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Rachel Dennison

In the course of offering strategies for helping listeners (and readers) appreciate the importance of topics they don’t have much interest in, Johnson explains why her own research topic matters. What is her topic and why does it matter? To whom does (or should) it matter? Summarize her explanation and argument. Did she persuade you that her topic is important? Why or why not?

Johnson's topic is related to natural hair for African American women, and how society's view of what it should be often is a harm to the black community. She also goes on to say that she has had issues with bringing up this topic, as not everyone can see why it is important to be discussed.
This topic matters to her, because as an African American female this is something that is a very important discussion for her, and the lack of enthusiasm that she meets when trying to bring up this subject is difficult to deal with.
This topic should matter to everyone, to try to repeal some unknown stigmas surrounding this topic, but as the writer states, that a large part of her work includes trying to convince people that what she is talking about even matters. In her work, she states there are 5 ways that she uses to get others interested in her work. She uses focusing on the bigger picture, making it relatable, showing the bigger impact, standing on the shoulders of others, and keep the conversation going to address her concerns and make sure she gets across how important her issue is. She states if she uses these strategies, she is able to get academic colleges to better understand her struggles.
She did persuade me that her topic was important. As a white female, I didn't even know that this stigma existed for people of color, in face it had never crossed my mind until it was brought to my attention. The author did do a good job in bringing her issue to light, and making her argument valid by including those 5 talking points. I will take from this blog post a new understanding of what hair actually means to someone, and how it may portray more than what we think.

Jeff M.

Much of academic writing is self justification, especially when it comes to topics that don't get a lot of coverage. Johnson is right to fight for her topic's inclusion among the ranks of academic study.

Danielle Han

Once she introduces the matter at hand, Johnson adds that she is also trying to manage "the expectations of employers, family members, and romantic partners." Already, she is answering the question "Who cares?" The people she mentions care, which is exemplified by the fact that they have premeditated expectations of what a Black woman should present herself as. She speaks on the fact that she listens "to women discuss dealing with coworkers who’ve called their natural hair “
'wild,' 'ugly,' 'masculine,' or 'unprofessional' and goes on to say that we're living in a eurocentric bubble. At this point, she is answering the question "So what?" She continues by saying, "try explaining that to a bunch of academics." The point she is trying to make is that the eurocentric views are not recognized and if they are, it will mean Black women can "go natural" without backlash.

Faith Workman

Johnson's topic is the expectations of society and African American female hair. This topic matters to her because these are the issues she has to face daily in her life. This topic should matter to everyone because it gives everyone a glimpse as to what it is to live with this type of hair. As future employers or peers in a work setting, it is really important that we treat each other in a friendly manner and more so support others in their choices.

Johnson gives a few examples of who she feels are the biggest people who it matters to. These is family, employers and significant others.

Johnson gives 5 main points to focus on. She states that she should focus on the big picture, make it relatable to her audience, show what is really taking place, stand on the shoulders of other and lastly that she just has to keep the conversation going. Johnson found that by focusing on these points when she talked about her topic that it allowed her to connect with her audience as well as get them to trust her and what she has to say.

Johnson persuaded me that her topic was an issue that needs to be addressed. Even as a white female, I have chemically treated my hair for a very, long time due to the curls and over whelming amount of them. It is something took a while to get out of and it can be hard to deal with the impressions of your hair as your going through it. There are always bad critics and good critics.

I feel everyone should listen to what Johnson has to say and should truly open their ears.

Mae Hobson

Johnsons topic is about Black women’s hair and how it affects their lives. It matters because of the stereotypes and social norms of society. Black women are judged by how they wear their hair. If they choose to be natural, it is “out of control”. If they choose to use chemicals. it is costing billions, ruining their hair, and has potential health concerns. This topic should matter to everyone. The subject may be a black woman’s hair but the implications on finances and health are a global concern. It is a concern for everyone because black woman should not be judged based on their hair preferences. This is especially important in the workforce. She did persuade me that her topic was important. I personally do not like living in a society where so much emphasis is put on looks. People should be well informed on any topic before forming and opinion.

Corby Svonavec-Latshaw

My thought's on Johnsons Black women's hair topic... I am a woman and hair is of some importance to me but I'm not consumed by it. I currently have long hair but have also had short hair in the past. Do I think one is better than the other, no. Honestly, it's just hair and I guess I don't think much about it because it grows. I personally don't care what color people want their hair to be, style or length. As a matter of fact I have a cousin who shaves his head bald on a daily basis and I happen to think that that looks good as well. Hair is hair and I feel you can do with it what ever you would like to do.

Lynette Judy

Johnsons research topic has to do with African American women conforming to societies, so called, standards by changing their hair. The topic should matter to everyone. Johnson includes everyone in her audience from marketing down to public health members. Johnson argues why women change their hair, to look as what society expects them to look like; so they can get a certain job or boyfriend. She also discusses the pain behind the process of chemical straightening and the potential health hazards of the products. Should this topic matter to myself and others? Yes, it should because each member of society feels they either need to dictate what each member should or shouldn't look like or feel an overwhelming need to look what they feel society dictates them to appear. Why should I, or we, conform my appearance to meet someone else's standards? Anyone should be able to get a job not because we look a certain way but because we are the most qualified for the job. Johnson did persuade me to feel the topic of appearance and what we do to gain the acceptance of others is important. She did this by looking outside of the "box".

Michael Cadau

Although I have no interest in the relationship someone shares with their hair this overall was a good read. Now, it can just be me being bitter because I am going through male pattern baldness or it can be the fact that I see something far more valuable in a person than their outside appearance. Although I have no interest in this particular subject it does not mean that it is not important. If someone is willing to take the time and share something with you then it is your job to show respect and listen to them in return. I did strongly agree with the point of standing on the shoulders of others because hey, if a famous person said or did it, it must be valid. Cheers.

Kayla Powell

Johnson's topic for her dissertation is "race, gender, and beauty politics". Specifically, Johnson is discussing the relationship black women have with "going natural" and how others react to them "going natural". I feel that this is a very important topic and feel that more people should care about it. I have a biracial daughter with natural hair, one would never understand the amount of time and energy that is put into the care for natural hair. But more importantly, prior to the birth of my child, I would have never knew the fight women of color have with natural hair.

Prior to reading this article, I did feel that her topic was important, however, there was one thing that I read within that I never thought of before. The relationship she explained between black women and health issues never crossed my mind. I straightened my child's hair once, not 5 minutes later it was curly all over again from the humidity and sweat. I never related this to black women avoiding exercise to keep their hair looking perfect! How many women are avoiding exercise thus increasing their likelihood of developing certain diseases? This is probably what affected me the most reading the whole article.


The depth of which she involves us is the pursuit of explaining her dilemma is engaging and I must admit not anything I ever considered being that I don't have her hair. As a white American with the expectations upon me in America I was always viewed as typical and I never gave a second thought to my hair presenting an issue to weather I was seen as employable or not. Yes I believe she makes a great argument and I need to note her 5 steps.


Amanda Coyle

Amanda Coyle

Ms Johnson has a very interesting topic concerning the relationship between black women and their hair and how society views women and their hair. Johnson argues that black women are encouraged through society to turn their hair more natural. This makes them more appealing to future employers, family members and romanic partners. I believe that Johnson has difficulty making her thesis sound as important as it is or taken as seriously because "hair" is something that seems more superficial than anything. I also believe that often people do not enjoy reading that they judge someone based on something as minor as their hair.

However, women around the world change their hair in order to make statements everyday. It is a powerful for of expression that cannot be ignored. Others are going to notices someone's hair. If a women's hair is covered, that is noticed. People are initially judged and evaluated based on their apperance, especially on first encounter. So even as a white female, the state of my hair can impact my career. For example, in the army, my hair needs to be pulled back in a tight bun and basically does not move for sometimes 15 hours a day. Its miserable. But its state makes me look professional by the army standards. If I were to come in with hair hanging everywhere, and the bun falling out, I would be yelled at constantly throughout the day, probably made fun of, and eventually I would get so tired of it I would end up fixing my bun.

Johnson's thesis is important because it gives us a deeper look on how certain individuals are affected by this otherwise superficial ideal: their hair.

Marina Hill

Johnsons topic is about Black women's relationship to their and society's relation to them. This is a topic that matters because it is an issue to a large amount of people and the more we can understand it the more we can be understanding of it. This topic should matter to everyone. It should matter to black women because it shows them they aren't alone. It should matter to everyone else so we can be less judgmental in the world. She explains how not going natural is a big money making business and we can be influenced by the money makers to think that natural is not pretty just because they want to make money. She also talks about the importance of hair to those who may not think it is a topic worth talking about and how almost any race or religion can relate to the importance of hair to them and society. She makes a point that whatever type of hair you have could potentially affect your health. All these points that she made did convince me that it is an important topic to talk about because at least one if not all of her points were relatable to me in some way.

Josh Maleski

The authors topic was to convince the reader that natural hair styles should be considered acceptable. The author states that the main reason is to go against the notion that natural hair styles are ugly, masculine, and unprofessional. I think the audience she is trying to reach is everyone who reads the article. I feel like she is trying the change the opinions of society, so that natural hairstyles will no longer be considered unprofessional. I understand where the author is coming from, but I feel most of her "five steps" are fluff.

For some groups hair has symbolic value. However, I am not to familiar with the practices of these regions to be able to comment if they are restricted to anyone.I think that comparing natural hair to religious head coverings, takes away from her argument.I think she might have used a better argument such as Jewish men having long beards, since that is a natural hair style which she is arguing for the acceptance of. She then compares hair to punks, goths, and hippies. All three of these groups are generally look down on in society, so I do think this is a good comparison to make if you are trying to make another person think that natural hair is acceptable.

The well is a website to advance black, latino, and native american students and professionals. I think that this is a perfect article for this website. Johnsons argument is to prove that natural hair is acceptable, she is saying that currently having natural hair is a burden on an individual because it is not considered professional.

In the book we have two examples that resemble Johnson's arguments. The first is parents used to think spanking was acceptable, but is now counterproductive. Johnson is saying that natural hair was considered unprofessional, but now that way of thinking is wrong. Also her staying that her study is shedding new research on the topic, this is also in the book.

I would like to communicate the overuse of antibiotics using Johnson strategy of looking at the bigger picture. I would explain that using antibiotics every time you feel ill might make you feel better now, but over time you will get sicker. I would explain that the overuse of antibiotics is contributing to the creation of resistant bacteria.

Andrea Wisenre

Johnson does a great job of explaining why her topic matters. Until recently, I was not familiar with the struggles that black women have with their hair. I did not know that after spending countless hours and large amounts of money on a hair style, that it could be ruined with the smallest raindrop. I learned from Johnson that women avoid exercise so that their hair is not affected from the moisture of sweat. It is sad that our society is so hung up on appearance that it is placing black women at risk for chronic conditions.
Although not every one cares about the struggles that black women have with their hair, Johnson pointed out that there are ways to get people to understand and take interest in this subject. She encourages people to focus on the big picture. Highlighting the larger problems of society, incorporate the monetary impact that it has on society. Secondly, it is important to make the topic relatable to their own situation. Everyone has a personal issue with hair that they can relate to. My issue is grey hair. I spend my precious time and money to get my roots touched up. Why, I ask myself? It is because I don’t want people to judge me. I don’t want to look older than I am. Having grey hair at this time in my life would decrease my self esteem and I would feel less confident. But I have never thought of the impact of putting chemicals on my head twelve times a year. Johnson also stated that one should stand on the shoulders of others. That is something that I never thought of. In addition, when you feel passionately about a subject, you should never give up. Do all that you can to let your voice be heard. She concluded that only you can begin to have the impact you desire.

Catherine Zehner

Johnsons topic is about African American women and their hair. After reading this article, it should matter to everyone but I feel like in particular she is talking about people in her life, her friend’s family co-workers and romantic partners are the ones who are directed in this article. This article talks about what society things that African American’s hair should be and what it looks like. Its hard to bring a topic like this up, because she doesn’t want to offend or make others uncomfortable, also she is one of not very many in her own class who suffer from this issue, so im sure makes it harder for her to be able to talk to others and have them understand her point of view. She did persuade me that her topic is important because she stated a few items to help convince anyone of their point. Focus on the big picture, make it relatable, show the real impact, stand on the shoulders of others, and keep the conversation going. All of these points made me believe her statement more, and made it more important to me.

Jacob Hebda

Johnson focuses on her own experience as an African American woman with "hair issues." There is a clear difference between her natural preferences and what society perceives as attractive. She has chosen the former path, which has led to some problems in her everyday life. So this is the issue she is attempting to tackle. Johnson states how she wanted to express herself fearlessly to her academic advisors. This is what leads to her eventual argument of how to connect with people on important personal matters. Essentially, she is teaching readers how to engage others. This is a significant quality to have because people frequently fail to understand one another. Johnson realizes the struggle of trying to convince others of something that is unfamiliar to them, and acts on it. That is why this topic is so important. It focuses on helping others become more confident in themselves.

Although this piece initially seems directed at a specific demographic, it is really meant for everyone. Johnson is essentially talking about why the expression of personal beliefs is important. She recognizes the significance of these strong personal beliefs, and this leads her to teach the art of persuasion. Basically, anybody with an important point to make can take something away from her writing.

Johnson utilizes five primary points in her explanation of how to engage others. Most of what she says involves connecting with others through the content of your commentary. Whether you use all five ideas or just one, the key is that you find a way to connect with the other person. Once that link is formed, there is opportunity for a truly convincing conversation.

I was undoubtedly persuaded. Everything Johnson says is credible and sensible. It is easy to understand her personal struggles in a frequently ethnocentric society. Her means of resolving these problems are practical and efficient. I came away thinking that if I can remember these ideas when communicating with others, I can be a far more persuasive person. Overall, I thought Johnson's argument was genuine and effective.

Sarah Champlin

Johnson’s topic is Black women’s relationship with their hair and how it affects their everyday life. It matters because there is a stereotype in our society that everyone, black women included, should conform to Eurocentric beauty (looking a certain way to get a job, significant other, etc.). It should matter to everyone, in her opinion, and that is why she is trying to persuade her follow academia to care. She describes the Billion-dollar beauty industry’s white-washing of Black women’s hair in order to sell products and services. She explains that we are mostly aware of other cultures hair, our ancestor’s hair (wigs), and even the symbolism of hair for certain groups within our society (punk, goth, hippie), so why not learn about and try to relate to her issue. She then goes on to explain the risks and impact of trying to maintain the societal norm for hair. Issues like Black women not exercising due to sweat ruining straight hair, which results in higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. Not to mention them chemicals used on the scalp, and hair loss due to extensions. She also used a high-ranking physician to catch our attention and make her argument more trustworthy. In the end, she did persuade me that her topic is important. I am very aware and conscious of what I put in my body and the house hold products I use. I am a firm believer in the more natural, the better. Chemicals that straighten the hair, prevent exercise, and make someone look “unnatural” are against my way of thinking and clearly not healthy physically or mentally.

Julian Gore IV

Johnson's topic is about black women's hair and the relationship that it carries with their everyday life. It should matter to everyone because not everyone can experience what she and other black women are going through with their hair. Any way that she would wear her hair she feels as if she would be judged. She persuaded me to believe her topic was important because I grew up with my sisters and their constant struggle with their hair. It was everything from chemical relaxers to getting weaves and even the thought about getting their hair cut short so its easier to manage. I have long hair and being part black I kinda relate to her and her argument. The hair and head covering practices are not specific to gender. I would use her second strategy to try and explain theses symbolic means to another person. The blog fits well with the objectives because its a good topic to talk about and inform people about. Johnson topic matters to some people because some people could have no knowledge of this topic and would want to learn more. I do not drink soda because I believe it is unhealthy for humans everyday life but I would not force my ways upon someone else. I would make a general statement, then go into details and try to relate with the other person, show why its bad and continue about it in an orderly fashion. I totally agree with Johnson's argument, i feel it was very effective.

Brandi Meriwether

Johnson's topic was black women's hair and how it impacts their lives. it should matter to everyone since it is obviously a problem that has impacted many black women and women who wear their hair a "different" way. I already felt that this topic was important before reading this article. I hear women talk about it often. If I was explaining this to someone who didn't know anything about it I would try to relate it to something in their life. that way they might be able to understand better.

Kristen Medved

Kristen Medved - 1st Blog Response.

In the course of offering strategies for helping listeners (and readers) appreciate the importance of topics they don’t have much interest in, Johnson explains why her own research topic matters. What is her topic and why does it matter?
She wrote that her dissertation was about race, gender, and beauty politics. Examining how Black women negotiate a politicized trend of “going natural” while managing the expectations of employers, family members, and romantic partners. She gave a very good argument on why this dissertation was of importance and how not supporting the “natural” black female imagine would continue to put unrealistic expectations on those women, even effecting their health, self-worth, and career.

To whom does (or should) it matter?
In my opinion it should most definitely matter to all woman, as unrealistic beauty and body expectations continue to jeopardize women’s health, self-esteem, and career. Conforming to societies ideal imagine can be exhausting and self-limiting.

Summarize her explanation and argument. Did she persuade you that her topic is important? Why or why not?
Chelsea Johnson used 5 strategies that persuaded me that her topic was of importance. Focusing on the bigger picture or argument that billion dollar beauty companies have profited from marking the need for black women to change or hide their natural hair/beauty in order to be accepted in society. She made the topic relatable by comparing to other ethnic groups, cultural traditions, and social trends. She explained the real life negative impact this topic has on black females such as lack of exercise, scalp scaring, toxic exposure, uterine fibroids, and hair loss. Chelsea used respectable public figures to support her argument, such as the former Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin. Lastly she did not let others depreciate the importance of this topic, she continue to share her experiences with a wider audience in order to gain more insight and spread the word.

Corina Enascut

This was an interesting topic to read about, our hair is a reflection of our identity because is personal and public. Johnson’s personal experience with black hair and the research she did made her understand the importance of this topic. Also she goes over the difference between chemical hair treatment and natural hair treatment. A person’s hair or cultural attire should not affect obtaining a job, or being labeled negatively because they are different. Also she addresses 5 ways of becoming more confident and successful regarding being understood by your peers which I thing is valuable advice.

Natasha Blake

Johnson's art of persuasion in academia shown through the struggle of black women being accepted for their natural hair is a very valid way of putting her point across. Afro hair for centuries has been disapproved, even within black communities itself and it still is an ongoing issue. The need for black women to feel they should have their hair relaxed (straightened hair) or in a weave (fake hair) to feel accepted solely because society sees this as a norm is wrong. This is an important topic, especially to myself being a black woman.

By Johnson highlighting this topic within academia is very clever as she is arising the subject with an audience who would never show interest in the subject of hair let alone black hair. She shares with the audience the bigger picture. Whilst putting her art of persuasion into practice.

Alan McNicholas

In the course of offering strategies for helping listeners (and readers) appreciate the importance of topics they don’t have much interest in, Johnson explains why her own research topic matters. What is her topic and why does it matter? To whom does (or should) it matter? Summarize her explanation and argument. Did she persuade you that her topic is important? Why or why not?

Her research topic is black women's hair, but more specifically, the black women's hair in the workplace, social settings, and romantically. She says that it does matter to black women, but it should matter to everyone. These unrealistic expectations of black women to maintain a relaxed hairstyle lead to activities (or lack of activities) that can cause increased health issues in the female black community. She also discusses that this is a huge business, so therefore it should peek interest in large corporations especially in the beauty industry. She did persuade me that it is an important topic, but it is not one that is personally important to me.

Derek Pollard

Chelsea Johnson’s essay on strategies to use when conveying points of fact to an uninformed audience matter greatly because of the reality of our fractured society. Johnson argues, and rightly so, that niche topics need to be studied and debated. She described the issue of relating to people who are unfamiliar with her research field and strategies she has successfully employed to inform them. I see a fragmented, tribal society of people living within their own bubbles, and thus I tend to agree with Johnson. I agree that not only is her study of Eurocentric influence on African American women important, but also that communicating with those who have little understanding of the world outside of their own experience is vital to increasing awareness and effecting change for the better of all.
I am not a member of an ethnic of religious group in which hair has any symbolic value. However, I have lived in places surrounded by women who choose to cover their hair and face, to varying degrees. Depending upon where you are and whom you are talking with in America, the hair and face covering by Muslim women is looked at with curiosity, distrust, or contempt. One strategy to explain that the majority of these women dress this way by choice would be to make it relatable to their choice to wear in public a cross on a necklace or a sweatshirt bearing the likeness of Jesus.
Johnson’s article fits the mold and contributes substantive strategies to the goal of empowering underrepresented minority professionals and students to successfully navigate their careers. While her article highlights the struggle she faces as an African American woman and as a PhD student in a understudied and underappreciated field, it also gives valuable advice to anyone who has ever tried to inform the uninformed.

Veronica Miller

Societies views on what types of hair is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ have for the most part leaned toward straight Caucasian styles; women of color have varying grades of hair that require hair-extensions or chemical intervention to achieve such styles. In recent years, black women have been transitioning from chemical treatments to allowing their hair to grow in its natural state. This topic of research would be very important to women in general because hair care is international; we all want healthy hair and women with mixed children would benefit as well as black women. She also mentions that hair maintenance has hindered black women from certain activities due to a fear of ruining a hairstyle. I feel her argument for research is valid because as a mixed child whose mother did not know how to care for my hair I had some interesting experiences with my messy natural hair and at times I damaged it. If my mother would have had readily available information I may have been saved the embarrassment

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