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NikkiD posted 3/25/2013 15:39 PM

Ok, yall. So, I am a black woman. I used to wear my hair long and strait (relaxed) but the chemicals to keep it strait started to wreak havoc on my scalp. I was 30 and had this process done for 25 years of my life. I decided in 2011 to cut it all off (about an inch long) and start over without the chemicals.

Now, two years later, my hair is longer than it EVER has been... but of course you can only see that when I straiten it with heat. I have tightly coiled, kinky hair and prefer not to burn the hell out it to make it strait. Especially since it will revert back in this good ole, midwestern Humidity.

I was just walking down the hall way at work, and one of the sr members of the organization looked at me all stunned...said she had been walking passed me for the last couple of years and didnt realize who I was. She then said this "you should probably straiten your hair back....looks less intimidating... and more professional."

Let me tell yall. God is good, cause if not for Jesus, about 5 years ago I would have slit her through with a sentence so tough, I would have lost my darn job.

But as soon as the anger came, then the shock, I am saddened. This is the way my hair grows. Its not unkept, or all over the place. This is what it looks like
(the girl in the left hand corner is an example of the style and color I am wearing today)...

I dont care what she thinks. I just wonder why its such a big deal.....

[This message edited by NikkiD at 4:00 PM, March 25th (Monday)]

Lionne posted 3/25/2013 15:55 PM

I wonder if this woman also offers advice to balding/greying men to go for hair replacement or dye jobs? Of course not. Is she racist that she think that she should comment that your hairstyle is probably a more natural condition for your hair?

How sad that there are still people who think that it's their business to fit us all into their round holes.

JanaGreen posted 3/25/2013 15:59 PM

Wow, that was really racist, rude, and offensive of her. I'm assuming she was white? Maybe she is just completely ignorant as to what goes into straightening your hair. I'm white with curly/wavy hair and it takes me about ten minutes with the straightening iron to get it perfectly straight. Maybe she thinks it's the same for you? I don't know. I just think it was an incredibly inappropriate thing for her to comment on. I'm pissed for you. And I think the lady's hair in the pic you linked is lovely.

NikkiD posted 3/25/2013 16:05 PM

She is REALLY seasoned..Im talking close to 70. I dont know if she is racist or just set in her ways.

Between blow drying, and flat ironing it would take me 2 hours. And like I said, in this climate, it wouldnt last passed lunch time.

And I work in a safe haven, general hospital in the middle of a REALLY urban area. So most of our patients look like me, vs her...

I was born in 1980 and my dad in 1942...NEVER thought this would be a story I was telling about myself....

Rollercoaster posted 3/25/2013 16:15 PM

This is the way my hair grows.

As soon as you said that I did not need to look at the photo to see if "I" thought it was appropriate. It's the way God made you and it doesn't matter what ANYBODY thinks!

I'd guess it's a big deal to her because of her own stereotypes. That "natural", "unstraightened" hair is intimidating and less professional. It would be interesting to know if she feels the same way about white women with naturally curly hair.

SouthernGal posted 3/25/2013 16:24 PM

Wow. That is just so incredibly rude and disrespectful.

I would have said something nasty in return ... But I've been told I lack a working filter.

I hate doing my hair. It's tedious and boring. So I wear it really short. I would, if it wouldn't be so "shocking" to everyone, shave my head. Alas, as one of my friends (a black woman in my class) said, "You're just too white to get away with shaving your head, Honey. Nobody would blink if I did it, but look at Sinead O'Connor. The world just isn't ready for bald white women."

At first I just blinked. Then I sat there. Then I laughed because she's right. The world is not ready for my pasty white scalp to be showing through 1/4" of hair.

Seriously though I love the pic you showed us and I cannot imagine saying that doesn't look good or professional.

osxgirl posted 3/25/2013 16:26 PM

I don't know about racist.... And I don't really think her age matters either. I think some people are just that rude.

Making comments about someone else's appearance and what that person should or should not do is arrogant and rude. And yes, I would guess that someone like that might just tell a balding guy that he should get had replacements, that he looked better with more hair. Or that he should just shave it all off, because going around with hair that is obviously disappearing is just pitiful, and he should just cut to the chase now.

To me, none of the explanation about your race, your hair, what it used to look like, what it's like now, or why you don't have it styled the way you used to matters at all for this discussion. Someone telling someone else how to look is just rude and obnoxious, period.

cayc posted 3/25/2013 16:42 PM

At the very least she's incredibly ignorant, and hence probably isn't aware that she was rude. Are you going to say something to HR? Is this woman in your chain of command?

At least you know you intimidate her!

DixieD posted 3/25/2013 16:55 PM

Wow. Stuff her.

I watched Chris Rock's Good Hair movie and thought WHOA, those chemicals must be so dangerous and and unhealthy.

IMO, that hair style you linked to is awesome, but what's important is that you like it.

My hair was always very straight but in the last couple years for whatever reason it's become wavy/curly and I have no idea why.....but I'm thrilled.

sadcat posted 3/25/2013 17:03 PM

Her comment was completely inappropriate. You can either ignore it as an example of ignorance or you can report it to HR. Regardless, I am sure you and your hair look great.

hitbyatruck posted 3/25/2013 17:22 PM

Report her if you want or tell her how out of line she was, with a smile of course.

Screw her...wear you hair natural.

I could see if you came to work with bright BLUE hair one day...but WOW, she is very wrong.

hexed posted 3/25/2013 17:28 PM

Oh my that hair style is absolutely fantastic! That woman probably ought to pull her hair a little less tight so she can relax. Geez!

As a white gal with board straight hair, I'm a little envious you can curly your hair like that. I'd be all over it. ( I think this is one of those you always want what you can't have things)

sullymeishadomi posted 3/25/2013 18:09 PM

Typically I would say racism (I get b.s. comments bc I speak spanish when required), but Im considering her background. You said she is 70 and Im assuming she is white. I would gather she grew up in a white neighborhood and probably isnt racist perse, but ignorant. If HR gets involvped it should be as a source of education.

I would have loved to see your style but cant cut and paste. Im sure its gorgeous. :)

ETA: I have a friend from Belgium. Over six foot tall white girl who has naturally tight curls. She shaves it to what I call a buzz. Look a sinaed oconnor. Buzz. To SG and everyone...its 2013 wear the style you want and wear it proud.

[This message edited by sullymeishadomi at 6:15 PM, March 25th (Monday)]

lost_in_toronto posted 3/25/2013 18:35 PM

I would call this ignorance if she hadn't suggested that your natural hair is 'intimidating'. Instead, I call this racist and there is no excuse for it, nor is there room for it in the workplace. Or in the world, for that case.

My best friend is black, and I am continually shocked by how much racism confronts her, even in a city like Toronto which is very multicultural. You are right to feel sad that this is the story you are telling. ((NikkiD))

[This message edited by lost_in_toronto at 6:46 PM, March 25th (Monday)]

SouthernGal posted 3/25/2013 18:39 PM

I'm with lost in Toronto ...

I would be willing to say ignorant, or just plain mouthy and lacking a filter. Except for the word "intimidating." That just seems racist to me, because I have no doubt she would say to a white woman that her hair (no matter what the style) was "intimidating."

Sully wrote:

To SG and everyone...its 2013 wear the style you want and wear it proud.

Oooh I wish. Sadly, I live in the Deep South and here it would label me as a "dyke" which could easily cost me job opportunities when I graduate. My hair is borderline now, I've been told that it is "pretty close to being lesbian hair" and that I need to "watch that it doesn't get much shorter."

There's not a lot of tolerance for anything different around these parts.

[This message edited by SouthernGal at 6:41 PM, March 25th (Monday)]

Amazonia posted 3/25/2013 18:44 PM

"you should probably straiten your hair back....looks less intimidating... and more professional."


I'm sorry. I'm so angry on your behalf I can't even find the words.

punky posted 3/25/2013 21:39 PM

How inappropriate. I actually prefer the natural hair "look" over fried and dyed. The picture is super cute, very spunky! Keep it that way!

Unagie posted 3/25/2013 21:55 PM

That's just rude and ignorant on so many levels. I'm hispanic and while my hair is not as tightly curled as yours its pretty damn close and I LOVE my hair natural. I straightened it once, I do this about once a year twice if the mood strikes me, and my friend gushed about how much better it was and how I'd get more attention. Yea I had it washed and curled the next day. I love natural hair and the picture you linked is gorgeous. That woman needs to learn some manners.

stillstrong posted 3/25/2013 22:08 PM

"you should probably straiten your hair back....looks less intimidating... and more professional."

Seriously?! That's bullshit. To say that hairstyle is intimidating? OMG, I am just so pissed for you! I saw the picture and that hairstyle is beautiful. Look, my mom is 70 and she has some pretty f*cked up ideas about race. She remembers separate water fountains. I can't see her saying anything like that, but my brothers and I have spent our lives shushing her and telling her what she can and can't say. Maybe this woman grew up in such a racist know what? I'm making excuses for her. I'm just trying to say that because of her age, I'm thinking she doesn't know any better, or refuses to get with the times. But her remarks were way out of line and I'm embarrassed for her.

yewtree posted 3/25/2013 22:11 PM

Wow... sounds like the bitch is lucky you didn't DRAG her by her straight professional hair right over to HR, after stopping to punch her in her overly opinionated mouth a few times.

I'm an HR person - I would have held her down for you.

Your hair had no bearing on your professional appearance, but her insensitive comment was so unprofessional I would report her if I were you!

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