To get some answers and to launch a concrete discussion on an Ohio Schools ban on the Afro Puff hairstyle, HuffPost Live reached out to one of Horizon Science Academy’s advisory members James Knight, who is an African American male. When asked how something like this could have been allowed to happen here is part of what he had to say
…The board might have misunderstood what afro puffs are…It was a misunderstanding. The rule was set to address the young men not the young ladies. There were young men wearing afro puffs and we wanted them to be well groomed…
You can see more of what James Knight had to say in Huff Post Live’s video that includes him and 3 other voices of color who spoke on the subject.
Whenever natural hair is discussed and/or mentioned it is done so with a focus mostly on women and girls. Very seldom do you see AS MANY web pages, facebook fan pages or blogs devoted specifically to natural hair for our men and boys. I am sure there are some out there, but you will have to hunt for them. However, we do know that many men rock their natural tresses as well. We see their gorgeous locs, their afro’s, their cornrows, and yes their puffs!
According to the representative from Horizon Science Academy, natural hair styles for men and boys may not be deemed as appropriate or professional in the eyes of the administration. They obviously see natural hair on men as unkempt and ungroomed. Someone better tell Troy Polamalu about this! He has the biggest natural hair that I ever seen on a man, and there is nothing ungroomed about it to me.
But what about our beautiful brothers with the locs, like Malcolm Jamal Warner? Oh I cant get enough of it!! I love that D.L. Hughely, Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock are often seen rocking their natural naps with afro’s and coiled styles. I know that women have fought the battle for many years for natural hair acceptance, especially in the workplace. But what about our men? This is not just a problem for them on the primary school level, but college level as well. Just last year a dean from Hampton University banned young men from wearing dreadlocks. This ban happened in 2001 and has always been a controversial issue through the years according to ABC news affiliate WVEC.com.
If you think that the natural texture of our “Afro” hair has nothing to do with any of these rules or laws, you better think again. Just as the one drop rule and the paper bag test dominated our definition of the standard of beauty in the past, so does the texture of our hair today. Yes! The kinkier and the tighter your curls, the more likely you are to be perceived as a criminal, unclean, unkept, unprofessional…after all there was never mention on a ban on ponytails which is the thin haired version of the Afro Puff.
As stated by Prof. Jody Armour – Law Professor at University of Southern California in the video above(man of color who wears an Afro)… when it was thought that the rule must have applied ONLY to little girls… “…there is discrimination in schools, there is discrimination in employment…there is a wide gap between blacks in poverty and healthcare problems and all kinds of measurable conditions and yet White America believes that there is no discrimination against blacks… it connects to the self-image of those little black girls who have to go to school and try to learn in an environment that tells them that their true natural properties aren’t appropriate and part of the decorum of the American School System and they are supposed to somehow come through all of that with some kind of good strong self-esteem…”
BMWK family, so what are we to do? What are our men to do? What are our babies to do? Do you think it matters if this was directed at African American boys?
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