END THE WAR ON BLACK HAIR
Here’s an open letter to all the institutions which have consistently denied their students (and employees) the opportunity to lock their hair.
A round of applause to all those who have enforced the ideas of black inferiority! To those who have denounced everything which did not originate from or make sense to white people. Well done to all those who created a culture whereby Bonang Matheba, South Africa’s “Beyonce”, can openly say that weaves look great on her, as they distinguish her from the ‘raggedy Anne from next door’. Congratulations to those who have insisted with their sneers and employment policies that African natural hair, afros and dreadlocks particularly, are unprofessional. You have served your purpose well!
But shame on you, black men and women, who have allowed these stereotypes to taint your self image. Shame on you for allowing your insecurities to seep into your children’s schools- so much that they are taught that dreads are “unhygienic” and “impossible to maintain” and “inappropriate” and, as I have heard, “just dreadful”. Shame on you for sitting back and allowing your children to be indoctrinated with these pathetic Eurocentric ideas.
Don’t we all just love Malcolm X and Steve Biko? Don’t we all just love to select parts of their words and ideologies that we feel are essential to embracing our identity? Blacks can be CEOs too; blacks can own mansions and pricey Mercs; blacks can be presidents of states…all this assertion of black power everywhere else but where it really matters.
What good is it to embrace your identity as an adult with all your ‘first-black-person-to…’ achievements, while little black boys and girls are told that their hair cannot be styled this way or that because it’s ‘inappropriate’. Then you wonder why they can’t relate to their culture and all things ‘black’. Because you stood back, as society with its assumptions and rules, stole chunks of their identity, their pride and the skin in which they are comfortable.
Not only do I think that these policies are backward, but I think they are a true reflection of the esteem to which many of these rule-setters hold themselves.
All I can say is: Well done! Especially to all the black people advocating these rules. Just think twice before you smile at this logo next time will you?
I am a born-free: a post-apartheid baby. I embrace Black Consciousness more than those who claim Biko was a greater leader than Mandela because he died in the struggle. And here I am, with more to show for what I have learned from him (from my textbooks) than those who boast about being in the struggle with him. Ask yourself, how many young black people would be saved from truck-loads of of boo-hoo tales, had they been raised with non-hypocritical values of black consciousness?
*Note to the education system: If you don’t want us to speak up against your hypocrisies and injustices, maybe you should stop teaching us from books with those brave souls who died for these ideas.
END THE WAR ON BLACK HAIR