Are We OK with White People Saying Nappy?

Vagabond DavotchkaVagabond Davotchka BannedBanned Users Posts: 156
I have mixed feelings about it. Some white folks are beginning to use the term 'nappy' and I notice they say with trepidation - like they don't know if they should be saying it - and most that have said it to me have taken the cue that I use it and don't mind using it so they think they can say it too. Most of the time I am not too bothered just as long as they don't frown up when they say it. But they have to know that they can't use the term 'nappy' around some black people because a lot of still hate the word or or not comfortable with it.

I am most urked when white moms use the word about their biracial children's hair. She will often frown and talk about how 'nappy' her mixed child's hair is and how hard it is to do.

I guess if it is not said with venem or disgust, I'm cool. But when I hear white people talk about 'nappy hair' I'm thinking 'what the hell would you know about nappy hair that would make you feel comfortable enough to say that anyone's hair is nappy?'
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  • msjaimmsjaim Registered Users Posts: 948
    anyone regardless of color who speaks @ me or to me w/ ill intent will get checked... U have more blk folks who use the term nappy with contempt more than anyone of this planet. if somone calls my hair nappy or refer to it as nappy, Ill say Yeah.. and.. becuase it is.
  • Alice_42 Alice_42 Registered Users Posts: 791 Curl Neophyte
    msjaim wrote: »
    anyone regardless of color who speaks @ me or to me w/ ill intent will get checked... U have more blk folks who use the term nappy with contempt more than anyone of this planet. if someone calls my hair nappy or refer to it as nappy, Ill say Yeah.. and.. because it is.

    I agree with the bolded part. I'm not a huge fan of the word "nappy" because it brings back the good hair/bad hair argument which is something I've been trying to distance myself from because I think all hair, regardless of texture, is good hair.
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  • KindredsTwin1983KindredsTwin1983 Registered Users Posts: 347
    IMO nappy is only an insult if you make it an insult. Like the word 'fat.'

    Though I don't see the difference in offensiveness between a white lady saying nappy and a black lady that straightens and perms her hair.
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  • Kinks74Kinks74 Registered Users Posts: 394
    Hmmm. I dunno. Its a deep rooted word. I've rarely heard it said in conversation by non-nappies to mean something positive. I would not approve of someone saying "nappy" in a negative way, regardless of color. With the issues people of African descent (who are most likely to have nappy hair) have had and still have with hair, perhaps non-nappies should not use the word, particularly since there are other words that are less controversial to use.
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  • kaymoorekaymoore Registered Users Posts: 298
    Call me kinky, Call me nappy...it's just semantics. A word cannot define my essence. Nappy does not signify who I am it is simply a label. And I do not feel that a label can change who I feel that I am. Therefore, the word nappy doesn't bother me. Also, for me...Caucasian people have embraced my hair more than people who look like me. They recognize my hair as being curly whereas Black people have called my hair nappy and it did not make it so. My hair is manageable, beautiful and unique. I could not ask for anything more. If someone does not like my hair then that is their problem and not mine. Honestly, I think Black people have more issue with natural hair than non-Black people. It is an issue of self-esteem and self-perception. I cannot let some else's perception define me.
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  • AlYubbiAlYubbi Registered Users Posts: 41

    I am most urked when white moms use the word about their biracial children's hair. She will often frown and talk about how 'nappy' her mixed child's hair is and how hard it is to do.

    Maybe they say it because they feel that they can relate, especially if they visit hair forums. They see that "Nappy" is said A LOT by many different posters, with many different hair types, and it is used with many different connotations.

    One post is someone praising their Nappy hair. The next is someone requesting help for their Nappy hair. Not to mention the many websites and products that use the word freely.
  • AvastraAvastra Registered Users Posts: 14
    I've never used the word "nappy" in conversation but then, I live in Sweden...

    But I just love the way the word sounds! It has a very nice ring to it, just the semantics of the word, it rolls nicely off the tounge.

    On, maybe a similar note, my hair is red and I often get called "ginger" wich, depending on how it's said, can be both a compliment and an insult or just a generic way of describing the colour of my hair. I think that's how I percive "nappy" too. It can be used as an insult if the speaker means it to be, but it can also be said very lovingly to describe a persons hair.
  • msjaimmsjaim Registered Users Posts: 948
    AlYubbi wrote: »

    I am most urked when white moms use the word about their biracial children's hair. She will often frown and talk about how 'nappy' her mixed child's hair is and how hard it is to do.

    Maybe they say it because they feel that they can relate, especially if they visit hair forums. They see that "Nappy" is said A LOT by many different posters, with many different hair types, and it is used with many different connotations.

    One post is someone praising their Nappy hair. The next is someone requesting help for their Nappy hair. Not to mention the many websites and products that use the word freely.

    Maybe they say that their childs hair is nappy because... it is.
  • eyesthatlieeyesthatlie Registered Users Posts: 261
    Does kinky mean the same thing? If not, then I'm using it wrong. I personally don't like the word nappy, I guess because I normally hear it used in derogatory ways.
  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Registered Users Posts: 15,402 Curl Neophyte
    Are We OK with White People Saying Nappy?

    I don't think this is in any way a collective decision or even a consensus. For me it's not even a personal blanket decision or standard. It's all based on intent. And I know of no "nappymeter" tool that here's the word uttered around the world and makes judgments on it.
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  • MissConstruedMissConstrued Registered Users Posts: 323
    msjaim wrote: »
    anyone regardless of color who speaks @ me or to me w/ ill intent will get checked... U have more blk folks who use the term nappy with contempt more than anyone of this planet. if somone calls my hair nappy or refer to it as nappy, Ill say Yeah.. and.. becuase it is.

    Yes, I definitely agree with the bold part. I've never heard a caucasian say "nappy" before, but I have heard them say "crunchy" and wound up having to apologize because I went postal on some girl. By "crunchy" she meant the hair looked hard and was referring to a curly who liked LA gel wayyyyy too much. Anyway I'm not really fond of the word "nappy", it sounds derrogatory no matter who says it. That's just my opinion.
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  • CurlyFireHorseCurlyFireHorse Registered Users Posts: 350 Curl Neophyte
    If you can say it, why can't I?
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  • mojitochicamojitochica Registered Users Posts: 136
    If you can say it, why can't I?

    You can say anything you want; however, since you've read this thread and have presumably gleaned the fact that some black people don't appreciate the word, you should be prepared for whatever response you receive.

    On the off chance you don't understand the politics of black hair google "politics of black hair."
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  • naiha1naiha1 Registered Users Posts: 209
    My 2 cents: Rarely is this a word used to positively talk about coarse hair textures. In my signature it says I'm happy and nappy. For me it is an affirmation that I accept the texture of my hair in a culture that is not always so approving. I agree with what a few other people said on this thread, Regardless of color it totally depends on your intention in saying it which brings me back to the the very first thing I said.


    There are many words that bring up a painful past and painful present for people with kinky,nappy coarsely textured hair specifically but not limitted to african americans. My sister and best friend is biracial, upon just seeing her she looks white but her hair is a different story. People have actually made comments to her along the lines of (and thinking it was funny) "Hummmm she nappy hair, like n*gger hair" A lot of these comments were from white people who almost seemed upset to find out that she was indeed also black. I also know a few white girls who could rival my 4b kinks any day who are also made fun of because of the texture of their hair and refer to as hair like a black person agin not in a positive way. To answer the question of "If you can say it, Why can't I. Just cause I say say somethin about my momma does't mean you can say it too. :cool: We all have friends that have different experiences in life and we deal with them and are sensitive to them based on who they are. We don't necessarily say the same thing to sally that we would say to beth. Ya know.
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  • CammybCammyb Registered Users Posts: 576 Curl Neophyte
    naiha1 wrote: »
    My 2 cents: Rarely is this a word used to positively talk about coarse hair textures. In my signature it says I'm happy and nappy. For me it is an affirmation that I accept the texture of my hair in a culture that is not always so approving. I agree with what a few other people said on this thread, Regardless of color it totally depends on your intention in saying it which brings me back to the the very first thing I said.


    There are many words that bring up a painful past and painful present for people with kinky,nappy coarsely textured hair specifically but not limitted to african americans. My sister and best friend is biracial, upon just seeing her she looks white but her hair is a different story. People have actually made comments to her along the lines of (and thinking it was funny) "Hummmm she nappy hair, like n*gger hair" A lot of these comments were from white people who almost seemed upset to find out that she was indeed also black. I also know a few white girls who could rival my 4b kinks any day who are also made fun of because of the texture of their hair and refer to as hair like a black person agin not in a positive way. To answer the question of "If you can say it, Why can't I. Just cause I say say somethin about my momma does't mean you can say it too. :cool: We all have friends that have different experiences in life and we deal with them and are sensitive to them based on who they are. We don't necessarily say the same thing to sally that we would say to beth. Ya know.

    Very well said
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  • QVCDivaQVCDiva Registered Users Posts: 1,329
    naiha, very well stated.

    All races / ethnicities have things that that they say within their own circle that nobody outside that circle better use. Often times the terms have even been used against them in a derogatory manner by those outside the group.
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  • CurlyFireHorseCurlyFireHorse Registered Users Posts: 350 Curl Neophyte
    My main issue is with the title of this thread. "Are we OK with White People saying Nappy?"

    It seems so separatist. Aren't we all just people? If a word is rude, NOBODY should use it.
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  • Vagabond DavotchkaVagabond Davotchka Banned Banned Users Posts: 156
    My main issue is with the title of this thread. "Are we OK with White People saying Nappy?"

    It seems so separatist. Aren't we all just people? If a word is rude, NOBODY should use it.

    *sigh*

    tsk, tsk.

    Maybe now would be the time for 'maybe it's a black thang and you wouldn't understand.' But you would probably find that offensive and separatist too. :dontknow:
  • AlYubbiAlYubbi Registered Users Posts: 41
    My main issue is with the title of this thread. "Are we OK with White People saying Nappy?"

    It seems so separatist. Aren't we all just people? If a word is rude, NOBODY should use it.

    I can see how you would feel this way.

    Even though this thread was posted in the 4b section doesn't automatically give the OP grounds/entitlement to make such a statement as if this is a Black only section.

    The statement of "Are we OK with White People saying Nappy?" has strong implications that the 4b section is for Blacks only.

    Naturallycurly.com is not a White site. Naturallycurly.com is not a Black site.

    By making such statement, the OP has separated herself and others who may agree with her and against her thus causing a separation that was never intended by this site.
  • Vagabond DavotchkaVagabond Davotchka Banned Banned Users Posts: 156
    AlYubbi wrote: »
    My main issue is with the title of this thread. "Are we OK with White People saying Nappy?"

    It seems so separatist. Aren't we all just people? If a word is rude, NOBODY should use it.

    I can see how you would feel this way.

    Even though this thread was posted in the 4b section doesn't automatically give the OP grounds/entitlement to make such a statement as if this is a Black only section.

    The statement of "Are we OK with White People saying Nappy?" has strong implications that the 4b section is for Blacks only.

    Naturallycurly.com is not a White site. Naturallycurly.com is not a Black site.

    By making such statement, the OP has separated herself and others who may agree with her and against her thus causing a separation that was never intended by this site.

    You may be right, but whatever.


    I had thought that the 4b section of this site was the 'black' part of the site, not saying the entire site itself was geared toward one particular race over the other. Just about all 4 B's are black, so I thought they'd understand what I meant and hence respond.

    This post wasn't about separatism, its more about black hair politics that maybe only black people can understand - but whites can respond too (I appreciate some of redcelticcurls comments as she posted in the 'ni**er hair' topic of 'Hall of Shame'). This topic is similar to the posts in the 'Hall of Shame' forum about 'ni**er hair' and I do believe a similar discussion ensued about the 'appropriateness' of such a subject in that forum.

    But think what ye will.
  • CurlyFireHorseCurlyFireHorse Registered Users Posts: 350 Curl Neophyte

    *sigh*

    tsk, tsk.

    Maybe now would be the time for 'maybe it's a black thang and you wouldn't understand.' But you would probably find that offensive and separatist too. :dontknow:

    No, but I would find it extremely condescending.
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  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Registered Users Posts: 15,402 Curl Neophyte
    I had thought that the 4b section of this site was the 'black' part of the site

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    If you are black and a 4b,do you intend to self-segregate and post only in this forum?

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  • OliviaRoseOliviaRose Registered Users Posts: 83
    I would not like if ANYONE called my hair nappy. Yes, it may look like it at times but keep that comment to yourself. I do not need to hear someone call my hair nappy especially if it's with bad intentions.

    If someone is ugly would you outright call them ugly? I don't think so. It's a matter of respect and dignity. People need to be mindful of their words, actions and thoughts because if you put yourself in the shoes of other person {you have said hurtful things too} you would not like it.

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  • midgimidgi Registered Users Posts: 2,409 Curl Neophyte

    Maybe now would be the time for 'maybe it's a black thang and you wouldn't understand.'

    Talk about a foot sandwich.

    It's sort of pointless to talk to a bunch of black people about whether or not it's appropriate for white people to use the word "nappy". If your goal is to CHANGE something, then it only makes sense for white people to be involved in the dialogue.

    Telling her that she's white so she wouldn't understand is one of the most blatantly dismissive and disrespectful things I've read on here in a long while.
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  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Registered Users Posts: 15,402 Curl Neophyte
    midgi wrote: »

    Maybe now would be the time for 'maybe it's a black thang and you wouldn't understand.'

    Talk about a foot sandwich.

    It's sort of pointless to talk to a bunch of black people about whether or not it's appropriate for white people to use the word "nappy". If your goal is to CHANGE something, then it only makes sense for white people to be involved in the dialogue.

    Telling her that she's white so she wouldn't understand is one of the most blatantly dismissive and disrespectful things I've read on here in a long while.
    +1. If someone in the 3a section had a similar thread -- "Are we okay with Black people calling us frizzy" or whatever -- how would you feel if you posted and someone dismissed you like that? Even with the little I've seen of your posting style, I could see you coming over the wall. So why be contemptuous?
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  • nynaeve77nynaeve77 Registered Users Posts: 7,135 Curl Novice
    Not to mention that I've seen white people with 4a/b hair before. It's not common but it happens.

    I don't get the whole idea of segregating yourself on the hair boards. I've gotten tips from all the various hair threads, not just 3b/c. I think that people should post wherever they like.

    As to the nappy thing, I personally wouldn't say it about anyone's hair because, from my experience, it has more of a negative connotation than a positive one and I wouldn't wish to offend anyone.
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  • TK*TK* Registered Users Posts: 885
    I don't care if someone calls me nappy because...well...my hair is nappy, lol. If someone used "nappy" in a negative way, or any term in a negative way, I would probably say something snarky back to them.

    In regards to the separatist issue. Honestly, I don't think the OP was "segregating" with her orginal post. It's a legitimate question to ask--no one should be offended unless (and which happened) someone began trying to segregate by saying things like: "well you wouldn't understand because XYZ." THAT is segregation. The question itself is not. Perhaps instead of "we" she should've said "you" or "I." The word "we" does connotate a "us" and thefore an us vs. them mentality. If this was posted in the "general discussion" category, I assure you other members would try to flog it down and argue that it belongs in the 4b section. Just look at the "Deragotary names for 4a/4b" thread and you'll see what I mean. The OP has a right to post the topic here since "nappy" is more 4a/4b than 2a. Right?

    If someone in the 3a question asked: "Do you get mad when black people XYZ?" I wouldn't be offended unless that person was trying to create an "us vs. them" situation. Simply asking a question about another race doesn't make you a separatist. Now, if I saw that thread in the 3a section I would definitely look at it--and try to answer the OP with any questions or whatever she had towards blacks doing XYZ. I wouldn't be upset unless the OP was being racist about it. I recognize that other races aside from my own might have questions. That's normal. It's not a big deal.
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  • MimsTXMimsTX Registered Users Posts: 3,482 Curl Neophyte
    TK* wrote: »
    If someone in the 3a question asked: "Do you get mad when black people XYZ?" I wouldn't be offended unless that person was trying to create an "us vs. them" situation. Simply asking a question about another race doesn't make you a separatist. Now, if I saw that thread in the 3a section I would definitely look at it--and try to answer the OP with any questions or whatever she had towards blacks doing XYZ. I wouldn't be upset unless the OP was being racist about it. I recognize that other races aside from my own might have questions. That's normal. It's not a big deal.

    I really really love that you feel this way. I've asked someone of another race about their hair before, actually, and they were ridiculously offended despite the fact that I was asking out of genuine curiosity. Its nice to know it isn't always seen as offensive :)
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  • WurlyLoxWurlyLox Registered Users Posts: 4,858 Curl Neophyte
    kaymoore wrote: »
    Call me kinky, Call me nappy...it's just semantics. A word cannot define my essence. Nappy does not signify who I am it is simply a label. And I do not feel that a label can change who I feel that I am. Therefore, the word nappy doesn't bother me. Also, for me...Caucasian people have embraced my hair more than people who look like me. They recognize my hair as being curly whereas Black people have called my hair nappy and it did not make it so. My hair is manageable, beautiful and unique. I could not ask for anything more. If someone does not like my hair then that is their problem and not mine. Honestly, I think Black people have more issue with natural hair than non-Black people. It is an issue of self-esteem and self-perception. I cannot let some else's perception define me.

    :lurk: That sure seems to be the case . . . Sorry, sometimes a title catches my eye before I realize a post is in one of the 4 forums, and I find myself lurking . . . I 'hear' a lot of discussions about how your own family and friends treat you and your hair, but generally non-black people seem a lot more accepting of it, especially in the past 10-20 years.

    My own hair was very nappy/kinky earlier in my life, and I and friends/family and stylists referred to it that way, but I seldom got any negative vibes about it. I still get joking comments on some of my curlier hair days. I never even thought about the word being perceived as rude until I started reading some of the posts on these boards.
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  • nynaeve77nynaeve77 Registered Users Posts: 7,135 Curl Novice
    TK* wrote: »
    I don't care if someone calls me nappy because...well...my hair is nappy, lol. If someone used "nappy" in a negative way, or any term in a negative way, I would probably say something snarky back to them.

    In regards to the separatist issue. Honestly, I don't think the OP was "segregating" with her orginal post. It's a legitimate question to ask--no one should be offended unless (and which happened) someone began trying to segregate by saying things like: "well you wouldn't understand because XYZ." THAT is segregation. The question itself is not. Perhaps instead of "we" she should've said "you" or "I." The word "we" does connotate a "us" and thefore an us vs. them mentality. If this was posted in the "general discussion" category, I assure you other members would try to flog it down and argue that it belongs in the 4b section. Just look at the "Deragotary names for 4a/4b" thread and you'll see what I mean. The OP has a right to post the topic here since "nappy" is more 4a/4b than 2a. Right?

    If someone in the 3a question asked: "Do you get mad when black people XYZ?" I wouldn't be offended unless that person was trying to create an "us vs. them" situation. Simply asking a question about another race doesn't make you a separatist. Now, if I saw that thread in the 3a section I would definitely look at it--and try to answer the OP with any questions or whatever she had towards blacks doing XYZ. I wouldn't be upset unless the OP was being racist about it. I recognize that other races aside from my own might have questions. That's normal. It's not a big deal.

    The original question itself was okay, but I think that the "it's a black thing, you wouldn't understand," and other responses similar to that are dismissive and condescending. Can you imagine if a white person had said, "It's a white thing, you wouldn't understand"?
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