The day she wore an afro

Desire Mulla - Ecuador


June 1, 2016

To many people of African decent wearing our natural hair in Afro style should be something normal and not some thing that seems out of the ordinary. To her it was a normal day to work as she prepared in the morning to set off to the school that she teaches. It was a Monday and therefore she would be working with the 7th grade that has students of the age of 11 as the youngest to 13 the oldest. She was running late and therefore holding a ponytail as she usually does was out of the question. She decided to ware an Afro for that Monday.

As entered the class that she was supposed to teach she felt all the students’ eyes fixed on her. She usually called the students attention, however, today the staring was intensified. She thought to herself, “shit should have come earlier and gotten here first” as she sat down. The lesson went smoothly however she still had no idea why every student’s look was fixated on her head. Luckily for her she was about to find out. It was now time for the break, “recreo.”

As she made her way to the schools bar where she could get something to eat, she was always intervened by the perks of being a foreign teacher. Students asking about her country for probably the 15th time stopped her, the bolder children would ask about her hair and why she wore It like this today. She still did not understand the fascination that the students had with her hair. Finally she reached the bar where she got something to eat as she headed outside a group of her students in the 6th grade invited her over.

As they chatted and laughed about the stupid questions that they would ask her, a bold and confident student approached and asked a question that would make let her understand the fixation with her hair. He asked, “Why did you wear you hair like this?” She replied, “well its because I wanted to.” He laughed and replied, “It seems to us that you wanted to imitate a clown.” At this point the other students were telling him to apologize and leave. This did not stop him to explain that he has an Afro at home that they use to signify a clown.

At this point she just laughed at the circumstances and the nature of the situation. However as she got time to think, this was not okay, it was actually sad that most of the young Afro Ecuadorian girls she had in her class have retouched or chemical softened hair and as she looked around she was the only girl of African decent at the school that was wearing her hair natural. The mixed Afro students had straightened out their hair, and the other Afro Ecuadorian girls had extensions in or softened hair to make their hair less curly and straight. There it had hit her as she remembered Chris Rock’s GoodHair program to promote the beauty of black people’s natural hair and promote the confidence of black girls to wear their hair natural. This not only helps the African decent community but also the LatinAmerican community with the most production of hair extensions and the growing market for the need of natural extensions, that has led to the stealing of hair off of women’s backs in public places and promoting the idea of female objectifying in general. She only had one thing to say to the boys, “do not forget to tell the women in your life that they are beautiful and perfect as they are.”

Desire Mulla