"Afro Hair" title

itsKelCeeEeeitsKelCeeEee Registered Users Posts: 1,084 Curl Neophyte
So I was with one of my fellow natural hair friends today at CVS when a white woman commented on our hair, exclaiming, "I just love afro hair!"

It didn't bother me, but my friend got really annoyed by it, saying that she didn't understand why just because her hair isn't ringlets it can't be considered curly. True, she DOES have longer hair which was in a ponytail, but...I didn't really think our hair being referred to as "afro hair" was all that serious.

Do any of you get offended or irritated when someone refers to your hair as an afro instead of...well, whatever you think it should be considered?
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Comments

  • greenandchicgreenandchic Registered Users Posts: 2,584 Curl Neophyte
    When I think of "afro hair", I think of the classic, picked out, rounded and patted down "fro". When someone refers to my hair as "afro hair" I'm not offended even though my hair is not in a TWA or BAA.

    For some people, that's all they know. It may not look "curly" to them, or what they think of as curls and saying "natural hair" may not make sense to them because they may be technically natural too. :dontknow: ...dont know...:lol:
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  • itsKelCeeEeeitsKelCeeEee Registered Users Posts: 1,084 Curl Neophyte
    See that's what I thought exactly. As long as no one's referring to my hair as "nappy", we don't have any problems. Lol
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  • EllyEllyOxenFreeEllyEllyOxenFree Registered Users Posts: 6,446 Curl Neophyte
    An afro and curly are not mutually exclusive. You can have a curly fro. I call my hair an afro all the time.
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  • AlikaIssaAlikaIssa Banned Banned Users Posts: 339
    I always refer to my hair as 'afro hair' or 'afro textured hair'

    Maybe your friend doesn't like the word 'afro' because some people use it as a diss.

    Back in 2005, I was walking down the high steet with my hair in an undefined puff and I passed three black teenage boys waiting at the bus stop. As soon as I passed by, one of them loudly whispered the word 'afro' and they all started laughing. I turned around and said "There's no need to whisper because my afro is not a dirty little secret. I love my afro and I'm proud of it". After I said that, they all looked shocked. I don't know what was going through their minds but I guess they thought that an afro was something to be ashamed of so they were surprised that I was proud of my hair.
  • CocoTCocoT Registered Users Posts: 5,330
    Doesn't bother me, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking "Why can't you just like my hair?". It's like those compliments such as "You're pretty/smart....for a black girl". Eh, that's just how I feel about it.
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  • OmegaOmega Registered Users Posts: 88
    CocoT wrote: »
    Doesn't bother me, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking "Why can't you just like my hair?". It's like those compliments such as "You're pretty/smart....for a black girl". Eh, that's just how I feel about it.

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  • h2wQueenh2wQueen Registered Users Posts: 551
    See that's what I thought exactly. As long as no one's referring to my hair as "nappy", we don't have any problems. Lol


    ON THE FLOOR! I totally agree with this. I mean i know some people are okay with it, but to me it's another N word.
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  • HipsterSoulHipsterSoul Registered Users Posts: 1,017
    An afro is just a halo of hair, you can have a curly fro too.

    I think it's all in how it's styled.
  • Nappy_curly_crownNappy_curly_crown Registered Users Posts: 4,162 Curl Connoisseur
    I think to a certain extent, we project certain feelings onto words that are not there all the time. Most white people (at least in my experience) when they say the term afro, mean afro textured hair....not literally an afro (unless your hair is actually in an afro). I guess I'm not quite understanding why your friend was offended unless she herself has some issues with her hair and feels the need to let everyone know/acknowledge that her hair is curly, heaven forbid that it's ever confused with nappy hair.
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  • itsKelCeeEeeitsKelCeeEee Registered Users Posts: 1,084 Curl Neophyte
    I think to a certain extent, we project certain feelings onto words that are not there all the time. Most white people (at least in my experience) when they say the term afro, mean afro textured hair....not literally an afro (unless your hair is actually in an afro). I guess I'm not quite understanding why your friend was offended unless she herself has some issues with her hair and feels the need to let everyone know/acknowledge that her hair is curly, heaven forbid that it's ever confused with nappy hair.

    I thought that too but...you know...she's my friend. I ain't wanna start no stuff. Lol.

    I think I can see CocoT's point too though; why can't it just be hair? At the same time there's just so much more to worry about other than the fact that people refer to your hair as an afro. IMO.
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  • greenandchicgreenandchic Registered Users Posts: 2,584 Curl Neophyte
    I think to a certain extent, we project certain feelings onto words that are not there all the time. Most white people (at least in my experience) when they say the term afro, mean afro textured hair....not literally an afro (unless your hair is actually in an afro). I guess I'm not quite understanding why your friend was offended unless she herself has some issues with her hair and feels the need to let everyone know/acknowledge that her hair is curly, heaven forbid that it's ever confused with nappy hair.

    I thought that too but...you know...she's my friend. I ain't wanna start no stuff. Lol.

    I think I can see CocoT's point too though; why can't it just be hair? At the same time there's just so much more to worry about other than the fact that people refer to your hair as an afro. IMO.

    I dont read more into it, personally. If they say "curly", "textured", "afro", etc hair (usually because lack of a better word they could think of in the moment), to me, its just a description. Its just hair, not an indictment on my race.

    I saw a woman the other day with the prettiest (dyed) red hair and I complemented on her hair mentioning the color. It had nothing to do with the face that she's a natural blonde who dyed her hair red.
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  • LanishaLanisha Registered Users Posts: 467 Curl Neophyte
    I take it as a compliment. For instance, she could have just said I love your hair. But to say afro hair means to me like I love your hair and the REASON i love it is because it's AFRO HAIR, like it's special, unique, not just any ol' hair to be loved, but a distinct kind of hair, afro hair. Dunno, maybe i just spin gold and paint rainbows all day lol but that's how i take it.
  • nana_banananana_banana Registered Users Posts: 735
    I was picked on a lot as a kid because of my hair. My hair was called afro in a negative and hurtful way. So I am a little sensitive about the word afro but I know it's not that big of a deal. :)
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    :afro:
  • AlikaIssaAlikaIssa Banned Banned Users Posts: 339
    I was picked on a lot as a kid because of my hair. My hair was called afro in a negative and hurtful way. So I am a little sensitive about the word afro but I know it's not that big of a deal. :)

    Sorry to hear that you were picked on.

    I can understand your sensitivity to the word 'afro' as it was used in a 'negative and hurtful way'.

    I'm glad to see that the negativity has not deterred you from embracing your beautiful curls (I checked out your fotki).
  • nana_banananana_banana Registered Users Posts: 735
    Thanks! It's taken me a very long time to embrace my natural hair! :)
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    :afro:
  • Tuchie09Tuchie09 Registered Users Posts: 388
    h2wQueen wrote: »
    See that's what I thought exactly. As long as no one's referring to my hair as "nappy", we don't have any problems. Lol


    ON THE FLOOR! I totally agree with this. I mean i know some people are okay with it, but to me it's another N word.

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  • Tuchie09Tuchie09 Registered Users Posts: 388
    I think to a certain extent, we project certain feelings onto words that are not there all the time. Most white people (at least in my experience) when they say the term afro, mean afro textured hair....not literally an afro (unless your hair is actually in an afro). I guess I'm not quite understanding why your friend was offended unless she herself has some issues with her hair and feels the need to let everyone know/acknowledge that her hair is curly, heaven forbid that it's ever confused with nappy hair.

    I thought that too but...you know...she's my friend. I ain't wanna start no stuff. Lol.

    I think I can see CocoT's point too though; why can't it just be hair? At the same time there's just so much more to worry about other than the fact that people refer to your hair as an afro. IMO.

    I dont read more into it, personally. If they say "curly", "textured", "afro", etc hair (usually because lack of a better word they could think of in the moment), to me, its just a description. Its just hair, not an indictment on my race.

    I saw a woman the other day with the prettiest (dyed) red hair and I complemented on her hair mentioning the color. It had nothing to do with the face that she's a natural blonde who dyed her hair red.

    True, she could have just said "I love your hair" but calling my hair an afro doesn't offend me. If she said something like "Oh! I love your black people hair!" Then I would have a WTF moment.
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  • PRINCETONPRINCETON Registered Users Posts: 872
    Sounds like a very offensive term coming from an old white woman. You gotta know your audience...

    I would have asked "what exactly do you like about it?"

    Older white people come from a time when "Afro" was what you called us such as "Those Afro-American boys" etc....I would have checked her right on the spot.

    And if it turns out that she was genuinely being kind then at least I wouldn't be wondering later if she had got some bull off on me.

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  • katherinelovesevryonekatherinelovesevryone Registered Users Posts: 230
    See that's what I thought exactly. As long as no one's referring to my hair as "nappy", we don't have any problems. Lol
    exactly

    I don't have many issues with this. Because 'afro' is a shortened form of 'African', and most of us consider ourselves 'African American', I don't see it as that far as a stretch.

    The reason I think our hair is referred as separate from the 'curly' category is because it is. Our hair is the curliest that hair can get and in many cases doesn't feel or behave similar to other types of curly hair (this is of course a generalization).

    The Andre System puts us into a separate category as well. I wonder if your friend would have been offended had the woman said: "Wow, I love 4a/4b hair!":laughing6:
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  • laniseworkslaniseworks Registered Users Posts: 170
    A lot of white people don't know what the correct terms/ descriptions to use for our hair. Even within the community, we can't come to a consensus of what is preferred or offensive.
    I wouldn't have been offended by it but of your friend prefers the term curly and the women was being malicious, she could have told the women "thanks! I actually consider it curly but I appreciate it." In a non- *****y way of course.
    Plus, like a previous comment said, she prob likes it bc its "afro/black" hair and all characteristics associated with it.

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  • greenandchicgreenandchic Registered Users Posts: 2,584 Curl Neophyte
    PRINCETON wrote: »
    Sounds like a very offensive term coming from an old white woman. You gotta know your audience...

    I would have asked "what exactly do you like about it?"

    Older white people come from a time when "Afro" was what you called us such as "Those Afro-American boys" etc....I would have checked her right on the spot.

    And if it turns out that she was genuinely being kind then at least I wouldn't be wondering later if she had got some bull off on me.

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  • PRINCETONPRINCETON Registered Users Posts: 872
    @GreenAndChic
    That's why I said I would have to just be blunt and ask. I don't like cliffhanger conversations, mind-games, or guessing games.

    LMAO Like you said even a person of color might try to get a sly statement across but thats why I treat everyone equal and will ask a zulu tribesman "what exactly do you mean?".

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  • knt1229knt1229 Registered Users Posts: 93
    I don't understand why your friend was offended. Have you asked her why the word "afro" offends her? I doubt the white lady meant any harm or was trying to insult her. After all, the lady was a stranger and probably had no reason to throw shade at your friend.

    This incident wouldn't have bothered me. Afro can be used to describe the texture of black folks hair as in afro-textured. The word is not always in reference to a hair style. As far as calling her hair curly aIot of people including other blacks don't consider type 4 hair to be curly. Kinky yes but curly no. I would even go so far as to say 3C's aren't always put in the curly category either depending on how they style their hair meaning styling it in a way that shows no or little curl definition.
  • itsKelCeeEeeitsKelCeeEee Registered Users Posts: 1,084 Curl Neophyte
    knt1229 wrote: »
    I don't understand why your friend was offended. Have you asked her why the word "afro" offends her? I doubt the white lady meant any harm or was trying to insult her. After all, the lady was a stranger and probably had no reason to throw shade at your friend.

    This incident wouldn't have bothered me. Afro can be used to describe the texture of black folks hair as in afro-textured. The word is not always in reference to a hair style. As far as calling her hair curly aIot of people including other blacks don't consider type 4 hair to be curly. Kinky yes but curly no. I would even go so far as to say 3C's aren't always put in the curly category either depending on how they style their hair meaning styling it in a way that shows no or little curl definition.

    Yeah I should've asked her why it bothered her so much. I didn't even think about it. I don't know, it'll probably come up again.

    One of my good friends, an Italian girl with stick straight hair, LOVES my hair and refers to it as an afro all the time. She's always talking about oils and herbs she read that are good for african american hair and offers to make me recipes for it...she may know more about my hair than ME. Lol. On the other hand, I have relatives who use the term as a insult (saying how they favored my relaxed hair). So I guess it does depend on the context. I don't think the woman was being anything but genuine though.
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  • KsLiZCuRlZKsLiZCuRlZ Registered Users Posts: 272
    I'm only 16 and this site sometimes bother because I feel line people are fishing for a negative side. I believe the lady pictures curly hair as 3a/b loose curls so she didn't think that what your friends hair shouldhve been called. Andd lord forbid if she wouldhve said Black Peoples hair cause this forum wouldhve been all fired up, so I believe she said the right word with Afro hair. But truthly whatever she called it..She said she LOVED it sooo what's the big deal...

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  • KsLiZCuRlZKsLiZCuRlZ Registered Users Posts: 272
    I justed wanted to say that I personally think it shoudnt matter who the comment comes from to say it was offensive. Idk, I feel like its like how ppl say is okay for a black person to say the N word but not any other race, ya know?

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  • Jamtastic Voyage!Jamtastic Voyage! Registered Users Posts: 230
    to me, an "afro" and "afro textured" are two different things.

    imo an afro is just big hair that's more up and out than down. afro textured = african/black textured hair. nothing to do with curl pattern.

    to me her getting offended is just another example of how PC everyone is struggling to be nowadays.
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  • laniseworkslaniseworks Registered Users Posts: 170

    to me her getting offended is just another example of how PC everyone is struggling to be nowadays.

    I agree and I think the lady was trying to be PC using the term she did.

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  • EllyEllyOxenFreeEllyEllyOxenFree Registered Users Posts: 6,446 Curl Neophyte
    I think to a certain extent, we project certain feelings onto words that are not there all the time. Most white people (at least in my experience) when they say the term afro, mean afro textured hair....not literally an afro (unless your hair is actually in an afro). I guess I'm not quite understanding why your friend was offended unless she herself has some issues with her hair and feels the need to let everyone know/acknowledge that her hair is curly, heaven forbid that it's ever confused with nappy hair.

    I agree 100% on the bolded. I sometimes have to check myself when people use certain words to describe my hair because in the back of my mind I'm thinking, what are they really getting at, even if it is a word that I use to describe my OWN hair! Some examples...

    - Kinky: I call my hair "kinky curly" pretty much, but when someone outside of the hair world says my hair is kinky, I can't help but think they're using a "nice" term for nappy (in the bad way).

    - Thick and/or coarse: Two things that my hair ACTUALLY is, but also code for nappy and/or unmanageable, because outside of the boards, I sincerely doubt that people are looking at my strand thickness and density (well, maybe density, because it's pretty obvious that I have "big" hair). But a lot of us were brought up thinking that all "nappy" hair is coarse and rough, when in reality a lot of afro-textured hair is quite fine.

    And now so I don't spend the rest of the day thinking if someone was trying to underhandedly give me a low blow, I just ask them what they meant, and if they are wrong, I correct them. If they say they mean my hair is rough I'm like, "No, it's actually quite soft because I know how to condition it, 'black' [using finger quotes] hair isn't dry and crackling if you learn how to care for it." Simple.
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  • itsKelCeeEeeitsKelCeeEee Registered Users Posts: 1,084 Curl Neophyte
    to me, an "afro" and "afro textured" are two different things.

    imo an afro is just big hair that's more up and out than down. afro textured = african/black textured hair. nothing to do with curl pattern.

    to me her getting offended is just another example of how PC everyone is struggling to be nowadays.
    Agree completely.
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