How many times have you been in the office and someone approaches you and blatanatly asks with a straight face, “How did you get your hair to do that?” or something to that effect? Usually this is a question that comes from a person who has no idea the wonders that “our” hair can do, the creativeness that stems from the root, or the versatility that being of BrownSkin provides. I personally don’t think that the individual who asks these types of questions have racist intentions because there are plenty of times that our own race whom are the culprit. Sometimes it is us who are misguided by the misnomer that straight hair is the only beauty there is. Society will have you believing that the straight flow is the way to go, but we know better. We understand that our hair is another form of expression and we can rock it straight or kinky or curly or natural or whatever. The problem is, though, how can one continue to rock their hair in a natural state, whether it be twists or locks or braids or a wide ‘fro or curly mane without it becoming a watercooler topic at work?
Currently, I am in the midst of becoming natural. I chose to do so because I am sick and tired of chemically treating my hair. It has become damaged, overprocessed, lifeless, and I am just ready for a change. During this hectic transitional phase, I am rocking a sew-in or half wigs to get me through, mostly of the curly variety. Already I am getting the questions from miseducated co-workers about my mane. It’s not that I mind personally discussing it with my colleague if it is coming from a good place, but a lot of these questions sound sillier than they do sincere and often times, I feel that I am spending my time carefully crafting my words so that I do not offend anyone.
But what if they are offending me?
In reality, we are in the workplace for a common goal, and that is to make money to pay our bills, not to discuss why we wear our hair a certain way. I don’t feel that I should have to explain or go through the process of what I do to get my hair to do whatever it does, but I would be a fool to think that others feel this isn’t discussion territory.
At a previous employer who I won’t name, my co-worker who wore blonde colored dreds was fired, I believe because of the way she wore her hair. We’ve never had proof of this, but it was well known that our boss constantly picked fights with this co-worker over non-issues and brought up her “style of hair” several times during company meetings and such. Now there was nothing in the employee handbook that mandated hairstyles. All that it mentioned was that our hair and grooming must be well kempt and neat, and I can certainly go on record by saying that this co-worker was flawless everyday. Her hair was a showstopper whenever we went out to lunch, but I honestly feel that if people dared to think outside of the box more, she wouldn’t have gotten so much attention. But because she didn’t wear her hair like everyone else, she was treated like an outcast by management and was terminated for an episode that in the end, wasn’t a fireable offense.
This co-worker took her case to the EEOC but nothing ever came of it.
I want to say, focus on my work. My track record. My attendance. My tenure as a manager. Not the way I choose to wear my hair. And let’s not even talk about what looks professional and what doesn’t. That “look” is in the eye of the beholder and baby, sometimes I would rather be eyes wide shut than to see some of my “professional” colleagues dressed in short skirts, halters, and other gear which look more like club gear than professional dress.
Nothing is said about their attire, so why are some of my co-workers being asked questions about their hair? Hmmm. A little food for thought. CubicleChicks, what so YOU think?