Constructing and Contesting Knowledge in Women’s Cross-cultural Hair Testimonies
This chapter explores conversations involving black and white women across multiple settings (for example, cosmetology schools, hair educational seminars, Internet discussions) that further elucidate what is at stake for African American women in discussions about hair. African American women's hair narratives and knowledge about hair were, in many ways, filtered through their experiences of marginalization as a collective of women whose ethnic features were long considered unattractive. Black women's ideas about hair are intricately connected to cultural identity, gendered experiences, and racial consciousness. In three separate hair discussions, white women unwittingly ran into trouble despite their attempts to align with black women. This chapter examines the nature of their linguistic missteps and black women's (mis)readings to illuminate what went wrong and what contributed to these women's conversational alignments and misalignments.
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