BY WALTER CANADY III
Should your hair be the determining factor in whether or not you get a job? Of course we consider things such as personal maintenance, like body odors, maybe hair dye colors and maintaining dress codes. But the actual style of it? No, that is ridiculous, but the reoccurring issue has continued to rise and has gotten close to home. 16-year old African American High school student, Tyree Bayaan recently applied to our local Cool Crest Fun Center and was allegedly not hired because of his dreadlocks.
This reminds me much of how right after slavery natural hair wasn’t accepted in the African American communities because they felt as if it would be harder for them to be accepted in the professional world. That’s when things like hot combs (a comb that straightens or flattens coarse hair) became popular, in order to try to resemble a eurocentric style of hair. Something like having a part in the middle of the afro was a popular way to try to look more “professional”, you may have seen a example of this from people such as Frederick Douglass or other well known African American scholars. The hair was seen as a too strong of a tie or stance in the Afrocentric culture, hence the reason the stereotypical black panther had a huge afro, long braids and in some cases dreads. They did it to show culture awareness and pride.
With that being said we of course know this isn’t the first time someone has either faced termination because of their hair or simply couldn’t get into a job or institution because of it. In another story from 2013 on kansascitystar.com a Tulsa, Okla., grade schooler was forced out of her charter school for sporting dreadlocks, which the school did not deem “presentable”.
So now we are saying that people can’t get well deserved opportunities because of their natural hair. I can understand hair color being a issue maybe, those that are non natural. But dreads, afros, and other similar hairstyles are natural for those of predominantly African American decent.
In TBayaan’s case, this student seemed to be a qualified young worker. He maintained a 3.75 GPA, and according to the Cool Crest manager Tyree was “100 percent a qualified candidate.” Furthermore saying that “Dreadlocks, we don’t care about that as long as they’re above the neck in the back,” Dunlap says. “I think they’re beautiful. But you have to have regulations. And rule of thumb is you go by those rules and you don’t bend them.”
Many other popular Kansas City attractions have shown no problem with similar hairstyles. Places such as Worlds of Fun, Oceans of Fun, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and Main Event understand that this is just part of the new age and part of some people’s culture.
The bigger picture though is, is there any job worth the compromising of your personal expression and or cultural pride? There’s an old saying that states “all money ain’t good money”. And if you are qualified there is no reason someone should be holding you back from the job that you rightfully have worked for and deserve.