White Woman Wears Afro, Life Changes. Or Something.

There’s a white woman running around New York in a big black afro wig because she thinks it’s teaching her something about herself and the world and how she sees it and how it sees. She blogs about it sometimes on her website, cheap viagra

ndafro.com”>Before and Afro.

This little journey began after she bought the wig as a part of her costume for a 70s-themed party. Apparently, some kind of inner enlightenment happened when she put on the wig because she decided to keep wearing it out in the world at random occasions (mostly at parties full of black people). I read the entire blog (in spite of how badly it hurt my face to do so) and I have no idea what the connection between her wig and this enlightenment is, and she never really says. It’s kind of like the GOP’s “we’re going to fix the problem by fixing the problem!” approach. She speaks so generally and vaguely about the purpose of it all that she just sounds crazy. It’s “a new way to view the world.” It’s “vital to the soul.” It’s a “genuine and profound and very real experience.” Also, vibes and inner peace and herbal tea and all that.

Before and Afro is a clueless, masturbatory foray into privilege so white I can barely look it in the face. In her entry “Let’s Get Real,” she insists that she “is aware,” that she knows that what she is doing can be seen as offensive. The fact that this whole bizzarro thing doesn’t end there is testament to how unaware she actually is. She insists that this isn’t about race, but then seems to try to justify what she’s doing in an entry full of pictures of random, anonymous black people. See? It can’t be offensive! Black people posed for her while she wore the afro, and even smiled! She rejects the idea that her wearing the afro isn’t a caricature or costume (…even though she bought it as part of a freaking costume), but really, it can’t be anything but.

Our hostess shared with us some before and after photos—her without the afro, and her after putting it on. The before pictures show a pretty blonde sitting posed on her bed, hands clasped sweetly on her knee, mega-watt smile filling the lens.

But then the afro comes on, and POW!

Look at those hip-hop hands! The confrontational stance! The scowl! The animalistic baring of teeth and claws! Is this who afroed people are? She surely seems to think so!

A couple of commenters, someone using the handle Paige, in particular, tried to tell her how what she’s doing is essentially the very definition of white privilege. To this point, our hostess addresses the criticism (again in her “Let’s Get Real” entry), essentially whining about being misunderstood. Dear Lord. I went to school with a thousand of her. There is nothing more maddening than trying to explain privilege to someone who thinks that they are the lone exception. They’re not the ignorant ones. No, no. It’s the ones who don’t know any better than to take offense.

Blatant white privilege aside, it’s just really freaking weird. I just have to question what kind of life you’re living to begin with if the whole thing can be changed by putting on a hat or a pair of glasses or some earrings. Because that’s really how she’s treating this afro. As a simple accessory, something easily slipped into and out of, completely trivializing all of the history and turmoil that black hair holds.

If you’re going to do this, lady, commit to it and do it all the way. First, ditch the cartoonish, goofy, ostentatious wig and get one that looks like it just may have actually come from your head. Something in your own, actual hair color, well-pruned and neat. Put it on and leave it on. Don’t just wear it to parties and fried chicken festivals. (Seriously. She literally wore it to a freaking fried chicken festival—“obviously an occasion to wear the fro.”). Wear it and keep it on when your boyfriend/girlfriend asks you if you’re really going out like that, when s/he tells you they prefer you long, blonde, and straight. Stick with it as your boss is gingerly looking for the politically correct way to tell you that your hairstyle is unprofessional and isn’t properly representing the company. Keep it on after those smiling nods of approval you got when you were so clearly in costume give way to scowls, sneers and giggles. Continue to wear it when people tell you you’d be so pretty if only you did something different with your hair, and as you sit through all those Herbal Essences commercials that remind you that femininity is long, flowing, silky, and bouncy. And when you finally can’t take it anymore and you want your long straight hair back, keep the fro on, but slather your head in a relaxer cream full of carcinogens that could very well kill you one day. I wonder how your outlook on life would change then?

But, praise White Jesus, you are in luck! You don’t have to do any of that! At the end of the day, you can just take off your hair, skip back into your privileged little pocket, and whip out your afro when you’re in the mood to be praised for how liberal and daring you are, walking on the wild side every once in awhile.

In conclusion: who do I have to talk to to get an invite to that delicious looking fried chicken soirée?! I have an afro; I’m in, right?

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Brokey McPoverty, aka Tracy Clayton, is a writer and humorist from Louisville, KY. You can find her writing at Uptown Magazine, ranting about hair at Natural Hair Problems, teaching the babies what The Man doesn’t want you to know at Little Known Black History Facts, and working endlessly to remind you that your favorite song probably sucks at Splackavellie Central. Oh, yeah. And on Twitter.

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68 comments to White Woman Wears Afro, Life Changes. Or Something.

  • lola

    no no no no no no no no no no no NO.

    and in conclusion: N.O.

  • Brokey, all I gotta say to this woman is: O_________________________________o. Her Twitter is @michellejoni. She might get a coupla these side-eyes sent to her.

  • YGW

    ……….. I’m so calling her a jezebel if i see her.

  • Erin

    Whooooooaaa. I have seen her before at a party in Brooklyn. I thought she was on drugs. She kept getting waaay too close to people and dancing all crazy. But again, I thought she was on something, so I didn’t want think twice.

  • Royce

    “Le sigh”…it’s like her ignorance has an ignorance all it’s own.

  • i’m just going to assume this is performance art. yeah, that’s it.

  • T

    What the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck?? I mean, I would do almost anything to eat those Korean fried chicken tacos she had, but I wouldn’t do that.

  • (Meant to comment as “Thorn,” not “T.” Not trying to hide my identity or my disgust.)

  • B-Zero

    Warriors,…come out a play-ay……

  • What is an afro? In the context of this blog, it is the magical goodness that follows “before.” It’s the delicious discovery of something new about the world, or better yet, about yourself. An “afro”—be it a new lipstick or a new career—changes your perspective.

    Oh the white privilege of it all! No ma’am. Just because you have “good intentions” does not negate the fact that you are objectifying and co-opting black culture just to make yourself feel good. I do not approve.

  • jlmad

    Excellent post. Now someone email, fax, smoke signal, morse code, tweet, fb, instagram or tumblr it to this idiot.

  • Lab

    I’d like to send this to my company HR so they know how offensive it was to watch coworkers workers wear Afro wigs as part of a 70′s basketball team costume o_0
    They were all white employees mind you.
    I wear my hair naturally curly and seeing the wigs seemed offensive to me.

    • Xm

      I warn you: if you bring that up, you’ll be seen as the oversensitive black coworker.

    • Whatsthatnow

      Wait wait wait – what about Jew fros? In my community there’s quite a few of them.

      (But yes, in all seriousness, given the context of a 70′s basketball game, the aim was probably to impersonate black men : (

  • Alisa

    Have you looked at all the entries?
    Specifically “Afros. Vital to the Soul”.?

    “People out there in the world are now looking at perception-changing accessories as afros – and telling me about it. Perhaps people are thinking of experiences and moments as afros too? Why yes!”

    Because having a fro is exactly like wearing a red beret.

    What in the entire fuck???

  • Yes. Where does one get an invite to a fried chicken festival. HOT.DAMN.

  • So this is not supposed to be offensive, because nothing changes about you once the afro is on….oooh okay

  • I’m literally so disturbed by this. Like, I live in NYC now, which means if she crosses my path, I will just have to bring the string of comments to her face-to-face. It’s beyond white privilege, it’s straight up racist. Ugh.

  • ID

    This article is more insane than the people leaving comments. Calling this girl white and privileged is more racist than putting on a any wig. She enjoys wearing the wig and getting out of her own skin. (no haters has nothing to do with being white/black/or fking orange for that matter). Getting people to think differently, and step out of their ordinary life. She’s enjoying your culture, not hating on it. Leave the “race card” out of this and read another blog if you don’t like it. :)

    • I thought about not pushing this comment through, but I figured I’d let it stand as an an almost perfect example of “you’re-the-one’s-bringing-race-into-it” cluelessness.

    • AJ

      Like most people who are sick of explaining privilege to the privileged, I don’t have the energy to demolish this load of crap; fortunately this is the Internet and I can offer two links that address these very typical, clueless arguments. Here are a few people who did at some point, though.

      http://weekdayblues.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/a-handy-guide-to-appreciation-of-a-marginalised-culture/

      “First of all, all white people have the right to another person’s culture, especially you! ”

      http://sitaronse.tumblr.com/post/24593859176

      “Usually believing they are simply ‘celebrating other cultures’, they act as if unaware of their privilege in benefiting from power dynamics set in place from centuries of imperialism, racism, exoticism, capitalism and colonialism. They may choose to believe they are disconnected from the forms of oppression that their ‘appreciation’ reinforces, but even their sense of entitlement to have their experience of ‘other’ cultures prioritised is symptomatic of white supremacy.”

    • Sara

      ID, why do racists always insist on talking about purple/orange people? It doesn’t make you look smarter, or less bigoted.

    • Michelle

      In response to ID-I’m sorry, what this individual is doing cannot be defined as “enjoying” a culture. Given the persona she has created for herself, using the wig as her transformational tool, she is epitomizing stereotypes. Privilege or plain ignorance aside, she would benefit from some serious reflection time.

  • dave

    is it possible she’s just trolling?

  • Julian

    It’s a good thing blogs allow inline photos; otherwise she’d actually have had to type the phrase “But some of my best friends…”

  • ID

    G.D.- I understand where your coming from but this statement eludes that you’re the one associating negativity from an afro, not her.

    “Keep it on after those smiling nods of approval you got when you were so clearly in costume give way to scowls, sneers and giggles. Continue to wear it when people tell you you’d be so pretty if only you did something different with your hair, and as you sit through all those Herbal Essences commercials that remind you that femininity is long, flowing, silky, and bouncy. And when you finally can’t take it anymore and you want your long straight hair back, keep the fro on, but slather your head in a relaxer cream full of carcinogens that could very well kill you one day.”

    Don’t be bitter.

  • I’ve seen this woman out in public. She’s actually taken a photo of my friends and I. Frankly, she’s a fuckhead. That is all. LMAO!

  • ID

    alludes. Stay on topic, you get the point. My troll skills don’t negate the fact that I have a solid point. mwah.

    • Prederick

      My god. I just want to bronze you as a monument to dumbassery.

    • now i’ll troll you: that’s still the wrong verb, homie.

      and you don’t have a solid point. This is the blogger, in her own words:

      Very aware that the name and concept of my blog is jarring and provocative. I know the fact that I’m a white Jewish blonde running around town with a fro does not sit comfortably with all.

      I know that women of color do not have the option of taking off their fro at night to have long, soft, blonde hair.

      There is a ton of political and personal weight here. While many of my black friends are all for it, I have been advised against doing this altogether by others. I am aware.

      but that’s not going to stop her! Because…

      The thing about me is, though, I have always been misunderstood. Misunderstood by groups of friends, people who know me from afar, and even by myself. I have always had people who dislike me, who push back on my ideas, and who don’t appreciate me. As I learn to wean these negative forces out of my life and seek only the opposite, there is still an underlying inkling of comfort I feel from not being fully understood and accepted.

      So yeah. A bunch of folks are telling her that this very specific thing with a very specific racialized history is offensive, and she’s telling them that she gets to decide what’s offensive and what isn’t, because, yay, self-actualization or somesuch.

      You need more people. You need LOTS more people.

      Dammit. I wasn’t supposed to be responding to this.

      • froda

        You know what? I’m probably the whitest person on the planet, I’m sure I have privilege out the arse and all of that, this is something I think I need more education on because I’m quite young and not all of this stuff has quite occurred to me on my own yet..

        But appropriating someone else’s culture as fancy dress is so fucking obviously offensive that I don’t believe for a second that she doesn’t get that it is. The last quote you posted, the thing about being misunderstood and stuff? That just reeks of “I AM A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE, NO ONE GETS ME” and is beyond self-indulgent.

        I think though, part of the problem with people like her, I’m not sure if everyone will be aware of this so I’m just putting it out there but the way white people romanticize and talk about other cultures, things like lingerie shops selling “geisha” and asian themed costumes, white people having Indian themed weddings and things like this, we are kind of encouraged to adopt these things for an evening, stealing someone else’s culture to be “exotic”. I’m not trying to defend her because I think she’s an idiot but I think I can see where she got all this from.

      • Whatsthatnow

        Are you f*ing kidding me with this girl’s comments? As a Jewish girl I am so FUCKING OFFENDED by this chick.

        And honestly this culture of pop-Eat-Pray-Love-navel-gazing-psychology sometimes makes people act a fucking fool. No, everything is not relative. No, everything is not about YOUR feelings. No, you don’t get to decide that because it makes you feel right then it must be right. And NO, this does not make you “SELF-EMPOWERED.” It makes you IGNORANT.

        I know that as minorities of any kind we shouldn’t feel like we have to take on any of our community’s BS, but am just so embarrassed. She is, as Jewish folks would say shaking their head (something often reserved for Jewish republicans, other defectors), bad for the Jews. And bad for all of us.

        BTW, as an aside, if people have been turned off by her for years and it just hasn’t clicked, I think there might be something crazy-cakes going on there even on top of her sheer stupidity.

  • M A S

    I want to agree with “Dave” and say that I STRONGLY suspect this woman is doing all this for attention. That in NO WAY excuses the offensive and just plain STUPID nature of the blog. I think she’s doing the whole thing because she needs some attention, and like many a good poor little rich white girl, she thinks the world (and all the stereotypes in it) is her oyster.
    The whole bit about “being misunderstood” = an inflated ego and the sense that she can do whatever she damn well pleases, because, let’s face it, life is about discovering the inner secret light that you can make shine through your individuality which rests upon the strong spirit of your tiger heart…..or something.
    Even with her convoluted, vapid, and nonsensical explanations of how she “realizes” the whole blog could look like the work of a fool, I still think she’s putting everyone on – the blogging equivalent of a streaker.

    So let’s not pay her any mind. Oh, and “ID” is her partner in crime, I suspect.

    • CB

      She’s a pathetic troll who’s so desperate for attention she’ll pull any stunt to get some. And then when she gets it (albeit negative), she claims victory for challenging people’s prejudices or something????? She’s not wearing an afro, she’s wearing a cheap, scratchy costume-store wig that she bought to make fun of 70s hairstyles. But afros aren’t just a black hairstyle– see, the white models in a Louis Vuitton fashion show wore blonde and red afros, too! (Because luxury fashion shows are so representative of real life.)

      As Whatsthatnow says above, everything is not relative. Chicken soup and fried chicken do not have the same culturally-loaded implications, sad to say. I find “White is Beautiful” to be offensive, but “Black is Beautiful” isn’t, for obvious reasons. It’s not as simple as tit for tat.

      She is now presenting her blog as a forum for us to discuss the “black experience”! Because she’d never realized how “achingly sensitive the hair issue was to people of color.” I’m not black, so it’s probably not my buttons she’s trying to push, but in my opinion she just looks like a dork.

  • sharon

    I think it’s funny that this woman is making it sound like she understands adversity just by wearing a costume wig. No one is saying that she can’t try and have an afro, but if she wanted to understand things more maybe she should try to get a real hair wig as the author of this suggested. It seems that she thinks that she is doing some great blog, like a new version of “black like me.” She’s just an idiot that thinks she being “cute” and could never be offensive.

  • Tiffany

    Her blog should be called, “If You Give a Troll an Afro” because time what she is doing is live action trolling. I haven’t read her blog and don’t intend to but I suggest she wear her Afro wig to temple- or is that disrespectful?

  • Lambchop

    This post was a sweet antidote to the exposure to her appalling ignorance. What truly amazes me is that the backlash she is receiving is not getting through. Her degree of self absorption is as thick as that flammable, fake nest on her head. How ironic her claim that enlightenment is what she feels she is achieving. She is Mr. Magoo, tunneling around her own entrails.

    But you made me feel better, thanks.

  • lucygoosey

    she always in these crazy poses/contortions? if i thought she was not being a goof it would probably be cool.

  • You broke this down beautifully.

  • Keisha

    Smh at her ignorance to the offense she’s committing…Def love this post in response to her stupidity

  • Angela

    LOL! You summed this up just perfectly.

  • Slow clap. Thank you… the last two paragraphs were everything.

  • TraciB

    Pure insensitive ignorance at it’s best. I went to school with people who did stuff like this. I work with folks like this too, who think it’s OKAY to refer to me as “sista gurl”. Same premise. They NEVER “get it” until you get them alone in the bathroom and have a very serious talk.

  • Red

    Oh dear, as a white girl who had a natural fro through the 70′s and has one now as a woman (and still has to put lye on it every few weeks to be able to get my hand through it) I’m thoroughly offended by the pictures of her in the wig acting out a sterotype.

    Did she mean well, maybe, but I agree it came off more as a masturbatory something or other. I can tell you there is a huge difference between how I’m treated by both races when my hair is in it’s natural state vs when I spend 2 hours trying to blow dry it straight after a whole lot more lye. It’s eye opening and a learning experience for sure even with my white privilege. Did she address that? No, she really failed in that respect even though I think she may have experienced it to some degree. Also her coming at it more from a cariacture as she did only skews & invites failure into any real light she might have been able to shed on the subject to begin with.

  • Nina

    Christ. This girl is a nightmare. What a sad idiot. Thanks for the article. This kind of naive posturing and pathetic exposition of mal-education should definitely have attention showered upon it. Truth is, as you point out, it is all to common. How frustrating.

  • rengeko

    god, to think that i worried excessively when i hennaed my hair and wore a kimono that i was appropriating. little did i know-i could have it all. i would say she gives being white a bad name, but we know THAT’S too late.

  • I am the whitiest of McWhitey ladies, and I have oft felt Misunderstood, but I would never ever ever consider even in my most Misunderstood moments, have considered doing something like this for attention, negative or positive.

    Is it so bad now? Do too many people have piercings or tattoos or rainbow-colored hair that she has to act out her Miss Understood-ness by appropriating somebody else’s hair/culture/what have ye? Has it come to this?

    There are so many ways to be an individual without being a racist or a privledged asshole, why can’t she choose one of those?

  • Kirsten

    As a white woman, if I had a friend who was doing this I’d be ashamed simply that I had a friend who was doing this. Hell. I’m embarrassed right now. There is nothing justifiable about this.

  • Bi-otchc

    She lost her job because she apparently was sucking at it, last had a blog 3 years ago and posted all of 19 times, and talks incessantly about social media.

    She is not thoughtless or ignorant. She is trying to capitalize on a provocative and controversial topic to pay her bills. And she doesn’t care if she’s really racist, because, well….what else is this poor girl to do but blog about herself? . What do you people expect her to do… Like, get a job or something? She is special, damn it!!! Just ask her daddy!!! And it’s not her fault that now bloggers are supposed to be able to write. Or have something relevant to say!!!

    God- it’s like nobody ever understands. Not everyone can be special. Because that would be….common.

  • Tired White Lady

    She’s making fun of black people. She could’ve liberated herself in sooooo many other ways. Tutu and waders! Giant foam cowboy hat! Just get fat and wear bicycle shorts like I do! Please everybody accept my deepest heartfelt apology for this insensitive lunatic.

  • Renee Bids

    The goofy facial expressions and exaggerated retro costumes say it all. She’s just trying to get away with blackface by skipping the face paint.

  • I am not what sure what the big deal is. But I do want to mention that some white women DO have naturally kinky hair (I won’t say what their relatives sometimes have called it). In the 70s, young, hip white folks with naturally kinky hair DID wear their hair in afros. It was just a relief to them that finally a style fit their hair (kinda like black folks with kinky hair were thinking).
    I know black folks always use that term “good hair” and equate it with “white people’s hair”, but even that is not accurate. All white folks hair isn’t straight and blonde.

  • I’m with you– let’s glue it to her head and see how long it takes before she realizes she actually does have white privilege.

  • fashion4life13

    This is wrong on so many levels, it’s just not even funny at all. It’s funny how white people innocently can do all these things and not be aware of their own history, yet when a person who’s non-white does something about white people we need to be aware of their history. I hope she stops with this foolishness…

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