“I grew up believing that African Americans (Black people) didn’t get lice.”
For as long as I can remember, I was told that I could not get lice because Black people don’t get lice. I had every reason to believe it since I knew no one that ever had it.
I would have probably died with that belief had I not experienced an incident where African American children had been infected with lice. Yes, I was the Director of Children’s Ministry at a multicultural Church, and one day a few kids from one of our families came to church with lice.
Initially, I was concerned, but since there were only a few children that I believed could even get lice because the majority of the kids were Black, therefore I didn’t freak out over it. I notified all the parents, thoroughly cleaned the children’s area, and moved on. A few days later, I was talking to a parent and she told me that her kids were infected with lice and it was so hard getting rid of them. I could not believe it….I was in total shock. I asked, “are you serious, I didn’t think Black people got lice.” She agreed. She had been taught that same superstition but her children were infected and she had to treat them.
I began researching lice and if Black people could get it and to my surprise, the answer was YES. I found that there had been several studies done to figure out why Black people didn’t get lice as often as white people. The most common reason was the treatment of the hair. Most Black boys get their hair cut, which helps with remedying the lice problem, and Black girls tend to get their hair straightened and use a good amount of oil. Both immediately kills lice.
So, when I received a notification from my son’s school about lice, I was glad I had researched lice and knew that I needed to ensure that he didn’t have it…because he could.
So, I followed the “How to Check for Head Lice” checklist
1) I checked Chance’s hair in sections. That was hard because it’s so short.
2) I held a piece of paper near the section.
3) I pulled the nit comb through his hair. Luckily for me, my son Chance did not have lice.
I realize that lice aren’t the type of guest you want in your home, we certainly didn’t expect them at church…and everyone is welcomed there. But seriously, not wanting them will not make them go away once you get them. And if you are Black and were raised as I was thinking that Black people can not get lice, please know you can.