First Morehouse bans male effeminacy, and now Hampton bans natural hairstyles for men enrolled in their MBA program. Actually, the hair ban happened first. 2001, to be exact. But the topic has resurfaced and many young Black professionals are chiming in. The fact that a Black institution could even suggest such a racist policy leaves me tilting and scratching my beautiful nappy head.
Many people do not understand why this ban, or Morehouse’s, is problematic. Excuse after excuse about the institution’s private status or the “real world” have been thrown out. And while it is true that corporate (White) America will often not allow natural (Black) hairstyles, the ban is still an issue. Why do our people not realize that this is the problem that creates the problem?
By creating this ban, Hampton University is cosigning the belief that Black hair is unprofessional. As an institution, they are telling students, most of whom are Black, to subscribe to White standards in order to be successful, in turn helping ensure that Black hair (and maybe even Black culture) is never accepted in the workplace. Some argue that Hampton University is just preparing their students for the real world. “All we’re trying to do is make sure our students get into the job,” Sid Credle, Dean of the Business School, told ABC.
This is hardly an issue of how to just be successful. It is an issue of how to be successful working for White America instead of building Black America. Hampton University is training their students how to remain slaves, which is a shame because one would think a HBCU would understand that hair is not the issue—racism is.
But, this is our world. This is Black America 2012. Our own schools are telling us that being “who we are” and celebrating our own culture is unacceptable. You must sell out to be successful. Not to imply that not having locs or cornrows is selling out, but when you have and love them yet get rid of them JUST for work? Well…
At the risk of going on a side tangent, I will say that part of the issue is that Black America insists on depending on White America for work. White America wants to maintain its White image, so there will be no Blackness allowed. Why do we as a community keep begging these people for work, knowing it will only continue to disenfranchise us in years to come?