photo credit: Joey Ivansco / AJC
My partner - an indian man (though anyone would mistake him for a white man with his milky skin and green eyes) has always said that if we were to have a daughter then I would be the one to take care of her hair. I didn't protest (I secretly loved the idea) however I was on curlynikki.com and came across a blog post with the title 'Brown babies with pink parents' which made me think twice. It describes the love and and battles that white men and women are faced with when caring for their black children's hair. One story in particular made me fluffy inside (maybe because the girl is just so cute!?) So I thought i'd share it with my readers and indirectly shame my partner into wanting to take shared control of our hypothetical daughter's hair. In 2005 Professor Cliffton Green and his wife Jennifer adopted Miriam Tigist Green (pictured above at age 4) from an Ethiopian orphanage. This is her hair unbraided before her father has tended to it with his "weekly loving touch."
Initially, Cliffton and his wife Jennifer were uncertain of what to do with her hair and considered just letting be - as a sign of freedom. They wanted people to accept her regardless of her looks.
Here Cliffton has assumed his hair twisting position in the centre of the living room, strategically placed infront of the TV. I remember when my mother would braid my hair - television was so necessary if I was to be expected to sit still for hours and hours.
Half an hour into the twists daddy's little girl let's out a yawn. The Greens learnt not to try to do Miriam's hair before church because it would mean that they'd have to rush. They wanted to take their time and learnt that what was at stake was more than aesthetics - caring for Miriam's hair was a litmus test of their parenting.
Doing Miriam's hair allows Cliffton to bond with her. Cliffton said that his father made him "feel like he'd hung the moon" and that he wanted the same for his children. "It's a little gift he gives her, the little joy of feeling nice and getting good vibes from other people," Green's wife, says.
Who takes control of the children's hair in your relationship?