Natural Hair and the Workforce

 

See that picture above? That’s me. Notice my sweet a$$ afro? Most days, I love this thing.  I’m into hair anyway, but my afro is like a symbol of liberation for me. And I’m not talkin about in a militant, raised fist way. I mean literal liberation–from the salon chair, from the constraints of weather, from the concerns about swimming. I only get my hair done when I need a trim…what, once every three or five months? Versus that swinging pendulum of a 6-week timespan that beckons ever-nearer from the second a new, kinky strand dared spring forth from my head. Yall, I have never been more free.

Like I said,

Most times I love it.

But wearing my hair natural forces me to confront a lot of different perceptions on a fairly regular basis. There are the “why would you ever do that’s,” the “Oh it looks good on you but I could nevers,” the “go ‘head soul sistahs,” and, of course, the “…but you’ll never find a job.”

That’s the one I’m dealing with now.

I have an interview tomorrow! I’m so excited! *pause for party break*
I’m so excited about this job opportunity,

…man. you guys. I had this post all finished, and it was #gold. I promise. But my computer completely crapped out on me and I guess WordPress doesn’t autosave drafts.

And I’m not even feeling it anymore. I’m sorry. So I will just summarize, and draw you a picture of a sorry pony. I hope that makes up.

Basically, I was saying I don’t know if my future employer will respond positively to my fro. I don’t want to straighten it, but Ask a White Guy said that there are times when us naturals are passed over for opportunities.

Anyway, here’s my sorry pony.

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6 responses to “Natural Hair and the Workforce

  1. Amazing post. I have bookmarked your site. I am looking forward to reading more

  2. Spotted your internet site via google the other day and absolutely like it. Keep up the truly great work.

  3. Thank you! I really appreciate that!

  4. I must congratulate you for highlighting a subject matter that affects many Persons of African Ancestry of both genders i.e. the submission, subjugation and subscription to cultural imperialism at significant cumulative financial cost to themselves. You are indeed a rare breed! I note that the post went public a couple of years ago with rather few responses, which highlights the degree to which many have been misled consciously or unconsciously into fashion, cosmetic and cultural enslavement.

    You used the word LIBERATION which is critical because that is the highest fulfilment of human life. As a preamble, may I state that it is the right of all regardless of their ethnic or geographical background to assert their cultural identity as and when they wish. From this standpoint it is revulsive that anybody be compelled, directly or indirectly into suffocating their cultural expressions – be it hairstyle or otherwise; moreso where there is no standard uniform prescriptions in a workplace.

    Given the immense significance for the matter to the cultural liberation, integral to the Total Emancipation and Holistic Liberation Process for all Persons of African Ancestry, I feel a need to break from my research to comment, albeit briefly.

    The problem is so widespread where cultural imperialism has become the nrom rather than the rarity. Is it worth raising an issue? Definitely – there should be a reignition of open, frank and honest debate about the singificance of cultural including fashion identity, of course mindful of globalisation and the need to check and balance its aggression on cultural heritage of especially Persons of African Ancestry.

    Specifically to the workplace, it is sad that many have to put up with cultural dilusion or marginalisation so as to ‘fit-in’. However this is not to be taken as sane – people need to just be who they are culturally and be proud of it. By the way, ultimately there’s no point working for someone who is hostile to your cultural identity to the degree of discriminating against you for your natural hairstyle. Simply because that is a sign of an unhappy, cruel, oppressive working experience which on balance is worth passing. I understand this is sensitive especially in an environment of historic economic recession, but that does not diminish in anyway the consideration that you have given to this matter, moreso in the wider context. Not all can become employers, but when one is that conscious about cultural rights of identity, then perhaps it is worth considering carefully chosing your Employer as well as self-employment opportunities.

    Sorry, I got to run – but wish you the very best, Max Empowerment and Holistic Liberation. You look stunning with the Afro anyways. By all means keep it up whenever you are able to.

    • Thank you for reading and giving such thoughtful feedback. It actually was really well-timed because I’m going through a bit of frustration with my natural hair right now because I’ve found it requires much different care than relaxed hair. Your post kind of made me remember how I used to feel about it–liberated. I agree with you that I wouldn’t want to work for someone who was that culturally biased, and I’m also happy to say two years later that I’ve endured much less resistance to my natural hair than I thought I would

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