White Mom Says All White Parents Should Learn About Black Hair
White parents who adopt Black children have to understand that hair is a very important in our culture! One white mommy blogger recently shared the importance and encourages all non-Black parents to learn more about Black hair…
Via Good Black News:
For mom and blogger Lauren Casper, doing her daughter’s hair is something she thought about even before she brought her baby home. Arsema, now 3, was four months old when Casper and her husband adopted her from Ethiopia. “Prior to her coming home, I had researched as much as I could about black culture and raising black children,” Casper, who is white, tells Yahoo Parenting. “For raising a girl specifically, I was learning how important black hair is in the culture. And while I was well-versed in my own hair, that is obviously very different.”
In an essay posted on Today’s community blog this week, Casper writes about watching YouTube videos and scoping out Pinterest boards to learn to style her daughter’s hair, and the mother-daughter bonding time that has resulted. “As the white mother of a beautiful black daughter, hair care has been a steep learning curve for me,” she writes.
Casper says her favorite part of the hair sessions is the end, when Arsema sees the final product. “A huge smile spreads across her face as she turns her head to the left and right to see every angle [in the mirror],” Casper writes. “She reaches up to softly feel the braids and turns around to grin at me. ‘You are so beautiful!’ I tell her, and she nods, agreeing.”
Learning Black hair is more than just hairstyles and braids…
Lori Tharps, Assistant Professor at Temple University and co-author of Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America, says Casper is doing the right thing by educating herself. “There always seems to be this lack of understanding of hairstyles, but also the significance of hair in the black community, by non-black people,” Tharps tells Yahoo Parenting. “When somebody is going to adopt a child of African or African-American heritage, unless they have had a very close relationship with a black female in their life, there is a huge learning curve. Not just the styling, but also the significance of how black people have often been judged by mainstream society by their hair.”
Tharps says that understanding black hair is a responsibility of any white parent with a black child. “I think any white or non-black person who is caring for a black child has the responsibility to learn not just about the styles but the meaning behind the culture and history of black hair,” she says. “Its important for a parent who is not part of the African-American community to know what they are looking at, what they are facing. What this women is doing is not just commendable because her daughter’s hair looks cute, but because she’s educating herself.”
Casper acknowledges that down the line, things may change. “One day she might ask to go to the salon and have a professional do her hair, which is fine. But for right now she’s enjoying this time with me, and she loves her hair when I’m done, so that’s what’s working for us and we’re celebrating her hair together,” she says. “Arsema really appreciates it, whether she can voice it or not.”
Check out Lauren’s blog about her family HERE!