Today, I got to chat with a comedian I respect so much. His 3-year-old daughter came up to where I was sitting and started stroking the cornrows that cascade down my back. “I like your hair,” she mused, not really talking to me, “it’s like Rapunzel!”
I smiled and said, “Black Rapunzel,” to which the little girl didn’t bat an eyelid. She continued running her fingers through my hair until she was bored and ran off to do other things that kids find interesting. I turned around and saw her dad mouth *she doesn’t see race* to me.
In that moment, I felt so embarrassed.
I have become so used to classifying things – especially things that don’t reflect me as a black woman – that I unconsciously tried to pass that down onto someone who just saw hair and remembered something she likes. Or maybe I’m bugging.
But what I do know is: it would be nice to live in a world where everyone is represented to such a degree that when they reference hair (or anything else for that matter), it’s because they are talking about the thing and not magnifying/exalting/justifying the race it is attached to. Make sense?