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Beauty

Black Girls and Women STILL Face Discrimination for Wearing Their Hair Natural Today

 

 

On picture day, a little 8-year-old girl thought she looked her best — and she did. She looked beautiful in her school uniform and her braided bun. School officials at Paragon Charter Academy, however, didn’t think her look was appropriate and they forbade her from taking part in the school picture. Now her parents are left wondering why they would treat their little girl with such disrespect.

It’s upsetting you know,” Doug Scott, the girl’s father said in tears in an interview with WILX. “All of this is uncalled for, they didn’t even call us. Marian didn’t leave the house, go on the street and get this done on her own, no, she’s 8 years old, we did this ourselves in our own home and there’s no way I felt like this would happen.”

So what was so offensive about her hair? School officials say she had red extensions in her hair and that it violated school code.  NBC News reported that Paragon Charter Academy has a “strict dress code in its student handbook, outlining that hair color must be in ‘natural tones’ to get pictures taken. Paragon Academy also says that hairstyles must be ‘conservative’ and that ‘extreme hairstyles’ are not permitted.”

What is terribly sad is that school officials at Paragon Charter Academy have no insight on black hair. There is nothing offensive or bad about this little girl’s hair and the school should be apologizing to her and her family for excluding her from the school picture. Here’s a look at a few other instances where young black girls have faced discrimination for their hair!

Last year a Lousiana Student Was Suspended For Her Braided Style

Last year, a young Louisiana elementary-school student crying went viral. The young female student who remains unnamed was reportedly sent home from school on a Monday for wearing a braided hairstyle that the school found “violated their dress-code policy.”

Writer and activist Shaun King shared the video to Twitter and of course people were pissed. Rapper and activist T.I. also shared the video on Instagram sharing his thoughts on the whole thing and how it’s obvious that what this girl experienced was racial discrimination.

Two sisters were suspended from school for wearing box braids.

In 2017, 15-year-old twins, Deanna and Mya Scot were suspended from Malden Charter School in Boston for wearing their hair in box braids. The statement the school released regarding their decision was insane. “The specific prohibition of hair extensions, which are expensive and could serve as a differentiating factor between students from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds, is consistent with our desire to create an educational environment, one that celebrates all that students have in common and minimizes differences and distractions.” I’m calling BS on this one!

A South-African all-girls school prohibited girls from wearing their natural hair.

Students at Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa were obligated to “fix” their natural hair. The administration went as far as advising students to use chemical straighteners such as relaxers and even had diameter restrictions for black hairstyles such as cornrows, dreadlocks or braids. This, of course, led to protests. “They go around posting signs about the ethos of equality for all the girls at the school, but that is not true,” a 15-year-old student said. “It feels like they don’t want to accept the fact that we’re African.”

A 19-year-old SUNY Purchase student almost lost her job because of her box braids.

Destiny Tompkins who was working retail at a Banana Republic store at the Westchester Mall in New York, was summoned by her store manager for how she chose to wear her natural hair. She was told that her braids were “not Banana Republic appropriate and that they were too “urban” and “unkempt” for their image.” She shared her story in a post on Facebook.

A black teen couldn’t even clock in for work because of her faux locks.

 

Last November, a 19-year-old girl who worked at Pet World in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin was told by her boss that she couldn’t clock into until she removed her dreads. Destini Briggs had spent $150 on her hairstyle and didn’t understand how her look broke any work rules. “You can’t have your hair like that. You have to take it out,” Destini claims her boss said. “So I called my mom and told her what happened.” Destini and her mother took to social media to share the discriminating situation.

Black hairstyles were illegal in the U.S. military until recently.

For years the military restricted what would be considered black hairstyles such as twists, braids, cornrows, and dreadlocks. This didn’t change until 2014 when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that they were rolling back limitations and prohibitions on black hair due to tremendous backlash that was received.

Black girls in Port Elizabeth, South Africa couldn’t take school exams because of their hair.

Lawson Brown High School told black students that they were unable to take their exams if they didn’t tie up their natural afros to make them “more beautiful.” How insane is that?

A group of black girls in the Bahamas were told their natural hair was “untidy.”

Black female students at C.R. Walker Senior High School in the Bahamas were told that their afro puffs and other natural hairstyles were “untidy” and “unkept” and that their hair needed to be changed. This resulted in so much backlash that students started to speak out and created the hashtag #SupportThePuff on social media where they expressed the importance of natural hair being accepted everywhere.

Additional reporting by Johanna Ferreira.