I can only speak about the African American people I have encountered, and pretty much EVERY SINGLE ONE of them hates how white people take care of black kids hair. HATE it. It makes them mad. As a hornet.
Gary freaks out about it. And truly, he is not a freak out-er : )
You should definitely listen to me if you have any small African American kids hair to take care of because just look at Kaish!
Have you ever seen hair like that? That is how you take care of African American hair...or not.
Actually, the African Americans I know think Kaishon's hair is out of control and BEZERK : ) but he loves it, so whatever! Plus, he is 11. At 11 you can decide what kind of hair you want. He thinks it is cool.
If you are in charge of a small black person's hair you should absolutely NOT just shave their hair. Do not think you will buy a shaver and do it yourself to save money. Your kid ends up looking like a dork. You really need to find a barber.
My friend Heather used to be in charge of Foster Care at an agency in the city and she had to give lessons to 'white people' about 'black hair' every session : ) She could not believe how the hair issue affects how African Americans view Caucasians.
So, here is the deal. You don't just shave it all off and have a little skin head. Ever. (Even if that is the easiest thing for you. Even if you think it looks adorable. Even if you don't really care.) You can't just shave it all off.
You need to learn how to do your kids hair correctly. In keeping their hair correctly you are showing great respect to their culture.
You have to find the right length. You should not see scalp skin.Scalp skin = TOO short.
When you are done shaving, it needs a shape up. Now, trust me, this is the most important thing. Other wise, you will be a person that doesn't know how to take care of black kids hair and every black person you encounter will frown and feel bad for your kid. Chances are good that you, as a normal person, can not do a shape up. Go to the barber. It costs money. So what. You need your kid to look normal and be accepted by their culture.
This hair in the next picture is called nappy hair. Nappy hair is like the WORST thing a little black boy can have. I take full responsibility for letting Naji's hair get to this state. It was tragic!
The problem is that we only have white barbers around here. White barbers can NOT cut black kids hair. (Typically) they will tell you they can. You will be hopeful and smiling.
And then you will look over and you will have a little skin head.
Every white barber or hair cutter I have ever questioned assured me they CAN cut black hair.
But they can't.
I sort of gave up on finding anyone good to do Naji's hair. But then I looked over one day and there were the naps in the hair. I almost had a heart attack. Nappy hair is highly offensive to African Americans.
Maybe you are thinking, oh, my kid is from Haiti or Ethiopia or some other place where they don't care about nappy hair...you would be wrong. They DO care. Nappy hair is not cool any where.
Upon realizing that Naji's hair had come to this horribly nappy state, I rushed him to the nearest Hair Cuttery where the pretty hair cutter PROMISED me she knew how to cut black hair.
I quizzed her.
What number would she put the shaver on?
How often does she cut black hair?
Twice a month.
Did she think Naji was the cutest little boy in all the land?
OK, I gave her a chance.
And sure enough...ten minutes later a little skin head with NO shape up walked towards me.
I told the hair cutter that she should not say she cuts black hair as this hair cut would not be acceptable in the black community. She told me her boyfriend was black. I said, 'he doesn't let you cut his hair, does he?' She admitted he did not. I gave her a $5 tip and Naji told me he was wearing a hood until it grew out.
I just hoped and prayed we wouldn't walk past any African American people on the way to the car. Of course we did.
And of course they shook their heads and (I can only assume) felt sorry for poor Naji.
Well, now you know about nappy hair and hair cuts. You can thank me later ; ).