Natural Hair vs Corporate America

By: Ashley Guillory

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Photo credit: Instagram: KETURAHARIEL

What does your hair look like when it’s done? This question typically varies between everyone. I asked a few of my friends about how their hair looks after leaving the salon and got answers like “on fleek”, “even”, and “bone straight”. In one of my classes last year, we discussed the differences in hair norms and how it should look during professional situations. I being one out of the three black girls in my class, my answers were a bit different than those of my white counterparts. It was until we discussed how a woman’s hair should be done in the workplace and in class that I became completely offended. Initially, we all agreed that your hair should be kept tidy and presentable. My teacher then pointed out how girls with “fros” and curls, predominantly black girls, are often ridiculed over wearing their natural hair in the workplace. Some students asked,” Well why can’t they just brush it or straighten it”? The “they” being black girls. I then decided to put in my two cents about how “straightening” my hair isn’t natural, and that shouldn’t be a requirement when looking for a job. But it still bothered me that my hair wasn’t considered appropriate for jobs and interviews. About three years ago, a middle school student was suspended for wearing her natural hair to school because it was a “distraction”. This issue has constantly been over looked or not seen as “important” by non-blacks. The ignorance over hair has even gotten to the point where even the U.S army banned certain styles such as twists and cornrows. Luckily, Instagram and Twitter accounts devoted to sharing the “fros” have shinned a little light on the subject. Users such as UNT’s very own UNT_NaturalHair on Twitter expresses some of the frustrations girls with curly hair tend to experience in the workplace and at school. With this increasing use of social media as a movement outlet, natural hair has become more accepted. Let’s just hope the retweets and likes continue to grows, and the prejudices against natural “kinks” in corporate American start to subside.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roxie-jane-hunt/hair-race-and-greater-understanding_b_7538656.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2513893/Florida-girl-threatened-expulsion-afro-hair.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/01/opinion/when-black-hair-is-against-the-rules.html?_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/05/black-women-natural-hair-at-the-workplace_n_2811056.html

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism