When it comes to Black culture, hair is among the most delicate subjects. Hair is always political, but for Black people this is especially true.
WNCT anchor Angela Green recently posed a question about whether natural hair is appropriate in the workplace. In a video she put up earlier this week, a 19 year-old intern, Madison, was told that her beautiful curls were distracting and she should straighten them for a project.
Green suggested that she should just go with the flow and straighten it. And as she gets older, and depending on what market she ends up working in, she can do with her hair what she wishes.
While Green may have had the best intentions, there are so many things wrong with her assertion. When it comes to professionalism and natural hair, the fact is that Black people are often the victims of discrimination. And while natural hair in predominantly White spaces is often misunderstood, this attitude is, unfortunately, adopted by Black people as well.
The concept is one that is inherently grounded in racism and White supremacy, so I would tell Madison that while she may need to “adapt” to her professional world, maybe it is better to try to work in places where this isn’t problematic, long-term.
I won’t put it on anyone, least of all a 19 year-old, to resist systems of racism that they are merely trying to survive in. But where we can resist, it is our duty to resist. Take that for what it’s worth.
What do you think? Watch the video below: