@sheenalashay via Nappy.co

In late February of 2021, textured hair specialist Camille Janae shared a Tiktok of a client with type four hair styled into a wash and go. The voiceover stated that only shampoo, conditioner, and styler was used. No heavy oils. No raw butter. Twitter blew up. Since then, the #30dayhairdetox created by the hairstylists behind Black Girl Curls has been trending.

The detox asks naturals to stop using raw butters, heavy oils, and plastic-based gels in order to learn the basics of haircare: cleanse, condition, and style. It’s all over YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok as many naturals are trying out…


It doesn’t benefit Black people like you think

Photo by Analise Benevides on Unsplash

The one-drop rule is one of America’s lasting remnants of slavery. It’s an ideology rooted in white supremacy and anti-Blackness, yet many of us still follow it today. Why?

The one-drop rule is a legal and social racial categorization system that assigns minority status to mixed race individuals. This means if one of your parents is white and the other is Thai, you’re supposed to identify as Thai because Thai is seen as less than white. In the case that both of your parents are non-white (with one being Black), you’re supposed to identify as your Black parent. …


How can we speak out against oppression when our oppressor looks like us?

Photo by Jovaughn Stephens on Unsplash

Several months ago, I came across a tweet by a Palestinian woman who felt she couldn’t speak out against the Jewish people in Israel who bombed and murdered members of her family. She said doing so would mean others would view her as anti-Semitic. As much as she felt powerless and angry in that situation, the people who oppressed her were also oppressed. Where was her justice?

At the time, I was annoyed (and honestly still am) at the number of “woke” celebrities who claim that cis-hetero Black men were simultaneously the kings of the culture and the most oppressed…


If talking about race makes you uncomfortable, we’ll never have racial unity.

Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels

When I was younger, my mama commented that I would be friends with anybody, and it was true. Teenage me didn’t have standards. I had friends who were Black, white, boy, girl, tall, short, straight, queer, fat, skinny, conservative, liberal. I lived in the dream world where only bad people were racists, not my friends.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m a bit more discerning. The white friend who I used to exchange Bible quotes with everyday in high school, slowly revealed to me his belief that Black people deserved to be murdered in the street for “probable cause.” He added…


Everyone talks about it, but let’s break down what it means

Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels

“In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” — Toni Morrison

In the hopes of making cultural theory more accessible, I want to spend some time defining different types of theories. I’ll start with critical race theory since it’s one of my favorites.

Cultural theory is a way of breaking down a culture by looking at institutions. Critical race theory is a set of ideas that we use to explain the institution of race. While race is not real — meaning it does not occur naturally in our society — it has real implications.

How our society…


Let’s put an end to a centuries-long custom

Photo by jottaneto from Nappy

Black Twitter cycles through the same arguments every year. Lately, it’s about blackfishing — a trend where white women manipulate their hair and facial features to appear to be of African or Hispanic descent. The argument revolves around whether it’s a Black woman’s issue or a biracial woman’s issue.

Historically in the United States, our society has lived by the one-drop rule. The one-drop rule is that a single drop of Black blood makes the person Black. The person can pass as white, but because they have a Black relative (no matter how distant) that person is Black. …


There’s nothing revolutionary about interracial dating

Photo by Shanique Wright on Unsplash

I’ve seen memes surrounding interracial relationships for years now.

Interracial dating is the cure for America.

Mixed babies will fix racism.

With white people becoming a majority-minority and the percentage of multiracial people in the US growing, many are under the fallacious assumption that racism will be over. If white people can’t be the majority, white supremacy will cease to exist.

Besides history proving you wrong, there’s no better example of why than the Kardashian family. Kim Kardashian has been attacked for over a decade for cosplaying Black womanhood and changing her body to have more stereotypically Black female features…


Photo courtesy of Zach Vessels

When I was seven, I remember being curious about the kids who went to speech class. Like me, they got to leave our class to go to their “special” classes, and I wondered what they did and what the work was like. These kids were mainly rural white kids and Black kids.

One such kid who went to speech class also went to gifted and talented classes with me. Although the teacher reassured the students, that speech was not a “special education” class, many of us who were left behind couldn’t help but wonder if something was wrong with those…


Photo courtesy of AceSpencer

I first heard of the connection between Black people “behaving badly” and white acceptance from Janicia or J from the podcast Tea with Queen and J. The idea is that we should discourage Black people from “behaving badly” in front of white people in order to get their acceptance and improve our race. We see this today with talk of Black excellence, laid edges, and proper English.

This past weekend, social media erupted over this image of a young Black model who had “undone” hair and the injustice that H&M caused her.


Image used with permission from artist, Krystal Gem

On February 6, 2016, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter released the song, “Formation.” Since then, the Black community has constantly debated one line in that song: “You mix that Negro with that Creole.”

I’ve seen many a discussions surrounding the “divisiveness” of Beyoncé’s statement. To them, Creole and Negro are both Black, and her separating the two is part of her light-skinned agenda to divide Black people and to other herself. …

Leah

To read my latest, follow me on Twitter. @leahnwhitcomb

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