Sep 5, 2013

Discussion: Natural Hair Is Not A 'Fad'

Before we start the discussion, watch the video below.

So Deborah Brown Community School forbids faddish styles. My first question is: When will people learn that natural hair is not a 'fad'? I understand that wearing natural hair is growing in popularity, but that in itself does not make something a fad. It's only growing because at one time, it shrank. People went from coarse to chemically processed and straight hair. The term fad is especially used refer something that is popular, but "is short-lived and without basis in the object's qualities".

Sorry Deborah Brown Community School, but I see quality in my hair the way it grows out of my scalp. It's grown out of several brown scalps this way for a long, LONG time. If anything, the chemically straightened hair should be considered a fad. These naps and kinks and coils ARE the original. Even if the young, intelligent, and adorable student in the video didn't have locs, she couldn't wear her hair in an afro either. She would be required to have her hair straightened with chemicals or heat because it is textured kinky or in locs. And what is the difference between locs and braids? I wonder if they didn't single out braids as a distraction because that's too broad of a target.

And to be clear, I came to these conclusions just from watching the video. About 32 seconds in at the 1:19 mark, you see students walk down the hall. On the right is a young girl who walks with a happy gait, and her hair flies free. So... it's okay for her to wear her hair untamed. Although it is textured, it's not afro-textured. Her hair is only slightly wavy. And while some may say it has nothing to do with race, you can certainly say that genetics play a factor. Kinky hair is more prevalent in Black girls than white girls. That's just a fact. Dreadlocks are a black cultural thing. It's a way of styling coarsely textured hair. It is even a part of some religions. So how can you distinguish the motives for singling out kinky haired little girls as "not presentable" versus making sure little black girls aren't... too black?

And my second question is: When will society learn to let children be children? Why is a 6 year old under such strong standards to conform to an idea of being "presentable"? Miss Parker is an A student. She's already developing her intelligence. But, being told that a perfectly normal hairstyle for black girls is "not presentable" is preventing her from developing a positive self-image to match her book smarts. It's a disturbing message to send to such a young girl: No matter how smart and talented you are, your success will never carry more clout than your appearance. Did you see her crying because "they don't like her dreads"? There will be many things in life that will make a child question her appearance. But the administration at this school didn't even let Tiana Parker hit puberty before they started chipping away at her self-esteem. If anything is a distraction to the learning of the children at Deborah Brown Community School, it's the focus on appearance rather than achievement. Shame on them for that.

Luckily, young Miss Parker has her father there to take pride in her appearance, and to stand up for her. But that doesn't change the idea of the staff at Deborah Brown School. They are clearly unapologetic. I just hope the people of the community remember this next year when they line their children up and have them inspected. I'm sure the admission committee will be sure that every newly enrolled child fits quite nicely into their aesthetic check list. After all, they probably don't want to disrupt any more education with any more dreads, afros, or bothersome newscasts showing how they made a 6 year old girl cry about her natural hair.

I'm glad that Tiana Parker is continuing her education somewhere else. I agree with Tiana. She should be allowed to keep her dreads. And I think they are just fine. What do you think of this situation? Share your opinion in the comment section below!

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