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.

Generic image (Thinkstock)

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.

The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.