“Is that your real hair?” is a question I’ve been asked quite often since returning natural, and it grinds my gears every time. Black women’s hair is like the 9th Wonder of the World. Everyone wants to know its origins. We can never rock our ‘fros, locs, blowouts, and sew-ins in peace. What’s even more annoying is the entitlement other people have when it comes to our hair.
I recently came across a video on Facebook user Kierra Carter uploaded. In the video, Carter’s daughter and her best friend pose for a photo with Princess Ariel at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. As the two girls who appear to be around 7 or 8 years old smile for the camera, Ariel grabs a handful of one of the girl’s braids and asks, “Is this your real hair?”
She innocently nods “yes” as Ariel continues to play with her beads. Carter’s daughter immediately comes to her bestie’s defense by tugging at Ariel’s plastic red wig. In pure white entitlement fashion, Princess Ariel scolds her, “What are you doing? That’s not very nice!” in a patronizing tone.
I was floored. How dare this grown white woman touch a little Black girl’s hair without permission and then scold another little Black girl for doing the same thing to her? Our girls must face misogynoir and intrusion of their bodily autonomy straight out the womb and be reprimanded if they dare defend themselves, added to the humliation of often hearing that our natural hair is “inappropriate”and even gets edited from magazines, banned from schools and gets us fired from professional settings.
Princess Ariel’s microaggression is all too common and I’m sick of it. We are not pets. Yes, our hair is awesome. Yes, our hair is beautiful. No, you cannot touch it so keep your damned hands to yourself.
Destiny is an introverted, awkward Black girl who enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with family, advocating for Black girls and catching up on the latest celebrity gossip. Follower her on Facebook.