If you can make it through this video of a little Black girl getting a brushing from her mother without crying, you probably don't need to read the rest of this post.
Not surprisingly, this clip has been quite controversial. It was flagged for abuse, taken off youtube, put back on again.
Teresa Wiltz wrote a beautiful reflective essay about it on The Root, which will clue you in on the myriad of issues and strong opinions this video unearthed.
My personal reaction to this is not objective. Every opinion deserves space, and here's mine.
My hair is similar to that little girl's, and I have many painful memories of hair combings. My mother also used a brush on it (cardinal sin for ethnic hair!) I will bet that 99% of Black women have had similar experiences. Most do not have the pain associated with hair that I do. They do not have the situation I did--being adopted and told over and over again that you are white and that is all and meanwhile kids are spitting on you and calling you nigger and all you know is that they are doing this because of your hair. I will tell you that my hair has been a site of mourning, racial pain, self-loathing. I will tell you that wielding a brush like a weapon and treating a piece of a child as something that needs to be 'dealt with' is not the best approach.
All little girls in this world need reassurance that their bodies are pretty and worthy because they will encounter many, many forces that will tell them the opposite.
Often children of color need extra assurance because the forces on them will be greater than for white children.
Often adopted kids need extra assurance because their lives have been framed by rejection.
It makes sense that adopted girls of color may need extra assurance too, perhaps even more.
Is it fair that parents of little girls and parents of ethnic children and adoptive parents have to overcompensate for societal issues they did not create? No.
But please do it. Please.