Jasmine Hart

Closeup shot of smiling woman posing at public library. Front view of smiling lady with dreadlocks posing. Knowledge concept

“I was at LaGuardia Airport minding my own business as I washed my hands in the restroom, and an older white woman came up to me to express how much she loved my braids. I kindly replied ‘thank you’ and proceeded to try to leave the bathroom—but she wasn’t done discussing my hair. She began asking question after question like, ‘Is that all your hair? Is it heavy? How long does it take to do? How do you wash it? Where do you get those beads (meaning my gold hair cuffs) from?” I tried to be as polite as possible and answer all of them as she continued to treat me as if my hair was the biggest phenomena she’d ever seen. Then she asked the question I hate the most: ‘Can I touch it?’ My body cringed as I heard the words come out of her mouth. I handed her a braid so that I could make this whole experience just be over. She stared at it in awe and thanked me for being so nice to her. She then reassured me that she wasn’t racist, just curious. I ran out of the bathroom with so many questions running through my mind. ‘Do I go around asking white women can I touch their hair because it’s different than mine?’ No, because that’s just weird and rude. I also question what type of vibe I give off that makes people think that it’s okay to just ask me to touch my hair—because it’s not. This is just one of the many frustrating, uncomfortable, and bothersome experiences that I’ve had with my hair.” — Jasmine Hart