For those that haven’t been following the natural hair drama (and I hope you haven’t, really), let me explain. About once or twice a year, I receive submissions from non-black readers. If you look back in the annals of the site, you’ll see that I’ve always chosen inclusion over exclusion and aired the ones that contributed meaningfully to the discussion. These ‘looser curly’ pieces were met with little opposition, but nevertheless, sometimes sparked a healthy debate. But a recent interview which featured Sarah, was met with much resistance. My good friends at Ebony.com published an editorial that weighed in on the debate. Since I found the article bogus and hypocritical, I felt compelled to respond.
Or should I say, Dear Jamilah, whose article "does not reflect the views of Ebony.com". The controversy concerning the definition of the term 'natural' is one that is charged with emotion and often goes hand in hand with the issue of protecting 'the sanctity of black spaces.'
Many women sincerely feel that we must keep these spaces to ourselves in order to maintain a sense of self and security. You know what, they’re right. On the other hand, a lot of non-black women identify strongly with the self-esteem issues black women face as the result of cultural and institutionalized racism. If they feel this way, then they’re right too. I believe that the most important part of my job is to provide a space for all women to enjoy the security they deserve while living in a society that openly questions their legitimacy. Jamilah, if I am only providing enough space for my readers to feel comfortable in a room (or a blog) full of women similar to me, then I haven’t provided my readers any security at all.