The Push to Be Natural - Is It Fair?

So I wanted to do this post for some time now but just did not have the time. 
[Before I begin,  my computer is driving me nuts. The space bar is not working well so please forgive if you see words typed up together, it is late and I'm tired].

I felt the urge to address this topic after reading an interesting post on another natural hair blog site elaborating on the blogger's opinion about why non-naturals (weave and relaxed heads) have not embraced natural hair or why they continue to echo ignorant stigmas around natural hair.

The blogger (who I won't name as not to offend anyone) had a good point when she said that there is fear behind the hesitation to go or be natural - I can see that. I had it in myself when I contemplated going natural.
But I noted a tone in the blog that I have picked up here and there on different blog sites mostly by veteran naturals.  The tone is one of either disdain, intolerance or self-righteousness depending on how the opinions about those who have not embraced natural hair, are expressed.  Some approach it in subtle ways, some express frustrations that are highly relatable when in response to negative comments made to them by non-naturals about their natural hair.  Some make their opinions known in more direct,  almost impatient -  and arguably militant ways.
I say to each his own.
We are all entitled to our opinions and alot of what these naturals say are undeniably true.  The most recent post, however, raised, for me an interesting question - that is: Is it fair for us naturals, to judge non-naturals' reasons for not joining the natural bandwagon?
Is it fair for us to, not just assume, but to propagate, as an educated perspective on some kind of soap-box, the belief that non-naturals have a secret self-hatred about who they are and what grows out of their bodies? 
Is it fair, as this blogger did, to go so far as to conclude that the self-hatred extends beyond what grows naturally from them into a hatred of their own blackness?  A desire to cover it up with weaves? To subdue and smooth it away with relaxers?

Hair, we all know, represents different things to different people but is it going too far to insinuate that our hair is an expression of our race and thus, by hiding it, we are showing shame about our race?
 I personally don't think it is fair.  I think it's a militant way to be.  I think its a dogmatic way to look at ourselves as a race, as a people.
I understand how powerful our hair can be.  It obviously evokes strong emotions in us.  It evokes a sense of power and courage when we cut years of relaxed growth off and leave only a few inches of natural hair on our heads.  It evokes a sense of accomplishment when we see the resulting length and strength of hair we have taken care of for months or years. It evokes a sense of pride and strength to know we withstood the crazy stares, the negative comments, even the ridicule.
I get that.
But I feel like at the end of the day, we should not forget that its just hair.  Its not a movement.  Our hair that is so malleable and elastic and free-spirited should never become a catalyst or reason for militance or dogma or intolerance.  And oh the arrogance that we should look down from our new place of fluffy- and coily-haired glory to the very place we came from and show intolerance to those who may not yet have arrived at the enlightenment that is natural hair.
Isn't the decision to go back natural just another stage in the series of epiphanic self-discoveries we find ourselves faced with time and again in life?
If we liken going natural to seeing the light and anything-but to darkness, then should we be so harsh in our criticism of non-naturals?  Think about it -  if you are in the dark, you can be accused of no more than ignorance and maybe fear  (and maybe not even fear if you do not hesitate to leap as soon as you know better). 
I just think we do not do the beauty of natural hair any justice by turning it into some kind of platform from which to preach to the rest of the world.  We show grace and tolerance and let shine the natural example of our very individual beautiful naturals.   I think left on its own our natural hair are as the flowers in the field: So bright, so damn gorgeous, its beauty draws in even from far and everyone wants to comes closer just to be apart. I mean that's partly what drew me to natural hair!
I do believe relaxed and weaved heads with disdain for natural hair are in the dark, and those with disdain for their own natural hair are even sadder to me.  But let's remember that for most of us, relaxing began  not as an activity of self-hate or to smuff out/tone down our blackness but as children sitting at our mothers' knees inhaling the heady camphor of the noxious cream and believing with childish naivete, the flowy-haired promise we saw on tv.
We were 5 or10 or, in my case, 11. Our immature brains did not have the forethought to assess the damaging implications, much less to entertain the statement it would make to those who remained or returned to natural.
And most of us stayed relaxed not out of self-hatred but out of ignorance of how to change all we knew and care for a new kind of hair with its own demands and trials.
Let us,  natural sisters,  be patient and tolerant and have faith that our hair has its own way of speaking its beauty that don't need a microphone or a platform; that don't need to convince anyone - especially those who aren't ready to hear it.

Whew! Now that that's out of the way -  I'm going to bed.
G'nite Curlies! ....Yes and, of course, your two cents on this topic are welcome. :)


Poetic Device said...

I totally love honestly opened my eyes. At first I disagreed with the fact that hair is just hair and not a movement. for a while I thought going was a movement because i felt like Natural were taking a stand against the Dogma that society puts on us, which is that we have to straighten our hair to look European. I mean don’t get me wrong Naturals can always straighten their hair but even that is controversial for me (but that’s another conversation). Being a Non-Natural is not necessarily self-hatred, like you said but its only ignorance to the possibility of embracing our authentic entity. Another reason why I think hair or Natural hair is a movement is because it’s a journey that we have to endure as you already and a lot of people are afraid to embark on that journey. We (the Naturals) are the brave souls that take the stand to embrace our authenticity. That’s my take on that but I’m really glad I ran into your blog, very inspiring.

Brandiss said...

Hey DM! You raise some good points.
To answer your question, no I don't think it fair to try to push natural hair on someone. The same way I don't think people should try to push their religion or morals on anyone. I believe that people need to discover things on their own. Yes, it's good to share perspective but some people can take it a lil far.
Honestly, I mostly notice more newbie naturals trying to push relaxed ladies to go natural. They are so excited about their new found journey, they want everyone to experience it. From what I've read and seen online, most veteran naturals have become comfortable with their own hair and more accepting of the fact that not every black woman will wear her hair in its natural state.
I guess there are naturals in all stages that will say a woman relaxes her hair because she hates her race, or wants to be white (like white women are the only women with straight hair). But not all relaxed women hate natural hair. They just choose to wear their hair chemically straightened because they have that option.

(Nice blog BTW)

Candyce said...

Thank you. I have felt the same way and it disgusts me how some natural women bash non-naturals. There is no need to place harsh judgement on non-naturals. Just by rocking our own natural hair speaks volume.