Don't Touch My Hair: Being Black While Traveling
Being Black is hard. Traveling might seem like everything is all peaches and cream, but everything that glitters sure isn't gold. Traveling while Black is an experience one will never know until you're in that exact moment. Sometimes its stares, whispers or someone trying to photograph you without your consent. Or how about petting your fro like you're some sort of zoo animal.
Don't get it twisted. I don't take travel for granted. I know that it is a privilege that many dream of and in no way am I complaining about travel itself. I am letting the world know that Black people travel too and we'd rather not be treated like aliens while doing so.
I'd just landed in Dublin. Excited about spending my first NYE abroad and with my best friend and travel buddy, Shiya. We're doe-eyed and excited about what the next 3 weeks will bring. As we leave the airport terminal to catch our bus to Barnacles Hostel. The forsaken happens right before my eyes. Dammit, if only I was filming.
I'm walking and a man who I obviously don't know decides to go out of his way to reach and touch my fro. I proceed to scream WHOA and do some matrix back bend so that he just misses my crown. It took everything out of me not to explode. So I laughed instead.
I won't go on a huge rant about race relations or everything that I truly feel. But I will send out this PSA to all non POC. It is NOT ok for you to touch the hair or body of someone you don't know. Besides the fact that it's rude and your mom should've taught you better, it makes black people feel weird.
I personally felt like an animal at a petting zoo. Granted, I've been rocking the fro for a while, but never had I had quite that experience or reaction. I guess this was a precursor for the many other times white people proceeded to pet me like a dog throughout the trip.
Shoutout to the German girl at my hostel who was so amazed at the softness of my hair. Apparently she assumed it would feel like a chia pet. Oh and the hostel mate who flattened the top of my precious fro in order to get my attention. If only she knew how long it took me to perfect each curl.
When you see a black person, please just tell them that they're beautiful. Come up and start a conversation with them.
Bottom line is that it's not cool. Don't invade my personal space. My blackness is not yours. Don't assume that I won't mind being the test subject of your stupidity and lack of empathy for others.
Don't touch my hair.
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