Another day, another incident where our children are being unfairly attacked for their hair.
This time, it’s a Black wrestler from New Jersey who was recently forced by a white referee to cut off his dreads in order to participate in his match.
According to NewJersey.com, Andrew Johnson, a student from Buena High School in Atlantic County, was told by a referee with a history of racist behavior that he had to either cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match on Thursday night.
Johnson decided to oblige, resulting in the team’s trainer cutting his hair on the mat for everyone to see. The ref, who has been identified as Alan Maloney, used a racial slur against at a social gathering of officials in March 2016. Apparently, Maloney got body slammed by a Black partygoer after running his mouth.
To add even more insult to injury, there’s video of the incident, which has since gone viral, with one NJ sports reporter commending the young man for being a “team player.”
Nothing about what we just watched screams “team player.” What it does scream is plain old racism and illuminates the countless ways that Black children’s bodies are unfairly policed by white adults who should know better. As NJ.com pointed out, why couldn’t Johnson wear a head wrap to play, like his non-Black counterparts with long hair?
Thankfully, people flocked to social media to express their disgust of the video and call out the racial bias that continues to plagues our schools.