Bad Hair Day

P2052 at AOL.COM P2052 at AOL.COM
Tue Jan 25 18:02:39 UTC 2000

The phenomenon, "bad hair day," connotes something quite different from those
references to hair in the Black community.  While "bad hair day" probably
originally described a day when the hair was not manageable, or did not turn
out the way one would have hoped or expected, it later, via metonymy,
connoted the negative feelings associated with such an episode.

In the Black community, references to straight and nappy hair are not
episodic.  They are part of a mindset that African Americans must deal with
daily in order to define and redefine themselves and their culture.  The
straight/nappy hair dichotomy lies in the same realm as the
"light-/dark-skinned," "good hair/bad hair," "talking black/white"
distinctions--associated with the "house/field nigger," mentality of slavery.
  In the Black community, such differences used to (and still do in some
communities and situations) determine others' perception of one's beauty,
intelligence level, desirability, popularity,  and, generally, chances of
While awareness of this problem has alleviated it somewhat, I suspect that it
is too deeply ingrained in the mentality of Blacks and whites alike to have
been so easily eradicated.

In essence, while a "bad hair day" is an occasional occurrence for any
person, the "bad hair syndrome," an insidious vestige of the institution of
slavery, is much more pervasive.

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