Monday, February 9, 2009


I used to wear Dread locs.  I of course don't call them Dread locs, because there is nothing dreadful about them.   I wanted to loc my hair for several years but was not ready for the commitment and the finality.  I started locing in 2000.  I wore my hair loc'd for 7 years.  In that time, I had many friends that wore locs as well

My mother wears locs

My brother wears Locs

So you ask yourself... what is the point?

Well we all Loc'd our hair after we were GROWN!  I am truly appalled at the trend of adoptive parents -- transracial adoptions -- (White parents, Black Children)-- locing their children hair. Apparently the parents think that this is either a.) desirable by the child or b.) easier to deal with.  IT'S NOT!!!!   

Locs are first and foremost a choice.  You will not find ONE Black parent that will loc their children's hair unless the child is old enough to request it or unless the parents have locs of their own.  Locs are a serious and intimate decision.  Some wear it for fashion.  But either way, all loc wearers know it should not be entered without much thought, understanding and commitment.  

It is amazing to me how many hours are spent posting about hair care for "Black" hair.  But I understand that the best way to counteract the unknown is to study up.  But to loc a child's hair.  A child???? Are you serious?  

Little Black girls love to swing their pigtails as equally as their white counterparts.  Getting your hair pressed for Easter Sunday is a rites of passage of sorts.   Hair envy is common, even on small girls.   Little Black girls were not very happy to have their hair braided up because although it saved you from the torture of getting your hair "did", it ultimately took away the free feeling of having your hair down.

My heart is sad.  I know it might seem so petty but I promise you, it is a growing and pretty irreversible trend.  To see so many PAP's make this decision, discuss it and pass pictures on forums, just makes me wonder.... just how much adoptive parents really understand about the challenges faced in transracial adoptions.  Yes I know that seems harsh but so is being insensitive to what it means to be Black in America.

I believe in adoption.  I believe a child deserves to be in a loving caring home.  I also believe that adoption requires an "eyes wide open" approach.  The level of understanding is not decided merely by "following your heart" and "saving an orphan".  It is not based on cost nor wait times.   It's not merely something that can be reversed by disruption or institutionalization.  Its not to be done to prove a point......  It is the ultimate gift of life.

I wish I could reach out to the AP's doing this, but I have tried and met great opposition.   I found with adoption, people rarely want to hear the truth, or even your opinion.  They want to believe what they want to believe.  Period.

I am too pissed to say what I want to say.   This is a politically correct blog :)




  1. I'll bite!

    I too a loc'ed up (or down, or all around depending upon I'm feeling any given day). I've been loc'ed for years (cutting them every seven years- biblical number symbolic of completion). I also "charm/storytell" via my locs (I sew in different charms to represent different life changing or historic events in during my loc journey)

    My locs are not only spiritual (no, not in the rastafarian way, but in my own, sweet-Jesus way), but they represent a political movement and racial statement (listen to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On)that points to the Change We Can Believe In.

    I asked my daughter if she wanted to loc her hair, she said, "No, because I'm thinking about attending Hampton when I go to college". (Another discussion-another time).

    I loced my son's beautiful hair several years ago at his request, after reading books (yes, even the Bible), talking to young men in our family, on several HBCU campuses, Stanford, CAL (go Bears), and those holding down careers in fields that allowed them to sport their locs without negative consequences.

    I had to wait until I saw that he truly understood what he was getting ready to embark upon and I didn't start the actual loc (the bud stage) until I felt he truly "got it" and could deal with the pressures from the world.

    Living in the city/town we live in with less then 10% people of color, yet moving back and forth through the Bay-Area, I really had to be careful of the Life-danger my son's locs could put him into and the typical sterotyping that people would subject him to.

    Ultimately, he loced and yes, he did go through some nightmarish events at school with his peers wanting to "touch" his hair which any loc wear knows is a NO-NO! ***Why?*** Because locs hold in smells good and bad and we don't know where your hands have been!!!

    My son is now transistioning into a young man and has said that once we return from Africa, he plans to cut his locs. I asked him why, he said, "They require too much maintanence and I just want to be able to wash my hair, brush the scalp and go".

    All this to say, "Will I loc the CocoPrincess' hair?" Not unless she is able to make an informed decision and is able to counteract in a "whateva" mindset what may come her way as a reaction to her hair choice.

    Because locs are NOT just some hair-do...if you think that, then you have no business locing in America!

    ***P.S. I see nothing wrong with discussing it here and if this post offends, then they have ask themselves why does it offend***

  2. Robbin, no truer words have been spoken. It is sad the amount of APs that are considering and following through with this. IMHO the primary reason is because they just don't want to deal with the child's hair. Sad for the child who will learn early on that her hair is a hindrance. Once someone on the forum considered locing her child's beautiful, thick, healthy head of hair. She ultimately decided not to do it, thank goodness but some of the respones in favor of locing were ridiculous. As you said the decison to loc should only be made by someone old & wise enough to make an informed decision. All transracial PAP should be required to take and sucessfully complete a black hair care class. This is imperative to their child's self esteem. Ok stepping off my soap box now.

  3. WOW. What a GREAT post! I loved what you had to say. I'm sorry you are meeting opposition because I think your point of view needs to be heard among white APs. Hair is so, so, SO important for black children, especially for little girls. I want to do right by my daughter so she will be proud of her hair. And if I'm doing it wrong, I'd want someone who knows better to tell me! (FYI... I have no intentions of ever turning her hair into locs or straightening it)

  4. Thank you, Robbin. I appreciate ALL of your candor and honesty. You have much to say that NEEDS to be said and more importantly heard. I know I need to hear most all of what you say. Please continue in your deep honest ways - I always end up needing to have heard what you have said. It tends to make me think a lot and opens pathways to many other things I need to think about.

  5. Hmmm.. i never thought about it much, but when i read of a white family who loc'ed their twin sons' hair it was done with much thought and consideration--not at all on a whim. i recall they said something about not wanting to cut off a connection to their past, something that was with them in the orphanage. the boys are 4 now and there are two of them so they have eachother to turn to for support and seem to have a high self esteem and pride in their hatian heritage so it seemed fine to me, frankly. and i don't think anyone thinks it's lower maintenance than typical boy hair.

    that said, i wouldn't do it to a girl. well, i wouldn't do it at all, but i don't really see a problem for a boy. if he doesn't want it in anymore, it can get cut out.

  6. I appreciate your candor and insight! Thank you for posting this post. We are considering adopting from Ethiopia and this is the kind of insight I really appreciate.


  7. thank you so much for this post. I am a white adoptive mother of 2 Ethiopian children (and have 2 bio children as well). You should never feel bad about posting on such topics. You are not offending "us". Of course I speak for myself, but this is how I learn!! Thanks for your thoughtful insight!

  8. Well, naturally, your statement that no African Americans loc their children's hair is a gross overstatement.

    In fact, my friend, a loctician, loc'd her daughters hair at 2, she is now 7 with beautiful, versatile sister locs. She has many clients in her shop whose young daughters wear locs. (We are in Baltimore)

    She has encouraged me to loc my adoptive daughters' hair. (I'm caucasian.) I have resisted b/c like you I want it to my daughters' choice. And I agree that my girls love to wear their hair in different styles and shake their beads. My daughters do NOT like to leave their hair down and out, which is a style I love but alas they do not.

    I feel strongly that my job is to keep their hair as healthy as possible so that they can choose what to do with it when they are older. For me that also includes resisting my other AA friends who have exhorted me to relax my girls' hair. I have not and I will not damage their hair and I am uncomfortable with the message that sends (now, I know I'm opening a can of worms on that one.)

    So, I'm not a great braider, but I get by, and we do poofs and twists, and for special occasions go the beauty shop, which is also a right of passage for the girls.

    ITA that locs are work in their own right, and those who undertake them thinking they are saving themselves effort are misinformed. To the extent they do save time on the day to day maintenance, for me as an adoptive mother, the hair care is a wonderful bonding opportunity. To sit, with my daughter's head in my lap and braid her hair is a gift of time to and connection. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    Thanks for your thought provoking post.

    carol, mom to 4 lovely girls, 2 from Ethiopia, home 11/07

  9. Hi there, I'm a white adoptive parent of an Ethiopian boy, and found my way to your post. I appreciate your post, because these sorts of nuances about the baggage locs may carry is hard to know, as a white person, unless someone tells you.(And I'd really like to learn more about this, if you'd be generous enough to share.)

    But I'd like to share where I think a lot of white adoptive parents are coming from because I feel we've been a bit misrepresented (at least, the white APs I know--I'm aware that there are all kind of clueless APs out there). First, we experience a lot of pressure from the black community to do the right thing with our children's hair--and most of us really want to get this right--but the definition of "the right thing" varies from person to person. Mostly, we get told that we should keep our children's hair "natural" and never relax it, hot comb it, etc. In that same vein, we are encouraged to embrace our children's hair as it is--to value the way it curls or doesn't curl,kinks or doesn't kink, etc--and frankly, most of us don't need this advice. We DO love our children's hair and we want them to love it too. I think that when white parents pursue loc'ing their children's hair, it is just an extension of this idea that natural is good--that we're showing how we value our children's hair by loc'ing it. Clearly we're missing some political stuff about locs that you and other commenters allude to Finally, we also hear plenty from african american women (who are APs themselves) who talk about how positive the experience of loc'ing has been for them--very liberating, very freeing, very good for their own self-esteem. They talk about the joy they feel in breaking away from hot combs and relaxers, which felt oppressive to them, and as if they had to make their hair different than what it actually is. We want all of this positive feeling for our own children, so it's not surprising for me that so many APs pursue loc'ing. It sounds like there's more to it than that, though, so there's more for us to learn. And I think we're all open to that.

    On a separate note, I have to say that I am offended by your assumption that white APs do not want to take the time to care for their children's hair. All of the APs I know care very much, and devote all kinds of time to learning what they need to know, and putting it into practice. (And/or they regularly take their children to a black salon where they can get the hair care they need and the added bonus of some time in the friendly company of black women) The APs I know can do box braids and twists and puffs etc with the best of them, and NEVER make their children feel as if their hair is hard to deal with or a burden--because, frankly, we don't feel that it is.

    This is just one perspective, and I hope that you won't feel that I'm resistant to your thoughts, just because I have a slightly different take. As a white AP, I know that I always have more to learn.

  10. First things first, congrats on the adoption process! It is a roller-coaster of a ride with much to be learned, discussed, and excited about! :) I found your post & the comments very thought provoking. There are multiple sides to this issue. I think it shows that white people and black people and white people with black children, etc. all have much more room to grow together and great conversations to continue. Each family is an individual unit with much larger connections, and we all have to find our own groove. What is most important is that we teach our children to love and respect themselves and the best way to do that is to show love and respect. A part of that is certainly hair care and that's why it is such a hot topic with white adoptive parents of beautiful black children(such as myself in the near future). My daughters hair is unknown to me right now, so I want to learn as much as I can. Everyone, and boy I mean everyone, has their own opinion. So, ultimately it's going to be about me and my beautiful black daughter getting to know one another and each other's hair and all the great learning and growing that goes with that. I am looking forward to that time with her.

  11. Please know that I respect your opinion and as a PAP (Ethiopia) I welcome and try to absorb as much as possible. Much of what I wanted to comment on has already been stated far better than I could. But 2 more points here:

    -As PAP's we learn so much in a very short time from SO many people, each with a different story, and life experiences. You are clearly making a very generalized argument based on YOUR very SPECIFIC experiences(pigtails, hair pressing etc... )

    -Second- you seem to make the argument that as parents we do not have the right to choose how to style our childrens hair. As a parent, there are many decisions that I am responsible for making for my child. Not the least of these is hair style.

    It isn't permanent. It can be cut out. I speak clearly from my specific experience when I say... it won't be the only thing that gets cut out of my childrens hair... it's hair... it grows back. I also recognize that some people are horrified at that thought. But the choice is mine for as long as the choice is mine to make. And at some point in their developing years, the choice will be theirs.

  12. Wow, I am shocked that ppl are making a decision to loc a child's head who is not old enough to understand the spirituality behind locing. One of my college friends studied with the rastas and I went over to visit with her during that time. Locing to me is so much more than a hairstyle. I have such respect for what it means to the rastas, who have faced horrendous oppression, that I couldn't imagine how someone could loc without truly understanding its history.

    It's nice that you blogged about this, but you know I'm at the point where I think you should leave these crazy ppl to themselves. As my grandma says, they'll learn on their own that fat meat is greasy. Peace

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I look forward to keeping up with yours. I totally agree with the comment you made on my post btw. :)

  14. So, this post stung at first but I just think that it was harsh in the way it was written but valid in its points.

    I live in Toronto and know and have known at least 6 children (a mix of boys and girls) with black parents who have their hair loc'd so really feel that you saying "no black parent would loc their childs hair" is a gross overstatement. I think you are right about it should be a personal choice for an adult and not a choice made by a parent. But I feel this way about a lot of things, including religion. I don't however, very often anyways, judge parents for the choices they are making for their children, black, white or otherwise because most people are doing what they feel is best and no parent is always right.

    I think that parents have a hard enough time without being judged. You have made me think and given me insight that others would not be bold enough to so thanks - I guess.

  15. Ms. Robbin. I too would have written a post about hair but I, like Trice decided months ago to leave them to their own devices. It is difficult because we know the internal feelings that the children can, might, and will have. What I find most interesting is the people saying that your comments are a gross generalization. Because I know a handful of AA's who loc a child's hair does not mean that they are not by far the exception. They are the exception.

    All the talk about natural hair, this and that to me is a smoke screen. Because there is another aspect to locing, and yarn braids. It allows the hair to FLOW as my neice would say. If you want to keep it natural we have century long traditions for what a little black girls hair looks like. The yarn, extensions, and even locs is a way to allow the hair to grow and look a bit more like what people are used to. It isn't about keeping the girls hair natural. Now, of course that is my opinion probably not explained very well and perhaps not politically correct either.

  16. Robbin, did you say that no black parent will loc a child's head? Or did you say "You will not find ONE Black parent that will loc their children's hair unless the child is old enough to request it or unless the parents have locs of their own. Locs are a serious and intimate decision." ??? I also took for granted that when you said black, you slipped up and said black, as to mean blacks in america who share a culture from hundreds of years of sharing a community, and not black as in the entire racial group that we are a part of.

    But you'll correct me if I'm wrong. :)

  17. "It is difficult because we know the internal feelings that the children can, might, and will have."

    Ms. Robbins, Trice, Valerie, and anyone else who cares to comment:

    I'd really really really like to hear more about this. In your opinion, what is it important that we do to help our children feel good about their hair, feel accepted by their peer group, feel like we're taking good care of them? I AM NOT being argumentative here. I truly would like to hear what you think.

  18. Julia it is the isolation that comes with feeling so DIFFERENT and not having people understand. It's not about a hairstyle, it is about where you find a fit.

    I would love to have the open dialog. If you want to do that come over to Culturally Fluent families. If Robbin gives me the permission to post parts of her blog entry.

  19. Julia it is the isolation that comes with feeling so DIFFERENT and not having people understand. It's not about a hairstyle, it is about where you find a fit.

    I would love to have the open dialog. If you want to do that come over to Culturally Fluent families. If Robbin gives me the permission to post parts of her blog entry.

  20. By all means Valarie!! Thanks for opening up the floor. This post was linked to CHSFS's forum and they share some interesting perspectives and cross links as well.

    Interesting stuff I must say.

    Also I suppose I should have said African American, good point Trice!


  21. Thanks so much, Valerie. I'll stop by later. (In the meanwhile, i guess i should really do some, um, work...the kind I get paid for, that is :))

  22. I love this. I am a white parent to an Ethiopian daughter (congrats on your adoption journey, BTW!). I've always wondered about "locs" so thank you for clearing that up. I would love to "loc" her hair but I won't...I've always felt it needs to be HER choice. So thank you for validating that for me.

    I'm learning to do my daughter's hair. I'm always open for suggestions/tips. So if you have any, please share! :)

    BTW -- we adopted for so many reasons but please don't think we didn't take into consideration of what it would be like for oru daughter. Growing up in a "white" family. We did and we ultimately decided that growing up in a loving family (even if we're white) would be much better than her growing up in an orphanage. We can't imagine our lives without her.

    I would love to "chat" via email if you get some time. Thanks!

    2C's for Me

  23. P.S. ignore the "profile pic" my DH added it accidentally and we need to remove it. The kids got into the powder! lol

  24. Robbin,
    I have had this discussion (as I mentioned on the forum) many times with my friends. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject and would love to enter into further discussions on the site Valerie linked.

    Point taken about waiting until your child can decide for him/her own self about locing their hair. I wonder though, at what age would making this decision for themselves be appropriate? As I mentioned (on the forum) my friend's sister has had locs for sometimes and she is only 12yrs. So, what would be an appropriate age? Teenager? Adult? or does it simply depend on the maturity level of your child and their understanding of what they are requesting?

    Thanks for this post

  25. Great post, as usual. What bothers me about many of the AP or PAPs is when we as Black women (of varying backgrounds) provide our pretty solid and sound advice garnered from years of life is not taken seriously. It is like my mother says "Do you want to hear what you want to hear or do you want to hear the truth?" Many just want to hear what they want to hear. I love the little's just hair it will grow back or other black people loc their children's hair (meaning so why can't I). These are comments said without really understanding the community in which the child comes from and will belong to...not just being their child. Not to mention "our" hair doesn't grow that fast! LOL It is bothering but if "we" stop providing sound advice then what happens to the kids? Maybe you will get tired (as I, Valarie, Tracey, and Trice have) but then someone else will pick up or maybe we will speak again but what we cannot do is stop speaking. Thanks for starting a great conversation.

  26. I re-read my comment, and if I sounded snitty, I apologize. It was not my intent. I truely like your blog and this post. None of us make any decisions in a vacuum. I've found this to be especially true with the Adoptive Families and perhaps (but not necessarily) more so with transracial families.

    With every learning opportunity, history, facts & opinions are learned; We integrate them into our experience and make the best decision we can, for the children and the families. Possibly more than any other "group" of parents, adoptive parents of different race children, are especially sensitive to the history, culture and neighbors reflection (judgment) on each decision made. Along this road, you may disagree with any or many decisions made. Please consider the option, that it was still the right decision for that family & child.

  27. I can personally attest that black girls have issues regarding hair. We're passed down different textures depending on our lineage. Our culture has historically used hair and complexion as a dividing factor within our own race as AAs.

    This explains why decisions to loc, go natural, press, relax, and etc., are such personal or political statements.

    Some APs may not understand the complexity of hair and complexion, and how it's been historically exploited among our own race of people. Since this is black history month, I must add this traces back to slavery and occurances of our women bearing some children who were given preferiential treatment as house servants, were taught skills, or educated based on an uncanny resemblence to master himself.

    Putting history and political statements aside, may I offer some common sense from the daughter of a salon owner. Curly dry hair is more fragile and it takes much longer to undo damage and bad hair choices. Studies show our hair grows at the same rate as non-Africans, however, dryness tends to lead to breakage and shedding without proper maintenance and combing techniques. This is also why the decisions we make for our hair are very carefully considered. We are high-maintenance women. There's just not much getting around it. Going natural even requires constant attention, money for products, and professional attention.

    Some older ET orphans face the trauma of having their heads shavened to control head lice transmission. Please allow these children to enjoy their hair whether straight or curly once they arrive here. Please attempt to find someone in the community to help.

    If you can't relate, consider the trauma cancer patients experience after having their hair altered. Hair is such a beauty statement for all women. The bible says "hair is a woman's glory" and etc. Our little ET daughters are no less vain.

  28. I am almost certain I will be bringing home a son. Do you have suggestions with regard to websites for advice? So many of the wonderful sites I have seen linked really only address little girl's hair. So much advice assumes gender female. Hair doesn't seem to be as huge a thing to males but I want to lovingly care for his hair. Are there any cultural resources that specifically address male hair?

  29. Please don't give up on educating caucasian adoptive parents because of your irritation at some people not being accepting of it. If you truely care about these children you will continue to try to educate people. Just as it is about the children when it comes to our choices of hairstyle for them, it is also for the children that you are educating us.

  30. Oh wow! This is a fantastic post and I am loving all the comments as well!

    More more more...

  31. I don't know who the hair care for boys question was directed to, but I've reared a boy. Boys tend to want to look like boys whether they have curly or coarse hair when they become old enough to know the difference. I would recommend keeping it well groomed and cut. Find a good barber.

    If it's more curly than coarse, you cant razor cut only unless you're going to cut it to the scalp. The razor won't give an even cut with curly hair. You will have to even it out with a scissor clip. Boys will require maintenence of their hairline because the nap may continue to grow along the neck. The key is find a good barber. One who is patient with children.

    I didn't want to limit hair issues to AA's. We all have different rationales for our hair delimmas, but the same sentiments are true among Pan-Africans worldwide. Africa and South America have many beauty salons too; our hair is big business.

    Another thing, hair is considered a symbol of social status among modern black women. If you don't believe me, wait until your little ones become teenagers. Welcome to our world!

  32. Well, this is a great post and thread.

    I have a slightly different take on it though.

    I am a white mom. I have two African American daughters, with completely different types of hair (and a daughter waiting in Ethiopia). One of my daughters is SO tenderheaded that she starts crying at the sight a brush. The other is not at all tenderheaded. But her issues are so complicated that they led me, after many years of trying styles and ways of doing her hair, taking advice from black friends and beauticians, you name it, to go natural and loc.

    YOu see, my daughter has had seizures since she was 4 and is on several meds and has some complicated health issues. These very meds and behaviors have been a huge challenge, surprisingly enough, w/ regards to her hair! Meaning, she will compulsively pull it out, in chunks, it is extra fragile from the meds for some reason (some are worse than others over the years but we have to go w/ the meds that are working for the current time etc) and it will simply break. We have tried every which way to baby her hair and she is blessed w/ a lot of it, though thin and fragile....her hair was always WAY easier to do than her sister's (the tenderheaded one). Eventually, we loc'ed her hair as it was the way to keep it the strongest, thus safest. It made itself stronger through loc-ing it. It is a commitment, it is work to care for it properly. It is not the easy way out at all. We get some disapproval here and there, but I just shrug as they don't know our situation.....we would get disapproval if she walked around w/ dime sized chunks missing too,don't ya think? We go to the best natural hair salon in our town and I trust S's advice.

    So, I in no way want to offend anyone or anyone to think I am stealing a choice from my child. We hope we are saving her hair in many ways. When she is older and can deal with her health issues and her hair as well, she can make the decision (and yes, I know how you have to change styles from Loc's by cutting them off) to grow out again. In the meantime, we will stay loc'd because THIS way she can put in ribbons and ponytails and hairbands and all the girly accessory things she loves. She too feels like her hair flows now, and it does because it is finally strong enough to withstand her pulling and the meds both.

    I just wanted to throw this out, to say that you never know, just by looking at a white mom, what struggles she might have gone through to make such a big decision. Hair, it's a big darn deal and we do hair all the time. My other daughter, she is getting used to the time committment of conditioning and taking care of her hair, but she is still, at ten, super super tenderheaded and I suspect she always will be! Her hair is just natural, no locs, no perms, but the usual braids, twists, ponytails etc. I do her hair.

    Anyhow, I know, some might not approve. I do understand that. But, well, these are the special circumstances and it was our best call, after years and years of working around it.
    Thanks! M

  33. Robbin, thank you for the email!

    That means a lot, and when and if the time comes I"m gonna email you for the advice on how to do it to save the length. That would be time and money well spent.

    Thank you for being gracious and trying to understand. IT really is hard to know what the right thing to do is and not wanting to step on anyone's toes....its one of the complicated things of being a transracial family. And frankly, it's impossible to please everyone and usually you get someone miffed over something. So this, honestly, was a long hard decision, MUCH consulting, much agonizing...but seems the best choice considering the difficult and unusual circumstances. And due to that, and some of the other things that come w/ these issues, I long ago got a thicker skin (at least in public) and learned to let a lot roll off my back. Most folks can't even imagine or guess the whys of some of the things that can be easy to since they can't know, I can't judge back either.


    Parenting, transracial adopting, adopting, being a mom, girl's not for sissies!!

  34. I'm catching this very late, but here's my $.02:
    As a black adoptive parent, I have to mention that relaxers are "permanent" also, but there does not to be a huge backlash from black observers against white APs who relax their daughter's hair. I believe that locs provide an excellent way to show a child that you affirm the texture of hair they were born with; it doesn't need to be chemically altered to be acceptable to others. It IS something that needs to be carefully considered, but by no means IMO should black observers be saddened by the choice of white APs to loc; I think it should be celebrated. I wear locs, and I too loced my hair as an adult; I don't feel it is necessary for a child to have to endure years, possibly decades of hair wars before they arrive at an acceptance of their hair...parents can facilitate that acceptance earlier by their words and deeds, i.e. styling options and positive remarks about the child's hair. Little girls with locs can wear their hair "down" and free; there are many different types of locs, some of which are more versatile than others, especially thinner locs such as Sisterlocks ( and the like. Locs are part of the heritage of black people; the Masai people of Kenya and other African ethnic groups have worn them for centuries. I know the OP is not anti-locing, but I feel that to ascribe to a view that locing is an adult decision leaves the impression that other AA hair styling options, i.e. relaxers, extension braids, etc are more suitable for young children (when they very well may not be!) and that it is only locing that needs a separate type of serious, adult deliberation upon selecting it as a hair style.

  35. Wow! I just found your blog and read through these last few posts and all of the comments. Thank you so much for posting about this. Clearly it is an issue that people feel very strongly about, one way or the other. We've never planned on locing our son's hair, but it is good to read this regardless.

  36. Thank you for your post and I'd love for you, and any others, to continue posting about black hair and skin care. As a white, adoptive mom, to a beautiful 22 mo. old little girl from Ethiopia, I try very hard to keep her hair healthy and looking good. For not even two, she has a massive amount of amazing curls. What I've noticed, is that her hair is the one thing EVERYONE comments about. She has even started touching and pointing to her hair whenever anyone starts talking to her, as if she's so used to everyone mentioning it. I want her to feel beautiful and proud of her hair, but I also don't want her to feel that that's the only part about her that matters. I want to make sure I'm doing the "right" thing in maintaining her healthy hair and skin, so please keep posting about this topic.... your insight is very much appreciated!!

  37. My ten year old daughter (adopted in Ethiopia six months ago) has long curly hair. She uses Carol's Daughter products and I think her curls are beautiful. She wears her hair long and loose. When we met in Ethiopia, she talked about wanting to straighten her hair. After being home several months and adjusting to so many available hair care products, she no longer mentions a desire to straighten her hair. I'm pleased, to be honest. I love her curls. It's the look I tried to achieve with all those back-to-school spiral perms in the 80s but could never quite get...

    Thanks for your post. We need the education! :)
    Sarah in Raleigh, NC

  38. Interestingi post. I agree that you would be hard-pressed to find a parent who will lock their child's hair unless the parent has locks themselves or the child is old enough to understand and request it. That being said, both my sons have locks like their father who is RastafarI (freeform locks). Sometimes I notice strange looks and glances at their heads and I wonder what is going on in the minds of people when they look at them. They are usually the only ones wearing locks most of the time too. It's absolutely essential that they should be able to look at their dad and feel like they look like someone, fit in somewhere and take that strength with them as they go into the world. Anyone who has worn locks themselves know that there are many situations where it does take a lot of strength and determination and conviction to wear locks--especially if they are not highly styled. I think many non-Black people, though, regard locks as "just another cool style Black folks can do" and fail to understand all the social and political ramifications of locks. Even Black people who are not trying to make any particular statement often end up being unfairly characterized (and sometimes persecuted) for locks. That is why it's such a big decision. Either you're grown and can handle it or you have someone to support and help you handle it as a small child.

  39. You actually WILL find an African American parents who would loc their childrens hair at a young age. I know several including myself. I chose to loc my daughter's hair because it suited her and it fit. She is 8 years old now. The natural hair community is Wonderful about telling little ones with locs in the street how beautiful their hair is. I also keep my daughter around people with locs/natural hair and keep her hair well maintained. If when she's 12 or how ever old and wants to cut them out thats fine too. Most African American girls start jacking up their hair with products at that age anyway. Children don't have to make their own decisions about everything. We should be supportive of our differences and not judgemental.

  40. Tonya, I stated that you will NOT find a an AA parent that does not have locs that would loc their child's hair. I stand by that. It is a very supportive community. I am sure of it because I was a member of it for nearly a decade. My best friend is a loctician, I understand locs completely. No judgement just my opinion.


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