A few years ago I worked for a company called Software Management LLC. They’re owned by a conservative family based out of Lexington, Kentucky.
While working there, I was experimenting with ways to wear my hair naturally. I’d stopped using perms, and was coming into my own with how to style & wear it. Mostly I still wore it flat-ironed, but every now and again I dabbled with wearing it naturally.
My job involved going to county clerk’s offices and training the folks there on how to use the company’s software. Often I also had to train people on how to use the internet, or even how to use a mouse. It was easy work for me, but not a job for everyone, as it required being tender with people old enough to be my parents, and who lived in towns where they could go an entire week without seeing someone who looked like me.
Nonetheless, I was amazing at my job, and all of my clients were very pleased with my work, and ability to train and support them.
One day, our HR manager brought me into our office to talk to me about my appearance. I mean, maybe she did need to talk to me about how I wore my beat up black chucks to work everyday, but my outfits were on point aside from my shoes. She offered to get me a makeover.
At first I legitimately believed that she wanted to do this for me as a reward, and to help me step further into being a young professional.
Then she mentioned my hair.
She mentioned that my hair was not professional. She mentioned that it might look nicer straight. She did not directly say that there would be disciplinary actions taken if I DID NOT straighten my hair, but it was implied.
So, I was hurt, and I didn’t exactly know how to express that I felt like she was degrading me with her racist assumptions about my hair lowering my ability to be professional
I ended up being passive aggressive about how I felt, because I lacked the ability to say, “That’s insensitive and racist, here are the reasons why.” I also had a sociopath for a co-worker and a total of 1 co-worker I enjoyed hanging out with. So I quit without notice and never spoke to any of those people again.
But anyway, the point of this story is that Rhonda Lee is struggling with the same issue. She’s dealing with leadership that is so racist that they punish her for being attacked publicly. She’s being graceful in the face of adversity and an industry that actively works to erase the face of black women, and absolutely our luscious locks.
She is at a point where she knows how to accurately articulate what’s going on — and I can honestly say I would be able to do so now as well — but I worry.
I worry about all the other young black women who are dealing with this shit in silence. I worry about the ladies fresh out of college who are sporting fly natural styles and may encounter a boss who tells them, “That’s not professional,” and they may not have the courage to stand up for themselves, or a support structure to tell them that it’s okay to do so.
Be someone’s support. Tell Rhonda Lee’s story to people.
Let the black women in your life know that we are BEAUTIFUL. Compliment her hair. Tell her that our hair is lovely, and goddamnit, it’s fucking professional.
- unknown (via therepublicofaisha)
As defined by history.
“I hate when people credit Rapunzel so much for helping them be inspired to liberate themselves in the moment when her hair was cut. Rapunzel didn’t cut her own her; she didn’t even liberate herself. It wasn’t her choice at all, it was Flynn’s. If there’s anyone who should inspire you by giving themselves that sort of freedom, it’s Mulan; she cut her OWN hair.”
I just like her hair.
“I just heard these voices saying, ‘Hey you, hey you, ma’am, stop. Stop — the lady with the hair, you,” she said.
Two TSA agents told her she could not go any further until they checked her hair for explosives, Brantley said.
She said she reluctantly allowed them to do it. The agents patted her hair down right there instead of asking to return to a private area for screening.
Afro Samurai has ruined it for us all.
I think this is mine. I remember submitting something positive about Gothel. I just don’t remember what it was /fail.