Bad Hair Day: This is a look at African American's and the importance of hair and the role it plays within the community

Essay by HotussiUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2006

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Diving into the world of black hair is something all familiar yet somehow completely distant all at once. While at first I thought I knew all there was to know about black hair in its entirety, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and my many black comrades proceeded to prove me totally wrong. My four year old niece is half black. I am often stuck with the task of doing her hair. She has what many consider "good" hair. Free of kink. It is a massive, curly tangled mess, but good nonetheless. When she steps out of the bathtub her hair nearly reaches her bottom. However, give it a few minutes of drying and it is easily shoulder length, if not shorter. While this may not sound like the utmost desirable hair, to many blacks it is. Why is she "blessed" in the eyes of blacks while an equally attractive girl can be born with a short kinky tangle atop her head and be an unfortunate mess?

Henry Louis Gates Jr. has something going with his disapproval of the "politics of black hair".

According to him, and almost universally all blacks, "'Good' hair was straight. 'Bad' hair was kinky." (Gates Jr. 43). Before going any further, I think we must examine the specifics and logistics of black hair. While some may think this frivolous, this was something completely lost on me. Black hair comes in two extremes, straight and kinky. However, "'straight' just means not kinky, no matter what contours the curl might take" (Gates Jr. 43). There is a broad spectrum in between though, and some hair can take on any combination of the two, kinky and straight. Now, on to my favorite part of the black head of hair, the kitchen. This is the "very kinky bit of hair at...