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A black woman is only her hair

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I don’t watch football. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even watching the game yesterday when it was broadcasted on television. I don’t even know who was playing. I don’t know the final score. I don’t know who won. It's pretty safe to say that I'm a football novice.

What I do know is that Pam Oliver’s hair was a topic of conversation throughout all of social media.

I’ve seen memes with Oliver’s hair being compared to Chubaka from Star Wars. I mean a literal Twitter page dedicated to insulting her hair has popped up. Some women have even commented that Oliver represents the black race and should "do something" with her hair. Others have said that her hair is “ridiculous.”

Pam Oliver isn’t the first black person in the spotlight to have her hair under a microscope. Gabby Douglas was talked about for having “unkempt” hair during her Olympic performance, even though she was in the midst of actively competing as a gymnast during a highly competitive tournament. Beyoncé’s parenting skills are often questioned by some because they feel Blue Ivy’s hair is uncombed and ugly, despite that being Blue Ivy’s natural hair; like, how can you slander a toddler? Not to mention the whole controversy of Vanessa VanDyke being threatened with expulsion from her Christian school for wearing her big, natural hair.

After looking at pictures and video of Oliver's hair, I don’t see the difference in her weave from that of many other weaves and wigs I see while out and about in my everyday life. I literally see hair like Oliver’s while at the gym, grocery store, the mall, and functions. Furthermore, it looked to me as if Oliver's hair had gotten frizzy from standing in the elements while reporting live from the game. Also, from what I can tell, many older women tend to wear big hair. Just look at Sheryl Underwood, Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, Wendy Williams, or Oprah.

Now, would I wear my hair like Oliver's? No. But, that's my personal choice. A woman should wear her hair how she feels comfortable and confident, whether it's a curly afro, flat ironed, permed, dreaded, weaved, or wigged. A woman definitely shouldn't be berated for…a hairstyle.

Anyway, my question is this. Why are the manes of black women and girls much the focus for debate? I never hear debates about Miley Cyrus, Pink, or Lady Gaga's crazy hairstyles "representing the white race." That's just silly. Are black women only their hair? I'd like to think we aren't considering we're mothers, wives, successful, and educated, among other things. Is hair all black women have to offer? Um, no. If you think so, you have a serious problem and need to reevaluate life. Do other things such as education and character not matter? Not to sound all feminist, but they should.

Instead of beaming in on Pam Oliver’s hair, shouldn’t the attention have been on something else. Like, um, I don’t know…maybe the fact that she’s a college graduate and has been a successful sportscaster in a male-dominated field for over two decades. She sounds like a great role model to young girls and women around the world, if you're willing to look past your opinion of her hair.


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