First I want to state that Black men are not the enemy within this conversation but how arrogant of most Black men, who have fallen into the tradition of removing their hair, to believe that they have the authority or credibility to speak on the issue of Black hair. For men who sit in the chairs of barbers, who then prepare to receive a “Caesar,” are we then to imagine that these Black men a practicing a form of self hatred and internalized racism for participating in the process of removing their BEAUTIFUL, STRONG, THICK AFRICAN HAIR. Or should we believe that they suffer from an identity complex because they wear a style of cut that is named after a European, “The Caesar”. Why is there not a picture of a Beautiful Black man with locs, braids, or a large fro with a barber removing his hair, for which the Black man pays for, apart of the image that is often so presented within the conversation surrounding Black hair. Why isn’t the image of Black men’s naturally beautiful kinky and strong coils lying upon the ground intermixed with locs and braids alongside the image of Black women who struggle to find pride in their hair? Why don’t we (African Americans) shutter at the image of the smiling Black man, who’s head is bald, shaven, and who has thrown away his African glory! Who’s aesthetics of beauty is he catering too? Black men so often remove their braids, lowers their fros, and shed their locs in order to increase their chances of survival in an environment that demands Black invisibility. Or maybe they do as a result of tradition. Maybe this is simply a masculine ritual. However, the hair choices of Black men surrounding their hair is afforded the privilege of being unquestioned. It is rationalized. We do not associate his choice of hair to become a reflection of his identity. We do not question his allegiance to the African American community nor do we accuse him of self-hatred, or suggest that his is suffering from an identity complex in which he seeks the acceptance of the “other”. We simply believe that the Black man is capable of making a rational choice independent of societal factors. Black men have been told that having cut hair is the standard. Even the Black man in his naturalness is not acceptable as the standard. Black men with locs, braids, and large hair are often excluded from privileges afforded to Black men who have willingly or unwillingly chosen to remove their hair. How can Black men speak on the realities and struggles of embracing the natural hair of Black women, when they do not embrace the natural hair for themselves.
Join Black women in the struggle.
*This is a critique of the culture that has developed amongst African American men within the United States. I recognize that Black men of different cultures hold their hair within a different standard of significance and importance.