Here we go again. 7-year-old Tiana Parker was removed from school because her hair, styled in dreadlocks violates the school dress code. Deborah Brown Community School policy regulates “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.” It goes on to clarify that “For safety reasons, girls weaved hair should be no longer than shoulder length. Wearing weaved hair in multiple colors is not allowed. Boys’ hair is to be short and neatly trimmed.” Read more about the story here.
How is it that we got this point where we have regulated that a weave is an acceptable look for a young child but their own hair as grown naturally from their head does not maintain a “respectful and serious atmosphere”? What happened? Where did we go wrong? When did authenticity become an act of rebellion?
This isn’t the first story of its kind. Earlier this year a school in Ohio banned afros and braids in a new dress code (they later rescinded the policy after public outcry). In 2012, Hampton University banned students from wearing dreadlocks and cornrows, a policy that still stands. I am not shocked by the schools behavior. Comments from Black celebs like Sheryl Underwood, Andre Walker, Isaiah Mustafa who seems to bash, malign and feed into old stereotypes about the undesirable nature of kinky hair. Oh and who could forget radio host Don Imus “nappy-headed hoes” comment in reference to the Rutger’s women’s basketball team in 2009. This isn’t me searching the internet for these obscure stories. I remember them clearly because they are offensive and unacceptable.
To be completely honest I hate writing pieces like this. I hate that post about negative or derogatory content get the most views. I hate that I can remember reading about each of these events, vividly recall exactly where I was and how I felt. I remember them for the pain and hurt they caused. And it saddens me that in 2013 we are still fighting these ridiculous battles. I will continue until a time that is no longer needed because the outrage to such stupid logic is corrected and my voice is not longer needed.
My name is Haley and I have natural hair. I work in a professional environment at a large communications company. I wear my hair in twist, braids, curls and even a large afro. On top of that I have a patch of bright blue hair in the front. My son JK is 8, he wears locs and has one loc colored blue just like his mother in the middle of his forehead. We dare to be natural. Our natural hair, an expression of who we are, is not a threat or disruption to your business, the school day, or public safety.