“Good Hair” and other Dubious Distinctions

Conversations about hair, aren’t really about hair. They’re more about value, privilege, identity and shame which is why we need to have them. “Good hair” and other Dubious Distinctions seeks to engage its viewers in a dialogue about:

  • How we contribute to the health and well being of others.
  • How we contribute to the reproduction of shame in our families and communities.
  • Language and Symbolic Violence.
  • Black Diversity and the Myth of the Monolith.
  • Understanding beauty as a constructed notion.
  • Pressure, conformity and acceptance.
  • How these issues impact women as well as men, the old as well as young and much, much more.

The Director, Camille S. DeBose has a Masters degree in Sociology and has taught extensively in the field with a research focus on Media and the Self. Her terminal degree is an earned MFA in Digital Cinema. The runtime for this film is 34 minutes making it a great jumping off point for an engaged discussion and analysis.   To schedule a screening and Director talk for your class visit or special program, send a message to: cdsocmedia@gmail.com – subject line: Film Visit   To purchase film: 

Institutional license           199.00
Community license               89.00


Full review by Video Librarian: “Good Hair” and Other Dubious Distinctions *** (2012) Less star-studded than Chris Rock’s big screen documentary Good Hair (VL-3/10), which looked at the myths and stigma surrounding “good hair” in the black community, this effort from C.S. DeBose also explores the subject of how natural hair is used as a means of stereotyping, along with other “dubious distinctions,” including certain facial features and degrading practices such as the “paper bag test” (i.e., your social mobility could be determined by how your skin compares to the shade of a paper bag), which can further engender class distinctions, tension, and mistrust within a cultural group. Featuring commentary from professionals—including professors, a historian, and a poet activist—as well as real people, the program offers hope about gaining respect and acceptance, reminding viewers that, “Who you are is what you’ve put in….” Sure to spur discussion, this is recommended. Aud: P. (J. Williams-Wood)

Verena Graupman– Faculty- DePaul University, Chicago: “I have shown the film Good Hair and Other Dubious Distinctions in my class Cultural Issues to elucidate the role of culture within culture. The film gives excellent insights and analysis of how the treatment of hair within African American culture resonates larger issues of oppression in society as a whole that become replicated within culture. The personal narratives that are integrated by sociological and psychological discussion make the content of the film very interesting, tangible and relatable. Especially at a point during my course where students had built up a set of theories and concepts to apply to cultural issues, the film was a great opportunity to engage in profound discussion and in the application of learned concepts.”


One thought on ““Good Hair” and other Dubious Distinctions

  1. Pingback: List of Movies & Films about Colorism | Colorism Healing

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