Are Black Women Being Punished for Wearing Their Hair In Its Natural State?
Whenever I read a news report about a black woman or child who has been treated differently because of how they chose to wear their hair – au naturel – it makes me wonder: Are we being punished for having natural hair?
Okay, I’ll concede that the word ‘punished’ may come across as a bit dramatic. But take the following into consideration:
- There’s the story of the young girl who was threatened with expulsion if she didn’t cut and shape her “distracting” hair.
- Consider the story about weather forecaster which we featured in the article Is Natural Hair Still An Issue in the Workplace who appears to have been fired after defending her choice to wear her hair natural on a Facebook post after a viewers’ derogatory comments.
- During a symposium held at Georgia State University and attended by 100 black women in 2013 called Black Women, Their Hair & The Work Place – A Dialogue, the topic of not being able to find or hold on to a job due to their natural hair was a recurring theme during the panel discussion.
No young school girl should be discriminated against for wearing her hair natural. No woman should be forced to downplay her looks just so that she can keep her job.
Black people’s hair simply grows differently. It’s laughable that ‘different’ seems to be equated to ‘bad’ or ‘less than’. Why shouldn’t black men and women have the right to wear our hair in public in the way that it grows out of our heads; just like those whose hair happens to be straight?
Until as a society we move away from the distorted view that what is acceptable, professional, and beautiful is a standard of beauty that is euro-centric, our great grand children will be having this unfortunate discussion.
What’s been your experience in with wearing natural hair at work? Leave a comment below.
|“Changing attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural.|
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When I first went natural I would always wear my hair in some form of an “updo” for work. That was back in 2011. Now, I have embraced my natural hair and will rock it any way I want to work. I once was interviewed by an African American sister who commented on how much she liked my hair but felt she would lose her job if she attempted to wear her natural crown. I felt sorry for her 🙁 I have always been advised to never accept a position from a company that questions how I style my hair.
Thanks Tina! There are those companies or hiring managers who let their personal viewpoints on what is considered beautiful or professional cloud their judgement. I have been fortunate to work for forward thinking companies but what happens when your options are limited and you are forced to choose between being unemployed or gainfully employed because of your hair? I wonder what I would really do if I were forced to choose between my hair and paying my bills and taking care of my daughter… Luckily, I’ve never had to find out.