Internalized Racism

For this weeks post, I focused on the article “Black Hair/Style Politics” by Kobena Mercer.” The author discusses how Black hair has been constructed in American society. He contends against the mainstream idea against Black peoples’ efforts to straighten or relax their hair, saying that this argument “rarely actually listen[s] to what people think and feel about it” (37). This lead me to contemplate the idea of internalized racism and how it affects people of color and how they navigate life. I wanted to tie the concept of internalized racism to the topic of Black hair, so I found this video which features various Black women telling stories about their hair. I didn’t use this in my video, but earlier in the original clip, Amandla Stenberg says that all Black women have stories about their hair. The audio clip that I inserted in the middle of the video is from Dee Watts-Jones as she explains what internalized racism is and how it affects both White people and People of Color. I overlaid a quote from the text onto the video to demonstrate how these women’s sense of internalized racism is used to subjugate the women to the dominant hegemony.

  1. How does the idea that Black people cannot relax or straighten their hair without desiring to fit within the European beauty standard take away the agency of Black individuals?
  2. Why do you think there is such a lack of discussion of Black hair in mainstream media? What are the implications?
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