Black, White, and the Cornrow Inbetween « Braids, Beads, Truth
I found the process of styling my black daughter’s hair profoundly humbling.
“I am not my hair. I am not this skin.” India Arie
It is not that I am bad at it, I am actually pretty good to be honest. Each Sunday, I receive the highest praise possible for my efforts from the people who should know: African American women. Still, each time I pick up the comb and place my hands on one of my daughters’ heads I feel a little nervous.
“What if I don’t do a good job? What if my baby is ashamed of her white mother’s creation?”
Because I know hair matters.
It matters because it is such a definitive expression of the African race and all their descendants scattered by the diaspora across the globe. It is both the pride of heritage and so often the focal point of the pain of discrimination. It is at once a deep heart’s cry to be validated as the unique creation of God but at the same time to not be defined by any one characteristic of one’s race.
It matters because as a white family, we had a choice to make when we brought these Haitian daughters home. Would we strip them of their culture and force them into our white world, or would we lay aside our own and meet them there. Black, white, Haitian, and American. Descendants of the oppressed and descendants of the oppressor woven into a family.
And a white mother with a cornrow in her hand.