Natural Hair Problems // Natural Nazis

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We’ve all come across them. Maybe we haven’t interacted with them personally, but we’ve seen the out-of-line, rude, ridiculous, and misinformed comments on numerous blogs from these women (and sometimes men), regulating what is and isn’t within the parameters of their definition of natural. They will criticize and “advise” to the point of stepping way over the line and getting downright offensive, from overanalyzing your curl pattern and critiquing your product choices to questioning your blackness and way of thinking. Their off-the-wall comments often stir up the question, “Who appointed you Natural Moses to come down from the mountain and give us the kinky-curly commandments?” They turn intelligent, productive, and polite discussion into all-out debates and it gets heated.

If you are unfamiliar with the term natural [hair] nazi, aka the natural hair police, they are a small group within the natural hair community (NHC) that, for whatever reason, feels the need to tell others what they can and can’t do to their hair and still identify as natural. They often posses an elitist attitude about natural hair and will offer their “advice” and share their negative views to the point of harassment. People have closed down Fotki accounts, blogs, and other media outlets just to escape their criticisms.

They are the trolls and zealots of the online NHC. If your hair isn’t super kinky and/or in an afro constantly, as their hair tends to be, then you aren’t entitled to share in the struggle of being natural. They often seem oblivious that their rantings often drive people away from participating in the vast support system available within the NHC and they are a large part of the cause of the divisiveness between relaxed and natural women through propagating the idea that if you don’t follow their criteria for being natural, you possess some deep-seeded self-hate issues, especially if you’re relaxed. Ironically, they end up deflecting potential transitioners, big choppers, and steadfast relaxers alike while trying to “educate” them. In short, they give naturals a bad name (though, people shouldn’t believe the few represent the whole).

According to the natural nazis, you aren’t really natural if you…

  • Color your hair
  • Wear twist-, braid-, bantu knot-outs, or stretch your hair in any way
  • Relax or texlax
  • Flat iron your hair. At all.
  • Wear weaves, wigs, or extensions for any period of time
  • Your curl pattern isn’t kinky and your texture is silky
  • And in more extreme cases…

  • If you use anything other than water (and oil) or completely organic products on your hair (nothing store-bought)
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    How to Spot a Natural Nazi

    Situations involving these fanatically scrutinizing women (and men) usually play out in scenarios such as these:

    Situation A: Someone who has been natural for several years posts a photo on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/etc of their hair flat ironed, complete with a captioned disclaimer that they don’t flat iron often or it was just a one-time thing. Natural nazis will sound off with over-the-top comments, such as, “Ugh. I could never straighten my hair. I’m too proud to be black and natural. You’re perpetuating the self-hate among black women who buy into the Eurocentric standard of beauty. Get the kinks out of your mind, not your hair!”

    Oh yes, they take it there. Then, there are scenarios, such as this:

    Situation B: A natural Facebook user writes a status about a new color, stating they just wanted to try something different along with “#teamnatural.” The nazis will go off and state how black people aren’t meant to have artificially colored hair, how it isn’t natural to dye hair, how damaging it is to the integrity of the curl pattern, citing misinformed notions and making derogatory references to Beyonce’s hair. They don’t even have to make sense.

    And this:

    Scenario C: A woman has posted a YouTube video talking about protective styling with her new curly wig, wavy weave, or extensions of some kind to “take a break” as it were from styling her natural hair. The natural hair police quickly land on the scene and holler out, “WIGS AND WEAVES AREN’T NATURAL! I CAN’T STAND WHEN PEOPLE SAY THEY NEED A BREAK FROM THEIR NATURAL HAIR! WHY COULDN’T YOU DO A NATURAL PROTECTIVE STYLE INSTEAD? I WISH BLACK WOMEN WOULD STOP TRYING TO BE WHITE!”

    Blah, blah, blah. You get the jist.

    Scenario D: A natural of mixed race with loose, silky textured hair is featured on a popular blog.
    Natural Nazis: “She isn’t a real natural! She has “good hair,” European hair. She’s mixed so her hair isn’t really natural. Her hair isn’t kinky. It’s curly like white folks. Natural hair is nappy, cottony, type 4 hair!”

    So my question to these people is

    Who are you to police other people and their hair?

    What is it about yourself that drives you to respond with unkind, backhanded comments, spread misinformation, criticize, and scold others whom you feel do not embody your definition of natural? Then, when someone tries to correct your information or enlighten you, you lash out more intensely. The only uniformly accepted criteria for being natural in the African-American community is hair that is unaltered by chemical relaxers of any kind. Other than that, it’s pretty open to interpretation. Many of you make claims that you’re just trying to “educate” other naturals, but in reality, you’re just there to impose your opinions and tear others down, revoking their proverbial natural card. To that, I say

    Have the world’s grand total of seats.

    Hop off your high horse. You are no more black or natural than someone else based on your hair texture, curl pattern, hair care practices, products, or any other cockamamie reasons you cook up in your mind to vindicate your elitist mentality. Contrary to what most of you seem to believe, you are NOT helping anyone to correctly handle their hair so much as harassing them and making all naturals look bad by fulfilling the “sista soldier” stereotype. Just mind your business and keep it moving if you have nothing nice to say. It’s simple.

    How to Deal With Natural Nazis

  • Don’t feed the trolls! I find myself saying this all the time in YouTube and blog comments (I happen to believe I coined the phrase). Don’t fuel the fire. These people want attention, they want people to start debating over the ignorance they so freely spout. Ignore them. Don’t respond; when you address them you’re giving them what they want.
  • Stand by your decisions. You don’t have to justify your choices to anyone, let alone some random stranger. You don’t have to explain yourself to them. Who are they?!
  • Know what “natural” means to you. As long as you aren’t using Brazilian keratin treatments, relaxers, or texturizers, you are encompassed within the general description of natural hair. If you don’t want to be natural any longer and would rather chemically straighten or texturize, that’s your business and your decision. Don’t let someone else try to put you down or harass you into altering your choice.
  • P.S. If you’re offended by this post, you’re probably one of them. Check thyself.

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