OPINION: Being blonde isn’t just a genetic trait – it’s a state of mind

Without a doubt, the number of blonde coloured braids and extensions has increased this semester at Wits.

So with such an ostentatious trend, it’s hard not to take note or have an opinion on the matter. I don’t have a problem with people voicing their views but I can’t help but get frustrated when I hear this-“it is sad how many black girls are trying to be white with their blonde hair”. I find this such an archaic and banal way of thinking especially when thrown around by students.

When I see blonde on an African girl, I see confidence and courage, because I think it’s safe to admit, dyeing African hair blonde or having blonde extensions is a risky move that has the potential to go horrifically wrong. So when a select few view blonde extensions as “conformity to western ideals” and a “loss of culture”, I am completely dumbfounded. [pullquote align=”right”]”Breaking free from the shackles of generic racial constructs and stereotypes”[/pullquote]

Everyone should be allowed the freedom to express themselves and not have to be subjected to other people’s insecurities of their ethnicity. I treat my hair as an extension of my character and personality and NOT as a tribute to my heritage. One day I might be rocking long Caribbean style braids (even tho I do not come from a line of Caribbean descendants) and the next day I might be showing off an untamed (but racially appropriate) afro.

A person’s hair choice should not be turned into a heated cultural debate, it’s just hair. To me blonde on an African girl is not an “adoption” of a biological trait but an acceptance of ones individuality; It takes courage to break the mould of what is accepted and to be free. Being “Blonde” isn’t just genetic; It’s a state of mind … it’s breaking free from the shackles of generic racial constructs and stereotypes.