Recently a federal appeals court ruled that job candidates can be denied or fired for wearing locs because the style is “messy”.
The ruling was not only shocking, but dangerous and a slippery slope. What’s next? Afros, two strand twists, plaits? What options will remain for black women who do not want to straighten their hair with heat or chemicals? Not everyone has the length to bun, and consistent bunning can stress the hairline. The stark reality is that super textured hair is simply not designed to be pulled back and slicked down on a daily basis.
The “neat hair” struggle is real for 4B/4C women. You panic over fuzz. You can’t do the black version of a ponytail (the afro puff) even though every-damn-body (every white/Latino/Asian girl that is) in the office is doing it. It’s madness!
And honestly the same reason the police will shoot a black person on sight for ‘looking bad’ is the same reason loc’ed styles are ruled “messy” and unprofessional — because blackness is often associated with all things terrible. The color of our skin, the way our hair looks, the way we talk, the names we pick are often viewed with automatic suspicion.
After the ruling, black women took to Instagram to put a face to exactly who this ruling discriminates against. Using the hashtag #professionallocs, loc’ed women shared their images and stories.
Highway Patrol Officer
“My department has a very strict uniform and grooming policy, so I make sure I get them done on a regular basis. I’ve been approached by several African American officers who have said they wish their Departments allowed them to grow Locs.”
“I’m a PhD Candidate in the biomedical sciences. I rocked my fro for almost a decade before deciding to loc my hair up. I’ve been loc’d for almost 2 years now. They’re awesome. My locs give me superpowers.”
“My name is Jamie and I am an insurance defense attorney working in the sunny South Florida. I am the only person of color and locs at my firm in this position. However, I am blessed enough to be in an environment where individuality is not only tolerated but encouraged.”
“I’m a STAFF Architect in South Florida rocking the Locs…when I’m not on the TRACK training…thankful that my hair journey has always been Embraced just as much as my endeavor as professional athlete…In case you didn’t hear a judge recently ruled banning dreadlocks in workplace is NOT discrimination.”
Bank Fund Administrator
“The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that employees do not have the right to wear dreadlocks. A.K.A., you can be fired if you refuse to cut your locs off when requested to do so. I am a Fund Administrator for The Bank of New York Mellon, a former Financial Reporting Analyst for the same company. My hair does not inhibit me from performing the job I was hired to do. I wear my locs proudly, and I will gladly resign from any company that deems them unfit for the work place.”
“I work in the Health Information Technology field building electronic medical records systems for hospitals operating rooms. I am Epic OpTime and A+ certified. I wear locs and I look professional.”
“Chemist with locs! I’ve been working for the City of Philadelphia since 2010 (loc’d since 2006)”
This ruling is absolutely bogus and should be overturned immediately.