One thing we must understand as a collective is that even though we're moving towards equality, we're not there yet. In such a progressive society, we still have instances of discrimination based on skin color, religion, and class. In an ideal world, these differences wouldn't prove to be such a barrier, but it's stories like this that prove that they're still apparent.
Previous cases have led academics to believe that schools are unconsciously teaching Black children to hate their hair. And now a shocking new case has made the news...
It's an absolutely horrifying story.
Everyone has the freedom to wear what they want.
via: Getty ImagesIn the United States of America, we have fought for the right to express ourselves how we see fit.
However, this is taken away from certain individuals.
via: Getty ImagesAnd no one understands this better than the African-American community. Previously, all across the globe, typical features that came naturally to the community were stereotyped as "ugly" and "undesirable."
And these stereotypes were also upheld by laws.
via: Getty ImagesNatural hairstyles such as the afro and dreadlocks have been banned from the workplace, rejected from society and recently become the prime source of cultural appropriation.
Only 2 years ago did things start changing.
via: Getty ImagesOn July 3rd, 2019, California became the first state to ban discrimination against one's natural hair. Governor Gavin Newsom passed the Crown Act law, which banned employers and schools from discriminating against hairstyles such as afros, braids, and locks.
But it seems as though this hasn't made much of a difference.
via: Getty Images
Professional and academic institutes have recently been accused of sending a derogatory message about Black and natural hairstyles. And this comes in all sorts of forms, from hiding behind uniform regulations all the way to being blatantly racist.
This is because stories like this started surfacing...
via: YouTubeIn December 2018, a young athlete was forced to cut off his dreadlocks by a referee in front of an audience in order to compete in a wrestling match.
He was given 2 options: Cut them off or forfeit the match.
via: YouTubeReferee Alan Maloney determined that wrestler, Andrew Johnson was breaking protocol by having dreads as it did not align with the regulations of "long hair."
Johnson was taken to the sidelines and had his locks cut off with a pair of scissors.
via: YouTubeThat's right, not once was this rule mentioned to him by his coach or any other official. After spending all season training, he felt as though it was the only option, so proceeded with the chop.
An investigation into the incident was filed.
In the end, a report concluded that New Jersey officials ruled the regulations to be discriminatory against various traditionally Black hairstyles regardless of length, which was Maloney's original excuse.
As part of an agreement, wrestling officials had to be given proper training.
via: YouTubeThe Guardian reported: "As part of Wednesday’s agreement, the athletic association will provide in-person training to all wrestling officials in the state before the start of the season to emphasize that the rule in question is based on hair length, not hairstyle." Alan Maloney got off lightly as he was only suspended for 2 seasons.
And 2 years on, another similar incident occurred.
DeAndre Arnold, a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, was given a similar ultimatum: Cut off your dreads or you can't attend graduation.
Even though the school allows dreads, apparently Arnold isn't.
via: YouTubeThe school states that all males can't have hair longer than the eyebrows or ear lobes, and must be kept shorter than the top of a T-shirt collar.
Arnold's reaches his shoulders.
His mother told CNN at the time that he tied his hair up so he wasn't breaching regulations, but it seemed as if the establishment was taking drastic actions against him.
She also said this:
via: YouTube"He should get to choose who he identifies himself as, and he shouldn't be discriminated against," she said. "You don't tell girls they can't have short hair. It's so much bigger than DeAndre."
It is much bigger than just 2 or 3 cases.
via: Getty ImagesRuby Williams, fourteen, was told that her afro didn't allow other children to see the board. However, she took the matter to court and won a 10,947 dollar payout for being humiliated and degraded in the classroom.
Author Emma Dabiri is calling for the protection of Black students.
She also explained why these kinds of policies are toxic.
"It’s really the equivalent of telling a European person, 'just wear your hair in an afro.'"
And now yet another horrific story has hit headlines.
Dad Jimmy Hoffmeyer shared what happened to his daughter at Ganiard Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
A librarian cut off his daughter's hair.
"I couldn't believe it," Hoffmeyer said. "I jumped in the car to go to the school, but realized it was spring break. I couldn't get ahold of anyone, so I called the cops."
Ganiard Principal Marcy Stout, "apologized and said she didn't know why they would do that."
"I asked what was going to be done about it and she said they would probably get a mark in their progress folder or something. And that any further actions would need to go through the superintendent. So, I told her I want the superintendent to call me."
"The superintendent called and sounded very insincere and short," Hoffmeyer said. "She asked if it would make us feel better if she had the teachers send 'I'm sorry' cards in the mail."
"No child should have to experience this type of humiliating ordeal because of their hair texture, style, or type! The adults entrusted with her learning crossed the line, didn't protect her, and had no desire to be accountable for their actions," the National Parents Union have stated.
"We've had to take her to the doctor because she hasn't been eating. She's having trouble sleeping now and always wants to be with us. All of this because her hair didn't look how they thought it should, wasn't done to their standards," Hoffmeyer said.
"If you look at pictures of her before this happened, you can just see her spark and her energy. Now it's like it's just gone."