I am a security guard with a company that is apparently taking the route of many other racist companies and banning Black hairstyles. Let me explain. There was a big mandatory meeting that everyone in the company had to attend. The meetings were split up into 9 different meetings on 3 different days so that people could choose which to attend. I went to the very first one and it was ghetto and unorganized and didn’t receive the same treatment/info as other meetings. Anyway to I came into work and my Ethiopian co-worker said “They didn’t tell you in the meeting that you can’t wear braids?”. My response was “What”? She went on to tell me that the heavy set Latino woman (who told everyone that their white shirts weren’t clean enough and it was unprofessional, in my meeting) pulled her and another Black woman aside and told them that they couldn’t wear braids because they are unprofessional. This is not the first time I have heard this from a company as Universal Citywalk’s (That’s right. I named names) security has it written into the dress code (no braids or twists) but it is offensive every time. How can they ban hairstyles that are clearly associated with a specific race? Braids and twists are predominantly worn by Blacks.
My co-worker said she was wearing cornrows. I was wearing fat individual braids to prepare for a braidout. Really? A security guard now has to look like a secretary? I wonder what hairstyles they deem professional for Black women since nobody in the office is Black. Universal’s supervisor was a Black woman who thought is was ridiculous to question it and told me she just wore a ponytail everyday. At the time I was relaxed and super bald headed so wearing a ponytail wasn’t even possible and if I grew enough hair to have one I wouldn’t risk the pulling and damage. Is a ponytail the only hairstyle that a Black woman is allowed to wear? Is it pure racism to do away with hairstyles that are associated with a race?
I am even more upset because I am a natural hair blogger/vlogger and I speak about the damage that can come from pulling your hair too tight or having it out and exposed to the elements. Is my job saying that protective styling and low manipulation styles are a no-no? Is my hair only acceptable relaxed and in a ponytail?
I’ve also wondered these things. I work with a white woman with long straight hair. Today her hair is all back with a braid in the back. Is it acceptable for her to wear that style? Would she be pulled aside in a meeting because of it? I doubt it.
If I washed my hair and conditioned and let it air dry and my white co-worker did they same and we both came to work would one of us get in trouble for our hair? Hers would fall down straight. Mine would be in a very tight shrunken Afro. Essentially we have done the same thing to our hair so why would mine be less acceptable.
I am still wearing braids because I work graveyard and nobody sees me anyway but I am wondering if the higher ups need to be schooled on the dangers of certain hairstyles and the racist overtones of the “rule/opinion”. Should it be explained to them that Black people, especially natural haired ones, have special hair that requires protection. Should they know that braids and cornrows help our hair grow and are a part of our heritage? Should it be pointed out that it is offensive? Can this be likened to Disney not letting the Muslim woman wear her hair covering?
II wonder where the braid hate came from. Is it just because people in jail wear braids that they are catching a bad rap? Have they criminalized braids for everyone? Is it only certain braid hairstyles or is it all of them? Is a puff unacceptable because of the bushiness? Aren’t security guards supposed to be hardcore anyway? Its a dangerous job where we are expected to sometimes fight and defend. Do I need to wear a french roll or chignon for that?
Is this racist or am I overreacting?
I know I asked a lot of questions but I’m pretty upset by someone telling me what I can do with my hair. I ramble when upset. Lol. Forgive me.