Yep, I said it. That word that everyone refuses to acknowledge, “white-washed.” I thought the whole need for the “European look” was just here in America, but it actually is everywhere. Whether it’s Asia, or the Caribbean, there are so many people that try to look far lighter than they should, or their hair should have a little more curl and bounce to it. I’ve seen it in advertisements across the world. You’ll have an “Asian” woman with unusual White features trying to sell you their version of Rogaine. I don’t know; maybe people refuse to acknowledge the term because we live it everyday so to them “white-washed” doesn’t really exist. It’s just the culture.
In my opinion, it is the most awkward, yet fascinating thing I’ve ever come across. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the country and been stared at by people because of the color of my skin. Not to mention, however I decide to where my hair for that particular trip, it might as well be a front-page story on TMZ with all the attention it gets. There is nothing wrong with adding a little chocolate to your diet; in fact, I’d prescribe it for everybody.
I remember on my trip to Thailand, my Senegalese twists were a huge hit with the Thai people, while everyone there had straight, long beautiful dark hair. I remember our boat driver tapping me on my shoulder to ask me if he could touch it, he was so intrigued. I asked him if he had ever seen anyone else with hair like mine. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “No, the women here can’t do this with their hair.” I heard a lot of “oh” and “how did you do that?” even though in my mind, my hair looked rough as hell. I personally love the attention I get overseas; they appreciate chocolate a lot more over there than people do here in America.
At one of my old jobs, I came to work with my hair in the cutest curly puff and my boss looked at me and asked – I promise I can’t make this up – did I get my hand stuck in an electric socket. It took everything out of me not to chin check his ass. There is so much pressure to have straight hair that I battled with myself for a long time about going back natural after relaxing my hair. I was scared of what people would say and if they would like it. Now overseas, my curly hair is admired, and embraced. Everyone wants to touch it or they constantly compliment me on it.
Now when it comes to the crown on my head otherwise known as my hair while traveling, I pretty much ALWAYS go for a protective style. Look boo, ain’t nobody got time to be doing their hair everyday when you’re trying to find your husband on somebody’s beach. I’ve done the weaves while traveling and I honestly used to love it until I realized how damaged my hair had become. My leave out was less than an inch at one point. Put it this way, unless you’ve got a closure (definition: a piece of lace with hair sewn on it that way you can have all your hair braided under your weave) or a weave that matches your hair when its WET, don’t even think about it. I’m trying to save your life and your edges because no one wants a hairline that starts behind their ears. If you do decide to wear your hair out, depending on where you’re headed and for how long, make sure you take shampoo and a good deep conditioner with you. I live by deep conditioners, I have some very thick hair and deep conditioners give my curls the moisture they absolutely need and deserve.
In the Caribbean, baby when I tell you they love a little more cushion for the pushing, if you know what I mean. Men in the Caribbean appreciate women of all shapes and sizes, and are so sweet. It may be because they knew I was a tourist, but I didn’t mind. I’d happily be Stella and get my groove back with any of them any day of the week, honey.
America vs. Overseas
I wish America were more accepting of diversity and differences among people. No matter where I go in this world, the amount of love I have received remains unmatched. There is a certain kind of magic that comes with being a black traveler, and from my experience, the more melanin the better. As a black woman, we go through so much in our everyday lives; it feels good to be told you’re beautiful, especially when society tells you otherwise. I can honestly say I’ve never had any horrible experiences overseas as it relates to the color of my skin (that I was aware of anyway). If anything, people were far more welcoming to show me their culture and embrace me as one of their own.
With all the craziness going on in the world, I think traveling is hands down the one thing we absolutely need right now. When you travel, you gain a new perspective on life and it changes the way you see people. I think Mark Twain said it best “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Thanks for reading.