4 Reasons Why, Actually, You Cannot Touch My Hair

Her reasons were well thought out, methodical and hilariously funny, with an undercurrent of feminist seriousness to it. I don’t want anybody touching my hair either. That’s like asking if you can cut me and see if I bleed red! My hair texture is not your goddamn anomaly! Okay, rant over. 🙂

Disrupting Dinner Parties

Last week an art exhibit opened in NYC called “You Can Touch My Hair.” It featured three black women, all with different hair styles, standing in Union Station with signs featuring those same words. It was not intended to be the start of a hair touching movement, but a social experiment to explore the widespread tactile fascination with black women’s hair. This exhibit has opened up a floodgate of controversy, debate, and counter-exhibits.

But this isn’t about the exhibit. This is about why, although you were perfectly welcome to touch those three women’s hair last week, you cannot touch mine.

1. It’s weird.

Like, why? Why do you want to touch my hair? I implore you to deeply ponder this every single time you are about to ask to touch a black woman’s hair.

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2 thoughts on “4 Reasons Why, Actually, You Cannot Touch My Hair

  1. Being dark skinned with fine textured curls that sit on my shoulders growing up the black folks would look at me and ask where my “good hair” came from and my response, although probably juvenile, was and will always be “MY HEAD!” but nobody I didn’t know ever tried to touch it. Until one day, I’m standing in line at my favorite gyro spot and I kept feeling something brush against the back of my head. I look around and there’s a very well dressed, gray haired white woman standing behind me. She smiled politely, blushed a little and looked away. I smiled back and said Hi and turned back around. The line moved. Not more than 10 secs later I feel it again but this time I look to the mirrored wall next to us and I see her trying to “pat” me! I whip around and she turned bright red. I figured she had to be about 75 or so. After about 15 secs of me giving her the stink eye and my trying not to laugh at her embarrassment at getting caught playing her little social game I turned around and let it go. Before that day I never thought or cared about people touching my hair. It’s just hair. She could have asked me. I’d have said no (I didn’t know her!) and that’s probably what she figured and why she didn’t ask but I really didn’t care. I told my husband (who is white) what happened when I got back to the car and we both laughed because he finally admitted that while he liked playing in my hair there were just some things white folks shouldn’t do! Now the touching thing has happened to me twice since then and I still laugh because to me it’s just hair.

    1. I love your story, and while I’m just the re-blogger of this article, I don’t have as strong an opinion about the social experiment the young ladies conducted in NYC. I probably wouldn’t let a stranger touch my hair either, but I have a young son who weaned himself from the bottle by stroking my hair. To this day, he loves hair (I think it’s a texture thing), and I’m going to feel for his eventual bride if he doesn’t wean himself of his hair fetish. LOL

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