In short: these white policy makers are under the impression that the kinks and coils their students were born with somehow hinder the ability to learn. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. The people of this community are banding together to protest such outdated assumptions and thanks to the Twitter hashtag #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh, we’re able to stand in solidarity with them: cited his “unprofessional” hair as a distraction. In late 2015, a North Carolina news anchor posted a video to her Facebook page, where an intern was advised to keep her curly hair straight as a way to appease employers. The proof is in the pudding: this goes beyond vanity and whether our hair is seen as attractive or otherwise. Today, in 2016 (!!), racist policies have a direct effect on our education, careers and self-worth. How are we expected to excel and thrive when those we work or co-exist with are telling us that our God-given features aren’t acceptable?! It’s devastating to know that it sometimes takes cases like this to remind me of the privilege I experienced growing up in an environment where my hair was seen as beautiful, not repugnant. And this is coming from a black woman who was raised under the tutelage of a white mother. It’s sad that moments like these revive the lingering sting of melanin-deprived celebrities being seen as “cutting edge” or “trend-setting” when they appropriate a style born out of our culture. This is why we point them out. If we don’t, our identity and rich history is tampered with and consequently, inaccurate for future generations. Where do we go from here? How do we dismantle and rebuild the standards of beauty set by the powers that be? We take that power back by changing the perception of what professional and polished looks like. It’s okay to wear your afro to work. It’s also okay to rock a blowout. The hairs atop our head have no direct correlation to the work we’re capable of doing. Ultimately, the work starts within our community. By supporting each other and consistently bringing stories like this to the forefront, we can muster up the collective bravery needed to redefine these ridiculous norms. This vicious cycle is enough to make me want to pull out my hair. But I won’t do that — it’s much too beautiful to lose.
School rules forbid us from speaking our home languages during school hours. 'No foreign languages' it read. #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh— Yelwa (@_Yelwa) August 28, 2016