoon while visiting the Empire State Building. I had a white American lady approach me from behind and say “can I touch your hair?”. It was a surprise to say the least. I said “I’d really rather you didn’t” and carried on with my day. It’s only after the experience with the months between that I have considered the position of the women. From my perspective, I didn’t want to be petted and… Read more »

mishapley
Guest
mishapley

What’s wrong with allowing people to dip into black culture before returning home to safety? That’s what people do with things new and different. You checkout something new and take the experience home and share it. You begin to see and appreciate and value the differences as well as the commonalities. I think it’s unsatisfied curiosity that can lead to misconception and sometimes harmful speculation. That some feel diminished by this experiment tells me a bit about their life experience. Why do you feel so viscerally about what someone else is doing, because they’re also black, because it reflects back… Read more »

prina
Guest
prina

This is why I miss living in New York, there is always something going on like this. As much as people think NYC is so Diverse, that doesn’t mean they aren’t curious. I never understood why people have a problem with someone touching there hair. Your not cutting it, you not washing it, and your not throwing something in it. sooo Why be petty about someone touching it. People play with and touch long straight hair on people all the time. It won’t mess it up. I’m the only black girl at my job and they are amazed at how… Read more »

cb
Guest
cb

@ Prina I’ve been to the Dakotas, the people will not ask you to touch your hair, they will TOUCH your hair…they feel they are ENTITLED to touch…because you are just a little black gal to them…a little pet…beware of states that do not have a lot of black people, and even states that have a huge black population…this is STILL AMERICA…some will get angry when you tell them no!

Francis
Guest
Francis

I was present and I would interesting was that everyone mostly touched the natural and loc’d hair, people rarely touched the relax hair. I don’t see this as degrading, I find this empowering, I tired of black hair being a political statement, it’s just hair.

Esther
Guest
Esther

Your last question was “what are your thoughts on (these) ladies”? These ladies are beautiful and so is their hair but my thought is the whole idea of standing in the middle of the street as a mad woman trying to impose your beauty on WHO in particular???? The ignorant will of course stop and feel/touch your hair but the intelligent knows and would rather go by his/her day business cos its a waste of time. The headline of the exhibit is (YOU CAN TOUCH MY HAIR) and what happens next??? Maybe, I misunderstood the whole concept but this article… Read more »

sapph
Guest
sapph

so i dont get it. why dont you want anyone touching your hair?? other than the petting zoo aspect i mean? where i m frm you hair in a good style or puffed and it’s like everybody goes fingers first.
and while only sometimes i dnt like it, i dont understand why so many other ppl dont?

Kaila P
Guest
Kaila P

because most people just stick thier hands in it , because the texture and kinkiness is honestly just fascinating, most of them are really not trying to be malicious and doont realize that we don’t like it

sAPH
Guest
sAPH

so Kalia P why don’t you like ppl touching your hair??

sapph
Guest
sapph

so i dont get it. why dont you want anyone touching your hair?? other than the petting zoo aspect i mean? where i m frm you hair in a good style or puffed and it’s like everybody goes fingers first.
and while only sometimes i dnt like it, i dont understand why so many other ppl dont?
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/tumblr_kzjzwcLzPj1qzirl9o1_500.gif[/img]

Pride in What Makes Me Me
Guest
Pride in What Makes Me Me

How is this a social experiment? What are they testing? How is this more than just a display or social *statement*? This sounds an awful lot like the Venus Hottentot to me, voluntary display that it might be. I see what they’re trying to do, but I don’t think it’s black women’s job to become a spectacle in order to collectively dispel white “curiosity and questions.” I mean, we don’t go up to a woman wearing a burqa and say “What are you hiding under there?” Do we next walk around shirtless to show that our breasts look different and… Read more »

Andie
Guest
Andie

Very well said!

Naija81
Guest
Naija81

Exactly. Thank you. Took the words out of my mouth.

Rine
Guest
Rine

Cosign 3000%

colorfulkinks.wordpress.com
Guest
colorfulkinks.wordpress.com

you sound so articulate! Wow, i’m gonna go read now. 🙂

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

My initial response to this project was that it looks somewhat degrading. I certainly wouldn’t do it. I get that the purpose is to showcase black hair to people who don’t know, but why not have a symposium? Why not have a conversation about it? Will walking by and touching hair really start the conversation that is necessary to expand people’s concepts of beauty? I don’t know for sure, but I just don’t feel that this is the way to do it. This doesn’t place black beauty on a pedestal. This so-called “exhibit” makes black beauty look like something of… Read more »

stephanieb
Guest
stephanieb

I was thinking the same thing too Jesse, it makes black women’s hair look like it should be in some petting zoo for the spectactors to come “ooh” and “ahh” and touch like it’s some kind of endangered species, or something. Do these women not have any shame or self-respect. I’m sorry but they look like clowns standing there on the street with that stupid sign and I’m sure most of the people passing by, black and white, thought that too. Sometimes I just don’t know what the hell is wrong with us as a people, SMH!!!!!

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

And I hate to say, but the imagery of black people standing in a line for white people on any people to touch and prod reminds be of what I read about slave auction blocks in Walter Johnson’s Soul By Soul (AMAZING book!). It is just not flattering to portray blacks in this way. If someone wants to know about Japanese hair or culture, one wouldn’t line them up in a row to be gawked at publicly. One would read about Japanese culture, spend time in Japan, talk to Japanese people, etc.… This “exhibit” is just sad.

Sharon
Guest

I am bi-racial and I have very straight fine hair. When I was going up (I grew up in the black community) friends and non-friends would want to touch or play with my hair. I didn’t like it then and definitely would not like it now. My daughter has thick, long, curly hair and her friends and others are always wanting to play in it. She prefers for them not to. Once, while we were out, a grown woman wanted to touch my daughter’s hair and I screamed, “Do not touch my child!” My son wears his hair in a… Read more »

stone
Guest
stone

Ha! They all wanted to touch the big hair

Sana
Guest
Sana

I grew up in Africa and I remember the first time I saw a white person up close. I was curious especially about their hair and skin and eye color because their features were foreign so different from mine and what I was used to seeing. I did want to touch their hair to see what it felt like. People are just curious in nature. This experiment doesn’t bother if anything I am slightly amused and wouldn’t do such a thing. I’ve been natural for nine months. My family was indifferent but I’ve been known to do me. They touched… Read more »

Naija81
Guest
Naija81

Being curious doesn’t provide you the room to be disrespectful. There are other ways to learn about other people’s culture without putting them on display. Google is a powerful tool. If that’s not available to you, your mouth is just as powerful.

jasmine
Guest
jasmine

lets all rememeber, these women were not PUT on display, they willingly chose to INVITE others to touch their hair. They CHOSE to INVITE others to touch THEIR hair. We all know the difference between being forced to do something and choosing, without coercion, to do it. Also, asking someone if you can touch their hair is not in and of itself disrespectful, but the manner in which you do (or in some cases) do not ask… i gotta say i like that they are doing thi, it send the message that “you don’t touch my hair when You want… Read more »

Kris
Guest
Kris

There a many non-Black people that have never seen or touched kinky/curly/locked/relaxer hair up close. I understand how this could be offensive — petting zoo aspect, however, I think it is overall pretty great. This was simply an experiment worth trying just to educate. There are so many people ignorant of what the people in their society look like. Ignorance creates fear. I’d rather not be feared.

Love being me
Guest
Love being me

I’m a proud black woman and am also proud of my hair because it’s a part of me. I don’t get this project. We are not to try to make people accept us understand us and love us. We are all different and should be proud of it I don’t think standing on a street corner holding up signs trying to inspire curiosity is the answer. Other races don’t have to explain their hair neither should we. I’ve heard people complain because their boss won’t allow them to come to work with certain natural hairstyles because they don’t like it.… Read more »

MissK
Guest
MissK

What is the point of this experiment? This is what I wanna know. To teach people about black culture/heritage? if that’s the case then why do they need to touch these women’s hair? It says nothing of the culture/heritage, only of their physical appearance. It would be better to sit and have an actual discussion. If the people are just coming up and touching their hair, and not doing anything else to follow it up, it’s pretty pointless ‘experiment’, and is more like a petting zoo, and in turn offensive because we are not animals. And how many people who… Read more »

Belle
Guest
Belle

I think people are judging this experiment prematurely. The writer should have not filled more than half of the article with their own opinion. Thereby taking the focus away from the reason behind the experiment and its results. I grew up in Africa and like Sana I too had one or two moments of wanting to touch Caucasian hair. I remember wondering if my green eyed teacher could really see me with eyes that color. Now that I have been exposed to people of all races and from different cultures, I not only have a greater appreciation of other human… Read more »

Sabrina Antoinnette
Guest

Thank you for this post, Belle! I agree and have had a similar circumstance in my upbringing. I am Jamaican.

KiKi
Guest
KiKi

“The writer should have not filled more than half of the article with their own opinion” — I agree! The women labeled this as a performance exhibition, which is meant to provoke and engage the audience. Praise and intrigue on one side, eyerolls and uproar on the other, all typical reactions to performance art in my experience. Controversial, enlightening, silly, loaded — they are common on NYC streets. Everyone carries anxiety about ‘the other’ and their own perceived ‘otherness’. We live in close proximity, but some still lack an iota of awareness of friends and loved ones, it’s uncomfortable. And… Read more »

Love being me
Guest
Love being me

I also think it’s more important to educate the black community more than anyone else and encourage a love for our hair, skin color diversity our race respecting others and being proud of who we are before we look to teach others about it.

coffeeandfingernails
Guest

I don’t know if social experiment is the right phrase–she actually calls it an “interactive public art exhibit” which is probably more accurate. I think her point about exposure to natural hair being rare is a fair one–black women are about 6% of the population, natural black women are a significantly smaller percentage, so, especially if you aren’t from a major city with a large black population, it’s likely you’ve never seen natural hair in person. It’s true some people’s “curiosity” is offensive and condescending (I put anyone who just walks up and grabs in this category), but a lot… Read more »

Craig
Guest
Craig

As a white man I find black women’s hair in all it’s forms beautiful to look at and touch. Luckily I found an African wife to put up with me!
We have a two year old daughter and being mixed race her hair is well on the way to looking like the girl on the left. Crazily unruly bu gorgeous !

D.P.
Guest
D.P.

How embarrassing. Social experiment or not it’s weird to stand on a corner and say, “Go ahead and touch me”. Now all of the men and women can go home and tell the kids about their day, “And I got to touch a black women’s hair!”. I saw this image a few days ago and I looked it up just to add it to this post. The women are not comparable to the dog in the photo, it’s the sign factor and letting people know “Of course you can pet me!” I know I’m going to get negative comments but… Read more »

Joe Reilly
Guest
Joe Reilly

Although, yes, there are many other ways to break down barriers between races/genders, I have to disagree with this author. Here’s why. I’ve heard that the first step toward good inter-racial and cultural relationships begins with (1) genuine curiosity and awe of something different then who a person is. Nothing malicious and purely curious. This is where the ‘experiment’ comes in. This hair ‘experiment’ provides a place for people who have had relatively little or practically no deep experience/relationship with blacks to (1) learn more about something as personal as someone’s hair and (2) have open communication and start a… Read more »

Christine Celise
Guest
Christine Celise

Touching someone’s hair can be very sensitive, particularly if it is loc’d. We are so accustomed to the mainstream loc culture that have no connection with the decision behind loc’ing. Traditionally locs had a spiritual motivation and the person with locs would take great offense to someone touching their hair. I do react negatively when someone takes liberties and touches my hair, regardless of its texture/style. It is an extension of my person and I do not give you permission, do not touch.

Sierra
Guest
Sierra

Think y’all are getting ruled up for nothing. These women are all smiles. If they’re ok with people touching THEIR hair then I’m fine with it. People are just curious. Anything different from us will spark curiosity. And it’s a fact that black women are known for “don’t touch my hair.” Here’s their opportunity to touch.

My4CHair
Guest
My4CHair

So.…out of the 3 which one got the most touches?

lauralei
Guest
lauralei

I wondered the same thing. It would be interesting and perhaps revealing to know.

Gerilyn
Guest

I don’t let adults touch my hair due to my known boundaries; no part of my body should not be touched without my consent. Period. The only time I find it permissible to let another human being touch my hair is when a child does it. Children typically don’t see racial divisions until later in their development and are curious about everything. My Japanese-American friend’s five year old daughter touched my hair for the first time a few weeks ago and exclaimed with overwhelming wonder, “You have dragon hair!” Although I am certain that dragons have scales, her limited vocabulary… Read more »

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

That’s kinda weird i don’t know what to think of this.

Netta
Guest

Why do you find it weird? I’m sure it gave quite a few people the opportunity to touch natural hair instead of walking up to a random natural asking to touch hers. I would definitely have someone in a central location that agrees to let random people touch their hair, rather than the random people that stop me on the street.

a
Guest
a

it is weird. whats next being able to touch our butts,lips,skin and so more because its unique and different and others should be able to feel it.

Em
Guest
Em

A, except for the fact that our butt and lips are not unique to us like our hair is. There are plenty of women with fuller figures/butts who aren’t black and the same goes for fuller lips. Our hair is distinct to us hence all the curiosity that surrounds it. Although I can understand your concern, I don’t think your comparison is accurate…

Phoxxie
Guest
Phoxxie

Why do you have to be extreme? It was about hair and hair only. Geez

Arielle
Guest

I don’t see it is putting us on display of any sort. It is really just to create an environment of learning and growth. Often times a step back has to happen in order to make two steps forward.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/image-13.jpg[/img]

lauralei
Guest
lauralei

Why would anyone allow themselves to stopped on the street so that a stranger could touch them?

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

I like the idea of this experiment. I think it gives the power back to them (the girls doing the experiment) and to black women in general. And it’s a fun and easy way to get a conversation going. A way to break the ice, so to speak. I grew up in an area with very few black people. I don’t think I had any black friends until I moved to NYC to go to college. And yes, I was always curious about what black people’s hair felt like to the touch. It’s not my fault I didn’t have black… Read more »

Rhonda
Guest

Black hair is unique. It requires different care techniques and routines.”

White hair is unique. It requires different care techniques and routines.

I’m just sayin’.

Jessie
Guest
Jessie

You misunderstood what she was talking about. black hair is so versatile.In fact, the most versatile hair. Every black person is different and so is their hair. white people hair are all the same!

gapch
Guest
gapch

white people hair is not all the same.

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

Yet white people don’t have to stand on the street allowing people to examine them. I mean, it’s 2013 people. The age of the internet. I’m sure most of us ladies here learned about our natural hair through the web and NOT by petting strangers. Moreover, Native-Americans are an even smaller and more “unique” group in America. Why not put them on display to touch?

Not that deep
Guest
Not that deep

“I fear that a display like this allows some people the opportunity to dip into black culture for an experience before returning to the ‘safety’ of a significantly less diverse world.” Wow. It’s not like they are allowing people to apply blackface and “live amongst” us. Calm down. I don’t understand why people touching black hair is such a big deal. It is not odd to be interested in something that differs from one’s own experience. People are ignorant because they do not know better. Give them the facts and they are no longer ignorant. That’s how education happens. If… Read more »

a
Guest
a

What the hell. whats next being able to touch our butts,lips,skin and so much more because its unique and different.You are not on display like a freak in a circus or side show. Silly women that signed up for this mess.
The difference is you are black too.

Bec Storm
Guest
Bec Storm

Random people DO ask to touch my hair a lot when it’s out in a fro and I don’t have a problem with it, as long as they ask first and don’t startle me. They usually give me a ton of compliments after they do too about how soft it is and how do I take care of it. It’s like previous people have said, they’re just trying to learn about it. With the whole natural movement we ourselves are learning about our own hair, I don’t see the problem with other people learning about it as well along with… Read more »

Willameena
Guest
Willameena

I went to college in an area where there were maybe 0.2% black people and came from Los Angeles. I wore braids, cornrows, afro puffs, and press and curls. People asked to touch my hair ALL the time…sometimes I was offended sometimes I wasn’t. The few that I did allow to touch my hair made statements like “oh wow its softer than it looks” Im sorry were you expecting it to feel like a coarse brillo pad??? I know our hair is different, but why must there be such a BIG fascination with it that people want to touch it… Read more »

Stace
Guest
Stace

They ask questions like how often do you wash it because the conception put out there by black people is that we don’t wash our hair frequently. That’s not made up its the truth. Some folks don’t wash for a month at a time. I wash every week and have been doing so for the past 10 years. Family and friends used to question me about that and say I was washing my hair to much. Also look at how many of us as children had our hair called hard by mothers, aunts, sisters etc. This is where white people… Read more »

Adrienne
Guest
Adrienne

it is werid but again i dunno them . if they wanna them touch then go for it. it is their own hair, not mine. If they ask me, I will say no. Only my family can do it after I ask if they know how to handle it gentle and wash hands

Sacred heart
Guest
Sacred heart

I get more compliments with a wash n go. “how did you get your hair like that?!” I love replying “I just washed it and it dried”. lol I don’t mind the stares & questions but don’t touch my sh*t!

GingerB
Guest
GingerB

I am Hispanic and have natural hair and I have random people come up to me and ask me questions/touch my hair. When I started going natural, I started dating an Asian man, my mother said that my bf was used to “good” hair and would leave me as soon as my hair grew out to its natural state. Five years later we are still going strong, he loves my hair and can’t stop playing with it, and he can have a whole conversation about hair products and techniques.I think the important message to take away here is that we… Read more »

Jarmelia
Guest

Reading this made me wonder if it was really 2013. Most people do not care about black folks hair. Most people do not care if your hair is curly, straight, big, short or long. They just do not care. I’m natural and I wear my hair out 80% of the time in a wash & go, it is about shoulder length, un-stretched. No one, has ever asked to touch my hair unless we were talking about hair already. I don’t get odd looks. This article makes it seem like folks look at black women as some kind of science experiment… Read more »

Phoxxie
Guest
Phoxxie

Im sorry but how do you know what people care about? You sound ignorant. You do realize there are sooooo many racists in this world. People who DO care how your hair looks and will treat you according to how they feel about it. Open your eyes.

Renee
Guest
Renee

So…we need to put ourselves out there so we feel accepted why should we care that people care about how our hair looks. It is not necessarily the role of the black women to make ourselves be accepted by other races (or racists since you brought it up)for our personal choices such as how we wear our hair or the way we’re born such as our black skin. If I took what you said you’re saying all those people who care about how black woman’s hair looks let them have the opportunity to touch our hair because they need to… Read more »

Kan
Guest
Kan

I have to disagree Phoxxie — non Blacks honestly DON’T care about our hair that much. I grew up in an all-white neighborhood, went to an all-white school and work in a predominantly white workforce. Sure, there have been some questions, but 99.9% in my experience couldn’t care less. All I’ve ever heard is “cool hair, wanna go have lunch?” And if people mistreat me because of the way my hair looks, I doubt me educating them about my hair and letting them touch it would solve anything. It’s not our job to let racists feel us up so they… Read more »

G
Guest
G

Seems like there might be a better way to introduce someone to ethnicity. So what happens after they touch the hair?

Candice
Guest
Candice

I’m sorry, this just seems too much like a damn petting zoo to me. No thank you.

Love my hair
Guest
Love my hair

Relaxed or natural, I don’t want people(strangers)touching my hair!!! For me, hands in the hair has always been an intimate issue — trust, communication, bonding, love — much like a stroke of cheek or face… Strangers can not touch my hair.

thutchin
Guest
thutchin

Hair is apart of my body. To invite someone to touch my hair is the equivalent of inviting them to touch any other part of my body. Inappropriate for complete strangers, not to mention immature.

People DO Want To Know
Guest
People DO Want To Know

People want to know about how different cultures take care of their hair. Let them. I don’t see the big deal, as long as someones asks nicely and is respectful. I hang out with many people who don’t have kinky hair. They always wanted to know how I did this or that to my hair. They were shocked I don’t wash my hair everyday or I put oil INTO my hair, etc. Y’all don’t act like you don’t do the same thing to other cultures. This is a fun way to do it. Just cause we are black woman doesn’t… Read more »

Mels
Guest
Mels

I do not think it is is degrading at all, as the people out there are willing to showcase hair textures. It is more degrading when people when people touch without asking a person (invasion of personal space) or make false, ignorant assumptions or conclusions about Black hair as a result of not being educated. Being hostile towards exhibits like this can make naturally curious people be afraid to ask questions and learn because they fear getting verbally attacked and/or hostile stares. I have seen this happen. I think we need to need to TAKE BACK certain stigmas… and be… Read more »

Kimberly
Guest
Kimberly

This is POWERFUL. Yes, take away the secrecy and fear around our hair. Not only amongst white folks, but for us. This, in my mind, is not for the white gaze or experience, this is for us! We must free ourselves from these worry of what “they” think, and how it effects “them.” It reclaims something that slavery, white supremacy, self-hatred and media have taken away. Our freedom! The varied responses to this social experiment are intriguing to me. We live in a world that appears to be diverse, but we have very little real, tangible knowledge about one another.… Read more »

Ronnecke
Guest

Why can’t this social experiment be pushed a little more and find out how many people touched each head?

lauralei
Guest
lauralei

I asked the same question. Also, what comments were made?

Me
Guest
Me

Sounds like a petting zoo to me.…but what do I know.

Andie
Guest
Andie

I get what they were trying to accomplish with this experiment, but it just seems so weird to me. It’s almost like a human petting zoo. Not trying to be funny, but seriously… black women standing on the street and random folks come by and stroke their hair. How in the world is that not weird? Why do we always feel the need to make others comfortable with everything about us? Yes our hair’s texture may be unique and I understand other people being curious, but was this really the best way?

Arielle
Guest

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I understand that some of you never may have experienced this. I have locs and I certainly have. I applaud the ladies for their bold statement and acceptance of their own hair choices. As Black people, how others feel about our own hair in its natural state is a direct reflection of how we have felt or continue to feel. The “never touch a black woman’s hair” statements. Listen to what you say about our different hair textures and your own thoughts concerning our hair. We can not get angry if our own hair has… Read more »

Tara Kamiya
Guest

Very provocative. Are we educating or putting ourselves on display once again?

Stacy
Guest
Stacy

I grew up in a mixed community but I never had the chance to ask those around me about their hair because of the fear of being rejected for not knowing something that was so common to them. I applaud these women for breaking the boundaries and opening a dialogue for those that may not have had that chance to ask. You can read all you want from books, magazines and the internet but hearing, seeing and feeling something in person is the best way to learn about almost anything.

N.A.M.E
Guest
N.A.M.E

@Jarmelia It depends where you live. I identify with those that have experienced odd looks and people asking to touch our hair. But then I live in the second whitest city in the U.S

Phoxxie
Guest
Phoxxie

Okayyyyy so what was the outcome? How many people touched each girls hair? I mean the whole point of a social experiment like this would be to note on peoples reactions and who they touched more right?

Nature Girl
Guest
Nature Girl

We are all being watched/studied and some twisted anthropologists is writing it all down.

MsKat
Guest
MsKat

Touched, too-once on the train coming from work, back when I had really long hair and wore a curly ponytail, someone behind me on the train started touching my ponytail, I guess thinking I couldn’t feel them doing it…I was too terrified to see what was up and just got off at the next stop and switched cars…

Kasey
Guest

I’m opposed to strangers touching me period, hair or otherwise. However I think they originally framed this as and exhibit/art, the use of the word experiment already leads people to a negative space, which as long as their hair isn’t being touch shouldn’t really bother them. If these ladies are okay with it, and it may have educated one person then more power to them.

Jessiebyrd
Guest
Jessiebyrd

I don’t think the experiment is only directed at white people. Those are just the pictures provided. I think this could be beneficial for a black person to go and touch their hair. As person with natural hair. I get people of all races that want to touch my hair but most are black women who have relaxed hair. They are curious and want to know if it is soft to te touch. They tell me they are afraid to go natural because they think their hair will be hard or dry. But after they touch my hair, they see… Read more »

Jessiebyrd
Guest
Jessiebyrd

Also, this experiment could take away some of the negativite attitudes that SOME non black people have about all types of black hair. Some think people who have natural hair or loc’d hair have aggressive or abrasive personalities and that women with weave are ghetto. This could allow them a “safe environment” to see that these women are friendly and that our ethinic hair is not a sign that we will be “ghetto”. I am an actor and a lot of times when I go to auditions, people have preconceived ideas of my character “type” or personality based on my… Read more »

Deb
Guest
Deb

Look, if individuals can’t see with their own eyes or through interactions with black women that we are normal human beings or through asking politely (and there’s nothing wrong if a woman says no to having their hair touched; to each his own) about our hair or doing their own research to understand our hair then we have to resort to ish like this that would barely make a difference unless it happened all across the country (because non-black folks will not pay attention to a random story like this) and black women had to offer themselves up like this… Read more »

Jessiebyrd
Guest
Jessiebyrd

Hey Deb. Its not only non blacks who negative views on natural hair. I don’t have an issue with people who say no to hair touching. I let people touch my hair but that’s me. I let black people white people anyone who isn’t creepy with how they ask touch my hair just because I I have never had an issue with it. But if you look at some other articles about this experiment most ppl that participated were BLACK WOMEN. Also, i was reading an article an one of the ladies holding the signs said she is opposed to… Read more »

Jessiebyrd
Guest
Jessiebyrd

And some things are not going to promote change or make a difference in the world but it opened up a dialogue. It allows you to understand both sides of the spectrum. It allows ppl like me who don’t mind to say why we don’t mind. I don’t mind because I love having it all over the place including all up in your face so you might as well touch it LOL I personally wouldn’t mind ppl allowing me to know why they WON’T allow others to touch their hair. I never understood it unless you are going for a… Read more »

Kasey
Guest

Jessiebyrd, I could not AGREE MORE.

I’ve only had one non-black person touch my fro and I let her know that it was NOT cool and to not do that to anyone else in the future. But I have had SOOOO many black folks ( a lot of men too) feel comfortable with straight up touching my hair without asking. The color of ones skin does not mark how curious they will be nor give them a pass to invade personal space. They too should ask and I’d be open to having a discussion with them.

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

This is so cool!!! Awe guys why does everything have to always be so political? I think we sometimes read waaaay too deep into things and make issues out of nothing! Black people are a minority in some areas and people are just curious! It doesn’t mean that they’re ignorant or anything bc they’re not spending hours learning about our hair.… I mean how many of us have really spent hours learning about their hair? I’ve touched many of my white, Indian friends’ hair out of curiosity and they aren’t the least bit offended but enjoy and invite questions! I… Read more »

Keta
Guest
Keta

I feel like some people need to calm down. It’s not as big of a deal and as sacred as people are pretending. It’s just hair. Its not like they’re asking to cut a lock of it off…I think the experiment is great, although it would be more interesting to find out which head of hair received the most touches, which one was liked more the participating parties and why. I’m an African American female who went to an international college and studied in Japan. I wore my hair natural, straight and braided. It didn’t matter how my hair was… Read more »

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

I’m not really sure how to feel about this. I respect these women for their choice however I know I don’t like for people to touch me/my hair, mostly because it happens frequently without invitation. Right off the bat, it strikes me as making black women “public/common property”.Asking questions and being curious? Awesome! Touching me and invading my personal space? Never ok. I know these ladies made their intentions clear (the signs) but I’m concerned when so many people don’t necessarily need an invitation (this includes other cultures as well as blacks). So it’s not so much about race but… Read more »

SP08
Guest
SP08

Could you please tell me if there is any hard data out there about Black women with natural hair marrying inter-racially. I would love to see that if you have it. Thanks!

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

What do you mean? I’m sporting semi- natural hair, it will be totally natural in a few more months after I cut out the last of the relaxer. And if I like the guy I’ll marry someone that is not my race. Actually I kind of did my husband is mixed and I’m mixed, so I guess I did. lol

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

Lol, that’s funny cause I live in San Diego and any time that I get my hair in braids or wear it out slightly natural, I’m still transitioning, people always ask, “Can I touch it”? Lol, always say sure unless they look unclean. It makes me laugh, but if it helps them understand the difference of my hair from their hair then I’m ok with it. This was all volunteer for the women to allow strangers to touch their hair. If you don’t like hands in your hair then don’t volunteer, simple as that. I think its great.

Cree
Guest
Cree

I don’t care what ethnicity one is. If you aren’t a significant other, close friend or close relative, do not touch my hair. Even then, I’m not going to let anyone that has touched this and that in public to lay a finger on my head. I don’t know where your hands have been, ew!

MsKat
Guest
MsKat

I commented on this on another blog…no thanks, can’t stand folks touching my hair (with rare exception-such as a question and answer dialogue which results in someone asking can they touch it). It makes me feel like someone’s pet. The first 2 things that came to mind when I saw this concept was ‘petting zoo’ and Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman. On display for others to see and poke and prod under the auspices of learning. No thanks.

Aldene
Guest
Aldene

And on an unrelated note, those colored locs and that curly fro are FIRE!”
.…. and the permed sister?
I love this idea BTW. If you did this in the country I now live, you would still be on the side of the road…It wouldn’t have ended.

Tiombe
Guest

For me, the most important part of this exhibit are the signs reading “you can touch my hair.” It is true that the onus is placed on Blacks to educate whites about who we are, but while I object to that on principal, I also understand that curiosity is natural. My concern is that, by indulging that curiosity, we further support the ideal of us as “other.” (The world is seen as “white” and “other,” rather than as a range of diversity situated in the voice of the experience of one. White people are not often challenged to recognize that,… Read more »

Maya
Guest
Maya

The fact that people are so obsessed about not having other people touch their hair is kind of scary. I understand people randomly touching you is weird but if someone asks, what is the big deal?

camesia
Guest
camesia

Although i understand what everyone is saying about it always falls on us to educate others about us as black people. My question is if we don’t then who will? I think in doing this experiment it shows people that our hair can be worn in different ways same as their’s. There is no one way how a black woman should look and this experiment shows that. It shouldn’t be our job to educate them but i for one take is as my privilege. I love answering questions and in some cases i am not opposed to the touching as… Read more »

VIna
Guest
VIna

I appreciate the social experiment. We are so segregated in our daily lives, that we live in a world of stereotypes. These women allow others to approach them and learn that not all “black hair” is alike. It has different texture, waves, body, feel. It starts a dialogue. If you can’t access the experience in real life, how can you learn? Intellectualism only goes so far.

Deb
Guest
Deb

LOL, let’s be real, it’s not going to start a dialogue. Not a lasting, meaningful one on both sides anyway. Most of the dialogue is only going on in the female natural hair community.

Melody
Guest
Melody

I think their signs need an addendum like you can touch my hair ‘just for today’ because this behavior in my opinion too closely ressembles petting.

jasmine
Guest
jasmine

lol!!!! true, “and just mine– don’t expect this to mean every black woman you see from here on outs”!! lol

Nessa
Guest
Nessa

No. Uh uh HECK NO!!! I don’t know how many hands I have popped for touching my hair without my permission. Now yes, there are specific people who know they can just touch my hair without asking and there are those who I will most likely say yes to if they ask, but a random stranger just touching my hair and me being on display to let them touch it? Nope. Not going to happen! This “experiment” is dumb. Where’s the data? What were they testing? I swear we repeat history too much. This is just a minor parallel to… Read more »

Ms. Lady
Guest
Ms. Lady

I am in complete agreement with all that you have expressed.

Nessa
Guest
Nessa

Thank you!! I’m currently in class, but I can’t WAIT to see these videos that have been put up about the “experiment.”

Jas
Guest
Jas

I don’t agree with this experiment. Why do Black people have to explain everything about ourselves down to our hair? Why are we looked upon as a different specie? It’s hair. Our hair comes in different colors, lengths, textures just like any other race. I’m not downing the women who participated in the experiment. Maybe they’re more open-minded then myself but I’ve experienced way too many simple-minded questions about my hair from other races. It’s not my responsibility to explain how my hair can be curly one day and up to my ears (wash and go) and the next day… Read more »

mmdccbslm
Guest
mmdccbslm

nice

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

I think this is fine, because these women gave the strangers permission to touch their hair. When people just suddenly touch your hair because they feel like it, without asking, I think they’ve crossed a line. This is a forum designed for touching, so there’s nothing wrong with it. A lot of people mean well when they touch hair, they are just curious, especially when the hair is not like theirs. Curly haired white women complain about the same thing. People don’t ask and just touch their hair, ruin the curl definition they worked so hard on and create frizz,lol.… Read more »

Dorothea
Guest
Dorothea

It irkes me to the core that society treats us as if we always have to explain ourselves to them! No one whether black, white or purple needs to know anything about me. If I wanted you to know something, I would volunteer that information.

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

these women DID volunteer that information.I do think maybe they should have invited some white and asian curlies to participate, since its not only our hair that gets touched like that. But that said, I understand the fascination with black hair. We have a lot in common hair-wise with other races, or so I’ve learned in my hair journey, but not everyone knows that. Most blacks themselves don’t even know that, and know matter how much we learn about our hair, on the surface it still looks different than anyone else’s. We are the race whose hair grows up, and… Read more »

jasmine
Guest
jasmine

yes, i was just thinking about that the other day. We project our own insecurities about how other people see our hair. Even myself! we assume that other people are assuming something negative about us and that shapes how we react to them; that shapes how we treat them before we even have given them the opportunity to make their own first impression…

Diane
Guest
Diane

I personally think it is extremely rude to ask to touch anyone’s hair, no matter what the race. Why would anyone think it’s okay to ask someone to touch their hair, or worse yet, reach out and touch without asking permission? Bad manners either way. It reminds me of being pregnant and perfect strangers rubbing my belly. WTH?? Do people normally go around rubbing one another’s stomach? There’s something called personal space and boundaries. Don’t cross them.

Eloisa
Guest
Eloisa

This makes me sick. Just like animals at the zoo. Disgusting. And you actually have people not seeing anything wrong with this. Smh. Typical brainwashed Americans.

Ami
Guest
Ami

I personally love this, and think it’s a really quirky, fun idea. 🙂 I’m also kind of shocked by a lot the comments left underneath it. I’ve never found somebody asking to touch my hair rude — it’s something you’d naturally ask if you were curious, right? And given the rampant popularity of wigs and weaves, ‘naturalistas’ are still quite rare (at least in the UK, anyway), so a lot of people will have never seen things like twists and afros up close before. Why should they be made to feel bad for wanting to learn more about something alien… Read more »

Deb
Guest
Deb

We need to respect people’s individual comfort zones that are reflected in their opinions. It goes both ways.

Tony
Guest
Tony

I think this is a great idea. For those of you against, you all are the main ones who will appreciate this “social experiment” once they explained what resulted from it. And it’s not even negative or degrading in my opinion. They volunteer THEMSELVES, so why are YOU offended?

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[…] we posted about the “You Can Touch My Hair” social experiment. The article elicited a lot of strong reaction — from people who thought it was empowering […]

Kay Tee
Guest
Kay Tee

No other race — EVER — has to explain themselves like the Black race. No other race would ever think “Hey … let’s take the mystery out of my hair — let people touch it” …it’s ridiculous. How about other races who constantly reject, deny, dehumanize, humiliate, ostracize, mock and disrespect — how about THEY start putting THEIR MANNERS ON DISPLAY.

Yarrah
Guest

Ok but ultimately I feel like this was a slight cooning. It’s not my problem that people are either offended, fascinated or confused by my hair, so it’s not my job “make them” feel comfortable about it. That’s like me allowing white men to slap my ass all day at an Slap A‑Sistahs-Ass convention, because I want them to feel comfortable around me and not fetishize me, b/c my sexuality is still something they “want to understand” and experience. That JUST like my hair, is not my damn problem. I don’t give a damn how odd my hair seems and… Read more »

wds
Guest
wds

perfect.

Yarrah
Guest

I thought that picture was for my icon… ugh.

uhuruhouston
Guest
uhuruhouston

This simply baffoonery and reminiscent of circus animals or going to the zoo to touch the caged animals!!! Sickening display!!!

uhuruhouston
Guest
uhuruhouston

Some black women still behaving like black bed wenches on the plantation!!

BeautyisMiree
Guest
BeautyisMiree

Those of you who are jumping this experiment as something bad and saying “it’s not our job to educate the ignorant” are kinda hypocrites. So you’re saying that when somebody asks a genuine question about our race you automatically call them ignorant; you don’t bother to educate them on that matter so they can go tell there friends that what they assumed was way off and rude. You have to understand that even though their questions may seem dumb too us, its just curiosity since nobody really bothered to educate them on race and culture besides two pages out of… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

yes, I agree with you. How can you be angry about ignorance, when you’re not interested in helping to reduce it? Makes no sense to me. If you think this idea is a bad one, fine, but what ideas have the complainers come up with ? At least these ladies are trying something.

nikki
Guest
nikki

i can see what you mean but at the same time i think that if they were really that interested they would take the personal time to educate themselves about somethings or use common sense. like with the do you even wash your hair question, if they were to educate themselves on the importance of washing your hair then they would never ask a black person if they wash their hair. even dogs bathe themselves in order to be clean. its also kinda like someone traveling to another country and that person expecting the locals to tell about all of… Read more »

dara
Guest
dara

i agree 100%. I dont knock anybody for being curious about black women and our hair. but why should black women go out of there way to make others informed about it? if they are that interested, they can do their research. this whole thing really looks like a ‘seeking social acceptance’ type of deal.

African Naturalistas Hair Products
Guest

I am guessing the lady with the afro got the most touches.

Zane
Guest
Zane

Natural always the best

but
Guest
but

the thing is, is that *it’s not our job* as black women to educate them. that’s the point people are making. i didn’t ever have to touch a white person’s hair to know about it… none of you reading this did either. i watch tv and learn about it because they’re hyper-represented and talk about it and have hair commercials for it, learn about it like it’s the standard for hair when we’re in science classes, etc. Think about it. if we got that same type of representation we wouldn’t HAVE TO let anyone touch our hair in public like… Read more »

Some body
Guest
Some body

What I don’t know I fear.
What I fear I hate.
What I hate I attack.

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

So true.…

eve-audrey
Guest
eve-audrey

it would be heaven if it could go both ways. black people have always had to adapt no one tried to experiment on themselves in order to educate us on who they are. and we learnt if we can why can’t the others learn the same way?

Darby
Guest
Darby

It actually IS our job. No one else is doing it… NO one else is stepping up to the plate. At least where these women are concerned they are giving people who are afraid or ignorant of our hair a chance to gain some knowledge- hands on. Maybe just then those casual misguided comments other races would tell their children about our hair ( its greasy! It’s dry! Don’t have children with a black or they will have ugly hair!) will stop! Because those people that touched it for themselves when they may never have had an opprotunity before now… Read more »

BeautyisMiree
Guest
BeautyisMiree

Our hair texture is very unique. Out of all the races in the world which have skin as dark as ours and hair as curly as ours. Since we are not getting the opportunity to represent black woman besides us being seen as “I’m a strong independent black woman and I need no man” on tv. Wether you like it or not we have to make the first step in educating other races about ourselves. So what, you’re just going to wait for the day society represents black women in a bright light. Since civil rights movement we’ve had to… Read more »

Lara Love
Guest
Lara Love

I agree. It was unnecessary. I live in NYC and I’ve never really been asked to touch my hair. You said all I wanted to say.

DCW
Guest
DCW

This post makes me think about that song “Why Don’t You Love Me”. @but you bring up a great point, if the face of this country is really changing, (as per census data) then why isn’t this diversity represented more on TV programming?. I mean, in a positive light, not on the 11o’clock news. I’m not trying to educate anyone who’s not for me, but to each their own.

Angie
Guest
Angie

It’s assinine that anyone would compare this to a petting zoo! When white folks ignore blacks, all blacks do is whine and complain how whites (and other non-whites) ignore them. Now that some ladies are taking a proactive stance to squelch a common curiosity, now blacks want to cry fowl. Unreal. Maybe if more black women got over their inferiority complex, the idea of sharing their ethnic differences might not seem so unsettling. From my experience (47 yrs of it), non-blacks have a greater appreciation of natural hair than the average black American. I think the reason this exhibit cuts… Read more »

Stace
Guest
Stace

Preach.

eve-audrey
Guest
eve-audrey

it’s funny how people like you are quick to say others have an inferiority complex when all we are talking about private space. not evryone likes to be touched by strangers if you do then fine. and no not all blacks complain when others races ignore them and not all black women have an inferiority complex if that was the case you wouldn’t see more and more black women wearing their hair in its natural state and educating the younger generations about it. those women are the ones who will help more people inside the community to see the beauty… Read more »

Trojan Pam
Guest

Unfortunately the road to CONFUSION is paved with good intentions This is really about white and non-black validation on the part of the black women who participated OR created this “social experiment” and is the same thing as saying, “See, my hair isn’t so bad, not as bad as you think and I’m going to let you put your hands on my personal body to prove it.” it is seeking ACCEPTANCE using “hair” as the vehicle and this kind of behavior demonstrates that we do NOT understand racism/white supremacy and that racism (on the part of whites) has NOTHING to… Read more »

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

Absolutely! Thank you for saying it so bluntly and honestly. This “exhibit” stems from racism and white privilege. Brown (and yellow and red) people of all ethnicities need to stop trying to submit to white standards of beauty. This exhibit seeks to say “I’m not as different as you think I am. I’m just like you white people.” No, we have our own voice and it doesn’t always align with whites, but that’s not our problem.

Deb
Guest
Deb

Thanks you both have eloquently expressed my uneasiness with these numerous “BUT YES IT’S OUR JOB TO EDUCATE THEM” comments. This makes people inherently uneasy for a reason. This would work and actually spur meaningful dialogue if we weren’t inherently seen as inferior others and if there wasn’t a vast approval of and comfort in this way of thinking.

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

@ Pam…WOW! There isn’t enough time to go into detail with you on everything you wrote and how I personally disagree with you at a 99.9% level! I don’t think it is per say acceptance as it is taking the “mystery” out of black natural hair. Right or wrong, our natural lack hair is very unique! It is a mystery to our own black people who barely see or wear their natural hair from all the: perms, relaxers, Wigs, Weaves, and fake braids. Don’t get me wrong weaves and such are great. I have a stand-by wig ready but I… Read more »

Trojan Pam
Guest

if our natural hair is beautiful and we really believed that why would it be necessary to have (probably white) strangers touch it?

why would that even be a thought in our brain computers?

definitely looks like we’re seeking some sort of validation by doing that

otherwise, what would be the point? what is really being accomplished by doing that?

Deb
Guest
Deb

yes at the core of it, it’s looking for validation and people need to cop to that. If you agree with it or not or think its worth it to start better understanding of our hair or “dialogue” (which will lead nowhere if real self-love and acceptance is not in action on our part) , you got to accept that is what’s going on here. Just because the audience might end up being black doesn’t change this either because honestly the Creator’s intention wasn’t to aim it at other blacks so a lot of people here are projecting. She says… Read more »

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

To be honest, I had more black people ask question and reach out and touch my hair than other races. If we wore our hair out more, even within our own community, perhaps these types of experiments would deem unnecessary.

Nicky
Guest
Nicky

I wasn’t going to comment but… “It’s not our job to educate other people” So it’s not black women’s job to educate other people on black women’s hair. Then you tell me whose job is. White people. Asian people. This is most like the reason we have the myths about our hair right now. No, we as black women have to teach others about our hair if we want them to know anything about it. I don’t know about many of you, but if I have a question about my White or Asian’s friends hair, I’m going to ask them,… Read more »

Melly
Guest
Melly

people would touch our hair anyways. one way or another. Its funny, I actually dont mind other people touching my hair. (as long as they ask first.) I actually like what they are doing here. Our culture is really obscure and misunderstood, which leads to the establishment and reinforcements of stereotypes. I think a lot of people could learn from this. We dont want to be misunderstood, right? Then we need to show people what the african/african diaspora is really like, and its not all what they see on MTV and the news.

KaryM
Guest
KaryM

But how will petting a black person teach them anything? The only conversations this has started are among black people. I looked at the comment sections of media sources with a majority white audience, and guess what they thought about it. “I don’t see the big deal. I’m white and I have curly hair and people touch my hair all the time. Why can’t someone touch your hair?” Yea, what a real cultural learning experience it was to them. All they think is, “why can’t I invade your personal space?” To non-blacks, this has nothing to do with the history… Read more »

AJhoney24u
Guest
AJhoney24u

I avoided looking at this post until now since the headline itself produced a jarring internal reaction and after reading the comments I understand why. I must agree with the outlook that experiment is not helpful. It is not the Black community’s responsibility to educate other cultures about our hair. No one else needs to do it either because it really doesn’t need to be done. Our responsibility is to educate ourselves about our hair and our beauty and after decades of neglect that is exactly what we are doing. I came to this conclusion thinking on my current environment,… Read more »

Tine
Guest
Tine

This social experiment is definitely a great idea, not only for other races to understand black people and their hair. But for black people to understand that beauty does not lie in having your hair straightened. This exhibit displays the real beauty of the black hair, the fact that you can braid it, leave it natural or wear a weave. We have beautiful hair because unlike other races, we have a lot of options. Black hair is beautiful in its different shapes and forms. I have had my hair natural for over 6 years. I don’t criticize women who get… Read more »

eve-audrey
Guest
eve-audrey

i agree that there’s still negativity among some black people and in my opinion ignorant comments almost always come from people who have self issues themselves. no one who’s confident needs to tell to someone (specially someone who’s from the same community) “your hair is ugly” or “you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl”. but again i don’t see how standing on a street and allowwing strangers to touch your hair is going to change that.

Saye
Guest
Saye

I agree with you. There have been white people who have touched my hair and they asked; but I have had my own black people who just touched my hair with out even asking. Once in high school, when my hair was relaxed; I had put my hair in a banana clip. While I was sitting down in front of the other black girls they were trying to figure out if my hair had tracks or not. This particular girl put her hands in my hair to see and I just turned around and looked at her like she was… Read more »

She
Guest
She

When I first saw a post for this social experiment, I had mixed feelings about it. One I am a African American woman who chooses to wear my hair natural in a work setting where it can be deemed unprofessional, and with in a week I get at least 6 questions on my hair. I read in many of the comments that it is OUR JOB to educate people on our hair. I totally dis agree with that statement, the only person whom I am personally responsible for educating on hair is my child. I will answer most questions that… Read more »

binks
Guest
binks

Sorry but I rather NOT be a part of a human petting zoo. Why is it that we as black people always have to be dissected and place under a microscope to be understood? If you can’t understand the basic concept that straight hair isn’t the default hair and like most physical features, hair comes in a variety forms then simply touching my hair will not make you understand that. You can be curious and ask questions but you don’t have to go so far and make yourself out to be an exhabit.

NYNICS
Guest
NYNICS

Of course it is our job to educate people about our hair. Obviously other people do not have our hair so how else would they be educated about it unless we tell them? Obviously letting them educate themselves on our hair has not been working and the reason why are having this conversation. Personally I think it is rather silly for people to say it is not our job. This is done entirely too much in this community. Seriously we do have to step up and take responsibility. BTW we also need to educate ourselves first. When you have women… Read more »

penelope
Guest
penelope

It looks like a petting zoo. I, personally, would feel like an animal standing there. I wonder what the viewers who got to pet the hair took away from the experience :s

Bree
Guest
Bree

This exhibit is another way of making us feel “othered”. I should not have to allow myself to be touched, poked, and proded by strangers in order to make them feel comfortable with my features. Instead, I would feel better if this exhibit was for black women who think they cannot wear their natural textures; as a way to educate other black women about the beauty of our hair. And if it is our responsibility to teach white folks about our hair, then this site and others like it should suffice, as there is a plethora of information in these… Read more »

jordan
Guest
jordan

I guess I’m among the few who doesn’t care if someone touches my hair…If they ask why not? Some people don’t even ask and I’m actually not that offended, simple curiosity. And here’s a little secret: I like touching White people’s hair! GASP!

Some of ya’ll crack me up

Bree
Guest
Bree

I don’t get it. While everything in life isn’t worth getting upset over, how can you just tolerate and not bat an eye at a complete stranger deliberately touching a part of you without your permission. You don’t know where their hands have been and yet you have no qualms about them touching your head. Now if you don’t mind that kind of behavior, that’s your prerogative, but I hope you can at least understand why others don’t like it.

sAPH
Guest
sAPH

never understood y ppl didnt want others to touch their hand till now but then again if u tek such an approach you couldnt live on walking on the road and having ppl bump into you and rub against your skin but tht is a bit paranoid in it self.

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[…] Black Girl Long Hair […]

SW
Guest
SW

I think people are taking this way too serious. It’s a learning process, come on people!

Jesse
Guest
Jesse

So it’s MY job to dispel all white people’s misconceptions about blacks? NO! Do you realize that people have full time jobs where they teach about the meaningful aspects of black culture and history? They’re called teachers and professors. If a white person really wants to learn anything, they ought to take a class or read a book. If you think touching hair will educate a white person, then they must have been so foolish that they can’t grasp that straight blond hair is not the norm for hair, with all other hair colors, types, and texture being a mutation.… Read more »

Kan
Guest
Kan

This is so silly and stupid to me. The mindset behind these comments that it’s “our job” to educate people about our hair.…what the???!! Really? It’s our JOB?? How so?!? I am telling you, for the most part white/non-black folks aren’t even THINKING about our hair…we seem to think people are as hung up on our hair as we are, but it’s totally not true. If white folks were just so intrigued and cared so much, they would be visiting sites like these in droves…but alas, they aren’t and that’s because at the end of the day I think most… Read more »

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

This display doesnt bother me at all.

Twiggy
Guest
Twiggy

In all honesty, what these women chose to do with their hair is just that, their CHOICE. If they choose to let people touch their hair, so be it. If you don’t want people touching your hair, more power to you. It is not our right to judge what they feel is maybe necessary. Emphasis on what THEY feel is necessary. Personally, I see no harm in it. I know plenty of not only white, but also some Hispanic and Indian people who are curious of what black hair feels like. They are often surprised at the softness of the… Read more »

L.u
Guest
L.u

Are you kidding me!? When I wore nothing but fake hair as a crutch during my childhood, letting someone touch my hair and highlighting how fake it was actually was the worst idea ever. Humiliating to say the least. Now that my hair is all mine, ain’t no shame in it! Having a man lightly grab the back of my hair as he pulls me in for a kiss was probably the HOTTEST THING I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED. I would’ve had a heart attack if he did that while I had a wig on. If asked, I let black people… Read more »

L.u
Guest
L.u

But I get it, hair is a sensitive thing for many black women. But people make it seem as though someone asking to touch their hair is like someone wants to poke a boobie, or a love-handle or something crazy. To me touching my hair is like touching my fingernails. It’s kinda random.

Abiola
Guest
Abiola

i dont like the fact that there are 3 models on there and u only compliment 2 out of the 3
the 2 that happen to be natural
i get this blog is mostly aimed at natural hair but why not appreciate the shine or thickness of the relaxed hair model too
#justsaying
#naturalNaziNotCool
#Godislove

Claudette UK
Guest
Claudette UK

Perhaps because its a weave.

Rashida
Guest
Rashida

The women who participated in this experiment were simply trying to make the world a better place for black women by dispelling some myths about our natural hair. I personally would not feel comfortable inviting strangers to touch me, but I don’t think it’s right to talk so hatefully to other sisters when they were only trying to do something positive. Uplifting activism rocks! Self-righteous people who judge others too harshly while doing nothing, suck!

jewellthief
Guest
jewellthief

don’t mind if peeps want to touch my locs.…just fair warning, please ASK FIRST!!!!

The Mane Captain
Guest

I think it’s a pretty cool experiment. Black hair is a very unique that of Hair which makes people curious about it. We (Black women) change our hair texture, length and color overnight which can really throw someone off. The fact that we have to go to Black Salons to get our hair done shows that most non Blacks have never really come in contact with our hair. I use to live in China, and i would always get Locals asking if my hair was fake, how I achieved the style I was wearing and if they could touch my… Read more »

NubianPrize
Guest
NubianPrize

I’m a teacher & wore a fro in the late 60s-70s while still in school. I went thru this hair touching back then. Since my job was to be an educator I took such instances as teachable moments to educate white people about our hair & to dispel myths. Most were surprised that our hair felt so soft. They’d probably expected something like steel wool or brillo. I went natural again after years of curly perms & find the same thing sometimes happens today but not as much since there are so many mixed race marriages & kids.It depends on… Read more »

Anike
Guest
Anike

This experiment is pointless to me. At the end of the day, it’s my hair and if I want you to touch it, I’ll let you touch it. However, I also have the right to tell you to leave my hair alone because it’s MINE. I’m getting sick of people thinking they have the right to shove their hands in my hair that I work so hard to keep healthy and looking nice and they don’t even know how to handle it. I ALWAYS ask before I touch someone else’s hair. As for others that are “curious” about natural hair…seriously,… Read more »

Rachael
Guest
Rachael

I think this was a pretty awesome idea. Since I’ve been natural Ive had many people- even other black people ‑ask if they can touch my hair. It’s no big deal. I prefer that they ask first but Ive had a few experiences- all male — where they did not ask. They just reached for it. Admittedly, like L.u said.….it was a turn on. Lol
I understand the fascination and curiosity of onlookers. It’s a beautiful thing to see something so out of the ordinary and unique. #ILoveMyHair

Aico
Guest
Aico

I read a first hand account of someone who actually went on Twitter. Guess what? She reported that most folks actually stopped and talked about their display and the people that were doing the most hair touching were other black people. Surprise! So those of you doing all that pontificating about the evils of this experiment should relax. Lesson learned: first person sources/first hand accounts are always better than hearsay.

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

I am not surprised it was more black people touching! #notsuprisednonotonebit

xoxo
Guest
xoxo

not surprised honestly. Non-black people are curious about our hair but not THAT curious…they don’t really want to learn if they don’t have to. Black people would be more curious because they can apply the knowledge and interaction in a much more personal way.

Alicia
Guest
Alicia

Why do ppl think you’re being “hateful” if you are not an advocate for the experiment? If you think this is a good idea then that’s great but if others don’t, they don’t have to. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I personally am neither for or against it. It initially sounded weird to me as I have never had a desire to touch others hair whose texture was different from my own.

Carla Phoenix
Guest
Carla Phoenix

Sorry, this hair “experiment” bothers me, a lot. I’m sure a lot of Black women will see nothing wrong with this, and that’s fine for them. But, for me to see Black women put on display and allowing random strangers to touch their hair as if they’re in a petting zoo is dehumanizing and degrading. I don’t think it breaks perceptions (as in showing other cultures how soft and pliable our hair can be). Instead, it just reinforces the stereotypes that have played out in American culture where Black women have to constantly prove “we’re okay” by demonstrating that we’re… Read more »

Bumper
Guest
Bumper

I live in the UK and I totally agree with Carla Phoenix for the reasons she states. I could not imagine any natural I know wanting to take part in such an experiment. When I decided to go natural I didn’t need to touch anyone’s hair to convince myself. I went online and did research! I would object to any random stranger touching my hair — black or white! If as an individual you don’t mind anyone touching your hair, fine, but to conduct such a public experiment to me reinforces the misconception that it’s ok to walk up to… Read more »

simplyme
Guest
simplyme

I’m against this type of display it’s a disrespectful petting zoo sideshow theses women begging for white acceptance as mentioned before no other race feels the need to do this type of BS and being in denial saying its ok let’s me know a lot of people are really lost

MissJoeyK
Guest
MissJoeyK

I had SUCH a reaction while reading Carla’s comment, because she hit the nail on the head big time! Do we not realize that when our ancestors where brought to this country in chains, that they were measured up, examined, and sold? This included having whites look into their mouths, ears, stretch apart their eyelids, and even “examine” the vaginas of the Black female slaves. Everything that made us Black (our skin, our kinky hair, our spirituality, our language, etc.), and everything that set us apart as different from whites was stripped away from us and pathologized as ugly, unattractive,… Read more »

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

I had the same reaction, Miss JoeyK. I didn’t want to come across as militant or like I was making this too deep … perhaps I read too much, but my very first gut reaction was that this seems to be a watered-down, modern version of the auction block. How many strange men felt their hair up and asked them out after that? I’m sorry under those circumstances, I wouldn’t take that as flattery. But that’s just my opinion. Why can’t a Black women’s hair journey and hair choices be her own? Besides this is 2013, we should be over… Read more »

N
Guest
N

I too find this “social Experiment” annoying. There isn’t enough room in this reply box to list everything that bothered me, but the main reason is, As African- Americans, we have always had to make ourselves acceptable and accessible- to other races. I’m so tired of hearing about racial “differences”, and all the ways we- as black women especially- try to “fit-In”. I will be glad when the day comes, when I never have to hear a black person tell another black person; “You need to straighten your nappy hair!”. And when our hair, or any of our other “African… Read more »

saara
Guest
saara

I’m much more interested about what this article doesnt say. What was the results of this experiment? Emotion seems to be fueling this article rather than what the experiment was meant to reveal.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

Perhaps I’m oversensitive and far-reaching here but this is akin to these women being circus attractions. It’s hair not an attraction. I would feel better about it if there were bottles of hair products they were touting next to them and they decided it was okay for the public to touch the hair to feel how soft the product made their hair — but I hate this. On top of everything, they’re in NY. The “capital” of America, lot of tourists there! I can only imagine how much they got felt up, especially the naturals — the sista with the… Read more »

Anike
Guest
Anike

SO TRUE!! That’s EXACTLY how I feel about it!

Crist
Guest
Crist

Shahidah
Guest

Just wow! 2013 and we are still a mystery to people that now we have come to Touch my Hair demonstrations? SMH. I see most of you think this is a fab idea. I just see nothing fabulous about.

Jchemela
Guest
Jchemela

Did anyone read where it said more blacks were gouching their hair than others.
I have been short long jheri curled braided with and without extensions bald straight natural and now loced. During all of those moments people asked to touch my hair. I learned more blacks were fasinated by my hair or were quick to question if it was all mine. This experiment, in my humble opinion, is just as much about the comments and conversations it’s created as it is about the desire to touchtheir hair.

Marcia
Guest
Marcia

I’ve never had a problem with people wanting to touch my hair. I’ve had this happen on occasion, especially here work. One guy, who is white, BTW, has asked a couple of times if he could touch my hair, and I said, “yeah, go ahead.” One time it was in a twist-out, and another time, an afro. This particular guy is always commenting on my hair, and loves the way I style it. He really loves when I wear it in a fro, because he says it brings him back to the “good ole days”, (the 70s). I can relate,… Read more »

hmm
Guest
hmm

Yay! The White man loves your hair ‑_-

Olive
Guest
Olive

Petting zoo.… :/

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[…] can touch my hair? http://bglh-marketplace.com/2013/06…al-experiment/ This was basically a social experiment meant to fight the racial stereotypes of African-American […]

Monaytt
Guest
Monaytt

I understand the need the respect personal space when it comes to hair. But these women made a choice to put their natural hair on display. It’s their right just as it is our right to let someone touch our hair or not. There are people who come from countries where there may have hardly seen a person of color much less a person with Afro-textured hair. To be able to touch is a learning experience. No I don’t think it is a black person’s job to educate folks on our hair, but if someone is curious why not use… Read more »

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Ladies, it’s really NOT that big a deal. These women thought they were doing something positive and helpful. If YOU don’t want people touching your hair then don’t let them. But stop bashing these women…they meant well. Human beings are naturally curious about what we don’t know. To bash these women is to say that you’ve NEVER wondered what that hot guy’s muscles felt like, or your (whatever ethnicity)best friend with different hair than you in grade school’s hair felt like. We’ve all been curious at some time in our life, and have wondered. It’s not petting like and animal,… Read more »

locedup
Guest

Well I’m not sure what I think of what the ladies did, but I am not up for people touching my hair. I am loc’ed and live in a 95% white town. So I do get looks. Some are curious, some are loving it. At any rate my grandmother always taught my sister and I not to let just anyone play in our hair. Sort of a cosmos thing. She’d say you don’t know where they’ve been and what they are bringing. All the ladies in my family have had their hair done by the mothers and a few choice… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

I find that the girl with the biggest hair in the photo is the most attractive of the three. The jawn with the fake hair on the right is the butchest of the crew… thats just me but people want to touch the jawn on the left hair’s more just cuz she bad.

BluTopaz
Guest
BluTopaz

wth cares who you find attractive? Why do you scrubs keep showing up in websites for women anyway?

Jade
Guest
Jade

What the hell is a jawn? LOL, English, please..

Ann
Guest
Ann

I honestly don’t know what to think about this ‘experiment’, but I do hope those ladies washed their hair when they got home. Who knows what they got on it from those strangers.

fii
Guest
fii

I think how one feels about natural hair in general will affect whether or they are open to other people’s curiosity. I’m a Nigerian living on this side of the world so a lot of the ladies I knew in Nigeria with relaxed hair chose to keep their hair that way because they felt it was easier to manage. Some thought it was a more modern look but (shrugs) everyone is free to form their own opinions. There are also a lot of African ladies with natural hair, some for religious reasons and others who hate relaxers & love their… Read more »

EnuffSaid
Guest
EnuffSaid

The same people who want to touch you hair are the same people who want you to CUT it all off before they give you a job??????
THE THINGS WE DO FOR SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE #SMH

MyAfricanHair
Guest
MyAfricanHair

I am not sure what this experiment was to reveal. I do realize that each person has a right to their hair journey. My journey is about self acceptance and owning my look. I know some people are doing it because she’s doing it, fashion, attention.…fill in the blank. Why break down a box only to build another box. When I saw this link something in my heart frowned. They are owning their look and do not ask if you want to touch their hair so what are you trying to prove?

blair credit
Guest

It’s really nice that you’ve taken the time and effort to aid those
out there who are looking for resources on this topic. You have put in an enormous
level of dedication into these solutions, and it has enabled students in our field to reap great benefits.
Your valuable help and advice will mean a great deal to me and much more
to my peers.

chelsea
Guest
chelsea

Curiosity is part of the human experience. I’m not quite sure what to think of the experiment, other than perhaps the ladies found it amusing that different ethnicities would wonder what tresses like theirs felt like to the touch. My black coworkers had thought the same way about my ‘white’ hair, and I was not insulted, only amused.

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

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Please “like” us on Facebook 1,000 thank yous in advance!

Shelly
Guest

That’s not true kinky natural hair, she is mix breed:)That’s why they wanted to touch it…LOL, Let me bring my thick kinky curls , they be running..LOL, I love knowing that our hair is one of the strongest if not the strongest in the world! It seem our natural hair reflex our life in this world sometimes good/ bad , sometimes I feel liking taking a scissor to it, but that’s when I allow it to get dry before combing..LOL… I have no worries, with or without relaxer or weaves I love me including my kinky curly afro:) Ladies we… Read more »

Mady
Guest
Mady

Just because she is Fair skinned doesn’t mean she is biracial. Her hair looks like it is stretched or blown out so we don’t know what her actual texture is. If her hair has no chemicals then it is considered in its natural state, regardless if its kinky, kinky-curly, curly, or wavy. Why must we separate and categorize ourselves instead of embracing all types of hair? Even if you were joking.

Taylor
Guest
Taylor

I don’t really know what they’re trying to find out from this experiment. Don’t they already know there’s a curiosity? It doesn’t make sense, but I do think it’s kinda sweet in a way by letting others feel comfortable expressing their curiosity without feeling like a weirdo (“Hey…can I touch your hair…?). There does need to be more coverage in the media about black women & their hair products, not so other races accept them, but so they can accept themselves. The media has a powerful effect on people, & when you’re not represented, you’re not going to feel as… Read more »

Ce
Guest
Ce

I do not think the exhbit was to assimilate but simply a way to welocme curosity and questions. To me it opened the door to understanding. Ie you never ask questions then how will you ever know or being to undestand? I read on Huffington post about to exhibit and one lady compared our hair to magic. We can do so many things with it and people are amazed. I have locs anf I get so many questions not only from my white counterparts but my black/brown people as well. There are so many myths and sterptypes that need to… Read more »

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[…] Black Women Stand on NY Street and Allow Strangers to Touch Their Hair as Part of Social Experiment Whether you approved of this social experiment or not, it achieved its goal of sparking a […]

Love Lee Naps
Guest
Love Lee Naps

Does anyone know what the experiment revealed?

Kitkat
Guest
Kitkat

As far as I’m concerned this is extremely demeaning. What even is the experiment? Why are you letting white people pet you??????

trackback

[…] vibe I get about black women who opt to put up signs and invite strangers to touch their hair. ~ Black Women Stand on NY Street and Allow Strangers to Touch Their Hair as Part of Social Experiment ~ Killer of gay Atlanta civic activist gets 35 years in prison ~ Georgia Group Invites White […]

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