Natural Hair Police: Cut Curls or Leave School

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When will society get the hell out of Black women’s hair?

Clearly not this week.

Please click HERE and read about this latest indignity, a 12-year-old student in Orlando who is being asked to cut her natural hair or leave the school.

Do these administrators read the news at all?  Did any of them happen to be on the InterWebs  when equally uninformed bammas came for tiny Tiana Parker and her adorable locs.

Yet it keeps coming.

And now, this latest case … Vanessa VanDyke is being told that her hair — as it comes out of her head, mind you– is a distraction.  Or, in an even worse scenario alleged by her parents, this is a “blame the victim” situation.  In short: Kids are bullying her for standing out and officials want her to “remove” that difference so they don’t have to discipline a bunch of brats who lack home training.

Man, listen.

I realize that Black women’s hair– like our bodies– is here to be ogled, gaped at and (in some extreme cases) grasped, in the eyes of society.  And sadly, this policing of our natural looks is not limited to outside the brown community.  The clods in Tiana’s case were African American as well.

But this ish needs to stop.  Now.  And the only way to do that is to call out the people who think it’s their job to tamp down, tidy up, and straighten out that which is kinky and curly.  Let it be your choice to wear your hair according to the so-called norms.  It should never be a requirement to be embraced in this world.

So, muckety mucks who think you are Fantastic Sams with the task of chopping this child’s hair, please have all the seats and recline them all the way back.  Vanessa VanDyke doesn’t deserve to be ousted from the school.  You do.


I’ve rounded up some of the best online responses to this editorial, and thanks to those who read and responded to our #jetchat. Follow me via @thekylesfiles and JET at @getjetmag to participate in future debates.