It's even harder when those that are closest to you are the ones saying things that hurt your feelings.
One of the saddest emails I got was from a lady whose husband simply didn't understand why she would want to go natural. He asked her why she would want to "look like a slave?"!! Yes, I was gob-smacked too.
Firstly, because slavery has historically transcended race although over time black people bore the brunt of it but secondly because I couldn't believe how rude and insensitive he was being.
You don't owe anyone an explanation on why you are going natural but it might help to say a little something to help them understand you a little better. I recommend the following:
- Don't get angry: respond to stupid comments with grace.
- Explain what chemical relaxing is: a permanent change in hair structure.
- Explain why you are going natural: for me it was hair breakage and thinning but it could be you just wanting to experience your natural texture; not wanting to use chemicals that make permanent changes to your hair; not wanting to be beholden to relaxer; and after a while it might just be because YOU LIKE your natural texture more than the straight-haired look!! It may surprise some but some of us actually like the afro look: it's so arty, individual and authentic!
- If you're hurt, say so: If anyone says something particularly hurtful tell them that you are hurt by their comment and explain why.
- Ultimately, the person saying the nasty stuff may be the one with the problem. If they associate an afro with slavery then they need to think about why they have this negative stereotype and revise their views!