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I have always done a double-take every time I drove down La Brea in L.A. The huge red sign in the front side of the strip mall is the only thing that gives me a shock every time I cross Pico. The sing is written; “100%Indian Hair”. I find this sign extremely strange because as a South Asian woman, I always wonder what is so special about hair of my kind that beauty shops find it incredible to advertise that they stock original Indian hair.

It always reminds me of my former workplace colleague, an African-American, every time I get to think of hair weaves. I remember how excited she was the first time she ever told me that she was to add hair extension to her natural hair. She proudly told me that she would pay extra money for her extension because it was real human hair. But she did not know where it came from. This thought really disgusted me.  The process of making hair extensions involves use of long hair strands; sometimes they may be fake and real in other instances. Those strands are then fixed into the individual’s hair to give them an appearance of fuller, longer hair within a short time by braiding in, gluing in, clamping or sewing in.

This is much expensive. My worry, however, is that these people do not have a clue where the human hair comes from. The main reason why they go for Indian hair is because it is the best. Indian hair is thinner than Chinese’ but thicker than Europeans’. Once you treat it, Indian hair is less likely to break.

Web research indicates that in India, hair plaits are cut off from brides during weddings as an offering to god at their religious temples. It is from here that the hair factories collect it.  Indian women donate it as an offering to their gods for modesty. Sadly, the monks will sell their understanding for a substantial amount of money. They then use this money to fund hospitals, schools and other public facilities.

I do not believe this. First, I have not seen any Indian wedding nor  Bollywood movie, that they cut hair off a woman’s head. Secondly, Indian women have a fetish for their hair. They spend lengthy time performing the ritual of soaking it in warm coconut oil and shampoo it twice. Logically, only a very desperate woman would be in dire need of receiving 15 rupees per gram at a cost of cutting her hair. Thirdly, assuming that these women cut their hair off as an offering to god at the temple, I choose to differ with the opinion that they would be satisfied to know that the offering is sold.

What annoys me most about this hair trade is the mentality that colored women in the U.S. benefit from the exploitation of women of color from South Asia. I do not understand how a woman can get a bunch of human hair weaved in her head without any knowledge as to where that hair came from. Isn’t it the same way a person of color walk into Wal-Mart to purchase his or her clothes without caring who made them? My fellow people, where is the solidarity?

I am fully aware that I own the breed of hair that is everyone’s envy, and all I say will meet a “what-do-you-care” attitude, after all I have one hundred percent Indian hair. In addition, am aware that there exist a strong culture of fixing hair weaves; and I cannot stop them.  My point  is that it is crucial to know the whole truth about a hundred percent human hair, to know that that hair was, alive before being turned into a weave. 

Code: Sample20

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