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Black Mom Livid After White Husband Refuses To Take Their Mixed-Race Son To A Black Barber

Corey Jenkins via Getty Images

Racism comes in many insidious shapes and sizes.  One less well-known form of racism is actually the way that society markets and sells products for Black people’s hair-care.

Redditor Aitathrowaway6922 found herself and her child at the receiving end of some subtle racism perpetrated by her husband, who refused to take the child to a proper barber.

After an argument over the subject, our original poster, or OP, went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for objective feedback from strangers:

“AITA for telling my husband that I think my son should have a Black barber?”

OP and her husband haven’t had issues with their son’s hair until recently:

“I (f[emale]26) and my husband (M[ale]26) have a handsome son together who is 4. A little background info here is that I am Black and my husband is White so this is where the problem has started.”

“When my son was born he had slick straight hair but he’s growing up now and his hair has becoming i say 4a/4c.”

“My husband takes him to get his hair cut at a predominately White shop all his life because he said it was a bonding experience for them.”

“I have no problem with that specifically but my brother i’ll call him T visited recently just when my son and my husband came back from the barber shop and he made a comment on how the barber made his fade very crooked and asked my husband who cut it.”

“This stirred up the drama and my husband got defensive when asked because the same man has cut his hair since he was a boy and he sees no problem with my son’s hair.”

When OP agreed with her brother, her husband didn’t take it well:

“I have to say I agreed with my brother, his haircut was uneven and his hairline has been pushed back way further than it was before so I suggested my husband take him to a Black barbershop next time so they could cut his hair correctly.”

“My husband blew up on me saying I was ruining his father and son time just because of his race and I don’t think that’s the case at all I just want his hair to look nice.”

“I brought up the fact that T could introduce both my husband and my son to a different barber but my husband wants to continue the tradition of his childhood barber cutting my son’s hair.”

“When I mentioned a Black barber I wasn’t bringing up race necessarily! I just meant someone who knows how to style Black hair! sorry for the confusion !!”

“AITA for suggesting to take my son to a different barber?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors think OP and her brother were right, here.

“NTA. POC hair and White hair are VERY different and unless a barber is used to working with POC hair then of course he won’t do well.”

“I don’t know why your husband can’t just.. go with your son to the new barber(?) He seems to have issues, it truly isn’t taking away anything because of race.”

“Hair texture is different and different people are used to working with different types of hair. Your son deserves a good haircut!” –Xixishell

“Basically OP’s husband doesn’t want to go to a Black barbershop and doesn’t want to admit it. He is willing to have his son look a hot mess and possibly experience bullying because of it.”

“Its okay to admit that races are different and therefore have different needs. I would argue that it’s racist to deny this.”

“If this is causing an issue with husband just imagine when the real issues arise. That little boy is going to be considered Black and everyone needs to be prepared. And denying it will just make it worse for the son.” –emmaheaven1

“NTA, op. I am half Black. When I was 5, my mom, who is Japanese, shaved my head because she said my hair was getting too ‘curly, nappy and nasty’.”

“I was five. I cried for weeks. I learned to be ashamed of what my hair was. As I grew up, she used cheap box relaxers on my 4c hair to keep it straight, ‘prettier’ and ‘easier to handle’.”

“I didn’t grow up around the Black half of my family, so I didn’t know better, and spent the next 40 years secretly hating my hair, damaging it thru cheap relaxers and products, avoiding Black hair salons out of shame for not being familiar with my own culture, and suffering through a lot of internalized racism.”

“My mother taught me that my hair was difficult, an inconvenience, and a nuisance. It’s only now, at 40+ years old that I have learned how to treat it like a crown, and love the way it looks natural.”

“Hair is so important in the Black community. This dad needs to learn how to love his kid better now, so the kid can love themselves better in the long run.” –mnbvcxz1052

“NTA. Your son is Black. He’s going to have to move and operate in this world differently growing up than your White husband did.”

“I would have hoped that this is something your husband considered when he 1) married a Black woman 2) had a Black child.”

“Your husband is going to have to acknowledge and respect these cultural and racial differences soon, as getting the right fade is one of the more minor challenges your son will have as a Black boy in this world.”

“He’s going to need a daddy that celebrates his son’s Blackness and raises him to feel confident in his identity.” –RazzleDazzle722

OP’s son has Blackness as a part of his identity and people are shocked OP’s husband doesn’t want to be a part in celebrating that.

“NTA. Look I’m as White as possible so pretty much ANYONE can cut my hair and it looks decent. Even when it acts stupid.”

“I understand he wants to keep his tradition alive BUT the thing is, he has a mixed child. His child does NOT have HIS hair texture.”

“His child has kinky hair. He has textured hair. which honestly takes a skilled stylist to cut.”

“And if the stylist has not encountered or actually works on kinky/textured hair often or at all, that won’t be equipped to handle it.”

“It’s not as simple as just taking some cutting shears and going at it, there’s products you wanna use and certain ways you gotta cut it so it comes out nice and clean cut.”

“He has to understand his child is mixed, his hair is not the same as daddy’s and needs extra care. Also he can easily go to the same barber as his son. He can keep the tradition alive even by seeing a different barber.”

“You want the best for your son. You aren’t making this about race. It’s facts. He has a different texture of hair that needs someone who is trained on handling that type of hair.”

“He’s young right now so it doesn’t matter BUT when he gets to elementary school and then definitely in middle and high school he’s gonna be a target if his hair looks crazy and uneven. Your husband has to understand this isn’t a race thing, his son just has different hair needs.” –Alyssa_Hargreaves

“NTA. Your husband seriously can’t come up with any other bonding activities that don’t involve giving his son a terrible looking haircut?”

“If it’s okay for his son to get his haircut by a white barber, why isn’t okay for he, himself, to get a haircut from a Black barber?” –NUT-me-SHELL

“NTA. Your son should have reasonably well cut hair, which he’d get at a Black barber. Your husband reasonably wants some quality father-son time.”

“However, your husband is holding on too tightly to the idea that the barber *has* to be the way that happens.”

“And he’s willing to sacrifice his son’s hair to get it. He’s accumulated a lot of great memories with his son at the White barber.”

“That’s great. Now create some new ones at the Black barber’s. Or in another way. Let his son have a decent haircut.” –writesgud

“NTA. It’s a weird thing for your husband to get so bent out of shape about…”

“And I’m pretty sure at this point everyone knows about the difference in hair between the races and issues that can happen when a stylist isn’t trained on how to do Black hair.”

“He needs to decide what’s more important, his childhood barber or his son’s hair because his priorities look weird from here…” –ollyator

And people were urging OP to tell her husband to re-examine her priorities.

“Oy, I can’t with some men and their stubborn egos. NTA, and your husband needs to get over his himself and accept that sometimes plans change and you have to be flexible.”

“And sometimes the new plans are just as good, if not better than the original plans.”

“Going to a Black barber is what your son needs, and even though it’s a different barber than your husband envisioned, it could still create nice memories for them to go together.”

“And for your son, being proud of how great his hair looks after going to the new barber shop + seeing his own dad embrace his unique hair will be so important for your son’s self-image.” –MikaRRR

“NTA it’s not like you’re saying that you now have to be the one to take your son to get his haircut.”

“You’re simply stating that your son has a different texture hair than your husband and should see someone who specializes in that so your son gets the best ‘treatment’.”

“Besides it’s not like he wants your kid to be made fun of because his hair isn’t cut properly right?” –MKAnchor

“NTA. I’m a biracial woman, Black and White. Growing up my mom had to learn from my Black aunts how to take of my hair.”

“My mom didn’t take offense to it, she was appreciative because she knew that we had different kinds of hair.”

“Your husband doesn’t have to give up his tradition of the hair cut but he should be open to learning about your son’s hair type.” –Curious-Charity-5368

“NTA, it’s concerning that he seems more concerned with his own feelings rather than any hair trauma your son could experience by seeing someone who is not well versed in doing Black hair.”

“As a Black woman who was taken to too many White salons as a young child it just makes you feel ugly when they mess you up like that and other kids comment on it both White and Black.”

“There’s a million other things they can do to bond that can benefit both of them.” –Theblackdevushka

It looks like OP might be in for a more difficult conversation with her husband than she initially anticipated.

Hopefully they will be able to come to an understanding and have a productive conversation.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.