Originally written in December 2019 •
Alice Walker defines colorism as a “prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color.” Similarly, texturism is prejudice against people based on the texture of their hair, which mainly impacts Black folks, especially Black women and girls with type four natural hair.
Throughout elementary school and middle school, I absolutely hated my hair because of the comments I got from my white counterparts. I refused to let my mom take care of it, unless I wanted it straightened, making my hair unhealthy. Throughout my childhood, people have shamed and disparage the way my hair looks by saying things like, “go get your hair done,” many of whom used my hair to disparage and shame my mother I not only dealt with comments from white people, but also extended family members who took me to her bathroom without my mother’s permission, and did my hair, who wanted my hair straightened; she further buried the seeds of the self-hatred that consumed me as an 8-year-old Black girl.
White women appropriate our Black hairstyles, while Black women are robbed of our education, job opportunities and leadership opportunities for wearing our hair as/is. Those who attack Black children for their features, and to do so in a dehumanizing manner are complicit in a world that doesn’t allow Black children, especially Black girls to be children. One step we can take to combat texturism is avoiding language such as, “your hair’s not that good,” or “When are you going to get your hair done?” When Black people as a whole stigmatize each other’s hair, especially the hair of Black women and girls, we project the white supremacy we experience onto each other.