Thursday, July 15, 2010

Natural hair is unprofessional?

One day while heading home from a long day at work I stir up a conversation with this young lady. She was very pleasent and she was assisting me on how to clean a purse of mine. Anywho we get to talking and I make a comment on her natural hair. She thanks me and continues with the following "...even though my job says it is unprofessional". My mouth fell open. I was in shock. I began to wonder how natural hair is seen as unprofessional.

What made me write about this today was what I saw on my commute to work this morning. A women gets on the train with dress pants, a button down shirt, and RED hair. Not the natural red but the kool-aid red and it left me wondering if she was going to work. I wondered if at her job they saw her hair as unprofessional. 

What kind of world do we live in that the way someone's hair grows naturally out of their scalp is seen as unprofessional? Are we (women of color) put in uncomfortable situations because of our choice of hairstyles. When I used to relax my hair ( over a year and 4 months ago) I never imagined my choice to go natural would be seen as a faux pas in some work enviornments. Is a womans choice to be natural punished because of what society deems as "normal" in the African American/black community? I was also left to wonder if the "type of natural" you are warrents different reaction of others.  

We are not our hair. We are what we bring to the job. It sadens me that we are in a society in which the natural state of hair is not acceptable in certain settings, it also saddens me that I was blind to this. I had no idea people saw natural hair a unprofessional.One can wear a 20 inch weave with streaks but can not wear their hair in it's natural state. Interesting to say the least.

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