Scientist Are Working to Cure Our Hair

I recently read on Essence that an Australian scientist is working to develop a pill that will make curly hair straight. This isn't new, however. Five years ago, ABC reported that L'Oreal researchers are creating a pill that will do the same. Apparently, these pills could replace relaxers and flat irons one day, but as Tia Williams pointed out, as scientist isolate the gene that makes our curly, it may eventually be removed altogether.

Our efforts to integrate diversity in our culture are being counteracted by this type of "progress." Why should we face the stigma our natural hair has when it is becoming increasingly easier just to chemically alter it in order to forget that we weren't born with what the world labels a genetic mistake. Instead of teaching society to embrace genetic diversity, we will jump at the chance to consume a product that brings us closer to the European standard. To make matters worse, as more of us transform ourselves to look European, we support the fear and ridicule of natural hair, reducing it to nothing more than being something foreign or a relic of the 70s. In fact, it practically is already. For example, why is it okay for white people to wear huge afro wigs in an effort to look clownish when it is offensive for them to go in blackface to look silly or pull their eyes mocking Asians. Blacks have no problem allowing them to mock our hair because we continuously try to separate ourselves from it. The uniqueness, respect, and beauty of our natural hair will continue fade as producers make products to match our cravings for straight hair.

Another consequence of this our powerful urge to assimilate and conform is a uniform dull world (sort of like the extreme society that is painted in "Eye of the Beholder"). As skin lighteners, hair straighteners, and surgical procedures bring cultures around the globe closer to a single ideal, encouraging us to lose appreciation for racial diversity, we create a world where everyone has similar features. How beautiful would the world be if it lacked its variety?

On a side note, this article from Essence reminded me of the Coil Review's excellent commercial:


Devona said...

Good post. And it is a shame that almost everything associated with being black is considered a pathology to be "cured." What gets me is not that they are trying to develop a pill, but it's the thousands of black women (and men) who will run out and purchase it. While I don't see anything wrong with changing your hair from time to time, I don't understand those of us who want to act like this is the natural state of their hair and can not be bother with the real "natural" state of their hair.
I noticed this same topic on another blog and there were hardly any comments. I notice, too, that there isn't any comments here either. Why do we shy away from this topic? Another blogger had post a L'Oreal ad that had altered Beyonce's features-- lighter skin, thinner nose. Several expressed outraged over the lighten skin and thinned nose, but no one, as someone else pointed out, mentioned the fact that she was sporting long, flowing blond hair. Now that is very telling.

The Black Bot said...

Thanks for your comment, Devona, and you're absolutley right. What you said reminds me of how many Black people will accuse Black women who wear our natural hair as trying to be African or pro-Black, without seeing the logical fallacy in that statement.

Jenners said...

I really enjoyed this post. Open acceptance and even encouragement of the ridicule aimed at natural hair definitely grates on me. It's one aspect of racism that many actually approve of, as if sharing in the mockery will make the curls and afros disappear like dirty secrets. I wish I didn't understand the mindset behind it.

Sometimes celebrations of black self-acceptance and love read to me as reluctant resignations: Let's love our skin and our lips only because we can't readily or instantly alter them. Our hair, on the other hand, can transformed with a single hair appointment or self treatment.

Self-acceptance is an all or nothing deal. Otherwise there's no point.

Anonymous said...

All those women are skinny.

Anonymous said...

This is sad. What is even sadder is that most blacks do not want to think about the reasons why they feel straight hair or light skin is better. If more of us would think about the reasons for these biases in society (the fact that Euro-centric ideals have been forced upon upon society as the "right" thing or the "best" thing) then maybe we could achieve some kind of enlightenment. But we continue to live in darkness and ignorance. It's disappointing and it makes my blood boil that we've fallen--or been knocked down--so low.

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