Black History Month: Relaxed Vs. Natural Hair
Professor says ongoing battle is less about hair, more about hsitory
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Creamy crack. A perm. A touch up. Whatever you call it, black women have strong opinions about it. We're talking about chemical relaxers used to straighten ethnic hair. In this Black History Month feature, we take a closer look at the battle between relaxed hair and natural hair and why one professor believes the fight is really about knowing your history.
Professional stylists we spoke with say chemical relaxers, if applied correctly, are safe. However, just how safe they are is being scrutinized. A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has linked hair relaxers to uterine fibroids and early puberty among young girls. Scientists reportedly followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal African American women from 1997 to 2009. They found that the two- to three-times higher rate of fibroid tumors among black women may be linked to chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns. A natural hair specialist we spoke with says the findings of the study should not be ignored and believes if illness can be prevented by the way African American women care for their hair, then changes should be made. A Social Sciences professor at Benedict College, Dr. Sybil Rosado, says the black hair phenomenon is less about the way a person hair looks and more about being aware of the historic origin of it.
"We have that historical reality that you have to be concerned about presentation of self. If you're not you may get lynched you may disappear, so there were real consequences that made black people wear Victorian clothing and straighten our hair," said Dr. Rosado. She claims whatever black women, or anyone for that matter, chose to do with their hair is less important in the quest for success. She believes it's paramount to remain true to who you are.
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