Natural nod

I know it’s been awhile, but work has been crazy of late and I’ve been too tired and frazzled to put together anything resembling a coherent post. It’s supposed to slow down by next week, so hopefully, I’ll be able to post more regularly soon. As far as my hair has gone, I’ve been doing a lot of wash and goes and curly fros of late because they don’t take a lot of time to do nor do they require a lot of maintenance. I’ve just been too tired to do certain styles. I don’t have a recent curly fro picture, but here is a wash and go I did about a week or two ago:

Not bad, eh? I think it was either first or second day hair. I used the Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream and the pink Ecostyler for some hold. I also used a leave in underneath everything, but  I can’t remember if it was the Giovanni Direct Leave In or the Curl Junkie Beauticurls or the Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion. I did scrunch the excess product out of my hair so it wouldn’t dry crunchy. I know I got at least three days out of the style but I can’t remember anymore if I was able to get more days out of it than that. That’s what happens when I don’t update consistently.

Anyhoo, on to the point of this post. A topic came up last night on a board I frequent that was interesting. It wasn’t related to hair but it actually can be. I’ll get to how it can be in a moment. Anyway, the person stated how some white classmate at her college asked her why she always nods to the other black students there and why they do likewise and wondered if there was any historical reason for it. She also pointed out that less than 5% of the student body consists of black people. I was never aware that the nod had any major social or political significance before that question was asked on the board. I always thought it was simply a greeting. The fact that the white classmate noticed only the black students doing it probably says a lot about the social climate at that particular school and probably a lot about that person themselves. It’s human nature for people to gravitate toward those that look like themselves, share a common heritage or share something else in common. The poster who asked the question is black and may at times feel awkward and out of place being a minority in a predominantly white school. I definitely speak from experience. It can be comforting at times just to see another person that looks like you, so you (general you, just so no one thinks I’m singling any particular person out) acknowledge their existence by nodding. There’s nothing that deep about it. However, some whites feel threatened when they see nonwhites do this or when they see a group of blacks, Asians or members of some other racial or ethnic group hanging out together. This causes them to think that nonwhites purposefully isolate themselves and make themselves out to be victims. Never mind that systemic racism and discrimination perpetrated by whites is a major reason why nonwhites may associate only among themselves. Also, what are people of color supposed to think about White people who only interact with other White people? I personally could give a rat’s ass, but there are whites who believe nonwhites shouldn’t say anything about it because “White” is the default in our society and because they are the preference, why shouldn’t they do whatever they want? Everyone else is deemed inferior.

“The nod” isn’t just a racial thing. It can apply to any group of people who share a common interest. Sometimes bikers do the nod. Sometimes, people who drive Jeeps do the nod. And yes, people with curly or kinky hair do the nod too. There have been occasions where I’ll nod to a natural in the room and they do likewise-not because we were the only two black women in the room but because we were the only two naturals in the room. Remember, straight hair is still the default in our society. If you happen to live in a place that doesn’t have a lot of people that look like you and/or where many of the women are still brainwashed into thinking that straight hair is “good” hair, it can be mighty comforting to come across somebody else that dared to step outside the box. So you acknowledge their existence and nod. It’s an expression of a common bond. Nothing more, nothing less. Will there come a time when the “natural nod” won’t be necessary, because it will have been the norm? I can’t answer that. Speaking only for myself, even if natural hair ever did become the norm, I’m not sure I’d want the nod to go away entirely. Technology is making it easier for people not to connect and interact in person and we’re becoming a poorer society for it. Something as simple as a nod establishes a connection to another person, if only for an instant.

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