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True Life: My Boss Criticized My Natural Hair in Public

• May 7, 2013

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Over the past decade natural hair has grown in popularity among the under-30 black female crowd. Many of us have decided to step away from relaxers and bone-straight hair in favor of quenched and defined curls. Although, it’s “just hair”, it can’t be ignored that we’re taking part of a pivotal moment in history. But how do these changes affect our professional lives? We are still occasionally stopped in our tracks and faced with other people’s ignorance and cruelty, which is why it’s an unspoken rule in many black homes not to show up to job interviews or work with big hair, braids and even locs in some cases.

In May 2012 I worked as a dental assistant for two Russian dentists. I arrived to work a bit early on this particular day and instead of the compact bun that I usually wore, I donned an afro ponytail because I hadn’t gotten the chance to put my hair up and my first patient wasn’t set to arrive for another 30 minutes. Almost immediately after I removed my second arm from my jacket I was met with laughter, followed by “You look like one of those…what do you call them? The dolls with the hair…a troll doll baby!”. Not 10 minutes after that occurred, I was pulled aside by the less willing to joke and more stern dentist who told me “you have to wear your hair organized”. This took place in front of other employees and was quite embarrassing. That would not be the first time I had contemplated making it my last day. Instead, humiliated, I twisted my puff and put my hair in the bun as I had intended to before I was tag teamed by the Black hair police.

My opinion on natural hair in the workplace is this; If your hair gets in the way of you completing your work, then it should be clipped up and away from the face so that you can work efficiently. I also practice what I call “natural hair etiquette” so that if my hair physically gets in the way of someone, let’s say at a movie theatre or train, then I’d gladly move it out of the way. But it seems widely accepted that you must appear ‘harmless’ or unpolitical in order to be successful or maintain employment, so much so that I’ve had women come up and tell me of all the successes I could have if I straightened my hair, and how much nicer I’d look. But why is natural hair — the hair that grows out of my head — seen as political, ‘edgy’ or dangerous in the first place. I have always worn my hair straightened or in a compact bun while searching for work and I’ve even removed braids to look for work as well. But is it right? Am I letting the negative ideals of others determine my behavior? And is changing my hairstyle a fair price to pay for success?

For more of Domineque check her out on Instagram: lhdc2011 and YouTube, Longhairdontcare2011.

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215 Comments on "True Life: My Boss Criticized My Natural Hair in Public"

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coffeeandfingernails
Guest
I think this is something that’s bound to change as more and more women go natural. In the meantime, how each woman handles this has to be a personal decision and I’m the last to judge. If you have the luxury of taking a stand and walking out, more power to you. Some won’t have that luxury and will have to go along in order to keep putting food on the table. I’d be curious about how this varies from industry to industry, and in different parts of the country. As a black woman working in left/progressive/nonprofit type environments on… Read more »
Tabatha
Guest

In the military you aren’t allowed to do your hair in fashious styles. I was able to put my hair in cornrowws, but the parts couldn’t have zig zags they had to go straight back same with locks you have to be able to pull them back in a bun. They didn’t want any individuals.

Nak
Guest

I’ve been natural in a corporate environment. I have 3b/c hair, so I’m not sure if that makes a difference to non-Black people, but I haven’t been approached. However, my mother constantly tells me to wear my hair straight to interviews and thinks every job I didn’t get somehow relates to me wearing my hair curly. Also, just b/c I haven’t been approached by anyone doesn’t mean they don’t think anything.

I really don’t know. But I do definitely wear my hair in a bun to interviews.

Cublktigress
Guest

As long as it doesn’t look unkempt or get in the way it should not be a problem. They would just rather have you assimilate and we’ve done that for so long. Our hair is what sets us apart from all the other races. Something rather unique about defying gravity!

RobynW.
Guest

I feel horrible that this happened to you, and in the workplace no less! Your boss handled the situation very poorly. Its one thing to address appearance as a part of office dress code but NEVER should an employee be confronted in front of other employees. That can lead to an uncomfortable and hostile work environment. And how dare your co worker say you look like a troll doll!! No way shape or form is that okay and your boss should have confronted her too.

Nak
Guest

And what’s funny is, these very people will be the first to say they aren’t racist. I bet you her boss and coworkers had no clue how offensive that was.

Candice
Guest
I own my own business, so on a daily basis, it largely doesn’t matter how I do my hair because it’s a small business with few employees and I’m the boss. However, there are times when I’ve had to go to business meetings, especially back when I had a twa, and I was definitely seen as poor (i.e., I couldn’t afford to get my hair done rather than I chose not to). Also being in the publishing business where there are almost NO black people at all, let alone black women, let ALONE black women with natural, I find my… Read more »
Jeremiah Desravines
Guest

You are beautiful, just the way you are. Consider legal counsel. And stay strong through the groups that support you.

@HelloMissHarper
Guest
Im very glad this article was posted. It’s saddening to know that this is what we are faced with everyday in the workplace. It’s usually an involuntary silent battle with the views of society. I think the above situation is completely unacceptable. I do from time to time whip out the ghd’s on my hair (which kills me a little bit inside to be honest) but I find that when I have worn my curls out in the work place on a good twist-out day. When my bush looks the best, the reaction is either an erie one of one… Read more »
gigi
Guest

those two must not get out much… your big ponies are actually quite chic! they also don’t seem very professional/ probably got their training from some ???????… lol good riddance

gigi
Guest

woops — looks like the cyrillic didn’t make it lol ‘Krushcheby’ was what I meant… like a backwoods slummy dental school

gigi
Guest
oh yeah, almost forgot… I know a few russians & have dated a couple too — didn’t really want to play on the race/ethnicity angle, but since somebody else mentioned it, I’ll just say I find them to be very assimilating. They’ll chameleonize themselves to whoever they think has the power, and to their pleasant surprise because they look the part,the anglo-saxon angle is the ‘thing’. Funny thing is that it’s not even about race in their heads… They get the big picture, sum up what’s going on & blend until they can take over… They’re tricky that way… no… Read more »
ProfessionalNatural
Guest
I actually think it depends on the work place. I wear my hair in a afro to work everyday. Matter of fact I interview with my hair in a afro because I wanted to be sure that when i was hired the knew who they were getting. I wouldn’t want to work in a place that couldn’t accept me for who I am and how I choose to wear my. Most companies and cultures are accepting and inclusive. I work for a large fortune 500 company and a lot of women wear their hair naturally. We even have a person… Read more »
Guest1234
Guest
Thank you! Corporate lawyer, here. And the majority of the black ladies at the top of the game wear natural hair. Who the heck has HOURS on end to spend straightening hair? And whose employers actually WANT the professionals they’re paying GOOD MONEY for wasting quality billable hours doing that mess? And whose CLIENT wants people they’re paying GOOD MONEY FOR focusing on hair rather than winning the case? NOBODY’S. I promise you. It annoys me when black folks tell OURSELVES that we’re not professional as-is and sit around analyzing how to beat ourselves into submission. Nobody worth a damn… Read more »
CharlitaH
Guest

Hopefully this is changing little by little, but it certainly wont if we continue to put dangerous chemicals in our hair and damage it with waaaay too much heat. Instead of killing them with kindness we’ll do it with natural hair, don’t be discouraged!

me
Guest
I live in London, England and have had similar experiences. In my experience sometimes people have been fascinated by my hair more than I imagined. It surprises me and sometimes makes me feel like people should get out a bit, considering London is very multicultural. When I had a twist out recently, one of the people I work with said, oh you look different, have you got braids? My Boss, said I looked really nice and she preferred my hair that way [I took this mostly as a compliment, but I can’t say that deep down inside, part of me… Read more »
tee
Guest
So sorry that this happened to this author — yeeessssh! What wankers they were! @me Had to read this twice so i was sure i didn’t write it! Also a londoner *waves* been natural since 03/04 time, it wasn’t even a case of ‘going natural’ moving to uni, it was the best. Anyway been through it all except sew ins, tried thrice, not me. Anyway, your experiences are like mine at work, last time i threaded my hair, a colleague just had to ‘touch it’ her words. My face? Recoiling but unable to move either, have had at least 5… Read more »
Stacey
Guest
First, good job for not ‘going off’ at the office. The dentist’s response was unprofessional. Your co-workers’ behavior borders on workplace harassment. You mentioned that these people are Russian. Understand their images and perceptions of us are formed out of ‘white-washed’ interactions with Americans. In their country they probably see white people as the only people in America. If you believe you can have a rational conversation with the dentist WITHOUT losing your job let him/her know: you were humiliated by the comments and understand the need to be professional at all times. You prefer to be referred to my… Read more »
RedLady80
Guest
I briefly worked in a conservative law firm, and during my time there I transitioned to natural and wore lots of braid outs, rod sets, braids, and eventually big chopped. I got so much great feedback when I had my TWA. It seemed that everyone appreciated the versatility of my hair and the man different styles I wore before and after the chop. I proudly wore my fro and occasionally wore senegalese twists and yarn braids. I’m sorry you had this experience and that people laughed at you. We should be able to wear our hair the way God made… Read more »
colorfulkinks
Guest

lol I don’t think you have ever been to Russia. There are plenty of different races over their, especially blacks straight out of Africa. Most people still seem to believe that Racism is only in America. They may not tell you out right, but they will try to keep you down. If Europe and other white dominated societies are so open minded. Why do they still attempt to suppress the representation of black beauty by making excuses that “it won’t sell.” A simple googling of racism/black in russia will explain enough.

p.s.- this wasn’t made to attack

Jeanty_23
Guest
I am a young black graduate student and profession and this truly saddens me. I have often worked and been taught in environments where I am the only black person and I have gotten A LOT of questions about my hair. This does not bother me at all. I feel like the comments, questions etc. are not rooted in hate/malice but in a need for understanding a different culture. I always respond well to these and don’t mind them. However, I do recognize that this wont always be the case. I don’t think this is a race issue, more of… Read more »
me
Guest

But then again, these guys are Dentists — so we assume well educated? I would not expect that at all.

jasmine
Guest

well educated” does not mean & will never mean intelligent or diverse.

Tracy
Guest
That was just ridiculous and uncalled for on your co-workers and employers part. I give you kudos for handling yourself in a professional manner I don’t know if I could have done the same, I’m sure I would have given them a quick professional read to let them know what lines they need not cross… I will say that I have been lucky to work where I do because my hair has never been an issue. I have fortunately only have had positive comments to my face at least. It’s funny bc I big chopped from a long weave to… Read more »
Ellie
Guest
I’ve had a similar situation but it wasn’t a supervisor it was a guest at the hotel I worked at in North Las Vegas. She complained to my boss that my hair was dirty and wild. Of course my white manager and hispanic coworker both defended me saying that there was nothing wrong with my hair and they liked it. Of course I complained to a chef friend of mine who was black and his response was “Well your hair is a little wild sometimes, maybe you should straighten it.” It was pretty sad because the main people to complain… Read more »
Chelle
Guest
My boss humiliated me once about my natural hair. I grew the relaxer out my hair back in 2003, but I flat ironed it for years. I would’ve tried curly natural years earlier had my boss not made fun of me. I’m an attorney in a firm and Back in 2007, I tried my curly hair at work. While it was a bit of a disaster, it was still curly and (I thought) cute. My boss, who is Southern, white and fancies himself a comedian, told me (in front of everyone) that it looked like I had stuck my finger… Read more »
Me
Guest
If I’m not mistaken, LHDC lives in LA now… So that attitude wouldnt shock me… Russians, Armenians and others that come from the old Soviet Union/Eastern Block nations are extremely racist and bold. Los Angeles is one of the most segregated cities in America, and racist. There are some parts of the city I wouldnt go to simply for safety reasons. I had a Lebanese female boss that reminded me of the mask from Scream and the face of the SAW character — she laughed one day and asked “why would you put your hair in a ponytail if it’s… Read more »
AllyCat
Guest

hillarious!

cb
Guest

come on Allycat, really

Curly Queen
Guest

And this is why I work for myself! I just don’t have time for the foolishness. I would have been more than mad. You shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable about the hair that grows out of your hair. If it’s getting in the way of your work that is one thing but otherwise let people be.

Stacey
Guest

I recently wrote a blog on this topic regarding natural hair and interviewing. http://thecareershift.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/29/

kb1908
Guest
Just one thing, I hate to bring this up but 30+ crowd have been natural for a while, a few friends of mine including myself stop getting perms in the 90s. And most of the black women at my (in their 30s) are natural Now back to the hair at work, we have to own our beauty before others do. I have friends w/ 3b hair saying they can’t go natural, because they won’t get a job. If these people are worried then what’s the hope for the kinky 4 girls, like me? Before people get mad at me I… Read more »
kb1908
Guest

*black women at my work (in their 30s) *oops*

Tabatha
Guest

Well I’m not making excuses, but they are Russian what do they know about black hair? What that one did was unprofessional actually the other guy making the troll judgement is unprofessional too. Well I don’t have that issue at my work. my boss doesn’t really care unless it looks extremely unkept. I think its ridiculous that you can’t keep your hair how you want as long as it’s not a big ugly mess.

jjac401
Guest
This is a well written article that pinpoints some of the disrespect that some naturals go through. Obviously the writer of this piece is a well polished young lady who knows how to present herself. I say that if a natural sports a polished style with their clothing in the workplace — the natural hair is even more fly. I am a natural who is professional and I take pride sporting my hair at all times. Although I have not experienced anything but positive comments on my hair, I am not going to trip over some ignorant mindset should it… Read more »
legallytnatural2
Guest
there is a differece between negative or embarassing comments and racist or discrimantory remarks. Russian dentist making joking remarks about your hair sounds more racist to me and perhaps I am sure if this made you want to leave could defintely be looked upon as a hostile work environment. Many of these types of statements go undected because we don’t realize the legal ramafications of these statements. Once we learn our legal rights and demand to be treated with respect, I am sure those types of comments will be downgraded to a dull roar. Oh, they will still chuckle, but… Read more »
la*belle
Guest

That is just so rude and uncivilised… I live in South Africa, bc’d 4 months ago. My company is a pretty conservative corporate one, but NOBODY at work had a negative thing to say, they loved it! I have predominantly 4a hair for what it’s worth. One kind, slight misguided coworjer said ‘Oh, your hair looks so nice and curly. Did you relax it?’ She couldn’t believe it was just water and conditioner! The only person who had a bitingly nasty comment to make, was a family friend who has type 4 natural hair too. Strange how that worked…

la*belle
Guest

*slightly and *coworker. Silly phone 😉

cb
Guest

we know what she meant…stop

Lee Jones
Guest

Lol the spelling corrections came from the same person who wrote it. 😉 No need to get angry.

la*belle
Guest

Uh.. I thought her comment was funny? Since it was the exact opposite of what i was doing. Still have a good chuckle because she now wonders if i perm 🙂

Amanda Lee
Guest

This happen to me this morning at work but the comments came from Black women and it was behind my back. I love my hair and I think it looks cute in a curly fro. I wouldn’t let comments from foreigners fade me but when it comes from Black women, it’s sad. All of their hair is broken off, short, and hidin under a weave, yet I get laughed at for the hair I was born with. SMH Crazy!

tiredofthebs
Guest
I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t agree with you on letting “comments from foreigners fade me” An insult is an insult, and we do not live in an ideal world, where all images of beauty are celebrated. The Russian women have been spoonfed the same thing that every women from every race and culture has been fed: that straight hair is the ideal. With that said, the only difference between the Black women at your job and the Russian women at the author’s office is that the Black women may have the kind of hair that’s the… Read more »
la*belle
Guest

So true. I guess it boils down to your mindset, right? I shudder to think that not so long ago, i’d NEVER have considered going natural. Now, i can’t believe i was so blind to the beauty and utter gorgeousness of natural hair. Hopefully, more and more will change their perceptions. But, it doesn’t say much for the manners of some, that they made such rude remarks.

Leah
Guest

At my job, my conservative, white coworkers compliment my puff, while the 2 African American ladies tell me I should have it blown straight. My hair is thin, highly porous and 4c. My puff gives me volume and I love my natural hair. Their advice annoys me, but with natural hair, it comes with the territory.

Vonnie
Guest

I take it this happened a while ago, so no further action was taken. Had our have been me HR it the next higher up authority would have heard about it. I know we deal with “haters” but that comment, and the way you were “reprimanded” was outright unprofessional. I hope for the future anyone else and you stand up for your rights as a naturalista AND as an employee that demands respect

Pompeii
Guest
This is a very interesting topic to me. First off i would like to put out there that I’m living in Alabama (cradle of confederacy). I have never received negative comments from non ethnic people, they are always giving compliments. Its sad to say that the negativity came from my own family and from other people of color. I have never worn my hair straight for interviews or job searches, the only time i straightened my hair is to clip the ends and it’s right back to my fro. when it comes to someone offering opinions about my body or… Read more »
Jeanean
Guest

Pompeii, what part of Alabama are you living in? I went natural 10 years ago and like you, I got flack from the black women in the office. Most white people did/do not understand about perms, the history of black hair and so on. I wear mine much shorter than yours, but then I love short hair.

Pompeii
Guest

I live in Montgomery dear…yes i also received comments from guys that like to roar their dislike of natural hair. Mind you it’s usually from guys that would never have a chance with me anyway so it works out perfect for everyone. But that’s nothing a little reminder of how i either don’t care, didn’t ask and don’t wear it for their liking won’t fix :-D..i haven’t had any negative remarks from women yet well besides family members

Cece Danielle
Guest

Is this your hair? I love it! I wish my hair would do this, but I think it’s gotten too long now. :-/

Pompeii
Guest

Yes maam it is 🙂

Jenelle B.
Guest
Wow, I am shocked by this…but you are right, black women’s hair has been a hot political topic for a long time and for the life of me I couldn’t get it until I realized that many of these stereotypical comments and nasty minded jokes stems from the residuals of past prejudices and even racism. We also have to understand that a lot of these workplace policies on appearance and such stemmed from conforming to a European style of attire that has no individuality whatsoever and the minute you show individuality it becomes a problem and it is seen rebellious… Read more »
Pompeii
Guest

And i would also like to add that people will treat you how YOU allow them.…i read people saying how sad it is but go on to say it’s part of the territory.…Um NO not in my book! You will treat me with respect, and that’s a demand. Employer or not, i will not be belittled for a check.…God is my ultimate provider and has the last say. Sooooo i would’ve professionally told him where he was wrong, got my belongings and headed to the nearest attorney. The end

Deirdre
Guest

Gurl Preach!!!

Keikimummy
Guest
In the end, I think, like it or not, wearing our hair natural is political. It’s political, because it goes against the grain, it goes against societal expectations and ideals, and it goes against prevailing values relating not only to beauty, but also to decency. We know our hair is beautiful, decent, perfectly acceptable… Unfortunately, concepts like beauty, decency and acceptability are all subjective and based on communal ideology. What do we do? It’s against the law to mount violent, homicidal rebellions like slaves had to in the past. It’s against the law to literally burn down the establishment. But… Read more »
Tee
Guest

Huge huge hug! This made me want to cry

Very true in more ways than one! Thanking you from a london office 🙂 xoxox

Jeanean
Guest

I think every person who goes natural may think of many reason/benefits of to let their hair be in its natural state. I think the reasons you listed are important, but not everyone may do them for those reasons. Now honestly speaking I did it for the first one you listed. I was trying to find the real me that I always felt was locked inside. My hair was not holding me back or down, but as part of changing my way of thinking/views in life, changing my hair was the first of many steps.

tiredofthebs
Guest
I like your comment!! But I have to be honest, when I went natural 7 years ago, I didn’t go natural for any of those reasons, I did it because my hair was long, but thin, and I figured that if I went natural it would be thicker and I could have a big Badu afro, and just straighten it when I wanted to. I WAS SO WRONG, my hair is fuller, of course because there are no chemicals changing my texture, but in order for me to get a big fro, I would have to mess with it (sleep… Read more »
Stephanie
Guest
I work in an academic environment. I am the front line for most people that come into our office. My black boss has told me on numerous occasions that she prefers my hair pulled back because people somehow come into the office, forget what they wanted, and are just transfixed by my hair. She actually equated my hair to a booger on someones nose or lots of cleavage… seriously… She said my hair was distracting… Distracting from what? Am I not getting my job done because I have a twist out. Is my pony puff keeping me from showing people… Read more »
Eat.Style.Play
Guest
It’s amazing the comments that people get from their own people. I had this happen once at work by a make Black co-worker. I think i’ve worn my hair all sorts of ways at work from a Wash and Go to a weave, to twist outs and curlier styles. One week I wore my hair in a twist out it was neat, cute, everybody in my office loved it. Well that friday i decided to put it in two french braids. My loud co-worker comes in and says.… ” wow it’s about time you did something witht hat mess on… Read more »
TWA4now
Guest

Wow! This is so very sad! We are all beautiful hair and all. Most of the time, it is other races that accept us as is (natural hair and all)! Stories like this sadden me. Yes, natural, relaxed, braids, dread, loved, bone straight whatever on whoever should be neat and professional for a work place environment. I wouldn’t break out the BBA just yet, but to be discriminated solely on hair especially by our own people is: ignorant, down right rude, and extremely uneducated! We still have a VERY long way to go! #whenwillitend?

Guest1234
Guest
In response to your question: “But why is natural hair — the hair that grows out of my head — seen as political, ‘edgy’ or dangerous in the first place?” My answer is: Because it IS edgy and dangerous. Breaking off the shackles of cultural oppression is a very subversive and dangerous thing to do. It’s dangerous to the status quo that people fight like hell to maintain. Even as they, themselves are oppressed by it, too. Look, we know why certain black people are hostile to natural hair. But do we ever analyze why others (certain white people in… Read more »
AKING
Guest
WOW. I dealt with a issue similar to this at my office in the past. I’m a professional black male with big curly hair and my white male european co-workers would sometimes suggest I put some “perm” in my hair so it could be straight like theirs and all of the other black women & MEN in the office. And on every occassion I would remind these individuals just because they tan their skin to be darker like myself, I have no desire to have straight hair like them because I am african-american. I like the way I would leave… Read more »
Ms_Nita
Guest

I had a moment like that as well. On my day off I went up to my job to turn in some papers. I then had one of my coworkers approach me and say “what you doing to your hair”? I replied “nothing” and she says “yea that’s exactly what it looks like nothing… You need to do something to that mess”. Remind you that I had twist in my hair. I was so disheveled by the comment I could only walk away. Smh

me
Guest

Some people are so rude! I wear an untamed afro at times, so I do “nothing” to it. If anyone doesn’t like it, it’s not my problem!

Lauryn
Guest
Girl, I feel you on the embarrassment, but pay them no mind. I am in the military and we have very strict hair standards (can’t even wear braids or locs, and corncrows… God help you if they do anything but go straight to the back). I’m a new natural, but I remember when I was just between relaxers and had some curly new growth… I had to female superiors… Latinas… gang up on me and tell me I needed to put gel in my hair because it was “unprofessional.” I said no… and that was the end of it. If… Read more »
Denise Foster
Guest

Did they change the standards or is this specifically for one branch. I was in the Air Force for 21 years and wore braids for the last 6 retiring in 03′.

Proud Natural
Guest
Don’t waste your time trying to understand the motives of the critics. I remember when I was transitioning and I was applying for jobs. I was worried about what people would think of me if I wore my hair natural. When I built up enough confidence (and skill working with my hair) I decided to wear a braid-out to an interview. I felt great! I got the job. I am a lawyer and have learned you can be a natural and be a professional. The most important thing is how you feel. If you love yourself, people cannot help but… Read more »
Thinker
Guest
Full lips, and full buttocks were once considered unprofessional… Yet we witness individuals paying astronomical fees for surgeries to obtain them. Tanning salons are not going out of business either. It is interesting how in Western society, everything associated with black is projected negatively, until Others find the means by which to obtain these attributes. Kinky hair is to black as pale skin is to white. What if there was a standard that requires a cetain degree of tannes to be admitted into a professional career? Individuals would point this out as discriminatory. It is the exact same with hair.… Read more »
*AZ* Naturalista
Guest

I wanted to “double” thumbs-up this but could only do it once. Thank you for shedding that amazing light upon us.

L
Guest

Hair makes a statement because it was natural hair worn by the political leaders during the 60s and 70s.

Misi
Guest
One of my male superiors asked me rather nicely today if it was ok for him to buy me relaxer for my hair. I think he felt embarrased or maybe he thought I was broke so I couldn’t afford the expensive weaves and straighten my hair. I had noticed in the past the confused and perhaps insulting look he has when I walk to work in the morning. The most recent ignorant comment I got was from a black lady with really thin relaxed hair with the sides balding. She had a colorful way of refering to the 4A-C shrinkage.… Read more »
Ro
Guest
Just recently did a bigchop. Usually wear my hair tied in a scarf to work, a lot of people at my work are really fine with it. Funny thing I’ve noticed a lot of black people stare at me weird, this black couple on the train were staring at me like an alien just landed on earth. And would you believe I had an empty seat next to me on the train and this black guy didn’t sit down till I got off the train. I expected that behavior from other races but it is shocking to get it from… Read more »
Jessie
Guest

But why is natural hair — the hair that grows out of my head — seen as political, ‘edgy’ or dangerous in the first place”?

I wish I knew the answer to this myself. I wish people were more concerned with what was in my head instead of what grows out of it. =

MsKinkz
Guest

I just got a job at the mall and my job has a no ponytail policy. So basically, we have to have our hair down since the job has a relaxed, youthful look. I have 4c hair, so my hair is most relaxed when is up or in a protective style.

I think the rest of the world has to get acquainted with natural hair since its not yet common knowledge.

imani
Guest
I dont get how a clean neat ponytail/bun isnt “youthful”. Some of our greateast stylists show high and low buns as clean and professsional and stylish workplace hairstyles. Since our hair doesnt always flow and sweep from side to side, would they then fire you BECAUSE your hair doesnt flow and you refuse to relax or straigthen?No offense but what MALL has the right to think they are so high-end that employees cant wear their hair in a professional manner they deem fit? I understand things like weird colors,headbands and other attention-grabbing hair accessories but a ponytail? I know we… Read more »
Rasaan J.
Guest

Unless it was office policy to present yourself in a certain way… Shame on you for not politely checking Mr. Boss Man.

imani
Guest
sure, check mr. boss man then find herself fired? Its all well and fine to stand on principle but theres a time and a place as well as a WAY to address such issues. Sometimes our knee-jerk reaction isnt the best course of action. Sometimes you need to set up a meeting and make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s and make sure its documented and that you dont give them cause to say you freaked out or acted inappropriately. I’d ask to see the workplace policy and my employment contract. You express your issues and tell… Read more »
K Murray
Guest

Always remember, some people just say and do rude things. But as long as you do your job well each and everyday most supervisors’ could care less about if you are natural or not! Show them performance and everything else goes out the back door.

Jumoké
Guest
I’m glad that she mentioned natural hair etiquette because I feel like some naturals take this “movement” too far. If your place of work requures your hair in a certain fashion then so be it! If you’re working at a restaurant and are trying to make a “statement” with your hair to prove a point, people will not return when they find hair in their food -_- Also, the thing about the movie and the train is true. If your hair causes a disturbance to others, kindly fix your hair in a way that won’t. I’m not saying that we… Read more »
imani
Guest
For me, my professionalism is reflected in my work ethic, my knowledge, my talent, my passiona for what i do, the respect i get from my peers bc of job performance, my open friendly team-playing attitude, and yes, my physical appearance(no sneakers, t-shirts,ill-fitting clothes, worn-out items, i accessorize to the nines girl!i keep it current,classic yet trendy &complementary to my body-type.Those are my concerns about how i’m percieved. If my “week old twist-out’ as its stated is THAT distracting, that sounds like a personal problem to me, NOT a lack of professionalism on my part. Part of the problem are… Read more »
Jumoké
Guest
I think you missed the whole point of what I’m trying say. If read the last part I DID say that we don’t need to straighten our hair to conform and if that’s what you believe then that’s your opinion. Like I said, messy hair is not professional in my opinion. Everyone on this site walk around like people with natural hair can’t have bad hair days and I disagree. Of course yes, most of the time people make negative comments about our hair but this right here is constructive criticism. From one natural to another, your hair is part… Read more »
*AZ* Naturalista
Guest
I cannot believe there are places/people where comments like this are even thought of. After reading many comments on here all I can do is be thankful for where I live and work. I live in Arizona and work for Verizon and my workplace is filled with many cultures and people, that me being a natural, just fit right in. My job is filled with naturals too, very beautiful women. I didn’t know the workplace was like this before going to my interview, but I did go to my interview rockin a wash n go lol Even though a family… Read more »
jasmine
Guest
Ps: i too live in hot AZ… and i don’t get alot of negative feedback on my hair either, although AZ is a predominantly caucasian state. When i do get weird hair “moments” they are of strangers touching my hair from behind me.. (i have a large fro/puff so i don’t always immediately feel it) and questions about “how i get my hair to be so curly and does it grow out that way?” One of the things i have learned during this journey is that people truly DON’T know. I mean, if we ourselves, before our journeys began had… Read more »
Cece Danielle
Guest

+1

Tanya
Guest

the reason why it is so ‘political’ is because it represents a defiance of the system in place to keep us in bondage. To ‘them’ & trained negros it is a sign of disobedience to massa & if you begin to free your mind and embrace the hair that is a halo, you might/will start to open your mind up to other knowledge outside of the ‘system’ that will keep you chained & hating & defying yourself.

Adrienne
Guest
I am gotta say something that is not related to workplace, I was at camp where a girl ask me to relax it and have a hairstyle like her. I guess she thought it was ugly to have nappy but to me it is beautiful having kinky coarsed hair. I am glad I had bc. I didn’t care what kind hair you have , it is your own choice. But when she told me what to wear , I was like “Why don’t you do your hair like mine?” Don’t you notice how so many black ladies tell other black… Read more »
borboh
Guest

Same here I can remember a classmate of my asking to go and relax my hair so that It can look good,but I don’t blame them cos they don’t av d understanding.

Remy hair Extensions
Guest

Hi Domineque,
Fantastic article and very beneficial for helping for people.

jen
Guest

i dont know why white ppl expect us to have straight hair like seriously, our hair is kinky and curly and thats it! how dare ur co-workers laff at you bcos of ur own God given natural hair? its nt fair, they get to wear their hair to work bt no nt a black woman.. this is just hair discrimination or hair racism!

CherishBomb
Guest

A department of human resources issue if I ever saw one. report them.

Cee
Guest

wow. This is racism.…

shelikes
Guest
U r absolutely beautiful. Pretty eyes, hair and skin, which I have no doubt is true because you practice healthy hair. As far as the post is concerned, my opinion is that u have to help racist Russians whom have abandoned their country and uniculture to make money here, through educational process by educating them to the ethic of multiculturalism that is a big part of getting along here. U have to fight to make people like that understand that wearing your hair natural makes you feel good inside and in turn produce a better work product, etc. Don’t run… Read more »
donna
Guest
I really think, we have to stand up for out hair! Cause it wasnt excepted because in the past we as a ras accepted dat our hair was ‘bad’. And that went on for generations. But nowadays we see the beauty, the diversity and the power is has. thats why when anyone makes a stupid remark towards my hair, i speak up and say this is how real african American hair looks like, not that chemical of weaves you see other wear. If we need to stop pleasing the other ‘race’ and start pleasing ourselfs! So stop putting it away… Read more »
trackback

[…] not be expected to because society says thats what women do. After reading this young woman’s story, it made me incredibly sad. If she knows she has to wear her hair and certain way to perform […]

Come On People
Guest

I have been on two interviews in the past week with natural hair. My hair was not a problem. One company has called to say that they are going to make an offer. I am going on another one tomorrow. I would not change a thing.

Chereace
Guest

When is anything Black Women do NOT seen as political, though. smh..

clewis
Guest
I went to a job interview at a doctor office a few weeks ago and when I walked in the first thing the dr looked at was my hair. My hair was slicked down like it was in a bun but my hair is not long enough so a lil puff. I knew I wasn’t getting the job even the dr stated I was qualified and the be st candidate he seen so far. He kept on looking at my hair with a perplexed look. Smh I’m now thinking about wearing a wig on interviews. I shouldn’t have to but… Read more »
K_ten
Guest
Remember that blacks have already done this back in the 70’s. Going natural and being proud of your natural hair is nothing new! It’s just that the movement has come back around full circle. No one of any race should have such hatred for anyone’s hair. Nor should they make fun of you in public or make you feel bad when you know your look is acceptable. It is sad that Whites can “get away” with having a sloppy appearance but we’ll be criticized and looked at in disbelief when we decide to change our hair despite still keeping it… Read more »
Green
Guest

Why is natural black hair the only type of hair that is seen as unprofessional. I maybe taking it too far but that view is clearly racist and people most people who have that view don’t even know it.

Crist
Guest
Maybe they see it as unprofessional because, for people without our type of hair, hair that is big and frizzy is hair that was just slept on, not combed and unkempt FOR THEIR type of hair. In small part that kind of association may play a role for some people who sees hair with those characteristics as unprofessional. Now for THOSE kinds of people some education is in order so that they know that big and frizzy is just how our hair IS and more than likely it wasnt even slept on (bonnet), definitely was combed (which probably created the… Read more »
S Lou
Guest

I am glad that the intolerance of afro hair has been exposed. As it shows that people still need to be educated. Why should you have to change yourself based on the ignorance of people. It is discrimination and not allowed in work environments. Hopefully a lot of naturals are growing, so people will have no choice but to accept rathe than judge.

Shanelle
Guest
What you really should of told them was “My hair is umprofessionall?” Lady it’s not my fault i was born with natural hair as a matter of fact i am proud of it.Apparently a stuck up white heffier bitch like you is just jealous. you have the right to call out my hair look at u ur hair is as thin as a tooth pick.Why don’t you shut the f up because i didn’t ask for ur fing opinion SO if you have a problem with me being an african american who sticks with my beautiful natural hair then tell… Read more »
Jumoké
Guest

That’s not going to help the situation… One thing that my mother always told me is to handle every situation with grace. When you call white people or whoever out of their name, you’re just as bad as they are. Kill me with kindness.

Jumoké
Guest

Em*

femmemuscle
Guest
i worked with physicians that were russians and iranians etc., In a famous outpatient facility in CA. when i wore my hair in “singles”, the Russians,Iranians, Ukranians, etc. would walk right up to me while i was working on my computer and start pulling on it, while discussing my “kinky” hair with their colleagues. A young Korean intern was also talking about my an african american woman’s hair. Her exact words? “Sh&*t’s all nappy”.. I turned and looked at her, and she froze. the iranian doctor said upon our introduction: “in my country your would be my slave.” I proved… Read more »
Tee
Guest

***____** OMD!

You should have sued their behinds all the way past sunday!

Urghh!

eve-audrey
Guest

wow i can’t believe this! when did that take place? and the irani doctor’s comment O_O you should have. wht put her in place besides being better professionally. what did she say when she was you were doing the job better?
that kind of attitude sickens me. well are you working elsewhere now?

femmemuscle
Guest
What’s even worse? uneducated blacks are just as verbal about natural hair, as any other uneducated culture. I can’t tell you how many times after going natural, that i would walk into a room full of young black females sporting “Extensions Plus” “Ali Express” and other famous weave vendors on their heads. They’re sitting there stroking their “tresses” or relaxed hair, while looking at me like i just got off the slave boat. Many of them silently enforcing these very strange rules: 1) If you wear your hair it must be of a certain “grade” (usually 3 grade) or what… Read more »
Jacky
Guest

That’s so sad to hear but i do want you to know that your natural hair is beautiful,it’s the hair that God gave to you and God loves you and knows what’s best for you.

shelikes
Guest
i doubt either one of the russian doctors could even grow a strand of hair even if they tried. i bet my last they were both baldheads. the one who said your hair was not organized needs to learn english. i have never in life heard of anyone refer to hair as organized or unorganized. i imagine he frustrates his patients with his poor use of english more than any damage you might do by wearing your long shiny bush. and the troll doll comment, the maker of the doll prolly had an old gray skinned white woman with processed… Read more »
Sophie
Guest

I think about that one hair for interviews and another after I’m hired thing, and I’ve come up with this: the idea that a hair type can inhibit your ability to work (if it’s not physically in the way) is silly, and the best way we can show this is to infiltrate! We don’t need to start a fight with anyone, just get jobs and be awesome at them. Let these comments motivate you to make the person run out of reasons to complain!

Jasmine
Guest
I’m really mad that these people for what they did.By critisizing your natural hair they are critizing we, your natural sistas but seriously though you shouldn’t of fixed your hair They would understand you cared what they thought of we naturalz what you really should of done was explain to your boss “See this this is what you call natural hair it has a tightly coiled curl pattern it poufs out it is not like yours it is very different and i did not ask you for your imput for a boss you are being very ignorant and you should… Read more »
S
Guest

If other folks can wear their stringy hair down, in their faces and play in it all day moving it back and forth while they serve food and what not, I don’t see the difference. They also still wear a can of hairspray to make their hair do what our hair does naturally and that is be big and stand out, what’s the difference??? I am offended by this post and laughing at some one or scolding them in public is never ok..

Clara
Guest

I have been lucky because my Jewish boss doesn’t even notice my hair or how poofy it is. She knows it’s the curliest hair under the sun. She has a daughter with 2c hair who is always screaming her head off when it’s time for brushing (her office is at home). I overhead her once telling her daughter to come ask me to brush her hair cause I’d know better than she does (my boss) how to handle curly hair. I smiled to myself. That was a compliment in my ears

Tamanya
Guest
Those from other cultures/ethnicities are so used to seeing black women with relaxed hair or someone else’s hair woven on to their heads, that when they have the rare privilege to see a black woman actually sporting the hair that grows out of our heads, it freaks them out. It is still not considered the ‘norm’ and is so different from what they mostly see. If a larger number of black women were brave enough to be themselves, people who choose to be ignorant would be less ‘shocked’ by natural black hair. Like ‘K_ten’ mentioned earlier, natural hair became popular… Read more »
sherrybaby
Guest
What I never understand is why do people feel like it’s ok to be so verbal about their opinions about black people. I’ve gotten to a place where I no longer care about educating people because frankly, it’s not my responsibility to educate and make others comfy and cozy. Get with my program, you know? And I’ve found that unless the question is from a close friend or acquaintance, most people ask about natural hair just because they’re feeling a little nosey and bold that day. I say all this to say, people are going to have opinions about any… Read more »
Dr. Anjana
Guest
Shame on anyone that made you feel less than beautiful in your natural state, especially other women. Your success should only be defined as to how you feel and what your endeavors are. If you find that you are compromised, or that you have to subdue yourself, then it may not be worth it. I remember moving here to the south with braids and working for a conservative woman. By month three she had me dressing in cardigans and wearing a wig to hide my ethnicity. What she couldnt hide was her prejudice. She made a comment about me being… Read more »
Myca
Guest

Umm yeah I would have left my hair exactly how it was and called HR. If they fired me for it, great, more ammunition for the lawsuit I would have filed!!

Some people are just ignorant but there are those who understand black hair. I used to work at Saks…admittedly, I had the impression they’d be turned off by natural hair but I wore my afro and they loved it. If management had a problem with it, they definitely didn’t let it show (which was great, otherwise I would have had to go over their heads).

Jesse
Guest

Wow this story makes me sad. I find that people in the “hard” sciences (math, biology, engineering, chemistry) are some of the meanest people I’ve ever met. They think that being a professional in the sciences is reserved for the rich and white or the Indians and Asians. I’m so sick of it.

khala
Guest

i want to be a biochemist: im not mean. Einstein was probably one of the nicest people you would meet. my asian ap chem teacher is probably one of the funniest little scientists you can meet. ap readiness science teachers were great, with all the fun experimentation.

dont judge us all.

but i understand where youre coming from.

Diablo
Guest

braids are ugly on a girl glad u removed them but ur hair like this wow makes u look really bad. not cute nor sexy kinda ugly honestly. straighten it then maybe your hair will make ur face look a lil better. if u dont like this comment then dont cry about ur life cause not every one will sugar coat ur feelings

Dr. Anjana
Guest
You need to learn to love yourself and write in a grammatically correct fashion before you expose you inferiority complex in the face of a woman that is obviously successful, stunning, with great hair. Because you are faceless and anonymous on the internet leaves us to imagine what you must look like. Ugly words…ugly person. If you do not like this comment, then you know how it feels to get unsolicited (just look it up) advice from a person who is so deeply tormented in a mental prison that she has to be hateful to her fellow woman. You are… Read more »
sherrybaby
Guest

don’t feed the internet trolls.

khala
Guest
my jaw literally dropped when i read this. the ignorance of people! i even see this kind of stuff in school (i’m still in high school). girls, instead of actually caring for their hair, will get weaves and individuals, and wont even take care of the fake hair! and what a lot of them don’t realize is that the braids, extensions and weaves, will pull at their roots too much, and recede their hair lines, and by the time they’re 16, their hairlines will begin 3 or 4 inches from where it should! i know this from experience. i used… Read more »
Melly
Guest
S*** like this just makes my blood boil. Especially Femmemuscle’s comment. Fortunately for me, I have not gotten any negative comments about my hair (at least to my face). I’ve gotten nothing but good comments about my hair, but I wished that others could have the same experience. Seriously, people need to understand that people’s bodies are DIFFERENT. Not everyone can be a size 1.5, straight blonde hair, blue eyes etc. Hell, Id rather be healthy. And that includes my HAIR. I cant wait for the day that people will stop looking at the color of one’s skin or texture… Read more »
Rosa
Guest
Dear Dominique, I think, as you wrote it was an accident that you hadn’t put your hair into a bun. I assume that you therefore are aware of the fact that it is nicer, as a patient, to not have to deal with hair hanging down, maybe into the face, or single loosened hair flying around, may it be landing on the floor (and moving/flying from there), a shoulder, face, mouth etc. Some people worry about that, even before it happens. Not only because of their worries, but because of certain expectations in a certain enviroment I personally would adapt… Read more »
saywhat
Guest
My problem with your comments Rosa is that you have an excuse for EVERYONE. Its not their fault because “they’ve” never seen anything like my hair before so its okay to laugh. My afro is just too big. So now its my fault that my natural hair grows up and out and I have to move because I’m inconveniencing people. I should only wear my natural hair out and proud in the privacy of my own home…This just sounds like we as a people have to change ourselves to make the rest of society comfortable with our naturalness, something that… Read more »
Shantay
Guest
I think it’s a shame that people can be so negative. What the writer experienced was terrible and should have been handled in a different manner by her employer. I do feel that Rosa made some valid points and she has the right to her opinion. I do believe Rosa was trying to shed an alternative way of thinking when faced with these scenarios. I think it’s clear that Rosa is not from America or has spent a number of years abroad. Our environment and experiences contribute vastly to our opinions on race matters. As far as the term Blacks… Read more »
Lautrichienne
Guest

Please go away forever. I hope you actually want to do this rather than feeling offended and forced to once you realize you just told all Black women to do their hair in a way that makes YOU (And white people) comfortable. And apparently you’re one of those classic ‘I’m Not Offended’ types. Gag me with a spoon.

Take all of your derailing, “Blacks” (Which is an extremely offensive way of referring to Black PEOPLE by the way) and Auntie Tom crap with you.

Christ, woman.

Michelle
Guest
Having been a reader of this site since its inception, I am so saddened to see so many hateful comments now. Did you really just ask someone to “go away forever” because they shared a view different to your own? Rosa actually made some valid points. Not everyone will agree, but she’s welcome to share her opinion. She was simply pointing out, I believe, that although comments can sometimes be made in ignorance, they are not always meant to be harmful. As an aside, I am curious to know how the term “blacks” es an extremely offensive way of referring… Read more »
Chereace
Guest

it’s generally not preferred to say ‘blacks’ or ‘whites’ as opposed to ‘black PEOPLE’ and ‘white PEOPLE’. people usually say ‘blacks’ more than they say ‘whites’, usually remembering to say white PEOPLE but failing to do the same when referring to us. very few black people want to be known as ‘a black’ it’s very important to include that we are, in fact, people, instead of merely a colour…

D.K.
Guest

What a shame. I’d file a complaint and get the local news in your area involved. That’s harassment and offensive behavior and should not be tolerated or complied with. You and your hair are beautiful and incidents like this calls for all of us to have the courage to stand up for ourselves now so our children can have it a little easier, like our mothers and grandmothers long ago did for us.

vertmoot.blogspot.com

RissaKatharine
Guest

I agree with you, people need to be taught that that kind of behaviour WILL NOT be tolerated. It’s a new age people. If the rest of the world needs to be made aware of it, then we’ll make them aware. The time for excuses is over.

Tiffany
Guest
I will not say that someone should change who they are or how they were their hair when searching for employment, I will just talk about what I would do. I currently work for the government and served in the Navy and have always done what suited me for my hair as long as it wasn’t out of navy regs when I was in. In my government job, I do the same. I have received compliments on my hair. When looking for a job I take a little more conservative approach, and try to look as professional as possible that… Read more »
DMD
Guest
Last week, my boss came to me and said “We have a complaint from one of your patients. He said that you did not have enough bedside manners, that you came to do his exam with your dreads on. Did you have dreads on yesterday?” I was shocked. That patient was actually a black man. By the way, I had twists up. I never ever wear my hair down at work… To answer your questions: It was not right of your boss to say that publicly. I am a dentist and do not believe that wearing a puff would cause… Read more »
Dabney
Guest
I once nad a boss tell me y hairooked like brillo pad. I thought to sue but i was just so shocked and hurt. In my opinion, when confrinted with our hair nd our willingness to wear it, most people in generl have to confront their attitudes towards us nd it makes them generally unconfortable. It’s truly their problem. Yet we have created some of the most innovative and professionl twist, rolls, and tucks, that are a compromise for both parties. Plus when the general public starts to see and understand this image more they become more accepting. It really… Read more »
dicey
Guest

I just recently got fired after telling my boss kiss my F-ing A in a meeting in front of the staff and co-workers. Get some balls, woman! You have one life. I admit I am financially suffering now (It shall pass), but one day if I have the honor to live to be an very old woman I will think of that moment fondly. It was worth it!

Jadde
Guest

HaHa! I was just listening to an old country song:Take This Job and Shove It!

NoMoreCandy4U
Guest

YES, U go … I’ve done that before, I told my supervisor to “Kiss my Beautiful Black Ass” and I walked out.

Ronnecke
Guest

PRICELESS!!!

Ronnecke
Guest

I wish a coworker/boss would have the nerves to say something rude about my hair because I won’t take it lightly. I will let them know that that type of negativity, name calling etc is unacceptable and I do not appreciate it and if it happens again I will have to go to hr.

dicey
Guest

Adding: I bent down in
front of boss. Kiss my fucking ass!

I’d rather lick vomit off the ground than work with that asshole again!

Sunny
Guest

The person who responded and said hair “hanging down” was a problem obviously doesn’t know what puffs are. Puffs don’t hang; they spring exuberantly UPward. I hope you filed a complaint or sued. His comments were inappropriate. Involving local news outlets would help too. Until such culturally blind people are held responsible for their behavior, it will continue.

MelaninEnriched
Guest
Sooo yeah, this is a great topic. In the past, I wore wigs to interviews to get jobs. Not because I’m ashamed of my natural hair, but because I know how the game works in this country for Black people, and women especially. I know that I have to appear “harmless” to get the job, but once I’m in…I’m IN so I do what I want with me hair. Unfortunately, although there’s a wonderful natural hair movement going on, not everyone is in the movement or approves of it openly. So, I look at it as “going along to get… Read more »
TWA4now
Guest

I do believe in workplace professionalism with hair and clothing. I could say a lot, but all I will say is, we as a nation, have a VERY long way to go! Their comments were. Rude, unprofessional, and extremely uncalled for! #whenwelearn?

Brandice
Guest
I don’t think this was a racist comment. There is a girl at my job who everyone calls Freida even though her name is Kate. It’s a reference to the Charlie Brown character. Her hair is extremely curly and she has an obviously hard time styling it. Some days I just wanna take a wide tooth comb and a leave in and go to town on her head. She is white. The point is, some professions, and I’d argue that the medical field is one of them require a certain degree of hair “tamedness”. I wear a frohawk at my… Read more »
Nicole
Guest

I meant a thumbs up, not down! I’m on my phone… Pstchewwww…

Osalami
Guest
I have been wearing my hair natural for the last 17 yrs, so there wasn’t really a movement going on at that time. I also work in healthcare, so I understand not getting hair in patient’s faces and getting fluids in your hair. Point blank, they were being disrespectful at your job. When that happens you must correct them, so it doesn’t happen again. My primary care doctor once told me that I needed to have a more “professional” hairdo when I was sporting waist length locs. I got stories for days, but they all got checked and educated.
Guy_with_an_opinion
Guest
Unfortunately this is subtle racism from a institutional perspective. As long as your corrected for being natural in the name of business or organizational etiquette then it is “ok”. This is the worst type of racism because its subtle but powerful. After all if you really think about it a black woman wearing her hair naturally shouldn’t be so amazing after all it grows out your scalp that way. However this just shows how much has ideally or theoretically changed. As long as your not centered black mentally speaking then your acceptable in the work place. Though your hair does… Read more »
Kelly
Guest
I agree, this was institutionalized racism, which I think is harder to deal with. Some of the older Black folks say they prefer the KKK over those noveau racists that hide behind suits and phony smiles. They are nice to you as long as you don’t show any evidence that you’re Black. Then online and with their friends they talk about Blacks like dogs. I’ve read some pretty awful online comments from Whites regarding Trayvon Martin and the President. I could write a book on how vehemently they are defending their queen Paula Deen since she was rightfully fired from… Read more »
Sherice
Guest

I just recently started wearing my natural hair out. I work in the insurance industry and I’m responsible for training new employees. Ever since I started wearing my hair, I’ve received nothing but compliments. I’m sure that being in a corporate setting has a lot to do with what people are allowed to say and I know for a fact that if any of the managers or co-workers say anything out of line about my hair…a harrassment suit will be filed. I think that’s something you should consider. You should be made to feel bad about wearing YOUR hair.

Nnennaya
Guest
I identify with this natural hair vs work saga. I’ve had my own fair share of my natural hair being identified as “messy” or “all over the place” hair style. But I’ve learnt to balance both. It’s true that not a lot of people (including we black folks) accept natural hair wear to work. But I’ve found out u can create ur own ‘work-kinky-hair’ style and look great + blend in @ work. One time, I washed my natural hair and left it to air dry over night. When it was time to losen it out in d morn so… Read more »
Nappychique
Guest
I’ve been happy to be nappy since 1999, before it was fashionable and trendy to be so…got all kinds of comments from people who were intrigued by my bold move to stop putting chemicals in my hair, just because it was my choice. I didn’t do it to make any kind of statement other than it was what I wanted for myself. I never had any boss say anything negative about my look, although my family gave me a hard time. A lot of people are ignorant on both sides of the fence regarding hair and what we do with… Read more »
Yahti
Guest

I would never be disrespectful in the workplace even if someone spoke to me disrespectfully or made a negative comment about my huge Afro. Telling people to kiss you a$$ is an embarrassment and fuel to stereotypes. If you have a legitimate complaint use the proper methods. And not everyone will like our hair. It’s ok for others to feel as they do!

Dicey
Guest

Yes, All that matters is that we get paid and not offend massa! Yes sum. I’se understan you don’t like my nigger naps that ise born wit. I do my bess to look like white!

The nerve of me to defend my inherited phenotype and say fuck you and your money!

Stacey
Guest
That my dear is racial harassment. Try informing the EEOC. Instead of insulting you, all that had to be said in private is that make sure your hair is up and out the way so that it does not interfere with dealing with patients. I don’t care what race you are, the hair should be tucked away. It is like someone working in the kitchen of a restaurant. But do not take how they handle your situation too lightly. There was a way for them to handle that without being disrespectful. And too reprimand you in front of other employees.… Read more »
Ms SyYo
Guest
Thank you Dominique for this! I have gone through similar experiences. I was in the legal field for many years. I worked my up from a receptionist to a legal assistant and in my years doing so, I was told on numerous occasions that changing my hair style to a more “common” style would get me more respect. That my hair was “intimidating” or “distracting”. I felt very isolated at times. Fortunately for me, I’d had so many people admire my hair that I chose to see my critics as “haters”. My advise to you is, be strong in who… Read more »
S. Amy L.
Guest

without reading the comments of others I think, changing your hairstyle for a job interview for example can be a fair price to pay depending on the type of job and so long as the change doesn’t hid the fact that you have natural hair eg wigs and weaves can have that effect.
On the job itself though, as long as your hair is neat in the style you choose and won’t negatively impact on the execution of your job or the PROFESSIONAL image of your company, go ahead and rock braids, twists, etc as you please.

Serenity
Guest
I too am a dental professional with natural hair. Our hair does not interfere with anything that you would need to do. It doesn’t dangle in the face of patients while you work over them. I am assuming that even though your hair wasn’t in the regular style it was still styled. So NO, don’t change for your boss. Let them let you go and sue them. I would, and have refused to change core elements of who I am. There are other jobs to be had. And if they would do this to you over your hair, what’s next?… Read more »
Andrea
Guest
#1 I would have documented the “troll” comment with statements from eye witness aka the other employees. #2 At the moment the comment was said I would have informed them that name-calling is a form of harassment and I would advise them to contemplate any other opinions they might have concerning my physical person. With the application of #2 the 2nd comment wouldn’t have been made and if it had the response should have been “I know you’re not familiar with African American hair so I will tell you that my hair IS organized sir.” accompanied by direct eye contact.… Read more »
Autumn
Guest
I’m not so sure that our natural hair is, as you put it, “seen as political, ‘edgy’ or dangerous” I think its seen as ugly. Unfortunately when some people (our own included) see our beautiful, strong, impressive hair it reads as unkempt and unattractive. Its fierce honey and we’re fierce for rockin’ it. I’m sure your hair was fine. And as long as you do you and stand up for your rights — you win AND you make it easier for the next sistah coming behind you. I’m sure your lighter skinned counterparts have worn ponytails to work- were they… Read more »
RissaKatharine
Guest
I know about a million people, of varying race and nationality, who would disagree with you. It might be something that people aren’t used seeing (like in the backwoods port-a-potty that is Russia) but I doubt there isn’t a natural woman on this website that hasn’t had SOMEONE, male or female, black, white, asian or indian, come up to them in the street and tell them how beautiful their hair is. Lest you forget (many people seem to), black people are not the only ones in the world with kinky/curly hair. You should have left your hair like that ALL… Read more »
lydia
Guest
“I’m sure your lighter skinned counterparts have worn ponytails to work- were they asked to ‘organize’ their hair?” I think a lot of people thought lighter skinned was light brown skin not the caucasian you may have been referring to, also yes I agree some people may think our hair is “ugly” because it’s a drastic difference from wearing silky weaves and bone straight hair as seen as attractive in the media. I myself have 4c hair. My hair is incredibly kinky but I wear it in twists and if I do wear it loose it’s blown out, and lightly… Read more »
m2
Guest
I think this was a teachable moment. As I hv mentioned in other posts, we r not the only ones affected by our natural transition. Maturity to me wud hv been to tell ur mgr why his comments offended u n give him another alternative to expressing his discontent with ur choice. Plz understand until ur the leader of an org u may hv to comply with someone elses standards, n when that happens, someone else will hv 2 comply with urs. One of my mgr told me once when I wore a blowout 2 work. “I like ur hair… Read more »
m2
Guest

My phone is strait tripping. Sorry for any typos above cudnt get my phone to let me edit. My last comment is… The first one thru the door always gets a little bloody.

Denise
Guest
WOW!!!!!!! As human beings we all have opinions that we are entitled to. Yes offence will be and should be taken when negative comments are made about our true and natural selves, because why should we conform to the norm? What is the norm?????? However because of who we are and how far we’ve come, there ought to be some tack when we are put into a position like Domineque was. There is a more suttle way of showing your dissaproval of the comments that are made about you, and if you are in the professional world hopefully you will… Read more »
fab
Guest
Wow. I have an interview tomorrow and wear cornrows (with extension hair) as my monthly protective style. Now, my interview is for a position within my company. My immediate thought was to take my cornrows out thinking to myself “I can’t show up to an interview like this’. A colleague told me it probably doesn’t matter, but when I reached out to a ‘sistah’ I know on the team I’m applying for and asked her opinion, she immediately said ‘Take them out’. Sometimes it just is what it is. I am taking my braids out tonight (they are fuzzy anyway)… Read more »
Leslie
Guest
In the natural hair community you gotta be ready for the small minded people out there ready to fire at will their insults disguised as “opinions”. I would have pleasantly reversed the comment back to the dentist and the two goof balls that made the comment that she looks like a troll doll. Most companies have their dress code in writing inclusive of casual dress day, unless you wear a uniform. She is well within her rights to ask the manager for a copy of the dress code policy to find out about the specifics about “hair styling”. Until then… Read more »
Brandi
Guest
I know exactly what you mean — but in my case my hair haters were sistas who seemed to be angry about my natural hair. Finally like an idiot, I caved in and permed my long beautiful natural hair and of course severely damaged it. I would cut it, braid it let it grow and do it again. This went on for years. I could not figure out why my hair would not maintain length and kept breaking off. Finally, I chopped it and started over again. NO MORE PERMS. I love the natural texture of my 4c hair. I… Read more »
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Ms TEE
Guest

I was also ridiculed at work about my hair. A manager (italian) called me side show Bob numerous times. I had to report him to HR.
[file]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/20120604125409.jpg[/file]

Aelicia Porter
Guest

I haven’t really gotten any bad remarks about my hair from any of my bosses but if I did I would report somebody. As long as your hair looks professional and is not getting in the way at work they should leave you alone. I wear my afro to work some days and up in a puff the next. I wouldnt let them get to you or get the best of you.

Cherie Amour
Guest
I have been natural for 15 years. I love love love it. My family does not understand or accept it. One supervisor, African American told me I needed to look professional after her white supervisors complained about my hair. I was stunned but I did not respond. Her failure to stand up for herself or me resulted in those same people firing her for allowing her white staff to steal thousands of dollars. Karma baby! I am 54 years old and I will be interviewing tomorrow with my natural hair a twist out. I do not want to work for… Read more »
Saye
Guest
This is not the first time I’ve heard about this. I discovered people saying if your hair is not straight then it is unprofessional. To be honest any hair type can be unprofessional. As long as it is neat and presentable then it fine. I also noticed when some people think of natural hair, they perceive it as messy hair or the just got out of bed look. That is not true. I have seen people with straight hair and their hair looked messy and untamed. Continue to embrace your natural hair because it’s beautiful and that’s what God gave… Read more »
FeeFee
Guest

I could never live in a country where anybody would DARE speak to me like this about my hair. That mess is so 1955. SMH.

Moka Blu
Guest
PLEASE, PLEASE tell me you’ve filed a harassment case against your coworkers/job!!! If you haven’t then YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY!!! Those comments they made were RACIAL and should NOT be tolerated nor permitted by you or anyone else. You have a valid lawsuit and even if they were to retaliate by firing you, your case would be that much more VALID! I’m am INFURIATED with your story and I can only hope that you will take a stand, if you already haven’t, and let it be known that we African-Americans will NOT tolerate that type of behavior! As long as your… Read more »
kiki
Guest

Sad double standard. I get it from my Mother. And it was a long journey to self acceptance of my hair. And now being “Natural” as other people of different ethnic groups are allowed to wear as it is grown. Has stopped me from going bald but now that it’ thick an healthy my mother who is natural but has more acceptable textured hair non biracial naturally curly easy brush straight hair thinks I should straighten it somehow again. REALLY MOM. I wasn’t black enough before but now I’m to black. LOL

Moka Blu
Guest
I’m really sad you are receiving this type of reaction from your mother of all people for the ones that are closest to us hurt us the most when indeed they should be our supporters. Nonetheless, I’m sure she loves you and you her which should allow room for forgiveness. Therefore, you keep doing what you’re doing. Wear your gorgeous hair the way you feel comfortable and attractive. You don’t have to justify or please anyone when it comes to your personal being. You are unique in your own way and you don’t have to look like everyone else to… Read more »
Khanyi
Guest

I get a lot of that with my black folks here in Africa BUT the white folks Company CEO or Director or manager they wouldn’t dare pass such comments they are equal to treason because of the history they would rather be careful and let our “bushy” hair do its thing …Liking it or not!

Rebekah
Guest
I wish I could say I was surprised by peoples rudeness, but unfortunately its so common. so many great suggestions before me that I don’t need to repeat. But, just wanted to add — you could pull the dentists aside privately during a quiet moment & calmly let them know 1) you were humiliated, hurt and ambushed. 2) African American natural hair is completely different then Russian hair 3) If all else fail, is there some compromise. and if they have a problem in the future, pls pull you privately to the side. if that doesn’t work, i personally would… Read more »
EnuffSaid
Guest

I can tell that you are a hummble soul who doesn’t like confrontation and gives in when under presure… I can see you with a relaxer with-in months.

Ni
Guest

I doubt after being natural for nearly if not over a decade she will relax lmbo.

joe
Guest

u a dumb igoerance b!tch

Keisha
Guest

She won’t get a relaxer. She has been natural and her hair journey to natural hair was because of health. She’s not that vane regarding the opinions of others.

Melissa
Guest
It’s so easy to criticize when you aren’t in this position yourself. We always say what we will do in certain situations, but when you’re in the moment a lot of times the bravado falls away and we just react and go with the flow. She did what she needed to do to survive the moment. But clearly, if her natural hair was long enough to put into an afro puff ponytail and then a bun, she’d been natural for a long time. This comment was just so incredibly rude and horrifying, especially to a woman who was brave and… Read more »
lovecritters
Guest

@EnuffSaid, um, you obviously never followed her YouTube posts (see Longhairdontcare2011). She’s been nonrelaxed for approximately 7+ years. She has switched careers and is now pursuing her “passion for fashion” via cosmetology. She is definitely not weak-willed.

Melissa
Guest

The way I see it — anyone who won’t hire me because of my braids or natural hair, I don’t want to work there. If I have to wear my hair straightened out just to get through the interview, what is it going to be like during the regular workweek when I show up with a twist-out or a protective style during the winter?

alex
Guest

pretty sure that’s an easy lawsuit right there, there are anti-dicrimination laws in order.

Geneka
Guest
To answer your questions: No, it is not right. Yes, you are letting others determine how you behave (not always a bad thing), when you change your hair. Whether it is a fair price to pay depends on the situation. I think in life you have to pick your battles. Is the opportunity worth it? Do you know/think that they will discriminate in hiring if you wear your hair out? Is it worth the risk? I’ve been there before. I think that it’s just one of those things that come along with being different in our society. This is a… Read more »
Chan
Guest
Thanks for sharing your story. That was very insensitive. If they felt the need to say something it should have been in private. I experienced similar remarks in front of other co workers. I would walk into meetings and a couple people would laugh! Seriously laugh. I was wearing a puff? One guy walked into the meeting we were in, looked right at me and said “Oh Looorrd?” He then sat right next to me and continued to look at my hair out of the side of his eye. I finally had to ask him what his problem was. And… Read more »
JustJaph
Guest
I have experienced similar criticism from African American women with relaxed hair. One lady who had previously been toothless (yes, toothless) for an entire month prior to the incident had the nerve to belittle me behind my back to co-workers. Although your managers (or former managers) were wrong, at least they gave you an opportunity to defend yourself by making their statements to your face. I had to hear the negativity from co-workers who approached me one by one after they had been cornered by the lady in the lunch room. The thing that really bothered me more than anything… Read more »
Boop_D_Boo24
Guest
She was going to do her hair in a bun anyway. She did not give into them. In Her own words “I twisted my puff and put my hair in the bun as I had intended to before I was tag teamed by the Black hair police.” There are a lot of styles that other race wear that don’t look right for there type of work. But they are not being made fun of. Like the messy hair style. Who made that a style? Looking like you just rolled out of bed. Or the hair style where you look like… Read more »
Ange
Guest

For me, I wear my hair natural and the way I want. I agree if someone doesn’t want to hire me for my hair or any other physical attribute that’s fine. Chances are I dodged a bullet there. I do think that if there is a problem with work appearance then it should be discussed one -on-one. Not in front of other co-workers.

Shelby
Guest

I’m appalled at what your employer said to you. I’m an HR professional and know that legally you could have taken action against them for those comments. Otherwise, great article.

WildFlower
Guest
Thank you for sharing. I thought you were very classy in dealing with people of ignorance. You obviously have gorgeous hair and maybe deep down all the people who laughed (including the ignorant boss) are just jealous deep down, they should have at least given you time to get yourself prepared for work instead of making a comment. I would think (if you wanted) you could have gone to the Human Resources dept. I remember when I didn’t have a choice but to where my hair in a way that was very natural (lots of hair breakage), my stylist just… Read more »
Maya93
Guest
I think I would most probably have reacted the same, out of shock and surprise. It must have been very embarrassing and certainly I can identify with people making jokes about your natural hair in public situations. I go to a university with virtually only white people and often get stupid comments, or random hair molesting in the most awkward of public situations and you don’t want to explode and shout at people. Even with my own family — on my non-black side, my auntie thinks it’s funny to throw up ‘black power’ salutes at me when I comb out… Read more »
Glyvers
Guest
It makes me sad and angry that the same ol’ white people that make those tired a## comments, are the very ones who jock our black men, by trying to attract them by getting butt injections. The same tramps try to make sure their hair is longer than yours by wearing extensions, aka better know as “weave” when worn by black women. Let me make this clear, I am not a racist, i’m just stating the facts! And let me say this; I love Jlo, but she was used as a scape goat for these scandalist whites to get surgery’s… Read more »
daidaelia
Guest
I have the impression or the feelings you allowed that person to intimidate you and make you feel bad, which was probably her main purpose. Girl, believe it or not; there are more than one out there jealous of what you have acheive. Yes! Cant you realize they are jealous of your long hair? — And it is all because they have this misconcept that black people cant grow long hair! Dont allow the narrow minded people to bring you dont. In my opinion, I think you should just be yourself no matter where and no matter what, and feel… Read more »
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[…] True Life: My Boss Criticized my Natural Hair in Public This story had us all shaking our heads in disbelief. Vlogger Dominique (aka LongHairDontCare2011) […]

Tasila Mkwayaya
Guest

Is she wearing a nose ring?

Aisa
Guest

Yes. She has a nose ring.

DMS
Guest
Continue to embrace your natural hair. I love your hair etiquette rules. They demonstrate respect for yourself and consideration of others. There are so many ignorant people in the world. It is a fact. They come in all hues. Many who laugh and attempt to ridicule you about your natural hair do so because they cannot rock the style themselves, or they have been conditioned to view anything other than bone straight hair as somehow inferior. You are the light that will help them, over time, realize the beauty of amazing natural black hair. However, if you choose to relax,… Read more »
Sandra Crockett
Guest

Hon, there is a movement of women over 30 also who have embraced the natural hair movement.
In fact, I see more young black women with weaves. That is the predominate movement with the young women. Just sayin

jessybabe
Guest
I’ve been natural for about 5 months and I work the graveyard shift. My boss (should say kinda “new” boss who hasn’t seen me in months)and we chat, catch up. The whole time he’s looking at my afro which I spruced up with a nice hair accessory. He says “So you went all natural eh?.…Is that it? Are you gonna do something to it, weave, press it out, something???” By the tone of his voice and him enunciating “weave, press it out, something” was enough to know that he didn’t like my hair. So being polite as I can I… Read more »
joska kamala
Guest

my pastor hated it, he even asked if I was broke! my mum up until now tells me to relax my hair and that it’ll be easier to manage… the list goes on, but I’m strong willed

jl
Guest
I’ve always been teased about my hair, and it isnt white folks who did the teasing, As a matter of fact, I only had one white person say a side remark on my hair and it was a “whats up with you hair” comment from a neighbor who is married to black man, not that makes it ok. However I ‘ve gotten more positive comments on my hair from non whites then i have from blacks and i find this very sad. Some nonwhites may have a negative to say but they keep it to themselves.. People who complained about… Read more »
Julia Drue
Guest

This is so crazy because I just recently got a new job in a more corporate environment than my last position. My dad asked me if I was wanted to get my hair “done”. Meaning did I want to get a weave. Well yes I’ve been wanting a weave since New Years but I was not going to style it that way to get this job. Ever since going natural I’ve decided that if a company doesn’t want me because of my hair then that is not a place I want to work!

Sheen
Guest

R.I.P.
You were an inspiration <3

Mary in Md
Guest
Domineque, you will truly be missed. I came to this article primarily to just have a glimpse of all the inspiration you have provided for me. With respect to the article, I get far more positive feed back from non blacks than blacks. My mother and sisters are always telling me how much they want to see my hair straightened. I have nothing against straightened hair. It’s just that it’s time consuming and not something that I feel particularly moved to do. I also don’t look forward to all of the pressure that will follow about how much “better” my… Read more »
Bev Willis
Guest

You were a trailblazer and still and inspiration. May you rest in peace my dear sister.

taylor
Guest

beautiful hair child

Refilwe Felicia Molusi
Guest
Refilwe Felicia Molusi

Rest in Peace Sis Dominique.

In South Africa, the youth is generally “Americanised” in the sense that a lot of western culture overrules African Culture. But reading this article I have never been more glad to live here. Wearing our hair natural or in braids can never be deemed unprofessional nor distracting. Instead it’s just viewed as just another hair Style. In fact your Russion boss could be is issued with a fine for saying that to you. Its discrimination . I sure hope things get better in your country.

Nicole
Guest

If you a hired in let me tell you something you need to hollar out to her boss..Harassment!!!!! and call a lawyer.

passiveagressiveshade
Guest
passiveagressiveshade

Rip beautiful

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