Here we go again, and this time in Florida. Once again a child is being told that her hair, the way it naturally grows out of her head, is a distraction. This time administrators at Orlando’s Faith Christian Academy are demanding a 12-year-old girl cut her natural afro hair or be expelled.
Vanessa VanDyke approached administrators after being bullied over her hair, and that’s when the school turned the tables on her. School officials told her mother, Sabrina Kent, that the girl’s hair was a ‘distraction’ and in violation of school dress code.
Vanessa says that she was given one week to decide if she wanted to cut her hair, and if not, she would have to leave the school, but she doesn’t plan to change it.
‘It says that I’m unique,’ Vanessa told Click Orlando. ‘First of all, it’s puffy and I like it that way. I know people will tease me about it because it’s not straight. I don’t want to fit in,’ she continued.
The truth is, Vanessa’s hair is apart of her identity, and not just because it’s puffy, but because it is her hair as it grows out of her scalp, without chemicals created to relax her tendrils so that others can relax around her.
I’m sick of schools who feel it is their job to teach young women of color to conform by enforcing a set of rules strictly based on the Euro-centric norm. Educators should be concerned about college-readiness, rearing future leaders and STEM. Let’s leave the choice of assimilation up to the individual.
There are many Caucasian women with full, curly hair and I’m sure that if they were in this situation they would not be asked to cut their hair. There is something about afro hair that triggers alarms. White America has turned the Black scalp into such a political battleground, that a little girl wearing her hair loose is viewed as an overt act of dissent. That’s what the so-called ‘distraction’ is really about.
This little girl has beautiful hair, and in my opinion the proposition that she cut her hair seems like retribution for her refusal to yield to racist cultural standards.
Black women spend half a trillion dollars on weaves and relaxers, but perhaps the relentless pursuit of ‘good-hair’ has less to do with self-esteem, and more to do with perceived acceptance in main-stream society. I’m beginning to think Black women relax their hair to benefit of others more so than themselves.
Vanessa, who has been at the school since the third grade, says that she is ‘depressed about leaving my friends and people I’ve known for a while, but I’d rather have that than the principals and administrators picking on me and saying that I should change my hair.’
Ayesha is a writer, dancer, and the founder of WomenLovePower.com, a tech-enabled brand that provides resources on charm, seduction, sacred sexuality, and feminine warfare. A self-confessed afromantic, Ayesha's first love is romantic fiction and poetry. When away from her keyboard, she enjoys New Jack Swing throwbacks, 90's sitcoms, running, sleep, and Cabernet.
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