Should Black Women Wear the Head Scarf Out?

Posted by on Jul 2, 2011

Tyra BanksEveryday on my way to and from work, I see a black woman out and about wearing her head scarf.  Now, I’m not talking about the scarves worn as fashion statements, I am referring to the bandana tightly tied around a woman’s head to maintain slicked down and silky tresses.  Some people refer to it as the “urban turban”.

I get it!  Ladies do not want to mess up their hair.  You step out the salon, and it’s a little humid outside, so you put on your head scarf.  You’re prepared for a full day of lounging at home but have to make a quick stop to the corner store, so you opt to keep your head scarf on.  But should we?

Although most people in the black community understand the significance of head scarves and black women, other communities do not.  They see a black woman wearing the scarf outdoors and lump them into the “Aunt Jemima” and/or “ghetto” category.  It’s not just other races making these judgments.  I know many black women and men who cringe at the very site of seeing sisters rocking head scarves anywhere but the privacy of their home.  Is it really a big deal?

Growing up, I was taught that you should always look presentable, making sure to leave the house looking your best. “You never know who you may see or meet,” my mother would say.  We all have our bad days, and there is no way that every hair on your head will stay in place. But, what if you’re not really going anywhere important, or you are just kicking it with good friends at the usual spot?  You don’t want to go through the hassle of taking down your hair. Leave it wrapped; keep the head scarf on. Is that a viable option?  For some the answer is yes, but for me, the answer is not at all.

Whether my hair is freshly done, or in dire need of a wash, the site of me walking in the streets with my nighttime head scarf will never be witnessed.  I’ll rock a June Ambrose turban.  I’ll throw on a hat.  But my head scarf, no.  It sends out a message I don’t want sent, but that’s just me.

How do you feel about the head scarf being worn outdoors? What do you think? Would you wear your head scarf outside? Is it only under certain circumstances where it is ok to wear your head scarf?

Let me know what you think!

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