HAIR PREFERENCE RACISM

Questions prominently displayed on the SBS homepage:

Why is smooth hair often deemed beautiful and black, textured hair unattractive? Perhaps you’ve been racially conditioned to believe negative hair and beauty stereotypes?

Hair preference isn’t indicative of taste, it’s an indicator of innate racism:

“Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair,” Malcolm X asked a predominately black crowd in 1962. Though it was delivered 55 years ago, the famous speech cuts to issues that still live on today. The American attitude toward African-American hair has long been a negative one, and a new study captured just how deep-seated that negativity can be.

“The ‘Good Hair’ Study: Explicit and Implicit Attitudes Toward Black Women’s Hair” employed a modified version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT,) a decades-old racial bias test which, it should be noted, has faced recent scrutiny over its accuracy.

Still, this version of the test found that a strong bias against textured hair (or natural black hairstyles) existed within many of the study’s 3,475 participants. In other words, textured hair was perceived to be “less beautiful, less sexy/attractive, and less professional than smooth hair.

Black women are suffering because of their hair:

Other findings show that black women experience higher levels of anxiety in relation to their hair than white women: One in three black women admitted that their hair is the main reason they avoid exercise (compared to one in ten white women), and one in five black women feel social pressure to straighten their hair for work.

The latter finding is a salient one, given the often contentious climate black women with natural hair face in the workplace. Just this fall, a judge ruled it was acceptable to rescind a black woman’s job offer because an employer disapproved of her dreadlocks. Every month or so, a child is penalized for wearing natural black hairstyles at school, and in the past, the Army instituted on grooming regulations that banned cornrows, dreadlocks, and twists.

Fortunately, the study also illustrated a glimmer of hope in changing attitudes toward natural hair: Millennials registered black textured hair more positively than all the other participants. You can test your own bias here (when prompted for a code, enter 0).

The “study” is actually an online survey of dubious value conducted on behalf of Madame Noire, which Google describes as:

Black women’s lifestyle guide for the latest in black hair care, relationship advice, fashion trends, black entertainment news & parenting tips.

Click the link immediately above to access the Madame Noire homepage, where you’ll find a “test” that determines you’re “body acidity” and will show you how to “alkalize your body”.

Spending Australian tax dollars promoting a story of no relevance to Australians, or anyone else for that matter, is ludicrous.

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