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I don’t understand how people walk up to a stranger that they don’t know from Adam, and touch their hair. But yet it happens. And it happens to Black women A LOT. I get that Black women’s hair may seem like some mysterious and magical thing if you’re not familiar with it, but don’t forget hair is part of  a person – and touching it without their permission is invading their personal space. Moreover, we live in the age of the Internet – if you want to find out about Black women’s hair, Google.

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Or you can make friends with Black women and then ask them sincere questions. (As long as you’re not making them your “educate me on all things Black,” Black friend.) If you’re a stranger, you should probably keep your hands to yourself. And to Black women especially, if someone tries it, here are 5 things you can say to them:

1. “Question – am I the first Black woman you have ever met in your life? Because if you know any Black women at all, you know this is dangerous territory.”

2. “I don’t know where your hands have been, and my hair and I would not like to find out.”

3. “In the eternal words of Demanda Darling, ‘It’s called a look, not a touch.’”

4. “This hair is the work of blood, sweat, and tears, and a whole lot of money. Let’s not ruin it with your hands, okay?”

….and if you’re feeling extra bold when someone tries it:

5. “I know Black people used to be in zoos but those days are long gone. I am not an animal at the zoo or your pet. Please do not treat me as such.”


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5 Things To Say When People Try To Touch Your Hair  was originally published on