When a couple of two different races or backgrounds decides to get married, they may not realize at the time some of the differences between them and the challenges those may create.
One of those challenges might be how to care for their biracial children’s hair, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Additional_One_2532, a White father, had decided to take his biracial daughter to the hair salon to make her hair more manageable, not realizing the damage he was causing to her hair.
But when he saw his Black wife’s reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he made a mistake.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for straightening my daughter’s hair without my wife’s permission?”
The OP took care of his daughter while his wife was away.
“I (male 32) have a four-year-old daughter. Let’s call her Gracie.”
“Gracie is half-Black, her mother (female 31) being African American.”
“Her mother overall handled all of Gracie’s hair care and taught me how to do simple styles but even those ‘simple’ styles were difficult.”
“My wife ended up going on a vacation with her friends to celebrate her friend’s birthday and my mother came over to visit.”
“I hadn’t done Gracie’s hair in a few days so it became nappy and unmanageable. When I tried to comb her hair the comb broke.”
“My mother said that I should get my daughter a perm so her hair would be more manageable so I took her to a salon and got it permed.”
The OP’s wife did not agree with the perm.
“My wife got home and when she saw our daughter she was livid.”
“She screamed at me and then at my mother for even suggesting that but I think she’s overreacting because it’s just hair.”
“Then she brought up our wedding.”
“My mother had tried to get my wife to straighten her hair for the wedding but my wife refused because she wanted her natural hair on her wedding day so she could be as natural as possible.”
“My mother often comments on my wife’s and daughter’s hair and I agree with my mother.”
The OP and his wife could not agree.
“But now my wife’s telling me that perms chemically burn and damage hair to change the texture and that I ‘damaged’ our daughter’s hair.”
“Now she’s thinking of getting our daughter’s hair cut so her hair can ‘heal from the damages’ but I still think she’s overreacting.”
“Besides, I don’t want my daughter’s hair to be cut. She looks so cute now.”
“Am I the a**hole for straightening my daughter’s hair without my wife’s permission, even though Gracie is my daughter too?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP needed to respect his wife’s and daughter’s hair.
“Your daughter is half-Black… You’re married to a Black person and you used the words ‘nappy’ and ‘unmanageable’.”
“Besides that, you sound like you haven’t learned how to care for your daughter’s hair nor tried to learn how to care for curly/coily hair.”
“Not to mention, it sounds like you haven’t learned to respect your wife’s boundaries.”
“YTA. Go watch a couple of videos on curly hair and stop listening to your mum!” – Toolz01
“No Black person would straighten their child’s hair at such a young age, it’s just not done. And for your info, hair isn’t just hair in the Black community.”
“Furthermore, you knew your wife was against straightening your daughter’s hair. Did you ever ask her why?”
“You were absolutely wrong, educate yourself and then apologize to your wife and daughter. YTA.” – kreeves9
“Cosmetologist here. I have refused chemical services on anyone under 13.”
“It doesn’t matter if they have booked an hour or more of my time. I always tried to explain why is not a good idea.”
“If the little one is super insistent-bratty, I speak with the parent away from them and most of the time pretty much always force them to act as the parent, not as a friend.”
“Any service between 13-15 is to enhance never to change dramatically.”
“I’M SPEECHLESS. DAD, GRANDMA, AND STYLIST, JUST AWFUL.” – ewillbefine1
“Her hair will be well. It’s the fact that her dad put chemicals in it to straighten it while we are in the midst of a natural hair reclamation.”
“It’s a time for embracing our locks, no matter the texture. OP’s daughter’s hair will grow back as the perm grows out.”
“Think of it’s growing out hair dye. This sucks big time because the description sounded as though her hair was thick and beautiful.”
“The thing that made me feel sick was him saying that, ‘She looks so cute now.’ He didn’t think that she did before?”
“Dad needs to get some education about the beautiful women around him, one he created himself.” – GnatGurl
Others were angry the OP didn’t take care of her hair sooner.
“He could have actually taken care of her hair the days mom was away!!!!”
“My kids have straight hair and if I did nothing to it for a few days it would be an absolute mess.” – Eelpan2
“He neglected his daughter’s hair and then had to go to extremes to fix it!”
“And based on some of what he wrote, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it on purpose because he thought it was ‘too hard’ to keep up and figured he could get away with a few days of not caring for her hair properly.”
“Sigh.” – burninginfinite
“No parent should straighten their child’s hair at that age. Those chemicals on such sensitive skin can easily burn the scalp.”
“He had 4 years to learn basic upkeep of his child. Never mind him ignoring the fact that hair is a major part of black culture.”
“Never mind that he could have called her family, not his mom who is also not black. Never mind the sexism and racism in the post.”
“PSA OP – Your daughter also needs sunscreen!!! If anything, it’s more important for people with darker skin since it’s harder to see the early signs of skin cancer thus leading to a late stage diagnosis.” – Rumpelteazer45
“YTA. It says a lot that I, a White person who lives in a super White area and has never laid hands on a single Black person’s head, know more about Black hair care than a man whose own wife and daughter are Black.”
“It tells me that Op is choosing to be willfully ignorant to these issues and that he is utterly failing both his wife and daughter because of it.” – ShadowCast2550
After receiving feedback, the OP posted what he had learned.
“I’ve read the comments and came to a realization about my marriage and my wife and now I just feel horrible.”
“My wife’s mentioned in passing about her childhood and was always vague about it but after overhearing a conversation between her and my mother-in-law I just realized how much I truly messed up.”
“My wife is dark-skinned and tall and she got bullied for that along with her hair. She went to a predominately White school in Bogalusa and that made her hate herself and her looks for a while.”
“My god, my wording was horrible too. My wife is beautiful and so is my daughter and their hair isn’t a problem.”
“I’m the problem and so is my mother.”
“After hearing my wife’s conversations about me and my mother, I realized that my mother’s a bully and I’m just a drone/follower.”
“My mother constantly picked on my wife and I just stood by and blindly agreed because she’s my mom. But that woman who I married is my wife and I should have protected her from… my own ignorance and my mother’s ignorance.”
“I took something she took pride in and belittled it. I was too lazy to learn and took my mother’s advice.”
“Hell, my mother’s said so many cruel things that I didn’t think twice of until reading these comments.”
“She’d always make sure my daughter didn’t play outside when she’d go over to her house because she didn’t want her to be darker like her mother and that comment made me uncomfortable but I took it as a weird joke.”
“I’m cutting my mother off and I’m going to apologize to my wife and daughter and start watching hair tutorials again. I’m also going to sign up for a hair braiding class when the pandemic has slowed down once more.”
“God, I’m a horrible husband and father. When my wife is willing to talk to me (I won’t force her), I’ll apologize and if she wants to leave me over this, it’ll hurt like hell but I’ll understand. I’ve just pushed her to the sidelines for so long and couldn’t even see it.”
“I am the a**hole. The biggest a**hole here.”
The OP also tried to educate his mother.
“I just got off the phone with my mother.”
“My wife listened in on the phone call, I didn’t realize she was in the living room with me until she put her hand on my shoulder during the call.”
“My mother is well, livid. She freaked out on me and threatened to call CPS when I told her I didn’t want her coming around my wife and daughter and refused to even try to understand what we did wrong.”
“Then I mentioned the damage that the perm could cause to my daughter, (I read a small article by a Black-owned hair care company about childhood perm horror stories along with the history behind perms, and I’m just… disgusted with myself and my mother) and my mother said my wife was being a drama queen.”
“When I told her my daughter might need a haircut behind this, she flipped out and said, ‘I won’t let my granddaughter look like a bull d*ke!’ And I was mortified.”
“She said she’d take my daughter from me and my wife and raise her the way God intended.”
“That caused a screaming match. My wife put her hand on my shoulder in the midst of it and took the phone from me and told my mother if she comes to our home again the police will be called and then she hung up.”
“I put our baby to bed and then we talked. My daughter and wife are beautiful and I don’t understand how for the life of me I thought those horrible things.”
“Maybe it was like that SNL sketch ‘diet racism.’ Hearing those things from your parent and just blindly listening no matter how horrible it sounds.”
“My wife is still mad at me (rightfully so) but she told me she isn’t leaving me over this.”
“She said I have a lot to learn and that if I want this relationship to last I need to open my eyes and realize that the world I live in is different from the one she lives in and different from the world our daughter will live in.”
“I’m horrified at myself and horrified at my mother. My father called a few moments ago but I ignored the call.”
“I’ll talk to him in the morning about this.”
“I thanked my wife for staying with me, even though she doesn’t have to. Tomorrow we are asking our baby girl if she wants a haircut.”
“Knowing her, she’ll want to get one like her uncle. He has these cool designs shaved into his head. If she wants that, she can have that.”
“She’s my world and I refuse to ever be this ignorant and harmful to her again.”
Though the OP definitely messed up, the subReddit hoped the OP’s updates meant he had learned something throughout this situation and he would make better choices for his daughter in the future.