As we enter homecoming/spirit day season, I want to make you all aware of something that I didn’t know was happening until a friend told me (we didn’t have this particular day when I was in school):

When “Crazy hair day” (or any other day that would behoove one to wear costumed hair) comes along for your child/teen/yourself (teachers), please take care not to wear hair styles that are cultural hairstyles for black people.

The reason is that you are, albeit inadvertently, telegraphing to black kids especially but also every other child that the ways in which we (black people) wear our hair aren’t normal. This is just a small thing, but these small things add up and it becomes death by ten thousand paper cuts.

Pictured are the styles not to imitate. There are lots of creative ways to make your kid’s hair work for the spirit day, even on a budget or with little time.

Also, ask your kid’s school not to call it “crazy” hair day either. This language is ableist and unduly stigmatizes people with mental illnesses. And when black hairstyles are worn and labeled as “crazy,” it also stigmatizes black people with mental illness.

Bless up.

[Images are of a black girl and black women wearing box braids, Bantu knots, an Afro, and cornrows]

Posted by The Armchair Commentary

11 Comments

  1. […] Schools: Stop Doing Crazy Hair Day: “The reason is that you are, albeit inadvertently, telegraphing to black kids especially but also every other child that the ways in which we (black people) wear our hair aren’t normal. This is just a small thing, but these small things add up and it becomes death by ten thousand paper cuts…. […]

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  2. Janet Naylor Vandenabeele September 19, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    They could do “wacky hair color” day and avoid the appropriation and ableist meanspeak. Or “goofy hair color day.”

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  3. This is stupid our children are learning to be weak because everyone gets offened by everything. Lets make them strong and not let little things bother them

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    1. Duarte Pfarquardt September 20, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Perhaps we’re teaching children to be better people than the adults in their lives who feel that it’s their privilege to do whatever they want regardless of how it makes others feel. Blessed are those who develop empathy.

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    2. It’s interesting that you characterize this as a little thing—I’m going to assume that you’re a wp, since we wp always assume that we are the final word on what’s important and what isn’t. This author just told us that it’s not a little thing and she knows because she’s one of the people affected by it.

      Maybe it would help for you to read another article she wrote: https://thearmchaircommentary.com/2019/03/15/no-discourse-isnt-dead-youre-not-saying-anything-worth-listening-to/

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  4. Thanks so much for this. We’ve had these “days” at local schools around my house that my kids have been encouraged to participate in. Honestly, I never made the connection with how this could be hurtful. You’ve shed some light for me. It occurs to me that this is not that unlike the “blackface” scandal that the Canadian PM is going through at the moment.

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  5. […] Wearing natural hair, braids now protected in New York Schools, […]

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  6. My 5 year old child will wear whatever hair style she wants, she will call anything she may find funny crazy, she will dress up as native, cowgirl or a dinosaur or a fire fighter if she wishes to. Absolutely NO one will tell me not to allow my girl to flourish the way she wants to. Get over it people raise your kids as you wish and will mine. I am mixed everything my hair is super frizzy terrible from my father’s black’s side And I tan beautifully because of it, but don’t keep it because of my mother’s Italian pale skin. Get over it get over it. I am raising a girl to be whatever she wants and to laugh at whoever she wants. Life is about making mistakes offending people and learning from it. I can’t deal with the purists of this hypocritical world. Telling me not to do a hair style while judging everyone else as they watch child porn from home.

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    1. No your just racist. Before you put your child in native insignia and title it crazy I want you to enlist her in a residential school or make her watch hours of content and educate her about the truth of what happened to the natives whether in America, Canada or anywhere. Same with black hairstyles. Unless you want to put your daughter through the same pain black people go through or show her the things that they do then don’t consider doing it. Black people weren’t allowed to wear their hair down in the past and stigmatizing it an calling it crazy is just gonna make black people ashamed of it so Idk if your mixed, white or black. You’re racist. If you are raising a child to laugh at people I am genuinely concerned for your child upbringing since sometime in the future it’s going to dawn on her that it’s not right and that she can’t do that because the world isn’t complacent and will retaliate if someone is racist, ableist, homophic and etc. Please raise a decent human being.

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  7. I think keep the crazy hair day and have a talk in your classes about what is and isn’t appropriate and why. Teach don’t avoid.

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    1. I’d even go so far as to offer a Creative hair day rebranding.

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