Another day, another black person penalized, ousted or thrust into online fame because of the way they choose to style their hair. Sadly, the stories are getting so redundant, they're becoming mildly comparable to my diminishing annoyance at another Miley Cyrus antic. Well, almost, but not quite.
The latest coif controversy to pique my interest surrounds a 24-year-old Missouri woman who faces termination from her job if she does not cut her 10-year grown dreadlocks. In coincidental perfect timing, shortly after the woman was hired, a new company policy on appearance was updated. The policy states, "dreadlocks, braids, mohawks, mullets and other hairstyles are against company guidelines."
Aside from the highly disrespectful fact that the company lumped dreadlocks into the same category as long-gone '80s fads, I couldn't help but view this as yet another attempt for mainstream Americans (white folks) to once again force African-Americans to simmer down our culture all in a ploy to blend us into the great American Melting Pot. I hate to get all militant, black woman on you, but that's the plainest way to say it. Think of it as de facto racism -- seemingly implicit actions with bold, intended, headline making results.
Unfortunately this young woman's ordeal is just one of many recent attacks on black hair. Just days ago a Baltimore woman alleged she was fired from Hooters because of her blonde highlights, or what the restaurant described as an "unnatural" hair color. How about the 7-year-old girl forced to change schools because of the institution's ban on dreadlocks. Or Dante de Blasio, son of New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, whose trademark Afro has now taken on a life of its own. I'm even reminded of my own personal experiences as a naturalista when random folks have petted my hair or referred to it as "too ethnic." Whether it's twisted, braided, puffed, fro'd, relaxed, ponytailed (Gabby Douglas anyone?), or colored some hue of the rainbow, no hair follicle seems to be safe.
Sadly, white Americans aren't the only ones who have a problem with African-Americans textured tresses. As it turns out, and as many of us know, black folks have some deep-rooted (pun intended) issues with our hair. Just last week, the blogosphere was riled up over the appearance of Bey and Jay's toddler, Blue Ivy's hair, and Bey's presumed lack of grooming when it came to her daughter's mane.
All the hoopla begs the question, why the obsession with black hair? It won't bite, shoot, rob or stab you. Depending on the style, height and circumference of the coif, it may impede your view, but other than that it's harmless people. Heck, it could probably teach you a few things on how to style your own 'do.
So with that said, I think it's time we implemented our own hair policy, and it's actually a pretty simple one. Whether fried, dyed or laid to the side, unless you're the head that's wearing it, the stylist behind it, or an innocent bystander eager to offer a compliment or trade hair tips, leave the hair alone.