This paper will argue that to be a Black woman with natural hair, is deviant in the eyes of white culture. Natural hair is regarded as unkempt, unclean, and unprofessional (Thompson 2009). American society seeks to demonize the hair of Black women because natural hair disregards Eurocentric beauty standards (Robinson 2011). To rebel and wear one’s hair naturally comes with a price - especially in the workplace and school environment - because there are discriminatory dress-codes that prevent Black women from meeting institutional requirements (Klein 2013). Black women face discrimination for their natural hair due to the power imbalance of white men in work and educational structures.
Discrimination in the Media
In November of 2012, a thirty-seven year old Black woman named Rhonda Lee was fired from her job. Lee was a meteorologist from Louisiana who received numerous racist comments from viewers on the new station’s Facebook page (Starr 2014).
The initial complaint stated that although she was a “very nice lady”, she needed to grow out her hair or wear a wig. The viewer also stated that Lee resembled a cancer patient and that her hair did not look appealing on television. Rhonda Lee responded to the viewer by apologizing, stating “I am sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair.” Lee also commented that she was proud of her African-American ancestry and that other young girls who wore their hair naturally, should also be proud. As a result of Lee defending herself, she was fired from her job. Although her former employers released a statement citing she violated their social media policy, Lee insists that she was never made aware of such policies (Starr 2014).
Discrimination in an Educational Institution...
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...l decided to review and make alterations to the dress code and handbook. However, it took multiple supporters to make this happen, and it was only reformed once Parker had switched schools (Klein 2013).
This paper sought to prove that the discrimination that Black women endure for their natural hair is due to the power imbalance of white men in work and educational structures. The critical race theory was applied to examine how white men enforce rules in order to uphold white supremacy. Rhonda Lee and Tiana Parker, although both Black females, were parts of two completely different institutions and consequently faced the similar outcomes, being removed from the structures in which they worked or attended school. This proves that the power imbalance of white males in institutions are the reason why Black women face discrimination for their natural hair.
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