Don’t touch me

It’s another hot day up here (when will they end?) and I have a long day since I will be taking part in a community forum as part of my job this evening. So I suggested to the Spousal Unit and son, that we have lunch at Pizza Hut since I am in no mood to cook, thanks to a summer cold, oppressive heat and work. So the family came to pick me up from the office and we hit the local Pizza Hut.

It was a good time despite the lousy food, when I suddenly feel someone touching my hair. I look up and see an elderly white woman muttering something about nice, beautiful and I just wanted to touch your hair. Wait! What the fuck are you doing? I start trying to avoid her gnarled hands like I was Neo in the Matrix, moving closer to my daughter in the booth and even putting my hand up saying “PLEASE DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR

It’s not the first time in my 8 years in Maine I have had a white person reach out and attempt to touch my hair, after all I did have dreadlocks for 5 years but this was the first time I have ever encountered someone who did not respect my desire to stop trying to touch me. For a millisecond I felt reduced to less than human status and even my husband who is a laid back man told the woman “Please don’t touch my wife’s hair” There was a second when I thought he was about to lay hands on Granny. Eventually she and her party mosey’d on with her no doubt wondering what the issue was, but damn it, don’t touch my hair.

Look, I realize seeing a Black woman with braids may be a novelty  but reaching out to touch one is just a bad idea and frankly the only thing that stopped Granny from getting her fingers broke was the fact that she was elderly.  I am still not sure if that was a great idea but hey, I was raised to treat folks with respect even when its questionable if they deserve it.

So to my fellow humans of the white hue, don’t ever reach out and try to touch a Black woman’s hair…it could be hazardous to your health.

13 thoughts on “Don’t touch me”

  1. That one I understand, but the other day at Walmart a black guy with a cart suddenly started backing out of a check-out lane into the main aisle without looking. Out of reflex I reached up and put my hand on his back so he wouldn’t fall over my cart and said, “OOps, excuse me, sir”. He turned around and I expected something like, “Sorry, I didn’t see you” which is what I typically get when a white person does this. Instead I got, “Don’t touch me. Next time don’t touch me.”. I said, “I just didn’t want you to hurt yourself.”. He paused and said, “You can say ‘excuse me’, but next time don’t touch me”. I just walked on. Obviously if someone is about to back over your cart, by the time you got out “excuse me” he wouldn’t have time to react. So my question for the black reader is, is this some kind of macho boys-in-the-hood attitude or was this bozo just a little unhinged? What I took away was the next time a black guy starts backing into my cart, let him fall over it. Wonder if I had been a black guy if his response would have been the same, or is it rudeness and racism on his part?

  2. Girl, I could tell you some stuff about people putting their dirty-ass hands all up in my hair and making racist or just plain rude comments about it. 🙁

    I’m biracial, very light-skinned, with white features. But my hair is thick and kinky even with a relaxer. Some people think that’s weird (not sure why), and they want to touch my hair and make fucked-up comments about its texture.

    To me, it is rudeness and it is racism. Period. There is no excuse. Curiosity is not an excuse. Do. Not. Touch. Me.

    I’ve also been asked by people of all races (mostly black folks) if my hair is real. WTF? I never could figure that one out.

  3. holy shit, this is ridiculous. kind of hilarious, but i’m so sorry it happened to you! i think that pregnant women get the same treatment- like everyone thinks it’s ok to touch your belly just because you’re knocked up! i guess some people just have more flexible ideas about personal space. you should have started tugging on her hair and asking if it was a wig.

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