African Americans And African American History

3444 Words Dec 15th, 2014 14 Pages
Since colonialism, blacks have been subjected to white standards of beauty. For African Americans, gaining acceptance in society was once synonymous with whitening one’s appearance. Throughout African American history, black women have styled their hair in order to avoid shame and mortification and attempt to appear under American standards of beauty. For example, during slavery, slaves were required to change their hair to resemble white beauty standards. Changes in hairstyles varied between light-skinned and dark-skinned slaves due to their working positions. In the 1970s, during the Black Power movement, idealisms of black beauty changed and the afro was worn as an act of rebellion and a symbol of black power. Despite the movement, relaxers were still ubiquitous in black barber shops and salons. Not until recently has the use of relaxers dwindled and more African Americans are deciding to wear their hair natural. While the current natural hair movement may not be an act of rebellion, it does represent how African Americans ideas about black beauty have changed. Where at once point blacks chose to wear their hair in a certain manner for political reasons, or due to unconscious attempts to style themselves after white American beauty standards, modern day blacks are styling their hair for personal reasons. Today African Americans can find an innumerable amount of resources for natural hair now that the movement is flourishing. Naturalists can find support through online…
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