I don’t care if you touch my hair, but if you do please keep one thing in mind: I am human. I can’t speak for everyone but I know whats most upsetting to me as a black person when people just walk up to me and start touching my hair isn’t so much the fact that I’m being touched as it is the dehumanization that usually accompanies such an action.
There are some places where the concept of personal space is non-existent but that is not the case here in U.S. We all walk around in our little bubbles, and even when we’re waiting in line in the most cramped of places we somehow manage to save a little bit of space in between each person in order to preserve that space. So it always comes as a shock when someone I don’t know just reaches out and touches me. And its even more jarring when that person continues their intrusion into my personal bubble by ogling at my hair and remarking about how soft it is or how they “wish they had black people hair.”
There has been a mystification and objectification of anything vaguely pertaining to black culture because a lot of people don’t understand it and are frankly willing to wallow in their ignorance. And that may seem like a harmless thing to do, but it really is not. You see, the manner in which many act when they engage in this behavior is similar to that of child at a petting zoo. It may be fun and interesting to touch the hair of llama and remark about how it feels but I am not an animal and I shouldn’t be subjected to same treatment. The fact remains that hair is hair is hair is hair and that we are all humans connected to each other through the phylogenic tree of life. But just because the protein structures that protrude from my follicles fold in a manner different than yours and create a different texture it does not give you the right to dehumanize me.
As I said, I don’t care if you touch my hair, I really don’t. Tell me its pretty or that you like the way the style compliments my face, everyone could use a good compliment now and again. Just don’t act as though this natural part of my anatomy is some alien substance from another planet. I’m a human being, and you are too.