Reflecting on the Meaning of 'Good Hair' for Black Women: Greer Jones

Greer Jones
Greer Jones (Juana Arias - Juana Arias/ftwp)
Sunday, October 4, 2009

Greer Jones

38, Northwest Washington, hairstylist

Good hair? My grandmother told me when she was a little girl, she wanted her hair to be straight so bad that she would take a fork and heat it up and press the front of [her] hair. She said she told herself, "I'm going to marry a man with good hair so my kids don't go through that," which she did. But some came out with hers. Some came with his. Some in between. She didn't realize that genetics are unpredictable. Sometimes they skip you and go back to the person before you.

They used to call me "black China girl" because they didn't understand why my hair was straight, why it was slick. They would ask me am I biracial. "No," I would say, "both my parents are black!"

Certain people would only like you because of your hair texture. Some girls would want to fight you because of your hair texture. They would never come out and say it but they would do things like pull your hair. Or just not like you because they think you feel you have something better than them. It made me want to cut my hair at about the third or fourth grade, at the stage when you are sensitive to what people think about you.

Going to hair school, I learned there was no such thing as good hair or bad hair. It was different textures. It was not a bad thing or a good thing. It was just textures.

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