by Jess of Sincerely Jess

I’m outraged. A good friend of mine’s job is in jeopardy because she chose to BC and grow out her natural hair. No, this picture isn’t my friend I’m respecting her privacy (well…a lil bit) but she has short hair like this, except more curly. Anyway, my friend’s–I’ll call her KC– boss is saying that it violates company policy because her hair is not “well groomed” and that patients (she works in a Dr. office) have been complaining. Her boss has been more than outrageous in her response to KC’s hair from the very beginning being vocally unsupportive, derogatory, and snide. Not that KC necessarily needed support from her boss, but who would have thought that such discrimination would come as the result of going natural.

I wonder how many of my other naturals have faced harsh reception in their place of work over their choice to go natural? I know in my place of employment, my coworkers, supervisors and really everybody in my building that has seen me has been fascinated by my curly journey. They touch my hair, question my process, and ask me tons of styling question. One coworker even started wearing her hair naturally as well, and now we often get mixed up.

In the black community, I’m constantly surprised at how we discriminate against one another. Now, with KC’s boss, she actually suggested (publicly, in front of patients and staff) that KC get a perm, put in weave, braids, etc and even offered to “find her a stylist” to which KC declined. I just would not know how to act if my boss was so actively concerned with my hair!!! Her boss is black, and I guess reading so many natural hair blogs I forget that not everyone is supportive or even tolerant of the natural hair movement. Being the psychotherapist (in training) that I am, I have to wonder what kind of self-hate this boss has going on that spurs her to act so cruelly.

It is a hard enough journey to learn to love your TWA, get used to the BC, and begin loving how you look without blow-in-the-wind relaxed hair. Then add on top of that someone in your life at least 40 hours a week telling you that you don’t look good or professional, telling you that there’s something wrong with your hair…its just discouraging and arouses all sorts of emotion in me. Have you guys had to deal with this sort of thing at work?? What did you do??

P.S. if you have been harassed at work because of your hair, check out the EEOC‘s discrimination complaint form. Natural community this is NOT okay, so speak up!!