Collier Meyerson is an Ideas contributor at WIRED. She was awarded an Emmy for her work on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes and two awards for her reporting from the National Association of Black Journalists. She is a contributing editor at New York magazine and maintains the Nobler Fellowship at the Nation Institute.
As a young child, the bath was my least favorite time of day because I knew what was coming next: getting my hair combed out. My mother would plop me in front of Jeopardy!, lather a popular pink lotion in my hair, and start in on detangling my tight curls with a wide-toothed comb. When I’d sit down in front of her, she’d say, “I’m ready to fight,” addressing my hair. My mother, who is black, wears her hair naturally and cropped close to her head, but it has a different texture than mine. Each time she combed out my hair, she tried to be gentle at first, but by the end of the show I’d always end up in tears and she’d be calling me tender-headed. [...]