Reflecting on Hair

Today’s Agenda:

  1. Tell your hair story.
  2. Watch “Hair Love”
  3. Discuss
  4. Read about either The Crown Act or Deandre Arnold and reflect on your findings.

I gave this agenda to my students this week and just about all of my students participated (and they don’t always do so). Everyone has some kind of a hair story.  Everyone. Yes, you, too, my reader.

1. Mine

In 1976, Dorothy Hamill won a gold medal in Olympic figure skating–and I decided I wanted her hair style for myself. Up to that point, my hair was long, as was my sister’s and mom’s. My mom was talked into cutting my hair and the new style so traumatized me that my mom ended up cutting her hair short in solidarity and I developed some serious issues about my hair–in particular, having it cut. I let it grow out and have worn it long since, with the only deviation really being bangs or no bangs. I have been too afraid of trying the newest, trendy style, but I did have it permed in college and started having it colored once grey hairs showed up.

Considering how attached I am to my hair, the truly happiest Valentine’s Day of my life was finding out that I would not need to do chemo 8 years ago. I’m kind of embarrassed to say, but the idea of losing my hair was much more frightening than the other potential side effects of treatment.

I married someone who is very conscious of his hair and while I fell for his eyes, I have always loved his hair. His hair has helped define him, even as he ages and grey hairs complicate his hair care process. However, unlike myself, his hair and in particular his locs, have not always been accepted by everyone. Over the years people have definitely suggested that he cut those locs off, mainly because of the belief that black men with shorter hair will gain improved employment opportunities. Also, to avoid issues with being racially profiled while driving, he often wears a hat to cover his hair.

2. Watch ‘Hair Love’

For those of you that have not had the opportunity to watch the beautifully done, Academy Awarded ‘Short Animation’, here you go!

3. Discuss

Wasn’t this a beautiful film? Love it.

4. Read about either The Crown Act or Deandre Arnold and reflect on your findings.

I currently teach in a high school composed of a 94% African American student population and basically the only dress code stipulations we have are that students don’t show their midriff, they don’t wear hats or ‘do’ rags, and they do wear shoes–no slippers/slides/flip flops. For a school in CPS (Chicago Public Schools), this dress code is very lenient. My first CPS school, where I taught from 2001-2007, the dress code was a white shirt (usually a t-shirt) and black pants. Talk about no individuality! But I digress. When it comes to hair at my current school, students are given freedom and we definitely will not be a school that stipulates a certain length or style of hair at graduation in June like Deandre Arnold’s school. We will not be a school that requires an assist from the Crown Act, but I recognize the importance of this effort.

So, that wraps up today’s assignment.

What stories would you like to share about ‘Hair’? Please feel free to do so in the comments section.

Wishing everyone a Good Hair Day!






3 thoughts on “Reflecting on Hair

  1. I still remember that disastrous haircut out in front of the cottage. It was a beautiful day but not your reaction to your haircut. The three of us ended up with the same haircut!
    Your fathers bad hair day was when he got a trophy from his grandchildren of a bald grandpa and the caption read bald is beautiful.


  2. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up: The Valentine’s Weekend Edition | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  3. Love the ‘70s picture! Where is the picture of the Dorothy Hamill haircut?? I never had one…just always stringy, straight hair until the ‘80s perms. Then back to looking like one of Jesus’ disciples during peace corps ‘90s. Different colors and styles these last few decades. Oh, I almost cried watching “Hair Love.” Beautiful.


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