The haircare debates were raging again awhile back: Do white mothers of black daughters fetishize haircare? (yes) Are they really judged by 'the black community' (as if a monolith) by how well they 'keep' their daughters' hair? (depending on location, yes) Have real anxieties about transracial parenting been displaced onto black hair? (indeed yes) Has education about race been deferred while hours have been poured into picking the proper oil and pomade and shampoo and lotion and leave in conditioner and . . .? (also yes).
But the facts remain: In our neighborhood and school, it is most common for black daughters of black mothers to have their hair braided and beaded. My daughter admires braids, baubles and shiny beads, and so I braid. Recently, she has decided that she really loves her natural 'do just as it is, so we leave it curly and loose about half the week (the other half I do braids or twists so it isn't tangled or dried out and so the ends are protected).
Today she said the most fantastic thing:
"I love my hair. I want you to make it really BIG so all my friends can say 'Oh!'" and she beamed. So I picked it and then she shook it to an almost unimaginable height and oh the delight!