I recently saw a video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxMcYlmlmzE where a woman who I have been subscribed to for a while (because of her natural hair), made a video to say that she had gotten a relaxer because she was looking for a job and another professional black woman told her that natural hair was not excepted everywhere. She claimed that she couldn’t get her hair straight enough with pressing so getting a relaxer was her only alternative if she wants to get the job she wants. She goes on to say how she doesn’t want anyone to send her hate mail or negative comments because she is not conforming, she is just relaxed until she gets a job then she is going to transition back to natural. She says that natural hair is, “her” and that she is definitely not giving up, she was very adamant about us not viewing her as a sell out. Check out the link if you want to see her explain her reasons and she also goes into detail about her current job and why she is looking for another. I still like her and will keep my subscription to her channel for when she comes back, she has made really good videos in the past. I don’t knock her for making a decision she thought was best even though i disagree.
It made me sad to see that someone whom I thought was very strong in who she is and determined to maintain her natural hair, would let her profession determine how to treat her hair. I thought that it was indeed conforming even though she reiterated that she was going to transition as soon as she finishes her job search. To myself, I was thinking “I would not want to work for a company that did not accept my natural hair”. How could you lie to yourself and try to trick yourself into thinking that you are not conforming. Although I can understand her outlook and making money for your livelihood is very important, is that particular company going to respect you and keep you as an employee when you transition back to your natural hair? If a company/business can’t accept you with your natural hair, why would they respect you as a person in general and what would stop them from getting rid of you when your natural hair grows out. Not to mention the time it takes to grow your natural hair out after having a relaxer, it takes a long time hence the “natural hair journey”.
I don’t have any issues with ladies who chose to relax because they like their hair that way, but when you are doing it for the purposes of being excepted I feel this is a problem. What if they asked someone who has relaxed hair to go natural? It is a degrading feeling not to be excepted because of your hair or any other part of your body. We should not be going through this in 2010, but the reality is that people are still prejudiced and racist. I think the only way to put a stop to it is to let it be known publicly. Take it to the newspaper and the local news and allow others to know whats going on. There is strength in numbers. Its time to stand up!
My question is, do you think there should be a limit as to what you should do or change about yourself personally to get a job? Do you feel that this woman conformed? What would you do in this same situation? Do you feel that black woman need to have straight hair to present themselves as professional? Please leave a comment and let me know, share your thoughts and/or experiences.
These are my personal opinions and I have not been paid to express them.