Our public art exhibit, You Can Touch My Hair, elicited some very impassioned responses on and offline, an indication of just how big this topic really is. We’d like to continue this discussion but this time give those outside New York a chance to voice their view.
As such, we’ll be hosting a digital discussion panel on June 20th, 2013 from 6-7pm Eastern via Google Hangouts. The panel will be broadcast live via YouTube and will include un’ruly’s founder, one of the models from the event, an event attendee that was for the event and one against it. We’ll have up to five extra places on the panel that we’re leaving open for anyone to join. If you’d like participate, please complete the form. Since places are limited, we’ll be randomly selecting the five additional panelists from the submissions.
Many have had questions about the event and we’ve answered the most frequent questions here. This panel is an opportunity to ask more questions but also to further share our perspectives.
4 thoughts on “digital discussion panel: you can touch my hair”
Hello. My name is Tanya Rogers. I am an African-American currently living in Jerusalem, Israel with my husband and two children. I would love to take part in this panel discussion. I have a hair vlog called Black and Natural in Jerusalem. Please check me out. I am posting a video on your event today, and would love to have your feedback on it.
Thanks for considering me.
I find the “Touch my hair” display honorable and thoughtful. Not all of us have the courage to approach someone (anyone) about their personal curiosity or the most diplomatic approach in doing so. I’ve been asked about my freckles from white people to tan to Black people. ALL of us are curious. The adorable Black woman who asked me if she could feel my freckles was amazed she couldn’t feel them any differently than my skin. In return, I finally was brave enough to ask about her hair. Mine is quite curly to frizzy. It is soft and wondered if hers was too. She encouraged me to feel her hair. Softer than my own, I was surprised until she explained the hair care products she is required to use to maintain it. I was impressed. I’m grateful to her braveness for approaching me first. It took a lot of guts because with her positive attitude came a friendship. She’s as offended by the protests AGAINST the volunteers allowing people to touch their hair as I was, if not more so. Again I say, it is much easier to accept the Olive Branch when not being beaten with it.
I didn’t see anything offensive about the touch my hair exhibit. Years ago, a white lady walked up to me, reached out, and put her hand on my scalp (I’m bald). She wanted to see how smooth my head was. I was pretty amused by the exchange and her curiosity. I think those protesting against touch my hair are getting angry or being insecure about other underlying issues, instead of embracing human curiosity and the cultural exchange that such an exhibit can foster.
There are people in this world who lack social intelligence and the sense of respect for the personal space of others. They don’t seem to understand that it might be uncomfortable to the person for them to ask about or touch for any reason – a pregnant belly, an interesting necklace, or hair. In some ways these people can be childlike or naturally lack social intelligence. I think it is rare that someone acts this way to be offensive. Sometimes I wish we were all more free about noticing and appreciating things the way children do and I try hard to forgive someone when they have crossed into my personal space if I think they have no ill intentions.