Black Hair on The RiseBlack hair has been a total hair controversy for some time. And it's no secret that African American women have taken the world by storm and begun rejecting the ideal standard of beauty. It's also not a secret that with the growing number of women openly wearing their hair natural, resistance has increased tenfold. Women all over the country are shaving their heads and growing out their natural hair in opposition to the Eurocentric styles that have been impressed upon us. Now, your favorite magazine cover is more likely to have a melanin model with a massive fro versus one with bone straight 24-inch extensions. Even a representation of us on television now is more accurate than it was before. Actresses like Issa Rae wear their natural hair short or long, colored and, of course, naturally kinky. Sadly, with all these social strides to make the African American woman's natural hair a part of the norm, there is still resistance in the real world. No matter where we go there some reminder or initiative to make us think that our hair is less than. The government schools and Workforce have created regulation that represses our ability to wear our hair the way it grows from our head.
SchoolSchool-age children have been the targets of black hair repression for years. Now, schools create policies and directives that restrict the way students are allowed to wear their hair. In the name of protecting other students and portraying a particular image. More often than not, these young students are threatened with suspension and expulsion. Which interfere with their education, and all for the way their hair grows from their heads. Malden Charter School gave out detention slips to two students for wearing box braids, back in May of this last year. The 15-year-old twins, Deanna and Mya Scot, were also pulled from their school sports teams and told they weren't allowed to go to prom. After their detention was over and they refused to remove their braids they were threatened with suspension. In this case, the school had no way to justify the girls' removal from their classes. Schools have policies that prohibit students from wearing extensions like braids. Explaining that, these type of extensions are expensive and create a divide amongst students. Policies like these are wrong because they single out African American students. They are the only ones who grow up in communities where “woven” in extensions are a regular styling option. Also, braids can be expensive, but because it is our cultural norm some of us learn to braid our hair for $1 a pack. The use of policy and racially ignorant language is used as a weapon against students. We all know that any style could be considered “messy” or “unkempt” depending on the upkeep. But there is no reason for locs to be specified as the style to avoid, except race.
MilitaryJust a few years ago the military prohibited African American service members from wearing dreadlocks and even two strand twists. According to regulation women’s hair had to follow the following guidelines:
- The hair does not present a ragged, unkempt, or extreme appearance
- Widely spaced individual hanging locks, and other extreme styles that protrude from the head are prohibited
- May wear braids and cornrows as long as the braided style is conservative, the braids and cornrows lie snugly on the head
- Dreadlocks (unkempt, twisted, matted individual parts of hair) are also out of uniform