How Black People Came To Believe 4C Was A “Bad Hair” Texture

by Kayla Greaves


“Even after slavery was formally abolished in 1865, frivolous tests like “the comb test” were used in the U.S. to somehow imply that 4C, kinky hair was not socially acceptable. “An organization or institution, like a sorority or a church, would hang a comb outside of its door, indicating that if your hair could be easily combed with [a fine] comb, you could join,” Mbilishaka explains. “But if your hair would have gotten stuck in that comb, then you could not enter.” Similarly, in South Africa during Apartheid, people of color were forced to participate in “the pencil test,” to see if they could hold a pencil in their hair while they shook their head. If the pencil dropped to the floor, the person would be classified as white, therefore granting them access into “white only” buildings. However, if the pencil remained in the hair, they were forbidden from accessing those same privileges.”

Obtain this resource »