Friday, November 19, 2010

Hair as a biological weapon

Given yesterday's post about all the hair goings on at our house, I was reminded of some hair hullabaloo earlier this year here in Seattle. Charles Mudede, a writer for The Stranger newspaper, wrote a column about a situation involving his bi-racial daughter, her hair products and a teacher's alleged physical sensitivity to the smell of it.

As I wrote about the debacle at the time in a Facebook comment:
Jay-zuss. So. Poorly. Handled. By the teacher and the parents. Why isn't anyone thinking about the child, her feelings, and her classmates and what they're learning from this? About how deal with difference? (They've learned to push it away. In a really distracting and obtrusive way.)
About how to handle an uncomfortable situation without making someone feel bad? (They've learned a child's feelings don't matter. Only the adult's/teacher's.)
Why didn't the teacher just say "I'm feeling a little warm/dizzy. Let's open a window and the door and create a cross-breeze." Then she could broach the subject - delicately and discretely - with the parents later.
All kinds of teachable moments being missed in all this.
At the time, reading about that girl left me totally worried about my little brown girl and her gorgeous hair and attendant hair products as we prepared to send her off to play school.