Firstly, I am going to step away from race, completely: I feel sorry that WaterLily716 had to contend with so much hate because clearly she does see herself as struggling with curls. However, one of the issues I thought came through in her profile was that she's not struggling to gain wider, community acceptance as many type 4s do, but more accepting herself.
Indeed, I have to admit that I don't think the struggle with type 3A hair is even close to that of 4A/4B/4C hair. These are my reasons:
- Very loose curls don't get matted. WaterLily716 might not even know what matting is. She may tie her hair back when she goes to bed but even if it were loose she would not find her hair completely stuck against her scalp - that is the type 4 struggle.
- Can type 3A really get as dry as 4C hair? I very much doubt that. Daily spritzing isn't even an option for 4C girls but I am sure it is for WaterLily716. I personally have to spritz to help product spread further and to soften my hair. Very loose curl types don't need the constant moisture to maintain soft hair.
- Her hair is normal in the work place. If she rocked into work with her curls it would be completely normal. She has self-confidence issues about not having straight hair but putting all that aside no one would bat an eye at her hair. Type 4s especially have to cope with a lot of negativity at work. People seriously don't understand our hair and think it is either unkempt or an attempt to make a political statement. In a recent email a fan even told me that her boss offered to pay for her relaxer! Say, what? That brings me to my next point:
- Can you even relax loosely curled type 3A hair? Her roots look straight to me.
These are the questions I have. In all fairness she does admit that the questions on the CurlyNikki application form didn't all apply to her. This could be seen as the first signal that her struggles were different to the target audience.
To me, the whole natural hair community is not only about embracing yourself as you are but about showing hair types that were almost completely extinct at the turn of the century.
Many of the tips we share with each other are completely useless to those with very loose curls because they simply don't face the same issues.
RACISM vs. DISCRIMINATION vs. NICHE AUDIENCES
RACE: I believe racism is wrong whether it is white on black, black on white or even black on black. We simply should not judge people by skin color because it has no impact on character or intelligence even if crazy research might suggest there is a connection.
DISCRIMINATION: I also believe discrimination is wrong. Darker skinned blacks vs. lighter skin blacks remains an issue both in Africa and in the West. Kinkier hair types get much fewer picture likes than looser curl types on natural hair pages - ask anyone who runs a page.
NICHE: However, I think focusing on a niche is completely fine. Every business or blog has a target audience. For example:
- Business forums for women target women because there are unique issues they try to solve for them that they feel men don't face. Are they discriminating against men? I don't think so; I myself have gone out to find women's networking groups because I want to connect with fellow entrepreneurial women more.
- A shoe business can focus exclusively on heeled shoes and not design flats - are they discriminating against flat shoes? Okay, I recognize here we're talking products rather than people but the concept of focusing on a niche still applies.
Anyhow, as an information site CurlyNikki has traditionally focused on 3C down to 4C hair and that is what people have come to expect. Some people return to her site, time and time again because they really want to see type kinkier and curlier hair types. A business needs to be consistent and the backlash shows that Ms. Nikki Walton did something inconsistent and unexpected.
This could just be a change in business strategy for the site so those that don't like it will walk to the multitude of other sites available and those that are still getting the content they want will stay. It's that simple.
I have nothing against any race; I myself am married to a white man. I would love to see white people with type 4A/B/C on our natural hair portals because their struggle will be exactly the same: they will know all about matting and the daily spritz.
At the end of the day, this wasn't a race issue to me, it was a hair type issue. I saw CurlyNikki's site as focused on a certain hair type, more specifically kinky & curly hair types that were hardly seen at the turn of the century. What she did was post a hair type that never disappeared from public view and as such it did not really fit the imprint of the usual CurlyNikki profile.
Okay - comments please. Am I being unfair or even unbalanced? What is your perspective?
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