Whenever you think of a Mexican person, what comes to mind is always a person who has more European features, very light skin and long black hair. What most people don’t know is that a good amount of Mexico’s population is black or Afro-Mexican. The term Afro-Mexican means that they are indeed Mexican but their ancestors hail from Africa.
Now that I’ve explained that black people can also be Mexican, an issue popped into my mind. Being that black people in Mexico are “forgotten” and surely face their own forms of racism, hardships and exclusion, I wonder if natural hair is accepted in Mexico? Has the movement made its way to those communities? Do Afro-Mexicans feel free to wear their hair as it grows out of their scalps or do they conform to match the other races in Mexico?
I cannot speak for American culture, but I have noticed in West Indian culture, if a person chooses to wear dread locks, they are automatically a Rastafarian. For those who are unaware, a Rastafarian is a person who practices Rastafarianism, a religion originating in Jamaica. People who follow this religion abide by certain criteria such as wearing dreadlocks and refraining from consuming pork. In Jamaica, Rastafarians are rejected in society and are considered to be low class citizens. Because of this stigma, the majority of Jamaicans do not wear dreadlocks so they will not confused with Rastafarians.
Even with West Indians who have migrated to other parts of the world, the stigma of wearing dread locks still resignates with them. Many West Indians automatically consider a person who wears dreadlocks to either be dirty or poor and thus a Rastafarian.
As a member of the natural hair community, I have to defend my fellow brothers and sisters. I don’t believe that it is fair to pass judgement on the way in which a religious group or anyone decides to wear their hair. It is not fair to the religious group, nor to the individual. I understand that with old ways of thinking, it can be hard to break the stigma, but it is in no way excusable.
The majority of natural hair care seems to be achieving a ‘curly’ look with braids and twists. We are all aware that these methods are used to combat shrinkage, however, there are other ways to combat shrinkage without manipulating your hair. We need to embrace other textures besides curly and I feel that the African hair threading method does that. If you are tired or bored with braid outs and twist outs, you can always use this method to stretch your hair into a blown out style. There are other options out there, we just have to find them.