White Moms, Black Daughters and Natural Hair

Stacey Conner, the white mother of a black girl, explores the complex social challenges surrounding the grooming of her daughter's hair in a piece at MyBrownBaby.

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In a piece at MyBrownBaby, Stacey Conner, a white mother, explores the complex social challenges surrounding the grooming of her black daughter's hair, including dealing with comments from classmates, strangers and black and white mothers.

It's a strange no-man's land I find myself in; I fear the judgment of black moms that I meet and dread the questions of white moms. I imagine with anxiety how Saige might feel about it in just a few years.

"The kids laughed at my hair today," Saige pipes up at the dinner table.  "They said it sticks up funny."

My heart thumps painfully sideways in my chest.  Her hair is done with two ponies on either side of the top of her head. We call the style Mickies, because the deep, thick black balls above her forehead look like Mickey Mouse ears.  The back I left natural to give both Saige and me a break and to let her hair rest.  It looks beautiful when she leaves in the morning, but no matter how much oil I put in it, no matter how carefully I brush it down behind the ponies, by the end of a long day of school it is matted, dry and covered in every fuzz that her head encountered that day.

It does stick up in the back.

"Which kid laughed?" I ask her.

"All of them.  Carrie said it sticks up and they all laughed." She states it matter-of-factly; she isn't upset.

"That's not nice, all hair is different, what did your teacher say?"

"She said she thinks my hair is beautiful."

"I think your hair is beautiful too," I tell her. I am caught in a mama bear rage, though I know it is an overreaction.