Does straightening my hair (as a black person) seen like a bad idea?

I love black people, I really do. I grew up all around them. Its just that I don't sync with them very well. As my primary example, I absolutely love rock music. All I want to do is look the way I feel inside, so I want to straighten my hair so it looks more like the people who I want to be like. But up until now my parents haven't let me because they are racists. When I bring up straightening my hair they go crazy and start talking about what a horrible person Micheal Jackson is.

But I'm going to college now, so I can straighten my hair if I want to. I just don't know if its the best of ideas. Will it make me seem like a sellout? Will it make other people interested in the stuff I'm interested in like me more? I've been alienated because of my interests all my life, and all I really want is for people to like me.

Updates:
In case it effects your answer, my skin color is like a 7 on this chart, not 16 ~ 20 o.o
link <- chart
Arg so many answers. lol
I can only pick one best answer! D: (lol) so, consolation prizes go to madmisskelly, TiaTia, mormollio, and sonic :DNot gonna straighten my hair... I am gonna need to perm it every once a while though ;) (cuze getting it done gives me headaches >.<)

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I somewhat understand were you're coming from. As you probably have experienced it yourself, the "black environment" is not conducive to learning and therefore my love of engineering was sometimes seen as trying too hard, actng white, etc...

    However your problem seems to stem from you are trying to alter your look to gain acceptance. quote "straighten my hair so it looks more like the people who I want to be like" And THAT is very transparent and no one will take you seriously.

    Its fine to wear what you want because you appreciate the style and you're wearing it to EXPRESS your personalty and not to gain accepance.

    But if you do so to gain acceptance, people are somewhat justified to call you names eg cocconut, bounty, etc...because at the essence/core of it, you are black but you wish you were white, hence you're trying too hard to fit in by changing anything associated with your race..

    Anyway basically wear whatever you want but only as a way of expressing your style NOT of gaining acceptance.

    Look at what Kanye West wears, his style is not typical hip hop but he pulls it off really well..

    I.e fashion trends come and go, but only wear trendy things you actually like, than to wear them because their are trendy..

    This goes to straightening your hair, do so if you like it NOT because you want to look like the others in your peer group.

    Also with reference to your "not that dark" please bear in mind you're black, you will never look like the majorty of rock music fans... That said it does not and should not limit you from dressing the way you want, after all, most rock clothes actually suit black people really well..

    Anywho interesting quote, Key To Failure Is Trying To Please Everyone

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    • I'm an engineering major too :D

      I know I shouldn't change to get acceptance, but I don't feel like people will accept me like I am. I'm scared that I'll get to college and that "expressing myself" won't get me any friends, which is what I had to deal with for all of my life, and frankly I'm tired of it.

    • Engineering xD.. what one, I'm chem eng.

      Anywho in university you WILL find similar people. Similar interests ie engineering, sports, etc.

      Join those things and you'll meet so many people.

      Wear whatever you like...

      Basically prioritise on meeting many people instead of gaining acceptance.

      Go and meet many many people..

    • Materials, and I'm hoping your right on that one ^^

What Girls Said 16

  • I see no problem with you straightening your hair if it is what you want, and not what you feel others want.

    Now, I am not black, and I don't claim to know everything about black culture. I even have a hard time saying it in that way. I do however, know something about the subject of hair and skin tone in the black community- not out of experience, but through various communications classes I have take that are about race and ethnicity.

    If your parents are the type that hold strongly onto their natural hair and skin tone out of pride then I can understand where they are coming from. I know there are parts of the black community that are ashamed of a particular skin tone or hair type- hence the abundance of skin bleaching creams and hair relaxers in predominantly black neighborhoods and the lack of it in predominantly white neighborhoods. So from your parents perspective, wanting to straighten your hair is following that trend and trying to dismiss what you naturally have.

    If you are wanting to straighten your hair, do so because you think it looks good. Don't do it because you are trying to dismiss a part of you or trying to separate from your race- as some do. If you just asthetically like the difference, then by all means go for it!

    The reason I bring all that stuff up is because of your mentioning that you don't sync with black people. I just hope that you can do whatever you want to do with your look but keep the pride in who you naturally are, because that's beautiful too.

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    • Thanks! This helped a lot :D I had always thought of it as "moving towards something else" but now it seems more like "moving away from what I am now."

    • What a well written and well thought-out response. Maybe a career in journalism?

    • *directions you to his failing english grade*

  • Do what you want, it's your hair. I know where you're coming from. My parents aren't racists but sometimes I'll do something and get little annoying comings like my mom will say " She wants to be.." then she'll point to the white side of her hand >.>. I would get self conscious over doing perfectly normal things like I started listening to rock, techno, music genres of other than hip hop and rap. I would get so worried about what my family would think.

    I'm happy with the way I am though. I don't really listen to other peoples opinions anymore.

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    • I figured out yesterday that this was a BIG part of my problem. Because generally whenever my parents (or just people in general) say stupid crap like that I go off and do the exact opposite thing just to confuse them or prove them wrong, or just do really extreme things because they don't like it.

      So I'm trying to figure out if I actually want to do this or if its just my natural reaction to all the negative (because its ALL been negative) feedback I get whenever I mention it to people.

  • I know some black people who also straighten their hair. I think you're old enough to make decisions for yourself. Don't let other people pressure you out of the things you always wanted to do. Like my parents never allowed me to dye my hair and such, and on my 3rd paycheck, I went and did it myself. They can't do anything about it after you've done something they don't like. All they can do is yell at you and they would sooner or later get over it! So dw! Do what you want and what you love!

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  • what the hell you guys seriously. if a white woman dyes her hair black or gets a perm big deal. if he wants to straighten his hair then so be it go ahead - if y don't like it you just let it grow out,. as for w/e moron said being back is not living in an environment. conducive to learning -- Well ill just say Q/A there is your answer to whether or not people can have stereotypes against themselves.

    I vote try it if you want- you are young -now is the time to experiment :)

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    • I'll give you that, "I lived in a black environment that was not conductive to learning" would have been more appropriate. But the people in those environments most definitely have stereotypes against themselves, and will try to pull you down relentlessly to keep those stereotypes intact. Trust me, I've been through it.



      But thank you for the support ^^

    • :) I believe you for sure.Its a personal experience- not false but personal.& I am sure very offensive to people who work really hard. its offensive to me and I'm not black. Dangerous to pigeon hole people into any particular behavior or trait or competency based on pigmentation. & that happens to be a particular stereotype that is very pervasive and used I think to cause factions amongst people who in fact share a common ground - humanity.

      good call tho - all he had to say- "I lived in" :)

  • Sorry, I saw all my typos. Here I go again!

    Based on your description, straight, long hair seems too Fabio-ish. Short, curly hair like Travie McCoy (yummy!) or short, straight or closed crop hair would look good. Long straight hair will look nice in a ponytail. Straightening your hair requires maintenance and if done wrong can give you bald spots.

    I get what you mean about the race vs lifestyle issue, but you aren't a lone alien from another planet. Check out "Afro Punk", there's a scene of Black people who are rockers (rock derived from Blues, i.e. Little Richard) from all over. Some look punk, some look like hipsters. I love electronica and dubstep, I have a friend who said that she mentioned this electronica group to someone and their reply was, "I didn't know you like that kind of music...you're so...soulful." You never know who shares your interests. There's someone out there right now hoping to hang with someone like you but they just haven't ran into you yet.

    Look at me, I'm a female and I LOVE watching all those off color sense of humor shows that is "Adult Swim". You can't always guess from appearances. And be open minded, you can find people of all races that share your interests. Why be the "token Black guy", that's so cliche, lol. Haven't you seen that character in "Not Another Teen Movie"?

    My hair isn't straight, check it out: link

    As a guy you can get away with this hair do better than I can.

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    • OMG I didn't know that Gym Class Heroes guy was black. And thanks, that was honestly the first name suggestion on this question whose picture I didn't immediately balk at. Lol. (and yeah I have seen all those movies)

    • He's Black and Mexican to be exact. And look at that dude from Hootie and the Blowfish. Slash is half Black. Here's some Black rockers: http://www.askmen.com/top_10/entertainment/top-10-black-rockers_10.html

    • I also believe the lead singer of Thin Lizzy was black, and I think he had a fro. And that dude kicked ass!

  • lmao. wow...

    You definitely have some serious self esteem issues but its fine you're going to live your life the way you want to. Newsflash: having natural hair is way more unique than straightening your hair. There is nothing more stereotypical actually than a black person who straightens their hair, gets relaxers, weaves, etc. Whenever a black person doesn't straighten their hair these days people think its so different and want to touch it, etc. It's like they have never seen a black person without the racist mentality that they have to straighten their hair. Kind of funny. I'm part black and that's the way I think. However, I can tell you aren't really on that level to think about things that way. Go for it. You'll be one of like a billion other black people with self hatred issues who absolutely must straighten their hair all the time. Then again you're a guy so idk. Do whatever you feel like doing. Most people don't actually think beneath the surface anyway, they just do. You're no different. Just enjoy your life. Take care of your hair though! condition condition condition! lol

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  • look, you said it yourself, you're about to go to college and you can straighten your hair if you want to. So if you want to, then do it.

    HOWEVER, I've seen that look and it's NOT cute. Very very very few black men can pull off straight hair. Why? maybe we aren't used to it so we think it doesn't look right. maybe it just doesn't look right. I don't know. All I know is my opinion and I think it looks bad. What style do you have in mind by the way because maybe, just maybe, you can pull it off. But it's really hard for me to see that. But if you really want to do this then prove me wrong.

    another thing, don't think people are just going to let you do this. You will most likely have A LOT of rude comments. If you think you're skin is thick enough, go right ahead.

    at least do it once, to see if it looks right, if not, then now we know...

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    • Part of the reason I think it may look right is that I'm really not that dark in the first place (@Update).

      And the people I would be getting the rude comments from aren't the people I would be trying to win over, so in a sense it wouldn't matter. But I'm not thick skinned in the slightest, so I dunno.

  • well the thing is with chemically straightened hair is that it strips the natural oils in your hair and you will have to keep up with it else your hair will break and will become mega short. I had straightener in my hair ever since I was a kid. Now that I'm in college I decided to cut it all off because I couldn't keep up with it, I didn't like the pain, and I never wanted it in the first place. I lovee rock music ? and I don't get along with many in my area either. My sisters call rock devil music but w/e.

    You can always straighten your hair with a flat iron or that new thing out called the instyler. Just make sure you use products that help prevent your hair frm heat damage.. hope this helps :)�

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  • look there is nothing with how you feel and what you like your just in the wrong place, around the wrong people who don't except you straighten your hair if you want don't let peoples dumb stereo types of how you should be stop you.

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    • But are they really stereotypes when its your own race spreading them?

    • Yup it is I'm black and white and I hear many stereotypes from the same races

  • Omg omg omg omg omg :D

    do it! That wod be like so cool! I tryd to convince my friend too but he shaved his head after I started to ask =.= I think it wod look totally cool, and if your alredy a "outsider" then you shodnt worry about anything ^.^ trust me, I'm a outsider of the Chaldean cliche, so I know how you feel ^.^

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  • Based on your description, straight, long hair seems too Fabio-ish. Short, curly hair like Travie McCoy (yummy!) or short, straight or closed crop hair would look good. Long straight hair will look nice in a ponytail. Straightening your hair requires maintenance and if done wrong can give you bald spots.

    I get what you mean about the race issue, but you aren't an a lone alien from another planet. Check out "Afro Punk", they are scene of Black who are rockers all over some look punk, some look like hipsters. I love electronica and dubstep, I have a friend who said that she mentioned this electronica group to someone and their reply was, "I didn't know you like that kind of music...you're so...soulful." You never know who shares your interests. There someone out there right now hoping to hang with someone like you but they just haven't ran into you yet.

    Look at me, I'm a female and I love watching all those off color see of humor shows that is "Adult Swim". You can't always guess from appearances. And be open minded, you can find people of all races that share your interests. Why be the "token Black guy", that's so cliche, lol. Haven't you seen that character in "Not Another Teen Movie"?

    My hair isn't straight, check it out: link

    As a guy you can get away with this do better than I can.

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  • "All I want to do is look the way I feel inside..."

    Understandable.

    "... so I want to straighten my hair so it looks more like the people who I want to be like."

    But this sounds like you want to straighten it to look like other people, not to look the way you feel inside..

    Want to go against racism? Keep your hair natural and prove stereotypes wrong - you are living proof that black men appreciate music other than rap. If you really want to straighten your hair because you like the way it looks, go ahead. But if it's just to fit in, don't. I mean, don't we all learn at a young age that we shouldn't change the way we look to make people like us?

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    • "I mean, don't we all learn at a young age that we shouldn't change the way we look to make people like us?" I believe that's the lesson I'm in the process of learning at the moment ^^

  • HAHA I so feel you its INSANE! all I know is rock really. Peep the profile pic <----- it shocks people some of the stuff I listen too.. Trust me changing your hair won't make a difference.. Just bring more opposition. If you don't like your surroundings move away from them. Tough to do but hell I did.

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  • Straightening, eh... not a great idea. I love rock music too and I understand where you're coming from, but what you can do is braid it, then take the braids out to where you have nice wavy long hair that can be headbanged, hahah I've done it, looks pretty damn amazing. You don't have to have pin straight hair. You can even headbang a huge afro, I've also done this, it's so damn fun!

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  • I'm sorry but as a GUY you will look ridiculous. unless you are going for that emo/scene kid look. if you don't feel like a black guy best thing to do is wear your hair natural in an afro and leave it out or whatever. most black people that hang around nothing but white people tend to do that for some reason. it doesn't matter how light your skin is, you're still black. kid from kid and play is super light but does he look any less black?

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    • *rolls eyes* Yes I would be going for emo, afro's are the most sterotypical black hairstyle available which completely opposite of what I want, and yes my skin color does make me look less black. doah. sorry ;)

    • No you're not understanding me. the avg "stereotypical" black person that hangs around nothing but black people doesn't wear their hair natural unless they are hood boys with dreads or rastas. black people don't wear afros no more this ain't the 1970s. I'm talking about the "white" black people that hang around nothing but white folks, they wear their hair natural. and no, skin color does not make you look less black, facial features might tho.

  • Ur parents are racist against white or black people? I'm confused. Anyway, just do what you want it's your hair and if you don't like it then don't straigten it anymore. Pretty simple.

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What Guys Said 14

  • Let me ask you this: would you really want to be friends with a white person who couldn't accept you as you already are?

    It's your decision entirely. Honestly, I think you'll find college to be a refreshingly different experience from what you're used to at home. Depending on the school you're going to, more or less, everyone is from a different background; people will very likely be open to befriending you in spite of such superficial things as skin color or hair texture. If you're open-minded and friendly, you will attract similar people.

    Interesting side note: part of the "rocker" attitude is being true to yourself and not caring too much what anybody else thinks. Ironically, that determination rock stars have to "be themselves" is what makes them so charismatic and attractive, no matter what they look like...

    Again, if you think you'll really like the look, then go for it. But if you're doing it to please anyone else but yourself, I'd strongly advise against it. It won't make people accept or like you more; if anything, some people (white, black, whatever) may lose respect for you, because it seems like you're trying to conform to an artificial standard. It's a symptom of insecurity and it leads to disappointment more often than one might think.

    You're brave to post a question like this. Best of luck.

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    • "Would you really want to be friends with a white person who couldn't accept you as you already are?" Totally didn't think about that, thanks.

    • You're welcome. I personally wouldn't want to be friends with someone who can't accept me because I look a certain way. I'd want friends with more character, substance and sophistication than that. Keep looking for them; they're out there.

  • We're twin sons of different mothers. I'm a white guy who's far more at home around black people. I don't have any inclination to try and resemble black people in any way, I'm just content being the way I am. I suggest you do whatever feels comfortable for you.

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  • Don't do it for any ulterior reason.

    If you're going to straighten your hair, do it because you want to wear that hairstyle and that's it.

    But whatever you do, just be tasteful about it.

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    • Also, just so you know, Straightening your hair, especially if you do it chemically, is not an overnight process.

      Particularly if you have long hair, it could end taking months, and up to a year to get it right. And the maintenance is constant.

      So, godspeed.

  • I've known like 10 dudes with there hair straighten including me and sometimes I wear a cowboy hat and listen to country, rock, alternative, heavy metal, just everything, I do what I want because I like them not to blend in.

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  • Do what you please man I mean I've been accused of being a so called reverse oreo because of the way I dressed, acted, and my intrests. But really its whatever makes you happy man, in addition you shouldn't do it for people to "like you" do it because your feeling it. I havnt let anyone define me and you shouldn't either. So in the end do as you please Please. lol

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  • You wouldn't be a sell out... do whatever you want with your hair.

    I will say this though MOST black men (I don't care how light your skin is) look weird and awkward with artificially straightened hair *cough* Katt Williams *cough*.

    But do what you think looks best

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  • There are many variations in skin color and a whole spectrum of cultural difference within our species, but there is only one race.

    We're all Human.

    If you want to cultivate a look and distinguish yourself, go for it.

    A little self-examination about why you do whatever you do, is almost always healthy.

    Especially if you're trying to identify yourself with a person or group that is (at least superficially) different from the group you were born into.

    Just something to think about.

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    • A little introspection is always nice, but rock is the way for me. 100% sure. No doubt in my mind.

    • Like Hendrix?

    • You know, I was going to say "yes, but without the..." but that list got so big that I'm just going to go for "yes, but only in respect to his music genre (not even his actual music. lol)"

  • depends where you live, where are you at now?

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    • Philadelphia, similar enough to any big east coast city.

    • Well I don't know how it is in philly but I'm from detriot and know usually in a big city with alotta black people,, then yea your gonna look crazy, I mean your probably a cool dude but the fact of the matter is black people judge people first hand off of the way you carry yourself . so you can pull it off as long you keep your head up and know you look good or you gonna get eaten alive.

  • You clearly don't love yourself and I think that will turn people off of any "scene"

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  • why fckn worry about it... dnt be all guilty about wanting to be what you wanna be... it's YOUR life... own it. And if there's anyone in your life who may not like what you do, tell em to FOCUS (FCK OFF CUZ UR STUPID)

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  • thats an interesting personality you got,

    but please leave ure hair alone.

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  • I've only seen two Black guys straighten their hair and I thought it looked totally sick. Still it depends on you, not your race. I'd give it a try. If you like the look, keep it, if not oh well.

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  • go for it!

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  • Nothing wrong with it

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