Black Women Whose Hair Cost Them Their Jobs

December 5, 2016  |  
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I used to work at a magazine–a Black magazine, mind you–that didn’t allow cornrows or dreads to be worn in the office. Doing so could cause you to be fired. In recent years it’s become clear my former employer is far from alone when it comes to policies that discriminate against African American hair.

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“The bias against Black hair is as old as America itself. In the 18th century, British colonists classified African hair as closer to sheep wool than human hair. Enslaved and free Blacks who had less kinky, more European-textured hair and lighter skin–often a result of plantation rape–received better treatment than those with more typically African features,” reported The New York Times. “After Emancipation, straight hair continued to be the required look for access to social and professional opportunities…It wasn’t until the 1960s that the Black Power movement declared that ‘Black is beautiful’ — and not least unstraightened natural Black hair.”

The cycle went back to processed hair, but in the last decade Black women have once against embraced natural hair–unfortunately the workplace still hasn’t. Here are 10 Black women whose hair cost them their jobs.

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