Black Women Worry That Their Natural Hair Could Affect Job Employment Or Retention

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

When I worked in corporate America I was afraid to wear my natural hair to work. I mentioned this a few times on various posts. While interviewing I feared my kinky curls would overshadow my talents and I would not get a job based on my hair style. While working I was afraid to wear my natural hair for fear of having a fake case made against me and fired for my hair style but told the problem was really my work.

The article below written by Julee Wilson recently ran in The Huffington Post. I think it’s very sad we are still facing these racial issues regarding hair we were born with. I was hoping, because more black women are wearing their natural hair, things would have changed in the workplace, but I guess I was wrong.

Let me know how you feel, or your experiences, regarding wearing natural hair in corporate America?

Is the texture or style of your hair preventing you from being hired? Sounds like a pretty silly question, however it was precisely the topic at hand during a panel discussion entitled “Black Women, Their Hair & The Work Place – A Dialogue” at Georgia State University.

Approximately 100 women gathered last week to contemplate the idea that their skills, talent and intelligence could be overshadowed by a hairstyle. And more often than not, the concern is based on women of color sporting their natural hair.

Yes, the hair that grows naturally from the roots of our heads could be contributing to the growing unemployment rates. Baffling.

Men are not immune to this hairy situation either. Last Summer, Hampton University issued a ban on cornrows and dreadlocks for male business students.

“You’re talking about being polished and (having) interview skills and yet no one is addressing the fact that natural black hair has been traditionally seen as not polished on its own whether it’s well cared for or not,” James “Jay” Bailey, chief executive officer of Operation HOPE and a panelist at the event, told SaportaReport. “So basically it’s all about maintaining the Eurocentric standpoint.”

This stance sadly echoes the stereotypes that we’ve fought against, and the personal freedoms we’ve strived to gain for so long. In fact, they’re fighting words.

Case in point, take the firestorm that ensued a few years ago when a white Glamour magazine editor told a group of women at a New York law firm that afros were a “no-no”, and that a “political” hairstyle like dreadlocks was inappropriate for the workplace. Black women were outraged and the comments got the editor six weeks on probation and ultimately resulted in her resignation.

Or when controversy stirred after meteorologist Rhonda Lee was fired from her post at Louisiana’s KTBS news channel after defending her right to rock her short natural hairstyle via the television station’s Facebook page.

As more and more women have decided to embrace their natural hair, we hope that potential employers’ prejudice regarding our hair’s kinks and curls will subside. It would be a shame to see women celebrating their curls personally and having to downplay them professionally.

Click HERE for The Huffington Post piece.

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4 Responses to “Black Women Worry That Their Natural Hair Could Affect Job Employment Or Retention”

  1. Tanya says:
    March 13th, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Hi Staci,
    I have a friend that had small twists put in her hair. She had worn braids for years and in turn, they damaged her hair. So, she had to start over and cut her hair short and decided to get twists. Her coworkers started treating her differently, some acted like the did not know her in the cafeteria! And these were SISTERS! She finally resulted to a long braided wig until her twists grew out. Wore it for a year!

  2. Tanya says:
    March 13th, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    By the way, those Bantu knots looked fierce on you! Moms did a good job! But I only have one question for you; HOW THE HECK DID YOU SLEEP ON THEM? OUCH, LOL!

  3. Permed to Natural says:
    March 21st, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Hey Tanya – It’s a shame we treat each other this way. I still haven’t figured it out.

  4. Permed to Natural says:
    March 21st, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    HA! Yeah it was hard to sleep in the Bantu Knots. I had to re-twist them in the morning. I thought Mom did a good job too!

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