1. “Your Skin is So Exotic!”
Rare animals are exotic, people are not. The word “exotic” refers to something unusual or uncommon, however, there are currently billions of people with deeply sun-kissed skin, so dark-skin is not rare, nor is it an anomaly or a feature to be fetishized and placed in the category of “Other”.
2. “Is Your Hair Real?”
Unfortunately, part of being a black girl in Western culture is being bombarded with rude, obnoxious hair questions that will have you wondering whether manners are still a thing in society, or whether we’ve decided to forgo them entirely. The question—Is your hair real???— is particularly irksome, because it operates under the untrue assumption that dark-skinned black girls cannot grow long hair or that we always wear weave. The truth is, plenty of races of women wear weave as well, yet no other race is interrogated to the degree that black women are. The next time someone pop this invasive question, return the favor and ask, “Is your hair real?”.
3. “Natural Hair Is Unprofessional”
How can the hair you were born with be unprofessional? Natural hair is not something to be “tamed” or “controlled”; it is something to be celebrated. Not only is it unfair to judge those with naturally coily hair, but depending on where you live, wearing your natural hair in the workplace may be fully within your legal rights. Renowned attorney Tracy Sanders wrote an extremely informative book called, “Natural Hair In The Workplace: What Are Your Rights?” which aims to help black women garner an understanding of federal and state employment discrimination laws in the United States. This book will help you understand how to handle any workplace discrimination of your natural hair.
4. “Smile, You Look Angry!”
If we’re not smiling 24/7, we are often deemed angry, when the truth is not everyone is happy all the time. Think, do you know anyone who is literally smiling all the time? This sentiment operates off the angry black girl sentiment.
5. “You’re Pretty For A Dark-Skinned Girl”
When people say “you’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl”, they’re really saying “you are pretty in spite of your complexion”, meaning your complexion is an undesirable trait you have to overcome in order to be pretty. The assumption that dark-skinned girls are less beautiful overall is not just untrue; it is also willfully ignorant. There are so many beauties on social media outlets like Instagram and with models like Khoudia Diop, Nyakim Gatwech and Duckie Thot taking over the modelling world—there is no shortage of dark-skinned black beauty.
6. “Can I Touch Your Hair?”
As soon as you decide to go natural, there will be hordes of people lining up feel your hair (oftentimes without asking for permission!) as though you’re an animal in a petting zoo. My life changed forever when I learned how to say no when people asked to feel my type 4 hair or bronze-colored dark skin. While black natural hair may appear unique to those who have never seen it before, black women are not obligated to endure these microaggressions or to allow people to touch our hair if we don’t want to.
"While some have described her as overly opinionated, Grace much prefers the terms headstrong and passionate. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law.”