I’m Not My Hair

2 11 2009

Shani 003

I was recently perplexed when an audacious relative confessed that although they loved my hair, I would have found employment if my hair wasn’t natural. I was also urged not to dye the color and believe me, I wasn’t considering a radical change…a light auburn would do. They advised me to get a wig and wait to get a job before I did anything else to my hair. Normally I’d let unsolicited or negative comments just roll off my back since becoming thick-skinned but since it was served from a relative, it caused me to wonder; am I being judged by my hair? During this volatile recession, I’ve become a seasoned pro with all the many blessings of interviews but I haven’t secured anything permanent as of yet. Was there any validity to my relative’s statements? Did it matter that I was highly qualified with years of experience or that I was impeccably dressed and could strike a pose if a camera was avail? Are businesses still intimidated by Afrocentrism in this day and age? Did President Obama not signify that change has come from what we were accustomed to? Naivety isn’t clouding my judgment, I know that I’ve been turned down for some assignments just based on the color of my skin; and I still proudly fill out the voluntary ethnicity questionnaire on applications. Prejudice and discrimination is still rampant among us but it doesn’t shatter my pride nor make me regretful of going natural. I’m proud of who I am; black, intelligent, and definitely beautiful! I shouldn’t have to straighten my hair or cop a wig to be socially accepted for a position at an organization or otherwise; that would falsify my natural essence. So I’m listening to the candid advice that my fore-mothers instilled in me which is to always be myself and if something is meant for me…it is ultimately mine.




2 responses

3 11 2009

You know I had to comment on this one although in corporate America yes u do have to have a more Caucasian” fit in “groomed look but in today society thanks to the recession it doesn’t matter if u have straight hair , dreads, bald, wigs , purple hair, Mohawks, tattoos, piercing the simple reality is there is no damn jobs so with that being said be true to yourself bc if the employer really wants to hire you the job is yours.
Although Years ago I did experience similar hair treatment when I was unemployed after sept 11 I went to an interview with the designer Cynthia Rowley I wore my best stylish Ann Talyor suit and my hair was in full back cornrows Queen Latifiah Set it off style neat and freshly done and needless to say during the interview I did catch the interviewer’s eye looking at my braids while I was answering questions . No I didn’t get the job and I did feel like it was bc of my hair and it was a corporate setting! But once I stopped looking 4 corporate jobs and working in non traditional corporate settings the work environment is more laid back and hair styles are not as threatening. Again in my opinion it depends on the field your looking in and also the recession has a big impact on looking for work in general so employers can be petty and pick and choose what type of person they want does that make it right no but its apart of the recession culture were in stay true to you sis !

3 11 2009


First I would like to thank you for your comment and for candidly sharing your own experience. Its actually shameful that one cannot wear their hair with pride to interviews and be accepted as equals. Whether corporate settings or non profit organizations, its unfair to be judged solely on your appearance (hair). Its time to be recognized for your talents and ability to get the job done. Its definitely time for a positive change.

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