Professionally Natural

Why can all other people groups be considered professional looking with whatever hairstyle they choose to wear. Why do we have to apply chemicals and heat to our natural texture to be accepted professionally. The message you are sending is, “no matter how educated or experienced you are, no matter how qualified you are, if your hair doesn’t imitate white European texture to help me overlook your black skin you are not good enough.” Of course those aren’t the words used. You speak in code, i.e., you don’t look professional. Well, I went through this over 40 years ago. Many have proven that their professionalism has nothing to do with their hair texture. It is a product of character and hard work. So just be honest. It’s not professionalism, it’s not white, it’s not straight. I remember the uproar about cornrows in the workplace. Then Bo Derrick sports them in the movie Ten and suddenly it was acceptable. She was a beautiful, white model and actress. I will leave that right there.

My real issue is with “educators” who demean black students during an already vulnerable stage in their lives. Their image of themselves is critical for developing a good mental attitude and that affects academic success. Some choose to chemically or heat relax and that’s okay. What should be equally okay are those who choose to keep the texture with which they were born. Good grooming should be expected and that’s it. Additionally, hairstyles reflect creativity. Creativity requires thinking. Is that what you fear? Thinking black people, especially kids? Embrace them and their uniqueness. When students feel respected and accepted, behavior and production improve.

I invite you to read this Time Magazine article for more incite.

You may be denying yourself the experience of greatness shown by your students.