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The Significance of Black Hair in the United States: Background information when reading The Other Black Girl

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The Other Black Girl

by Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris X
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
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    Jun 2021, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tasneem Pocketwala
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About this Book

The Significance of Black Hair in the United States

This article relates to The Other Black Girl

Angela Davis with an Afro hairstyle in 1973 In her debut thriller, The Other Black Girl, Zakiya Dalila Harris includes but does not explain certain concepts linked to Black life. This may be an intentional choice to move past the expectation that racialized and other marginalized authors should clarify concepts and issues that aren't commonplace in mainstream white society for those outside of a group. An example of one such subject that Harris does not address is 4C hair. Black hair turns out to be an important theme in the novel, and also a plot device through which Harris spins her fascinating horror story.

Hair is an integral part of Black culture and history. In traditional African cultures, the way one wore one's hair could signify a host of things — from family and wealth, to marriage status, to ethnic identity and social standing. During the era of American slavery, Black women were often forced to cover their hair with a head wrap as a marker of their oppressed, enslaved status. After the Civil War, the ...

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