Wednesday, September 18, 2019

When Natural Hair Wins, Discrimination in School Loses - NEA Today

When Natural Hair Wins, Discrimination in School Loses - NEA Today

When Natural Hair Wins, Discrimination in School Loses

Late last year, a video of a black high school wrestler in New Jersey hit a public nerve when he was given an ultimatum by the referee: cut your hair or forfeit the match. Several news outlets reported that Alan Maloney, who is white, told Andrew Johnson that the cover he had over his hair was non-compliant. Johnson’s hair raised no previous concerns during a match four days earlier, but under pressure, Johnson decided to have his hair cut by the team’s athletic trainer.
The problem here runs deep. “This is not about hair. This is about race,” tweeted the ACLU of New Jersey. “How many different ways will people try to exclude Black people from public life without having to declare their bigotry? We’re so sorry this happened to you, Andrew. This was discrimination, and it’s not okay.”
Anti-black hair sentiment in the U.S. has existed for centuries, with Eurocentric norms of beauty taking main stage. This sentiment is directly tied to institutional racism.
According to author Courtney Nunley, “school policies and microaggressions reinforce the idea that Black hair, as it naturally grows and as it has historically been styled, is ‘bad’ because it’s not white enough—and that those policies are part of a nationwide anti-Blackness problem,” she wrote in “Hair Politics: How discrimination CONTINUE READING: When Natural Hair Wins, Discrimination in School Loses - NEA Today

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