Can We Rock Our Hair in Peace?! #naturalhair #discrimination #systemicracism #institutionalizedracism #CROWN

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By: Nakiya "K Gold." Walters

 What's up to my Diamonds and Diamond Status Gents! Today I want to get into a topic that's close to my heart - and that's workplace discrimination. But not just any kind. If you've been paying any attention to the news or these innanets, then you probably know that California and New York have become the first states in the US to ban discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyle. This is epic, but also disappointing. Here's why:

When you really think about it, the US gave us the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on many things including race. Despite that fact, 55 years later it is still legal for employers to deny or terminate employment based on the type of hair you wear. This is especially prevalent in the corporate setting. Now that may seem like a small thing, but lets make something clear: we cant change the way our hair grows from our heads. We cant and should not change the culture of how we choose to wear our hair. Although we have the right to change our hair whenever we want, we shouldn't be forced to do so on the basis of "professionalism". That makes this practice discriminatory- because how can you claim diversity and acceptance, while still rejecting a huge part of your employees? If you've gotten this far and still cant see how this practice is discriminatory, let me explain further...

It is legal for an employer to fire you if you wear natural hair or natural hairstyles like braids, twists, bantu knots, and locs.  If you interview with one style and change it once you're hired, you could lose your job if you refuse to change it. Sickening. Why is this? Unfortunately the employer retains the right to decide whether or not your hair is professional. But here is my question: what makes a hairstyle or hair type unprofessional?  Natural hair is not inherently unkempt. It's just curly, VERY curly. Natural hair is not inherently dirty. Period. No explanation necessary. Natural hair is not inherently distracting. It's just different. If you disagree, ask yourself why.

If my hair is unprofessional because it's "different", aka a departure from Eurocentric standards, is that not considered a xenophobic thought process? Why are we forced to straighten, perm, weave, and deceive? LOL seriously, we should not be forced to have straight hair, loose curly hair, or fades, just to be taken seriously in the workplace. Aside from that fact, I'm sure any woman who has sported a perm, weave, or wig can tell you about the risks you're taking with your hair. Excessive use without the proper care (and honestly, sometimes even with the proper care) can lead to breakage, thinning, traction alopecia, chemical burns, and possibly cancer. Our hair shouldn't be muted to make others comfortable. Accept us truly, for once. Let our performance and work ethic speak for itself. 

And my last note for you haters in the front AND the back: not all Black people's hair is the same, and you shouldn't expect all natural hairstyles to look the same. Not everyone has a loose natural hair texture. It isn't fair to shame them because their hair is thicker, coarser, and curlier than the next person. I don't care how much damn Cantu or Shea Moisture I put in my hair, I wont look like Alicia Keys! But guess what? There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It doesn't make me any less beautiful or special than the next woman. And it wont make yall any more beautiful or special to cut someone else down for it!

Like, Comment, and Share this post letting me know your opinion on the whole matter! Should all employers be accepting of natural hair?

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