If a billboard seems extreme, consider the lengths black women have gone to hide their natural hair, applying eye-watering chemicals to melt away the kink or fueling a lucrative global hair trade for weaves to cover their own hair.

White and Asian woman also use chemical treatments on their hair and wear extensions, but these are rarely as a result of a historical social rejection of their looks.

And who could blame professional black women for hiding their own hair? A recent controversy involving Google’s image search results page for unprofessional hair confirmed to some that their dreadlocks and Afro hair were not welcome in many offices.

Like people, algorithms aren’t born racist. The search result was likely influenced by the numerous blog posts on the issue, but it does reflect the views and clicking habits of the people who use it.

While there are an increasing number of black women wearing their hair naturally, it is still seen a political statement rather just a convenient healthy choice. Many have agonized over the decision, slowly transitioned from straightened to natural hair (sometimes for as long as a year) or went for the “big chop” and cut everything off to start over.

If it’s this hard for adult black women, imagine the burden on little black girls.

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