Update on the Target Cashier Who Criticized My Black Daughter’s Hair

Remember this?  A few months ago, I went to Target with my black daughter whose hair was not “done.”  In other words, I’d let it go natural between hairstyles, and it looked like this:


The cashier — who’s also black — was very unhappy with Naomi’s hair.  Here’s the gist of the exchange:

Cashier: What’s you name, sweet little girl?

Naomi: Naomi

Cashier: You sure are pretty.

Cashier, to me: Have you ever thought of fixing her hair?

Me: Yes, I learned how to braid and I take care of it, but it’s been braided for so long I wanted to let the parts rest a bit and give her hair a chance to be natural.

Cashier: Well, I have been looking at it, and I can tell you don’t know what you are doing.  (Then, she proceeds to give me directions to a braid shop in my hometown.)

Cashier, to Naomi: How does your mom fix your hair normally?

Naomi: in twists, in beads, in braids, in an afro….

Cashier: Well, you sure are pretty, but you’d be even prettier if your mom took you to a braid shop.

The implication was clear.  Naomi would be better off if her mother was black and could properly care for her hair.  Well, as I’ve documented on this blog, I’ve gone to great lengths to learn how to do my daughter’s hair, and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far!  During Christmas, I was shopping once again with Naomi when I saw that same cashier.  This time, I had “done” Naomi’s hair into twists, and it looked like this:

I took a deep breath and went through her line, curious to see what she’d say about her hair now that it was done — in my opinion — pretty well.  She didn’t remember us.

Cashier: Hey, little girl.  What’s your name?

Naomi: Naomi.

Cashier: Who does your hair?  [Then, looking at me.] I know your momma can’t do that.

Me: Yes, I am learning to take care of her hair by myself.

Cashier [Examining Naomi's hair more closely.]  Really? You did that?  Well, you did good.

It was a Christmas miracle!  I continue to plea for people to resist the urge to make international adoptions even more challenging by careless comments.  See Dear Black Women, Please Stop Giving Me Advice About My Daughter’s Hair; I’m a White Republican Raising a Black Child: Deal with It; and #$%@ People Say To Transracial Families.)  Also, if you are someone who’s recently had to start learning how to fix black hair, there’s a wonderful website called “Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care,” which will take you through the basics.

For fun, here are some other hair styles we’ve done lately:

After I took out the twists, we let it be in the “twist out” phase for a couple of days. Very sweet!


After I washed out the “twist out” hair style, it fell into these precious ringlets. She looked like Shirley Temple!

Today is “hair day” at the French household, which means treats, television, breaks, and lots of patience.  (Hopefully.)  I’m writing this while Naomi takes a nap, after having done about a quarter of her hair in twists again — I’ll post pictures soon!

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About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.


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