Of all the parenting issues to divide folks, it might seem that hair would rank pretty low on the list. But alas, earlier this month, we were introduced to a nasty fight between a black dad and a white mom over their biracial daughter’s cornrows, and now comes this: a black mom who says she feels “traumatized” after her Chinese in-laws shaved the heads of her biracial infants without her permission.
“I’m a Black woman married to a Chinese Man. We have two little boys, Jojo and Jasper. They’re both under the age of two,” explains Jade Shi, who just kicked off “In-Laws Racist: Need Childcare Help,” a crowdsourcing effort on GoFundMe to look for a new babysitter so that she and her husband can stop relying on his parents while they work. Here’s why:
“The day before Christmas, my Chinese in-laws (who baby-sit for us when we can’t watch them) decided to shave my babies hair without my permission while both of us were gone. (My husband and I have said no several times prior to the incident ),” she writes. “They still have soft-spots on their heads. I am honestly traumatized. This is abuse.”
Shi goes on to elaborate that her in-laws “cut my kids hair because they didn’t want to understand mixed/blasian hair. They don’t like my children’s hair. We’ve had relatives on my husband’s side of the family make comments about their skin and hair. I’m absolutely sick of the disrespect and I do not want my children to be raised to feel that there’s something wrong with their hair.”
The parents are trying to get through the next few months until they can rework their budget to allow for permanent, bilingual child care that does not involve the husband’s mom and dad. “I do not trust leaving them with the in-laws,” Shi says.
Shi’s husband has not yet weighed in on the upsetting situation, although plenty of readers on Facebook, where Shi — as well as the hugely popular blogger who goes by Love Life of an Asian Guy — posted the GoFundMe link, have made their views known.
“You don’t know me but I’m HAPA like you’re [sic] two beautiful babies and I completely understand the intensity of the situation,” wrote one supporter, referring to being biracial. “I hope you get all the help you need In the mean time have you thought about getting maybe a high school or college student who is either a Chinese major or Chinese themselves babysit?”
On the Love Life of an Asian Guy post, which has brought more than 2,000 reactions, readers were outraged, with some sharing their personal experiences and others calling the grandparents’ move “racist,” “disrespectful,” “abusive,” and “an act against blackness.”
The Love Life of an Asian Guy noted, “As a non-Black POC, it’s pretty astounding how much we overlook, disrespect, and downplay the significance of natural Black hair. For me, It wasn’t until college that I realized just how much effort went into caring for Black hair — both literally and from all the racist BS thrown at Black folks’ way. Now that my fiancee and I are 5-6 years away from having a child, I’ve had to really think about how I/the world will interact with my future son/daughter’s hair.”
He added, “In this case, this Black woman’s Chinese in-laws cut her baby’s hair WITHOUT permission. Not on only is this f***ed up on a ‘I’m the parent and I should control what happens to their MF hair’ level, but it also destroys the connection between a Black parent wanting their child to grow up with an appreciation and love for their natural hair.”
Shi could not be reached for comment by Yahoo Beauty, but her GoFundMe campaign was trending on Wednesday, and supporters there have been kind. “Go take care of your family show them love. This is just the beginning of people not accepting them,” noted one, who pledged $100. “Your family is beautiful and perfect, never forget.”