06/06/2013 08:25 am ET Updated Aug 06, 2013

Natural Hair Baggage: Anti-Braiding Laws, Policies Limit Options


For many black people, hair braiding is uneventful. Short of being overcharged or cornrowed by a stylist whose work produces baby Botox effects, (Tight braids, yanked hairlines and high eyebrows, anyone?) the service is ordinary. However, hair-braiding legislation and policies complicate many braiders' ability to make an honest living.

There's Yolanda Dings, a 36-year-old mother of one. A hair braider, she contacted the Des Moines Register about La'James International College in Johnston, Iowa. According to Dings, the school had students doing janitorial work and miscellaneous tasks unrelated to what they want to pursue. In a May story, the Register highlighted overlaps between the braids that Dings wants to provide and state-required expenses.