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Is an afro too much?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by MsBehaving, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. MsBehaving

    MsBehaving New commenter

    This may seem like an odd one; however, before any knee jerk reaction on my part, I'd really values your opinions.

    So, in short, many black children at my school are being told to wear their hair tied down as their "afros are too big". I'm not joking and we're not talking radical 1970's 'black panther' do's. I have never encountered such a thing. I feel incredibly conflicted because no white child is being told to moderate their hair. I am shocked that I lack the confidence to challenge this. Should I even bother?
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. felicity5183

    felicity5183 Occasional commenter

    Absolutely challenge it! I think that’s quite disgraceful in this day and age to be trying to make students ‘tone down’ their afros. How on earth do you even tone down an afro? My hair is hard to tone down on the best of days and it resembles nothing of an Afro!
    DaisysLot, AdamGamer, Marisha and 9 others like this.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    If you have this instruction on paper, and are worried about challenging it (which would be best), sen ding it anonymously to a local newspaper might provoke some questions & public scrutiny...
  4. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Utterly unacceptable.
    The only issue around hairstyles should be personal safety in practical sessions - tie it back for Science or Tech pracs, and PE. Otherwise it's just another bit of corporate controlfreakery.

    And why anyone would be daft enough to single out a style so closely allied to one particular racial type to complain about, thus making themselves an easy target for accusations of racism, is beyond me.
    Marisha, tall tales, pepper5 and 6 others like this.
  5. mm71

    mm71 Occasional commenter

    Before we get to the hysterical point, does your school have a uniform policy? Does that state that hair must be tied back or of a certain length? If students are expected to tie their hair back when it reaches a certain length (as my school does) then I don't see a problem.
  6. MsBehaving

    MsBehaving New commenter

    Thanks everyone! I have checked the policy and there is no mention of hair other than brightly dyed colours are unacceptable. There are many boys with gloriously long hair and they have not been asked or expected to change their hair. All students in laboratories are told to tie hair back where necessary and hair ties are provided. My response to this is not one of hysteria but one of disappointment
    Marisha, Curae, pepper5 and 6 others like this.
  7. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Is it coming from the school or a member of staff?

    School, someone should lose their jobs for making that policy; staff, someone needs a written warning for extremely poor judgement (hopefully not outright racism).

    Maybe they're thinking it blocks the board? But that makes no sense, because then you'd have to sit everyone by height. Very odd.
    Marisha, Curae, agathamorse and 2 others like this.
  8. annascience2012

    annascience2012 New commenter

    I really like the sentiment behind this post but OP, please be careful about taking anything to newspapers because if they found out it was you it would certainly amount to professional misconduct publicly to defame your school's policy, however terrible the policy. Now, if a parent were to take it to the papers, it would be different...
    Marisha, tall tales, Curae and 4 others like this.
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Indeed...I did say 'anonymously'!
    Piranha, agathamorse and MsBehaving like this.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I think it's outrageous. Natural hair should be encouraged. We should be steering everyone away from overly styled hair. It's an appalling waste of resources.

    Products in plastic bottles. Use of electricity for hair-straighteners. Harsh chemicals used to "relax" hair. No. On environmental grounds alone we should be questioning styling hair to look more quasi-European. Then there's the cultural hegemony and associated prejudices. No.

    Afro hair. Natural hair. Only the H and S issues should take priority over clean and unprocessed hair.
  11. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Sadly I have come across this a number of times. If it is a H and S issue then yes, but I suspect that is unlikely. Haven't the parents complained?
  12. madcatlady

    madcatlady Occasional commenter

    That would NOT be anything I'd enforce and I would certainly refuse to have anything to do with it. I would also point out that the policy would be very open to accusations of racism.

    However I understand that it is hard to challenge ideas. At my school any of our end of year teacher "entertainment" appears to involve male members of staff wearing a dress for comedic purposes. I have now pointed out, politely, three times that this isn't really appropriate and could be making people feel very uncomfortable. Each time everyone nods and agrees. Then the next time we have an "event" there we are again, comedy man in a frock.
  13. Foux da fa fa

    Foux da fa fa New commenter

    Last year, a member of slt instructed me to tell a child in my tutor group that his Afro was unsuitable as it was an ‘extreme hair do’. I told him that I would not be telling him and that I thought his Afro looked really smart. I added that we wouldn’t want that as tomorrow’s headlines. He never asked me to deal with his hair again.
  14. MsBehaving

    MsBehaving New commenter

    Once again my faith in teaching is restored. It IS utter madness. I have friends who seem to spend their lives trying to straighten their natural hair for no other reason than conforming.
    A couple of parents have complained to no avail.
    I'm a bit of a coward lately so I will try to be supportive of the students who have the confidence to just be, well, natural. I will mention it quietly to the member of the senior team who is so vocal. Maybe I'll ask why it is such a problem and might it be seen as racist? Your advice has been amazing and thanks to everyone taking this matter seriously. If you have any further ideas, let me know
  15. katykook

    katykook Occasional commenter

    It is racist.
  16. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    What did said SLT want the child to do shave all his hair off ....oh no just paste it down with sugar solution. Pure and utter racism. Can you imagine if someone told a straight haired person that their hair was too lank and lacked curls and they had to do something as is was not fitting in with the rest. And just to think that these children in adulthood will then go on to face even more prejudices from increased chances of capability through to poor wages increased isolation by the law not to mention other unspoken inequalities. This person should be disciplined and publicly apologise I am appalled and disgusted.
  17. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Very !
  18. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Please do
    madcatlady and MsBehaving like this.
  19. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    In the 60's & 70's my father taught at a school in south London which had a predominantly west Indian intake. I have a wonderful photo of him standing with a group of the boys he taught, they look fantastic and most have afros. They probably had to deal with racism every day of their lives, they will now have children and grandchildren and I can only feel shame to be part of a profession where it can still happen that people can be treated differently as a result of ignorance and bigotry.
    How many more years will it take - a school should be a haven of tolerance, fairness and understanding.

    Please blow the whistle on this by whatever means you can.
  20. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Ok, time to disagree slightly - what if the child behind can't see the board?

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