Black Hair in the Workforce

Leave a comment Standard

Since I’ve started working at my current job, I’ve been wearing wigs. Honestly, it was easier to wear wigs in the beginning because I was still getting accustomed to the 9-5 adult lifestyle. After I was adjusted it just seemed easier to wear a wig instead of doing my natural hair.

If we haven’t guessed, I am a black female. I have 4C hair, which essentially means I have tightly coiled hair. It’s very hard to see my curl pattern unless I define it in some way, ie. twist, braids, etc. The other thing about my hair is that I shaved it. Well, not ALL of it, but most of it. I shaved off the sides and the back of my hair. However, in May I decided I was going to grow it back. Point is, right now, my hair isn’t that long. Probably 3 or 4 inches around the sides and back. But it is long enough to catch, and do styles.

So recently, I decided to take the plunge and do my natural hair. My coworkers have been asking to see my natural hair for a while, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. Last weekend, I was supposed to go out with my partner (they canceled), and I wanted to do something different, a twist out, which means twist my hair in two strand twist, undo the twist and leave it out – kinda like a curly afro. However, because I was no longer going out and I didn’t want all my time and effort to go to waste. I wore the twist out to work.

I must say, I was extremely nervous. There is such a misconception in the workforce that black natural hair is unkempt or unprofessional. In reality, it takes black females a lot of time to do our hair. Personally, it took about two hours to wash, condition, twist, and un-twist my hair. Even with all that time and effort, and the added bonus that I was looking mighty fine, I was still worried that my boss or coworkers would think that I looked unprofessional. How fucked up is that? Even in 2018, I worry about if wearing my natural hair would affect the way that others see me. Lucky for me, I was welcomed with compliments and commendations. I felt accepted, which means my natural hair will be making more appearances at work.

The reality for a lot of black females is –  natural hair can be a liability to one’s job. Wearing black natural hair in the workforce can be seen as an act of defiance against the white-collar work industry. The hair that literally grows out of my hair is an act of resistance and boldness. In spite of that, this is not why I decided to wear my natural hair. I wore it because I wanted to get over my fear. I wanted to get over the unspoken rule “wigs, weaves and straight hair for the interview, and natural hair once you’re in the door.” I shouldn’t feel obligated to change my hairstyle for the fear that my qualifications will be overlooked by my afro. I am remorseful and ashamed to know that I have done it in the past. Changed the way I looked – not for fun or because I can – but because I really wanted a job.

As the years go by, says the twenty-three-year-old, I want to present my truth. I want to be the truest form of myself. It seems as if accepting my natural hair in all of its glory is the first step of many steps.

Advertisements

Being a Woman

Comments 2 Standard

As if being a woman isn’t hard enough,
But to also be black.
The pigment of my skin,
Appall, Shame, and even Disgrace
That is how the shade is represented,
As a new species,
I guess the world is still segmented.

As if being shorter than the rest
Is always the best
Yes I’m little
I’m unable to see without stretching my neck
I’m constantly attempting to rise above others,
Without trying not to become stressed.
How can I not…become a wreck?

As if getting dressed,
Just to impressed, the ‘Men’ that think negative
Be positive, is the phrase that is always given,
But it is never taken.
How can you be positive with our society shaped the way it is?

Personality, heart, and soul
Should be the main things consider
Not the color or the gender
Who’s in control?

Even with a question that never has a response
There is always a solution.
All Women:
Hispanic, Somali, Black, Chinese, Asian, Vietnamese, Caucasian
Or Thick, Tall, Short, Small, Large, Skinned, Unfashionable
Or just dress for the occasion

Imagine living in a world, when woman deserved what we should have had
Power, Respect, Value, and Dignity
Not to be treated, neither as trash nor as waste
Not to be seen crying, because of great depression
Or wanting to escape.

A world that is full of success
A world that has no faults or wrongs
A world that is made for and by women…A world for us all

** I was fourteen years old when I wrote this poem. It’s not the cleanest piece of writing, but it is still relevant, which is sad. **