Social media can be quite brutal, and to put it bluntly, a racist place. Without opening the can of worms that is a discussion regarding cultural appropriation, a sore subject for many folks is hairstyles.
My wife is African and has very thick hair that needs specific, extensive care to make sure it looks and feels its best. There are certain hairstyles that she simply cannot rock because her hair isn't "made for it".
Now that doesn't mean she can't try her darndest to straighten/treat her hair. She's got family in Egypt who've lost clumps of their own follicles by being a little overzealous with lye solutions that singe their heads into bald oblivion. She's learned the hard way herself that relying too heavily on flat irons will singe and straight-up burn her own hair.
My daughter inherited my wife's hair, and I've learned to not only be overly generous with conditioner, but how to braid and style her hair to ensure it doesn't become a frizzy, brittle mess
My son, on the other hand, has hair that's closer to my own. And the way he gets his hair cut, washed, and cared for is much different than his siblings.
Different hair, requires a different kind of love, something this TikTok-er learned the hard way.
She decided to rock a very specific type of "tight braid" hairstyle, something that plenty of folks on Twitter would've told her was a bad move. When you have fine/straight locks, a bunch of closely packed braids are a bad idea, because it'll make the hair more prone to snapping off or breaking, which is exactly what happened to this young woman. Think of what happened to Dee in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but without the amusement park ride accident.
Soon, a conversation about the appropriate types of braids for people's hair started popping up in response to someone's posting of the TikTok video. There were a bunch of folks who happily explained why those of us with thicker, naturally coarser hair benefited from braid styles like this. Along with styling/care tips for people who had softer hair on how to have tight braids.
But there were also plenty of "I told you so" memes where people were quick to point out that "white people hair" clearly isn't meant for the type of braids that the young woman in the TikTok video was rocking. Yes, there is a bit of Schadenfreude to be had at a tongue-wagging, braids-rocking, grinning individual who really didn't consider the consequences of rocking said hairstyle.
There's also a certain amount of anger surrounding cultural appropriation, which is understandable given that in many instances, individuals who start particular fashion, stylistic, and artistic trends usually aren't given recognition for starting said trends. Then, individuals who adopt said trends, and, due to the fact that they may be of a different race, or are more famous, or generally more socially accepted, benefit as a result of adopting the trend they didn't start.
Log into Twitter and you'll see some unfortunate "race wars" when it comes to cultural appropriation, like when the Kardashians flaunt braids or styles that are deeply-rooted in Black or African-American culture, despite being Armenian. Or when Jeremy Lin was blasted for having dreadlocks.
Black girls need to be code and charge them triple the price when they want to get their hair done since they insist on it— poe.t (@psychopassx) April 9, 2020
What do you think? Are people being too critical and needlessly introducing race into a conversation that should simply be about the limits of someone's hair? Or is this a case of cultural appropriation justice karma?