Dreadlock Discrimination, Natural Hair Movement, Don’t Touch my Rubba Duckin‘ Hair…The list goes On&On…
SORRY FOR THE HIATUS!
The 2016 election and family business took me away from my blog-duties for awhile. But I’m happy to be behind the keyboard again.
SO BACK TO BUSINESS.
Hair is a fundamental piece of our identity. And when I say “our,” technically I’m referring to all human beings, but REALLY, I mean people of color. Specifically black people.
I mean honestly, almost every race outside of the African diaspora have limits to their hairstyles based mainly on the oily texture of their hair. Don’t believe me? Let’s review the styles available: Hair is either down and out, in one of the MANY variations of ponytail (bun included), or if you’re feeling fancy, half up/half down. Oh, and long or short. Ever notice how non-black females will say: “I’m getting my hair cut.” OR “I cut my hair.”
While a black female uses the term: “I’m getting my hair DONE.”
Simple statements that don’t seem to amount to much. But both mean two completely different things. First off, non-black females make appointments to cut their hair, because it is the most drastic thing they can do to their hair. This “cut” denotes a major change in the way they may look from here on out.
Black females will rarely CUT their hair! Not because it doesn’t grow to extraordinary lengths, but because shrinkage does the shit for us! If you hear a black girl say they cut their hair, it will most likely be said in one or two ways:
“I had to cut my ends/dead ends” OR “My hair was unhealthy and needed a fresh start, i.e. THE BIG CHOP.” Just google it, we so rarely cut our hair, we created a name for the ungodly act.
If we want to see how our hair is short, we will use an app, a weave or a wig.
Damn near every instance in which WE physically cut our hair is for health reasons only. For instance, I recently cut my locks off due to health!
Can we have a moment of silence, and a lil’ Oprah Cry for my locks, please…
Truth is, my edges and my crown were suffering from the weight of my locks and the thin nature of their roots. The lady who started my locks did so unevenly.
And I wasn’t trying to live that “Bald-Dreadlock-Life” fam.
(Respek to Stevie Wonder. I’ll be lovin’ you always. But still…)
But please don’t think my lock journey has ended. It took too long for me to grow them babies. I have them in a ziplock bag, and after a good soak in some Apple Cider Vinegar and shampoo, I will have them reattached by a true Loctician.
But back to the point. Black women get their hair “DONE” because extensive work is taking place to maintain and evolve it. Our hair texture allows for a different variation of styles, and we are constantly evolving our look.
Simultaneously, white America and global white supremacy as a whole, have evolved their restrictions on black hair as well. And when I say globally, I mean recently:
South Africa 2016
South Africa’s student protests are part of a much bigger struggle
ALSO, South Africa 2016
‘I was fighting for every black child in this country’: Schoolgirl, 13, becomes heroine of South Africa after REFUSING to tame her afro despite school rules and launching protest
Now, for the breakdown of the black hair, please refer to the video link below:
Need more proof on the importance of black hair to black people? Consider Shaka Zulu (a popular television series in the late 1980’s depicting the life of an African King). In the series, black people depended on their hair to discern whether they were aging, or nearer to death. YES, the “black don’t crack” narrative spans hundreds if not thousands of years. So much so, that our ancestors depended on the graying of their follicles to determine if they were aging. Therefore, when Europeans appeared with hair dye, African Chiefs/Kings were under the impression that they were cheating death.
Even outside of aging, black people used the act of “grooming one’s hair” as a social form of interaction, a sign of wealth, and/or a stylistic statement. Basically, we were “doing the damn thing.” The texture of our hair is what allowed our creativity to flourish, and a multitude of styles to come forth. Our styles kept our hair manageable, while the different variations kept us looking “fresh” and the process, fun. It’s fun to change hairstyles.
Especially, when it confuses white people.
Now for the evolving of white supremacy with their bulls*** restrictions…
As shown in the video above, black hair was sacred, and therefore cut off during slavery. When our hair grew back and our elaborate styles gained attention, we were ordered to “wrap” our hair up. Even THAT proved unsuccessful, as our wraps were elaborately worn as well. When cultural assimilation started to take place (or the whole, “white + light = right” mindset), black people begin to straighten their hair to blend in with their Caucasian counterparts.
Chemical straighteners or unbearable amounts of heat were applied to our strands to produce the “flattened hair” society seemed to prefer. And right around the 60’s and 70’s when Afros, corn-rolls and everything in between started to make yet another appearance (since slavery), society demanded we revert back to straight hair, flat hair, weaved and anti-black hair. But remember, racism was a thing of the past…
SO instead of flat-out rejecting black hair in all its glory, the ALTernative argument was made that our natural styles were “unprofessional.”
The 90’s and early 2000’s were filled with perms and weaves in the workplace, with maybe a weaved in braid here or there.
Then came black celebrities with black-born hairstyles. Allen Iverson, Brandy, Alicia Keys, Bob Marley, Kid ‘N Play, Venus AND Serena, etc. Proud and popular, stars like these and many, many more came on the scene and unapologetically wore their hair loud and proud.
Natural styles were not the overwhelming majority, but they were most certainly on the rise.
Fast forward to 2016. Weave is still in the forefront. But black men and women alike are also rocking their natural manes with not a one f***s given. Some of us were making the change or “the big chop” (cutting off the majority of your hair because it’s damaged due to years of perming it) for health reasons, while others were just natural on purpose.
But regardless of the reason, black people were coming into our own. Particularly, locks (known to many as dreadlocks) were on the rise.
AND THEN HERE COMES THIS S***! White supremacy is at it again! Before, wearing your natural hair in the workplace was just discriminated against “on-the-low,” meaning not legal, but still happening.
Excerpt from the above linked article:
“We recognize that the distinction between immutable and mutable characteristics of race can sometimes be a fine (and difficult) one, but it is a line that courts have drawn,” U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan wrote for the most recent ruling. “So, for example, discrimination on the basis of black hair texture (an immutable characteristic) is prohibited by Title VII, while adverse action on the basis of black hairstyle (a mutable choice) is not.”
Immutable – cannot be changed
Mutable – can be changed
My immediate response to above article via Facebook post:
“This is unacceptable! A society who claims to be progressive, liberal, land of the freakin’ free has justified discrimination in workplaces based off of hairstyle?!?
You admit discrimination based on “hair texture” is wrong, but then turn around and legally justify discrimination on “hair styles!”
Hair styles strictly applicable to POC with certain hair texture!?! How is this not a trick piece of legislation??
I don’t have locks because I’m a rebel! I have locks because I was tired of spending money on hair I didn’t grow, and couldn’t keep, and the only “manageable” hairstlye my lazy behind could deal with were these healthy locks – that some court is now telling me can legally be discriminated against?!? My Hair Texture warranted My Hair Style. As most POC hair textures do!
Never have I ever expected there to be legal discrimination of BLACK hairstyles in 2016 America.”
Not too long after the ban made headlines, my cousin (a.k.a. my Locked Brother), cut his locks in order to secure a job in his field. And yes, the job requested he do so.
Plus so many others, were discouraged, if not pissed that legislation such as this was even considered, let alone passed. I mean, how is this not different from all the other laws created in this country to prevent black people from feeling equal, beautiful, or simply black?
Thank God, I am in a position professionally, where I can wear my locks (or currently, my fro), without consequence. But my good fortune does not secure my people from thriving in their own professional environments.
In retaliation, Instagram users (myself included) flaunted our natural looks with the hashtag, #professionallocs
And bloggers/vloggers continue to denounce the court’s decision on each of our individual platforms. It IS discrimination to ban locks being that it is a hairstyle predominantly worn by black people as a result of our texture – which is a physical trait that comes with our race.
And then for society and pop culture to promote the image of white people wearing locks is hypocritical as hell! I’m talking to you, Marc Jacobs and Vogue!
How a Florida Mom and Etsy Star Handcrafted 12,500 of Those Jaw-Dropping Dreadlocks at Marc Jacobs
Also described as, “Marc Jacobs’ next level runway hair”
Constantly insulting black hairstyles: Zendaya slams ‘Fashion Police’ host for ‘ignorant’ comment about hair
And then trying to redefine it as a some Caucasian discovery of “new” and “fresh” takes on hair:
Lupita Nyong’o Corrects Vogue After Comparing Her To Audrey Hepburn
Excuse me Caucasian Columbus! Can you please take your faux discovery somewhere else please? Cause we’re not here for it.
Long a** story short, the ban against locks is wrong. The war against natural hair is real. And we all need to stay vigilant and ready to fight it. Especially with the fool we now have running our country.
And for those who don’t wear your natural hair, that’s fine. Just don’t forget about us. I know when I was a permed out princess, I wasn’t thinking of my natural brothers and sisters. But the truth is, you have to revisit your natural hair at some point in your life (even if it is to perm it again). After a good wash, in an attempt to restore its thick nature, or even on the head of your newborn child, black hair will make an appearance. So let’s fight for it together.
And to all those hell bent on denying us our God-Given right…Fuq Outta Hair!