A Florida teen, Vanessa VanDyke, faces expulsion because administrators at her private Christian school want her to “cut and shape her hair.”What is really good? This is the second incident centered around a black girl’s hair.I just don’t get it. Unless the girls at the school are all required to wear buns or their hair pulled back, why is this an issue? It was reported that the administrators insisted on the change because Vanessa was getting nasty comments from classmates. Why not reprimand the students who were bullying her? To see this little girl’s hair and to hear the response from the school makes it clear that there is more going on than hair.
The history of black women and hair is nearly synonymous with the “n word.” Nobody has time for that. This week, we had Rihanna on the American Music Awards with a “doobie” (shamed to say I didn’t know the correct term), but it was wrapped with bobby pins, a “do” normally associated with a nighttime regimen. The threads about that went on and on, discussions on radio and TV followed. Frankly, I didn’t really care. I thought it was OK, not a rousing statement, nor offensive nor a “twerkable” moment. By that I mean nothing as outrageous as Miley Cyrus’s stunt at the MTV Awards. So, here we are a day later (two weeks after another little girl was removed from school for wearing dreadlocks) met with the “unacceptability” of a child’s hair… for being in its natural state.
Girls (of all races) have enough self-esteem hurdles to climb without adding hair issues to the equation.
As adults, black women have to contend with selecting hairstyles that will mesh well in the workplace. Many people start with a conservative/permed style until they have built some job security, and then may move to a more “natural” style, i.e. braids or a short cut, etc. There may come a time when this child has to conform, depending on her occupation, but for now, this should be a nonissue.