So Afrocentric

Posted on February 25, 2012


“You are so afrocentric, so ethnic.”

Please stop telling people this. Just stop. I seem to get this all the time. I guess people think its okay to let me know that I’m afrocentric because of my natural hair. It’s not. It’s not okay to use afrocentric for people who are being just who they are. Whether they care to wear traditional clothing, natural hair, or large earrings. Afrocentric just makes no sense. Do we call white girls with dyed blonde hair eurocentric? No, they’re just the norm, right?

How does natural hair making me afrocentric? I would think it just made me perm-free and comfortable with the hair that springs out of my head. So when people ask me “Why did you go natural?” I get confused. Well, my parents are black and I was born with kinky hair. The question should be “Why did you get a perm?” Seriously, we should be questioning our conformities towards the ‘eurocentric’, straight hair ideal. Why do we believe it’s okay to question our natural characteristics? Why aren’t we working to create a new normal? A normal that perhaps has so many facets it can’t even be defined. A normal that makes no place for the over-scrutinization of the black woman with kinky hair.

Our media has taught us to look in the mirror, question those kinky roots, grab that no-lye relaxer and erase the idea that kinky is okay. We gawk at the black woman in a head wrap and begin to label like crazy. “She’s so ethnic.” “She looks Rastafarian or Jamaican.” We whisper about the new girl at work donning an afro because “it just seems so political” and “inappropriate for the workplace.”

To this I say, “We’re in deep.”

We have been socialized to question our own blackness. Socialized. Tricked. Bamboozled. Whatever. 

The media and black hair

Posted in: Media