Mallory Merk is a 12-year-old girl who was inspired by a woman’s hairstyle after a family outing. Mallory received several comments about the hair style she chose. After posting a group of selfies she was bombarded by racist remarks. Once the photo hit Twitter negative comments escalated out of control. People find this hair style to be offensive to the African Americans. Having the belief in cultural appropriation some believe braided hair is considered to be a trend only among black people. When you are blinded by hatred and preconceived notions age is not considered.
Mallory had plenty of support during the online Twitter war. Several individuals are curious as to how everyone can be so harsh to a 12-year-old girl who enjoys the hairstyle. “It would be foolish to assume that she’s making a mockery of African American culture” as stated by a supporter. One Twitter user argued back saying “Black women are saying white women can’t get braids while they’re running around with blonde hair.” Supporters state that anyone who finds her hairstyle to be offensive is indeed racist and needs to self-reflect. Mallory is taking the mature approach to the situation as shown in a message written by her.
This is not the first case of a young girl receiving negative comments pertaining to her hair style. A 4-year-old girl from New York was born with no hair. By the time, her hair began to grow in she developed curls that were hard to maintain. She wishes she had straight hair like her mother but finds comfort when she discovered box brains. Box braids consist of a large amount of braids that are segregated. She found confidence within herself after leaving the salon with her new hair style.
Although the 4-year-old loved her style many others aboard a cruise ship began to make comments. While the mother took pictures of her daughter eating ice cream and watermelon an elderly woman commented “She sure looks like a person who’d eat watermelon, don’t you, sweetheart?” While on the playground with her child a woman asked “Is your husband black.” “I’m surprised you post pictures of her like that. Aren’t you concerned about confusing her identity” said a friend of the mother.
This was not an attempt to disrespect African Americans angry, but to simply make her daughter feel happy. The mother is insulted that others think it’s okay to make racial comments to her because they are of the same decent. Racism is not okay whether or not it pertains to another race. After keeping her braids in for two months, the 4-year old began to make friends with braids and became more confident with herself. Similar to the 12-year-old girl, the 4-year-old began to receive praise from others especially African American girls. Other mothers express their experiences with having non-African American children with braids.
The mothers explain how much easier it’s to prepare their daughters for school in the morning without having to struggle with their hair. Another mother states “My kid made a choice about her body that made her feel beautiful and confident, regardless of what people might say. I’m so proud of her, and I hope she’ll always make a choice that speaks to her and not the naysayers who cluck. That’s the conversation I’d love strangers to start with me on the street.” These young girls prove not only African Americans can wear braids and that they both can see beyond negative judgment.