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"Not up to Par"

I remember being in high school in Kenya and, on two separate occasions, having a male schoolmate walk up to me and either tell me he didn't like my hairstyle or it was not up too par. The key word in that sentence: male. Did I mention that the schoolmates in question were both black?
My sin: my hair was unrelaxed. Whether it was neat and tied back or in neat braids/lines, it was apparently a problem. Hair was not hair unless chemicals or extreme heat had been used to straighten it. There were "approved hairstyles" for the middle class. And they were so well-known that even the boys knew what was acceptable and what wasn't. I remember some others asking me if I was saved because, apparently, that was the only rational explanation for not relaxing one's hair: a religious injunction.
Imagine I was just okay with my hair as it was. In the same way that I was okay with my skin as it was. There was no compelling reason to change them radically, no conviction on my pa…

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