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Microaggressions Against Natural Hair

New York and California are the only two states that ban race-based hair discrimination in the workplace. These POC professionals opened up about microaggressions they've experienced.

Black women suffer more anxiety around hair issues and spend more on hair care than their white peers

New York and California are the first two U.S. states to ban race-based hair discrimination. This is an experience that many have had in the workplace. Black women are almost twice as likely to experience social pressure at work to straighten their hair compared to white women according to the Perception Institute. The potential for ‘hair biases’ to limit both perceptions of self and opportunities in the workplace has a distinct effect on black women. Amid a growing natural hair movement among black women, can the science offer any solutions that can help reduce bias and promote positive perceptions of natural hair both for women themselves and among others who see them?

Black women are 80% more likely to alter their hair to meet social norms at work, and 50% more likely to be sent home or know a black woman who was sent home because of her natural hair. Some key findings confirm that black women suffer more anxiety around hair issues and spend more on hair care than their white peers. They are almost twice as likely to experience social pressure at work to straighten their hair compared to white women. Studies like The Perception Institute also concludes that “White women demonstrate the strongest bias — both explicit and implicit — against textured hair.” They rated it as “less beautiful,” “less sexy/attractive” and “less professional than smooth hair.” However, white women who are in contact with black women “naturalistas” demonstrated lower levels of bias. Given that white women make up a large majority of the 38% of female managers who decide what looks are appropriate for work, legal conflicts sometimes ensue.

The bottom line is that time, society shifts and cultural integration in the workplace along with more mainstream media, TV and movie appreciation of natural hair will ultimately move the needle forward towards wider acceptance to a point where these biases may be eroded or untaught.

Brut.

08/02/2019 12:03 PM
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37 comments

  • Jimmy M.
    08/31/2019 21:36

    Looks like crap

  • Gwenette C.
    08/30/2019 20:04

    Omg...I so remember several instances were my hair was the topic of discussion. I went to an interview at the Ritz Carlton with a bun cornrows. After informing me I had the job under one condition. Braids weren't allowed. Okay, I'll take them out. When I showed for the orientation with an twa. I was pulled aside and told this to wasn't an acceptable hairstyle (just my own hair). I simply told the 2 yt ppl. Idk what else to do with it. Almost simultaneously they both said"don't they make stuff you can use to straighten it". The look on my face must have said it all. Because I was given an ultimatum. Basically straighten it or look for another job. I sure hated to walk away from the position. But this just let me know this was just the beginning of the blatant disrespect I might have to endure. So I straighten them out and left.

  • Traci H.
    08/26/2019 03:22

    In 2018, I did a protective style for a night out with friends for my birthday. My hair was sectioned in 3 buns, with two strand twisted braiding hair twisted around them forming a twisted, mohawk-like look. (I hope that description is clear - I couldn't add a picture.) This was my experience at work the following Monday... So, this was my birthday hair do last month. *[the original post had pictures]* The following week at work, I was met by many questions, compliments and comments. THIS ONE is the one that topped them all: The supervisor over the department opposite my department came speeding over across the room silently searching for someone. I thought to myself, "Please, no..." Then her eyes met mine - "Ahh, there you are! I came to see that hair!!" Me: slight smile Her: I LOVE THAT!!! It suits you! Me: Thank you. I decided to try something outside my usual comfort zone. Her: It's REALLY nice!! Now...(almost whispers and gestures above her head) is that ALL your hair?" Me: No (thinking, Here we go...) Her: I just LOVE it. It's so much more....(gesturing again above her head but with both hands) FEMININE! Me: (eyebrow raised) mmmHMMM Her: (looks to neighboring coworker for approval) REALLY BEAUTIFUL (goes back to her side of the office)

  • Lynn M.
    08/25/2019 02:39

    These poor ladies. I can’t even imagine dealing with this on a regular basis. They all have stunning hair! Wtf.

  • Lisa M.
    08/24/2019 21:29

    I understand wanting a professional look for certain jobs but why are curls , Afros and dreads seen as unprofessional?? I mean I understand in a business setting why blue hair of any kind wouldn’t work but a Afro or braids can in fact be professional looking

  • Robert D.
    08/24/2019 20:06

    I’m a white dude with a fro no aggressions here

  • Robert D.
    08/24/2019 20:05

    Micro aggressions?

  • John S.
    08/24/2019 14:07

    Microaggressions are not real. It's something made up by liberals so they can get offended by everything.

  • John S.
    08/24/2019 14:05

    Nothing wrong with a business owner wanting his employees to look professional.

  • Erica P.
    08/20/2019 15:32

    the only thing I get sick of is people trying to touch my hair, strangers by the way but in my personal experience its all positive from other races.

  • Tom E.
    08/19/2019 22:18

    NOONE HAS A PROBLEM WITH RACE BASED HAIR, ITS FAILURE TO WEAR A HAIRNET COOKING MY FOOD THATS A PROBLEM. POSSIBLY WORKING AROUND MACHINERY, NO DIFFERENT THAN A LONGHAIRED WHITE GUY NEEDS TO BE SAFER IN SOME ENVIROMENTS

  • Ruby J.
    08/16/2019 22:08

    These kind of people do not know what they want us to do with our hair if our hair is straight they got something to say about it if our hair is naturally has something to say about it they are some confuse people they don't know what they want in life they're sad

  • Patricia J.
    08/16/2019 16:42

    I've never heard any of this before.

  • Brian H.
    08/15/2019 18:30

    Odd states are for LBGTQ, socialism and open boarders but against different hair?

  • Yvonne H.
    08/14/2019 01:16

    Just tell them you don't want your hair to looks like theirs you're not white

  • James R.
    08/13/2019 20:14

    Come on people. This isn't true. This us just more racist hate baiting from the liberal left. California ? New York ? The two most liberal states in the country. I'm hesitant to use this term, but more FAKE NEWS !

  • Joe R.
    08/13/2019 20:06

    I've felt this too many times, at school and at work. Textured hair is professional hair, and thems the facts. It's as natural and as beautiful as bone straight hair, if not, it's even better. In my opinion, at least. Teach yourself and your kids to love their natural and not change it for anyone or for some societal standard.

  • Shelly C.
    08/09/2019 01:00

    You are all beautiful just the way you are!

  • Nichelle S.
    08/08/2019 13:08

    our convo last night 🙄

  • Vantravise M.
    08/07/2019 08:06

    I went go through this alot