It’s Tuesday night, I’m doing my nightly scroll through Facebook when my finger slips and accidentally clicks on a video I had no intention of watching. It’s a black woman, a news anchor, and almost immediately I hear the words “natural hair” and “in the workplace” and as a curly girl new to the working world, I’m intrigued. The next minute and forty seconds is complete and utter bullshit to me, but for the sake of reference, here’s the video I am referring to.
Malcolm X once said “The most disrespected woman in America, is the Black woman,” and the fact that the video above even had to be made and published for all of society to weigh in on proves that statement, if only a little bit. I really don’t understand the obsession that society has with policing black women’s bodies, but it has got to stop. We cover up too much, we’re prudes, we show too much skin, we’re hoes and if we wear our hair the way it grows out of our head, we’re unprofessional and it’s a distraction.
This video and the way Corporate America reacts to black women’s hair upsets me because still, in 2015, people of color are scrutinized, ostracized and down right rejected because of things they cannot control. I understand that broadcast journalism is a different playing field, and no I have not seen a woman of color rock her natural hair on a newscast yet, and that is exactly the problem.
Natural hair is deemed unprofessional because it is unfamiliar, because this student’s (probably white) professor does not understand it, because they don’t have to. But it’s about time that society stops using a lack of knowledge as an excuse to police someone else and how they were created.
There is NOTHING unprofessional about natural hair. In the past year alone I:
- Represented Dell on the University of Missouri campus with natural hair.
- Represented Bud Light on the University of Missouri campus/in Columbia, MO with natural hair.
- Graduated from the University of Missouri while rocking my natural hair.
- Got a full time job in the journalism field all while having natural hair.
And would you believe that my hair has yet to disrupt the flow of a work day? Crazy stuff.
If you’re reading this and you are perplexed, I want to help you: first, there is nothing wrong or unprofessional about the way hair grows out of a black woman’s scalp. Second, requiring a black woman to change her appearance, especially when it is something she cannot control is truly what is unprofessional. Lastly, think about why natural hair is unprofessional to many. What about it bothers businesses so much that they think it is okay to ask a woman with natural hair to potentially damage her hair in order to fit European standards of beauty?
Here’s a thought; instead of criticizing what you don’t understand, ask questions.
Stop demonizing black women for how they choose to wear their hair. Stop pushing European standards of beauty on a group of women who were not made to look like that. And please stop associating black features with unprofessionalism and ugliness, doing so allows others to and continues the stereotype that black women cannot be beautiful the way they were created.