There are many things that make us different and unique. From where we live, where we are from, our likes and dislikes, our clothes, appearance and so much more. These things make up our identity, and make us who we are and how others see us. People express themselves in different ways. Hair is one way of expressing yourself. It can be used by individuals as a way of showing their culture and identity.
Hair can be an expression of a range of things from culture, religion and personality. For example, within the Sikh religion boys grow their hair as a sign of respecting God’s creation. Another example of expression through hair is the wearing of dreadlocks. Dreadlocks are very common among the Afro-Caribbean ethnic group and are a way of expressing religious ties as well as a declaration of geographic roots and culture. How do you express yourself?
What we can do
Many times within society workplaces and the education system have discriminated against hair expression which has resulted in the exclusion of particular ethnic groups. It is important that we embrace what makes us different and accept the differences that make us who we are.
There are ways in which we can show our appreciation or compliment someone when they are expressing themselves through their hair. Things such as compliments and words of appreciation show individuals that you like their sense of style and things which are unique to them.
Often times, when we are curious about things that are different to what we are used to seeing, we may want to ask a lot of questions or even want to touch something we are not familiar with. However, this can make people feel uncomfortable or even as if they are being judged.
This activity encourage us to all identify our difference and embrace them. In a world where we are all so diverse, we must remember, it is amazing we are all different and it should be celebrated!
What to do:
Look at yourself in the mirror and have a look at all the things that make you, you! Think about what you see and how you choose to express yourself or would like to in the future.
Once you have some ideas get your piece of paper and other creative materials. Fold your paper in half. Once you have folded it in half, cut the paper into two.
Starting with one of your cut pieces fold it length ways into half.
Once this is done, fold the paper in half again. One last time fold it again (this will make you 4 dolls/people in your chain).
Next, draw the outline of your doll onto the paper.
Using scissors cut out the doll outline and unfold the chain.
Now is time to decorate the dolls! Do not forget to get creative and versatile with your characters. Think of the different people at your group, school, friends or family and the ways in which they express themselves. Some like to wear colourful clothes or hairstyles. Some people where headscarves or dreadlocks for religious reasons, some people like to always wear a hat or have their heads shaved. Try to draw each doll in your chain in a different way to express how each person is different but are still connected.
You could use the other half of your paper to create another doll chain to connect to your first. If you are doing this activity with others, how long can you make your doll chain?
Finally you can hang the chain of people somewhere you can see it as a way of reminding yourself that we are all different, and these differences make us who we are and we should embrace it!
Take it further
To find out more about Hair Appreciation check out this video
If you like this activity and are looking for other content related to anti-racism and embracing our differences. This activity colour portrait youth activity and celebrating difference