Altered Beauty: African-Caribbean Women Decolonizing Racialized Aesthetics in Toronto, Canada
Keywords:African-Caribbean, beauty, Critical Race Theory, hairstyles, racism, women
This study reviews narratives of black Canadian women who problematize the racism that they face in relation to beauty. Critical Race Theory is used to analyze the effects of hair and skin discrimination and the consequences of ideological racism surrounding perceptions of beauty. The participants review material aids, discuss their past experiences with racism, and reveal anti-racist strategies in order to decolonize normalized grooming practices.Her skin is dark. Her hair chemically straightened. Not only is she fundamentally convinced that straightened hair is more beautiful than curly, kinky, natural hair, she believes that lighter skin makes one more worthy, more valuable in the eyes of others. Despite her parents’ effort to raise their children in an affirming black context, she has internalized white supremacist values and aesthetics, a way of looking and seeing the world that negates her value. Of course this is not a new story.
—bell hooks, Black Looks: Race and Representation
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