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Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Why Don’t You Wear Your Hair Natural?" and Other Things NOT to Say to Black People

Carolynn Johnson of Diversity Inc Magazine recently wrote an interesting column on DiversityInc.com about what should not be said to Black people in the workplace. The column identifies several commonly said things that can be taken very offensive (even if said by other Blacks).

Here are just three of the things she mentioned:

#1 - “You are the HNIC [Head N-Word in Charge]”
(Meant affectionately—usually said by one Black person to another.)

First, I don’t care who you are—do not call me the N-word. Second, it is not a term of endearment by any stretch of the imagination and does not belong in our lexicon. There is no room for reappropriation with this word. NONE.

#2 - “Why don’t you wear your hair natural?”

First, please don’t think that how Black women wear their hair reflects the acceptance or rejection of their Blackness. There are other reasons: financial, medical or just personal choice. It is not always an attempt to assimilate to white standards of beauty. Psychological tests show people most trust people who look like them. If that means wearing my hair a certain way in order to continue to provide for my family, there is no contest. I will march into a pharmacy or beauty-supply store and proudly ask, “Relaxers are down which aisle?”

#3 - “Are you from [fill in inner city here]?”

All Black people are not from the hood or ghetto nearest you. I grew up in an affluent New Jersey suburb and still live in one today.

Read the full article at:

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