Natural Hair: Why Aren’t You Accepted? By Tian Taylor

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Imagine being told that the natural texture of your hair is accepted only in recreational facilities.  This means you cannot wear your hair in its natural texture to school, work, or any other professional institutions/facilities.  A person who is being told this may respond, “Why?”  Imagine the response is, “Well it is a distraction, not manicured. It’s unattractive and not accepted.” Assume the person with natural hair conforms and says, ” Ok. Well how should I wear my hair?” The response? “Well you’ll wear it normal, manicured, attractive…basically the complete opposite of your natural texture. Now that… is more acceptable.” This is the solution that people of color (globally) are given when their natural texture is displayed in non-recreational facilities.

In  2016, centuries after the abolishment of slavery and decades after the abolishment of discriminatory laws (mainly in the developed countries), the average person would believe that those who reside in developed countries, who often  take pride in their values of amalgamation, would not face this type of issue. Unfortunately, coiled hair (depending on the tightness) is not accepted in certain institutions. For several weeks,  there were  protest in Johannesburg, South Africa, in which black students at an all-girl’s school, Pretoria High school, were protesting against racist policies that prevent them from wearing their hair in its natural texture, as well as policies that even prevent them from speaking  their native language. Just think of the  fact that Africans are fighting to be African in Africa! These girls are unfortunately left with the ultimatum of  attending  ‘creditable” education that offers  he best education, but they have to assimilate to Eurocentric standards or not  assimilate. Unfortunately these  (private schools) schools are the ones that inflict these rules and regulations.

You also have these regulations at institutions right here in the United States.   In corporate America, employees cannot wear their hair at its natural state. The  many corporate policies  often state  that hair cannot have volume, braids, or be a distraction to the work place.   For example, in 2013, a 12-year-old girl named Vanessa Vandyck was told she had to change her hair otherwise she would be expelled for not following the schools’ dress code which stated …hair cannot be a distraction and it has to be its natural color.  In the Dominican Republic, Carolina Contreras opened a salon to cater to Afro-Latinas to embrace their natural hair.  Shortly after, a 16-year girl who came to her for a short hair cut, called her hysterically after stating that she could not enter a privileged high school that she applied for because of her afro.

In addition to these previous examples, there are numerous accounts of people being told that their natural hair is not accepted all over the world. This issue is much deeper than just hair. A lot of women and men wear their coils at its natural state because it not only displays that this person is accepting their natural self, but also appreciating their African ancestry and not hiding it. However, not everyone feels the same.  Natural hair is not only rejected in many areas, but sometimes it is not accepted by ones’ family. The standard of Europeanized beauty has become so globally prominent that some Black mothers or fathers have agreed to not accept natural hair. Or natural hair does not exude a professional appearance.  This is not just an American or South African concern; this is a societal issue in which society does not accept natural hair because society does accept African centered beauty.  There are often times in which it is appropriated, but not accepted. So my question is why do you fear something as minuscule or as simple as a person allowing their hair to grow naturally from their head? What does this represent for you?

 

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