General Council at NYC College: "Neat Hair" at Work Could Mean "Blackness is Not Acceptable"

Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., the General Council at Medgar Evers College of the City of New York, believes that, when it comes to natural hair, African Americans are often stigmatized in their workplace.

Ms. Favors details her feelings in her article, "Nappy Professional Negroes Need Not Apply."

Expectations of how one should look at their job is heavily swayed by perceptions, Ms. Favors details, and that white people often perceive black peoples' hair as not being neat or natural, when in fact "Black hair has different standards and is structurally different than White hair."

Unfortunately, "Black elders put White discomfort at ease by co-signing on the idea that natural hair indicates a lack of professionalism," she explains.
The fact of the matter is, "Natural hair in the workplace is not about 'neatness,'" Ms. Favors argues. "When we use the word “neat” in this context - let us recognize what it really means. The word “neat” is about conforming to a standard that says Blackness – whether it is Black hair, skin color, nose/lip/body size is not acceptable “as it is.”"

She continues, "When Black women are told nappy hair has to be “neat” we know that this is a code word for “straight” or “White.”"

Ms. Favors then goes on to call on people to be proud of their natural hair. "Natural Black women have come too far to go back into the nappiness closet," she states forcefully. "We are here, we are nappy, we aren’t going anywhere and we could get a lot more done in the workplace if we weren’t constantly dealing with the racist constructs for our hair. Kindly step aside as we and our nappiness work our magic."


Founder and editor of the Social Memo

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