Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two Women Denied Jobs Because of Natural Hair!

Although we are in 2010, is it possible to be denied a job because of natural hair? Apparently the answer is yes per this article  http://www.bvblackspin.com/2010/04/21/six-flags-hair-discrimination-dreadlocks/  (which includes videos). This is hard to believe and shocking. The two women pictured below were the women who did not get the jobs they applied for because of their locks. As Bill Cosby would say, "C'mon People!"  I ask the question: Really?  What does your hair have to do with your performance as an employee at an amusement park?  It just so happens that the natural hair style at the root of the story here is locks and I, a wearer of locks, find this notion of denying work to a person because of their natural hairstyle, personally appalling. I have worked as a President and Vice President of organizations, a Consultant, Lecturer and University Professor with my locks.  My hair is a part of who I am and a manifestation of my level of consciousness.  Although, as some aptly put it,  I am not my hair; it is definitely a major aspect of who I am.  When I look in the mirror each day and see my kinky locks, knowing that my hair is maintained in the texture, as it grows out of my head, I feel wonderful about my self.  As I wash and twist my locks and know that every bit of the hair on my head is mine, and that I alone, twist it and take care of it, using natural shea butter, acquired from Africa, and that I do not spend  my hard earned money to contribute to the billions of dollars earned by the hair product industry (except for shampoo and conditioner and the occassional purhase of Gel from Whole Foods to tighten my locks or sometimes natural Henna to add a little color vibrancy), I feel proud. I feel proud of my heritage as a woman of African descent as my hands twist and braid and fashion my natural locks.  Who says that having straight hair or non-locked styles is more professional and why? So, the question that I pose today is should a person be denied a job because she/he is wearing locks or any natural style for that matter?  I am very interested in your thoughts. My closing point today to the sisters who were not chosen to work at Six Flags because of your locks is:  don't let this get you down because perhaps you are meant for bigger and better things and continue to lock on because N.I.C.E.!  You are beautiful in the darkness of your skin, and the naturalness of your hair. Lock on my sisters!  Today, I dedicate the poem (found below their pictures), written by Ossie Davis, to these two sisters.


I find, in being Black,

a thing of "Beauty";

like a joy; a strength;

a secret cup of gladness ...

a native land in neither time nor place ...

a native land in every Black face!

Be loyal to yourselves;

your skin;

your hair;

your lips;

your speech;

your laughing kinds

are Black kingdoms,

vast as any other.

-- Ossie Davis


Wanda said...

I just loved this article. When I was working in corporate america, it was very hard for me to wear my hair natural. I wore wigs all the time in order to conform. All aspects, in my opinion, of working in corporate america requires one to conform. I hated wearing panty hose. Now that I don't have to work there anymore I am just loving the ability to wear my hair natural, without wigs and chemicals. I hate that we still have to deal with such issues as hair on the job. My prayers go out to allthose that can't get a job because of their hairstyle. Hairstyles must be up there with credit scores.

Dr. Patti Rose said...

Thank you for your comments which are right on point. I too hate panty hose. Freeing myself from them was as liberating as my locks! It is truly a shame that we are judged by our hair rather than our minds. At the end of the day though, the company is missing out when they fail to hire such fabulous sisters because of their choice to wear their hair in its beautiful kinkiness. Nevertheless, we must keep it movin' naturally!

TheWhit said...

wow. What Six Flags has done is thoroughly offensive. It's so strange because there's this false sense of natural being the best way to go(ie. natural makeup, natural foods, etc), but in order to work, you are required to fit into some cookie-cutter standard. My question would be, What exactly are these women to do with their hair if they want to be hired? Perm it? Cut it all off (well, that's not an option because shaved heads aren"t allowed)?