Earlier this month the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that banning employees from wearing their hair in dreadlocks is not a form of racial discrimination. The ruling was in response to a law suit filed by the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against an Alabama insurance claims processing company on behalf of Chastity Jones, who was offered employment  contingent upon her getting rid of her dreadlocks. The reasoning was that dreadlocks “tend to get messy”. The EEOC stated that the “prohibition of dreadlocks in the workplace constitutes race discrimination because dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.”

Pardon my French but this is bullsh*t. Hundreds of years later, we are still battling colonialism and the white-washing of people of color. There is a long history of institutions and groups like schools, dance companies and the Army creating rules that almost specifically regulate and penalize black and brown bodies.  When read carefully, it is either written with an ethnically exclusionary worldview or is outrageously and obliviously discriminatory toward people of color.

Just recently, a group of high-school girls in South Africa led a protest for the right to wear their natural hair. The black students at Petoria Girls High in South were being forced to straighten their hair because administrators and teachers believed it was untidy and not appropriate with the school uniform. Children of color are often receiving messages that their natural selves are inadequate or unacceptable. That somehow the way we evolved, the way God made us was wrong somehow. Would these teachers ever tell a girl with curly red hair that she must straighten and color it blonde to come to school? Not likely!

African-American people specifically have been feed Eurocentric beauty standard or white-washed beauty since the slave plantation and it continues today. More than 1/3 of the United States population is black, Native American, Hispanic/Latina, Asian, or a Pacific Islander and census data suggests non-white people will become the majority in a few decades, yet until VERY RECENTLY there was almost no representation in media and when depicted people of color were rarely depicted in a beautiful or in a desirable light. Asian men are emasculated and black women’s sexuality erased or stereotyped. The saying goes "they want our culture but not our bodies", which is why there are plenty of opportunities to point out cultural appropriation in the age of social media. Curves on Kim Kardashian are desirable but obscene on Serena Williams. This is a big part of the politics of black hair and bodies. Cornrows are a new and trendy thing on Kylie Jenner but loc extensions are inappropriate on Zendaya. Well live in a society that continues to discourage and even create vehicles to attack women of color’s self-worth and beauty.

Truth is, you can have a fro or locs and be professional, the two aren't mutually exclusive. I worked for many years in commercial banking in the south east. I worked in a very conservative environment AND I had an afro and then sisterlocks. I am qualified and I know how to groom myself for the workplace, the expectation for all employees. For some rigid and narrow-minded individuals, Blackness continues to be synonymous with dirty, unprofessional or unkempt and this is simply discrimination and/or lies.

Black hair in its natural state is versatile with your only limitations being your patience. See below for some great natural work hairstyles.

Faux front bun by www.mynaturalsistas.com


Loc Bun by JungleBarbie


Pipe cleaner curls by TheLatoya


Simple elegance with faux locs by www.mynaturalsistas.com


Sleeked back curls by BeautybyLee


Pinned back twists by www.mynaturalsistas.com



The classic manicured fro by http://hairspiration.blogspot.com/

All gorgeous and "tidy" hair.