A Jamaican girl might be raised to believe that her hair is unmanageable, ugly and ‘poor’ and that people of a certain status have lighter skin and 3c curls. Since that little Jamaican girl will never have 3c curls the next best thing for her would be a relaxer and some bleach for her skin.
These deep-rooted cultural stigmas are hard to break and western culture is often the blame. But there are other issues too, there is history and how it has affected the minds of individuals who have not had the opportunity to be educated and exposed to better thoughts and behavior.
Undeniably the western influence is strong, it is strong across all cultures, races, and sexes, not just black people. Western hair culture is imitated across the globe so much so that we have no idea what is pure anymore. On the flip side of things, there is proof that the west is losing some ground as black culture and hip hop culture have directed the appearance and hair choices of cultures you would have least expected.
I hate to keep picking on the Japanese but didn’t they just get caught adding perms to their hair to create afros? Since we have not come up with a politically correct way to understand those choices the only reasonable explanation is: that’s how globally tied we are.
The truth is we like to consider ourselves as individuals with our own right to determine how we should look based on our own view of the world. You may go bald because your favorite aunt has cancer, or color your hair blue because you are going to see the Smurfs in theater, you may get a relaxer because you prefer straight hair, or go natural because Solange is looking mighty fine these days. Whether your decision is influenced by the West or not rest assured you are not alone and what you choose to do influences, someone, far away as well.
Somehow I don’t think Chinese girls are given as hard a time for dying their hair golden as black girls do for relaxing their hair! Do you think the influence of Western Standards is worse for black people?