We have previously shared natural hair memes, many of which were actually entertaining, on this site; However, this meme we are about to share is not at all entertaining. In fact, it is pretty sad and brings meaning to the phrase, “a picture speaks a thousand words”. Or maybe I should say, a picture along with a statement speaks even more than a thousand words on the issues in our community.
What do you see when you look at this picture? I’ll tell you what I see — ignorance at its finest. I see a grouping — a kind of segregation — of the ladies based on hair type. One group is considered acceptable while the other is not. The group that is deemed acceptable consists of women with loose curls or manicured locs. On the other hand, the group that is deemed unacceptable consists of women with tighter textures. The only way for these “nappy” women to cross over to the “natural” side is to loosen their natural kinks and coils somehow. I don’t know … perhaps via a texturizer or by slapping on a Brazilian wave weave? I see a sadly, perpetuated perspective on women with hair like mine.
The originator of this meme is actually (wait for it) a “brotha”. (I refuse to claim him as a brother though; no brother of mine would treat sisters like this.) The meme started on his Twitter account and has been circulating ever since. Lurie Daniels Favors, who is pictured on the “nappy” side in the top left corner shares:
“I have to be honest with you. Considering the history of this photo, I’m used to getting random emails and social media notices where people let me know that this picture is featured in some ad or on some website or another. But it’s still jarring to be reminded that an image of your hair (let alone an image that you actually like) can be used as a valid symbol of what our community has been taught to despise.
It is an especially prickly moment when the people sending the image around also happen to be Black.
ass-hat“brotha” who was pushing this particular image has a twitter stream full of some of the most diabolical things one can say about Black people in general and Black women in particular. So it makes sense that this is the type of person who would send around a meme using pictures of Black women this way.
And even though dude was trying to be mean, what’s sad is that his sentiments are really just a more extreme version of the way that many of us were taught to feel about our hair (and skin color, and noses, and lips, etc.). As pathetic as he was, at least he was bold enough to publicly state how he really feels.” ~ “When Your Image Is a Symbol of Black Self Hatred,” Afrostateofmind.com
I agree wholeheartedly. To echo Lurie, what is truly sad about this meme is that it is a perspective in the minds of many in our community. Sigh. Ebony (Eclark6), who is also pictured on the “nappy” side but in the bottom right corner had this to say:
“I appreciate everyone who’s been e‑mailing or tagging me in this photo (asking if I saw myself on the bottom right on the “nappy” side), but it’s not offensive to me. It’s actually quite sad (and almost comical) that someone can be so ignorant! Honestly, my first reaction was laughter. *shrugs* “Oh, sweetie.” There’s SO much more work to be done.” — Eclark6
I am glad that these two beautiful women are not personally offended and that they immediately recognize the ignorance of this meme. Both have actually been featured as style icons on BGLH and images of their gorgeous hair shared many times (see Lurie’s feature here and Ebony’s here.) I can only pray that this is the case for all other natural-haired black women (and young girls) and that the mindset of our community as a whole — black women AND black men — will change one day.
Ladies, what are your thoughts on the bloggers’ statements?