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The purpose of this experimental study investigates whether racial salience in Black populations determines one’s liking of Black women’s natural hair through a sample of 33 male and female college students. Racial salience is a predictor of racial identification. Furthermore, racial identity in ethnic minorities is positively correlated with self-esteem. Because racial identity is associated with self-esteem, individuals who do not have adequate self-esteem are less likely to reject imposed Eurocentric beauty standards and will therefore struggle to embrace Afrocentric phenotypes such as natural hair. For these reasons, I hypothesize participants exposed to a Black racial identity stimulus will report greater affinity for natural hair than those exposed to a race-neutral stimulus. The materials included surveys which measured Black racial identity and self-esteem. Half of the sample engaged in the experimental group (N=17), of a Black racial identity stimulus activity which alluded to themes of racial salience such as racial socialization while others in the control group responded to salience of age (N=16). After both groups encountered the stimuli, they evaluated photos of Black women with different hairstyles (some who wore natural hair). Results indicate causality does not occur in racial salience and affinity for natural hair. However, the sample’s data yielded in one new correlation, but demonstrated a lack of significance in correlations previous ethnic identity researchers confirmed such as racial centrality being positively associated with self-esteem. Implications suggest higher private regard positively associates with greater liking for natural hair.

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