Archive for the ‘Hissy Fits’ Category

Army Bans Some Popular Natural Hairstyles For Black Women

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Here is a very interesting article about the Army and its new rules regarding natural hair. The article was recently published in the New York Times and written by Helene Cooper. Check out the story below.

“I remember thinking, ‘What on earth am I going to do with my hair?’” former Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs said when she read about new army rules. Credit Bryan Meltz for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Black women and their hair have been a topic of discussion for years by people like Maya Angelou, Al Sharpton and Salt-N-Pepa.

Now add Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to that list.

In reaction to a new Army regulation banning numerous hairstyles — twists, dreadlocks and large cornrows — popular with black women, the 16 women of the Congressional Black Caucus have asked Mr. Hagel to overturn the regulation on behalf of the 26,700 African-American women on active duty in the Army. The regulation comes at the same time as a new Army rule banning tattoos on the face, neck, hands, fingers and lower arms of recruits.

Both regulations are among new grooming standards that critics say are meant to further weed people out of an Army reducing its size from its post-9/11 peak of 570,000 to as low as 420,000 in the years to come. Representative Marcia L. Fudge, the Ohio Democrat who is chairwoman of the black caucus, said she had been struck in recent visits to military bases by how many soldiers — black and white — said they felt they were being pushed out of the military. The new regulations, announced on March 31, have intensified that feeling, she said.

“One of the things they should not do is insult the people who’ve given up their time and put their lives at risk by saying their hair is unkempt,” Ms. Fudge said. “Now they want to downsize, these styles are not appropriate?”

To others, the rules are the result of the coming home of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There’s a tendency during wartime to permit personal styles and variations in approach simply because more important things are at stake than how your hair looks or what tattoo is on your arm,” said Loren B. Thompson, a military expert at the Lexington Institute, a research organization. But now, he said, a smaller Army can “be more arbitrary about enforcing regimentation.”

Although the new rules on tattoos have come under fire, particularly since body art became popular among soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the regulations on black hairstyles have drawn more outrage and charges of racism. By Friday, more than 17,000 people had signed an online petition sent to the White House to get the hair regulations rescinded.

At the root of the concern about the Army regulations, many black women said, is a lack of understanding about black hair, coupled with a norm that uses the hair of white women as its baseline. While black hair comes in all textures, much of it is deeply curly, making it difficult, unless chemically straightened, to pull back into a bun or to hang loose off the face in a neat, uniform way.

“Our hair is kinky,” said BriGette McCoy, a former Army specialist, her voice getting angrier as she spoke. “It is genetic, it is hereditary, there is nothing we can do about it. And to have someone tell you that because your hair comes out of your scalp that way, you have to go and change it, when no one else is required to change that about themselves?”

In Ms. McCoy’s view, the new regulations are a further affront to what she views as longtime Army squeamishness about the hair of black women, who make up more than a third of active-duty women in the Army. Twice when she was working as an Army data communications specialist in Germany, she said, her superiors ordered her back to her barracks because her commanding officer deemed her hair “unkempt.”

“They were saying it had to be neat and couldn’t be unkempt, and to them, neat and kempt meant straightened,” she recalled.

The word “unkempt” shows up in the new regulations, too: “Braids or cornrows that are unkempt or matted are considered dreadlocks and are not authorized.”

The word did not go unnoticed by Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat and a member of the black caucus. “This is very offensive,” she said.

Defense Department officials said Mr. Hagel “appreciates the Congressional Black Caucus’s concerns regarding this issue,” in the words of Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman. Then he quickly tossed the issue back to the people who had started the fuss. “We expect the Army to provide a response shortly,” Commander Christensen said.

Army officials, who said the new regulations simply clarify existing ones by specifically describing prohibited hairstyles, continued to try to explain them — it all seems to boil down to the need for uniformity among troops — but the explanations so far have not silenced the critics. One of the loudest among them is former Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs, the woman who started the White House petition. She said she had become alarmed the minute she had gotten an email.

“I remember thinking, ‘What on earth am I going to do with my hair?’ ” she said of her locks, which she keeps in two-strand twists that are now banned. Her only remaining options, she said, would be to have tiny cornrows, chemically straighten her hair, or get a weave or wig. She recalled deploying in Iraq in 2008 and 2009 with a woman who kept redoing her cornrows to make them neat and small enough to fit Army regulations, and “by the time we got back her hairline had receded an inch.”

Ms. Jacobs was a public affairs officer with the Georgia National Guard until April 11, when her discharge, originally scheduled for May 15, was unexpectedly moved up.

Even deployed black women in the Army who decide to straighten their hair run into problems, because the expensive hair products necessary to maintain it are often difficult to get, particularly in commissaries in Afghanistan.

As a result, Myraline Whitaker started a project, Sister Soldier, that ships hair products to black military women. She began the project in 2007 after a white Marine who had been deployed in Iraq told her that her strongest memory about a black soldier with whom she shared a room was the smell of her hair when she was using a hot comb to straighten it. Since then, Ms. Whitaker, a hotel consultant, has sent, on request, more than 7,000 care packages of black hair products to deployed women. In an interview, she said she was initially stunned by how many requests she received.

What has surprised critics of the regulations even more is that Army officials insist the updates were cleared by a focus group that included black women in the Army.

“African-American female soldiers were involved in the process of developing the new female hair standards,” said Lt. Col. Alayne P. Conway, an Army spokeswoman. “Not only were nearly 200 senior female leaders and soldiers, which included a representative sample of the Army’s populations, part of the decision-making process on the female hair standards, but the group was also led by an African-American female.”

The Army declined to give the names of the black women involved in the decision, or make them available for comment.

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.

Meteorologist, Rhonda Lee, Fired For Responding to Comments About Her Natural Hair!

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

What can I say about this situation? I am appalled!  Extremely upset and can’t wait to start my real estate career sporting my natural hair! Real Estate may be different from corporate America but people who don’t like African hair are all over.

Check out the full story on Rhonda Lee below.

Whitney and I met Rhonda Lee in Austin, Texas last year. She had an amazing spirit and shared her love for Sporty Afros and our mission. She is one of a few women meteorologist and I have enjoyed watching her on-camera when I can.

Unfortunately, Rhonda Lee was fired from the ABC affiliate in Shreveport, La. because she responded to a racial remark posted by a viewer on the station’s Facebook page regarding her hair. This entire situation seems odd. There are numerous black reporters who wear their hair natural in front of the camera.

Natural Hair is Becoming More Mainstream for Newscasters

Rhonda Lee is not the first natural-haired newscaster, so what’s all of the fuss about? There are more natural-haired newscasters now than several years ago.

Rene Syler, co-host of CBS News’ The Early Show several years ago, speaks candidly about how natural hair is more acceptable for newscasters now than when she first started in the business.

Tonya Mosley is a TV Newscaster in Settle. Initially, after she did the “big chop” she expected a lot of negative comments and push back, but she received the exact opposite! She gets tons compliments and positive emails!

In 1971, Legendary New York City television reporter Melba Tolliver was banned from WABC’s studio after she went from relaxed to natural. She had been assigned to cover Trisha Nixon’s White House wedding and they suggested she either relax her hair back or wear a head scarf. A local newspaper got wind of what was going on.The public responded incredibly positive to her hair change, even people who didn’t care for her natural hair thought the choice of hairstyle was her right. Decades later Tolliver still wears her hair chemical free.

Earlier this year, Rochelle Ritchie of WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida decided to go ‘natural’ and let viewers see the transformation. Rochelle discussed this journey with her fellow newscaster. Her news director said,” I had no clue this was an issue. I never heard about it. I instantly bought into this story.” His only concern was that the viewing audience wouldn’t care; however, this turned out not to be an issue. During the process, the ratings of Ritchie’s show increased and she received national attention and support.

Watch MHP on MSNBC

There are others such as Denise James, Michel Martin, Farai Chideya and most notably Melissa Harris Perry who hosts her own news show on MSNBC.

The commentary that led to Rhonda Lee’s firing

On Oct. 1, a viewer identified as Emmitt Vascocu wrote, “the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).”

Rhonda’s response “Hello Emmitt–I am the ‘black lady’ to which you are referring. I’m sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I’m a non-smoking, 5’3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I’m in perfectly healthy physical condition.

I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn’t grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don’t find it necessary. I’m very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.

Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.

“Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.

I applaud Lee’s response to the viewer because reinforces Sporty Afros motto – #HealthOverHair.

The viewer replied and agreed that Lee was right to be proud of who she is. He also indicated that he was not a racist, but “. . . this world has . . . certain standerd (cq). if youve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?. . .”

WOW!! I mean, for real?

The news station’s lack of consideration for Rhonda Lee

Most stations edit comments on their social media outlets. Sometimes they even block certain accounts/people if their comments are deemed inappropriate, racist or sexist. Apparently, the news station wasn’t very involved when it came to the comments about Rhonda Lee and her hair or other racially insensitive comments.

Another comment read:

In a Nov. 14 post, viewer Kenny Moreland wrote,

“Not to start any trouble, because I think that the annual ‘Three Minute Smile’ is a great function and I love to see kids so happy. Am I the only one that has noticed that this year, all the kids, lets say, are people of color? This is Channel 3, not KSLA, the ‘Project Pride’ network, that might as well be part of the BET Channel. Did KTBS slip up on a news story, and owe S’port’s criminal mayor Cedric, a favor? Seems like some racism going on to me. Just saying…..”

Lee replied the next day,

I’m not sure I understand your comment, ‘…this is Channel 3 not KSLA…’ What are you trying to say?

“The children are picked at random. So there goes your theory that they are selected for their color. I would like to think it doesn’t matter who the child is. If you truly just want to see the kids happy your message had a funny way of showing it.

“Happy holidays.–Met. Rhonda Lee”

Rhonda Lee explains why she responded to the viewer.

I was the one who brought it to their (news station’s) attention after they let it fester on the page for 6 days, but was then chastised for responding at all. I sent a screen grab to my boss via e-mail telling them that I’m ok with the anti-Rhonda commentary sometimes, but what has been posted at the time was . . . racist, and I asked them to please support me in removing the ones that didn’t encourage thoughtful, respectful and civil discourse on our FB page. I never got a reply, only punished. To this day the posts are still there.”

Lee told Journal-isms, “. . . Race has been the issue with me since I started. That much is VERY true. Weather is an older white boy business and arms have been less than open for a young black girl — a polar opposite. As reported I’ve had more problems here in the south than I have anywhere else in my 25+ years in the business. Perhaps there is a pattern, but I am a glutton for punishment (ha, ha), and I want what I deserve as any professional would so if I have to fight for it I will.”

Here are a few things that strike me as odd:

  • The station doesn’t have an official social media policy in place.
  • The station explained to Rhonda that the policy she violated isn’t written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting about a month-and-a-half prior. This is a meeting she didn’t attend.
  • Employees were expected to be held accountable for an unofficial social media policy that was never written down or distributed properly.
  • The station has allowed several comments (negative, rude and offensive) to be left on their Facebook page.
  • KTBS crime reporter, Chris Redford was fired for responding to a reported gay-stalker from his Facebook account.

After looking at KTBS‘ Facebook account, the station hardly comments or interacts with those who are posting. The reporters/employees seem to respond to questions and comments via their own profiles. After looking at several of the comments, I was appalled.


Father Votes for Son and Now Under Investigation!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Why are the Republicans always cheating! This is crazy!! I just don’t know what to say.

Father investigated after voting for son

Posted at: 11/06/2012 5:00 PM | Updated at: 11/06/2012 6:24 PM
By: Gadi Schwartz and Peter St. Cyr, KOB Eyewitness News

A 4 On Your Side investigation shows an Albuquerque man casting two different ballots by posing as his 18-year-old son during early voting.

Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies have confirmed they are also investigating the man.

Election workers originally raised suspicions of voter fraud after the man, who has silver hair, told them he was born in 1994.

“That info was so out of sync with what the poll worker was visually seeing,” Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver told KOB’s 4 On Your Side. “It really did raise that red flag.”

Under state law, voters are not required to show photo identification to cast a ballot. The only requirement is for voters to state their names, address, and date of birth.

But, election workers did not believe the man’s stated birth date.

After he voted, workers followed the suspect, later identified as Thomas Pino, to his vehicle, wrote down his license plate, and called the clerk’s office. She quickly notified Secretary of State Diane Duran.

Together, they learned that Pino was likely posing as his son. Both men are registered to the same address. Both are listed as Republicans.

A few days later, Pino turned up at a different location to vote for himself.

Pino did not realize his record had already been flagged, and he was given a provisional ballot.

After he voted at Daskalos Shopping Center, 4OYS paid him a visit at his home.

At first, he denied using his son’s name and birth date to vote.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Pino said.

He claimed his son his son had voted Monday or Tuesday last week and then returned to school in Las Cruces.

Moments after telling that story, 4OYS’s team watched as Pino’s son arrived home from New Mexico State University for a weekend visit.

“I literally just drove into town a few minutes ago,” Aaron Pino said. “I’ve been in Las Cruces at school.”

After pulling to the curb, Pino denied casting his vote in Albuquerque.

Driving back to the newsroom, Thomas Pino called to talk to Reporter Gadi Schwartz.

He said he had made a big mistake and claimed his son agreed to let him vote for him.

Pino could face serious charges, including false voting, fraudulent and double voting and falsifying election documents–all fourth degree felonies.

For now, Clerk Toulouse Oliver said she is pleased her poll workers took action immediately.

“This is exactly how we can prevent voter fraud from occurring,” Toulouse Oliver said.

Long Hair? It’ll Happen One Day.

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Even though my hair has not grown much since I’ve been in New Mexico, I am still on a mission to maintain its health – of course – and achieve as much length as possible.

I don’t believe the length I have now is the longest it is going to get – despite age and having neck/collar-bone length hair all of my life – I feel confident I can make it longer with patience and moisture and moisture and patience.

I already started a new hair care regime but there has been a slight change to my routine. I now take one capsule of Solaray’s Hair Nutrients twice a day with food! I am currently on my second bottle.

Have I noticed any growth? No. But my husband and mother said my hair has gotten longer. I can’t really tell.

However, I have noticed that the health of my hair has improved. The texture feels slightly stronger and my tresses possess a little more of a natural shine. Nothing major.

I normally wear my hair in two strand twists or some sort of protective style. Maintaining moisture is key in New Mexico. If I wear my hair in an afro for several consecutive days, it becomes dry and pieces start to crumble to the floor. Honestly, when that happens, because it is still new to me, I become very confused.

What Happened to My Hair?!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

I have finally come to terms with the fact that I have thin hair, and according to the experts, it will stay like this because this is the way my hair is.

Now, when people see my hair in an afro, (it always photographs a little flatter/smaller than it is) they get the impression that my hair is very thick when in truth, it is not, actually, it has never been. My stresses may appear to look thick because it is tightly curled – maybe it’s a 4a or something like that – but that’s deceiving.

I tried to thicken it up by making and using potions and products specifically for that development but nothing ever happened. I wonder – how come the texture of my hair changed when I got a perm at 11-years-old, but I cannot make it more fuller and lushes than it is at this moment? What’s up with that?

In the pictures I had just blew my hair dry. It wasn’t too intense. I just wanted to dry and stretch it a little after taking a shower.

I am thankful that I have a head of healthy hair, but like I said, my dream of growing long and thick hair will just not happen. It’s going to stay just like this for years to come.

Oh well. I’ll take it. Do I have a choice? Many other things could be wrong. As my cousin Sandy would say – “Be thankful for the hair you have.”

Straightening Comb

Monday, July 9th, 2012

I remember those dreadful days. While getting my hair pressed my face did not look as calm as this little girl’s.

http://www.tsddesign.com/Art_Sale/Comb.html

Racist Comment on Permed to Natural

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Hey Guys,

Some weirdo wrote the below comment in reference to my feature story titled, “Black Owned Beauty Supply Store Reveals the Struggles to Stay in Business.” Click HERE to read it.

The user information on my blog reads: KKK, fuckinlazyporchmonkeys, fuckyallnigs@gmail.com and the computer IP address is 71.224.16.169.

I am going to contact the authorities. This nonsense should be legally documented because who knows what else might happen. But - will the authorities be able to do something about this? Is the comment illegal? What can be done? What else should I do?

I need some advice.

The Comment:

you know what black people are good at doing? blaming others, get the fuck off your backs and asses and do something. And no, i don’t mean go try and kill and steal, i’m talking about hard fuckin work.