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Working With Natural Hair: How to Face Adversity In the Workplace

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Hello Bronze Beauties! Here’s an issue that we know some of our natural sisters have faced: adversity in the workplace.

Whether it was a curious co-worker during coffee break, or a formal complaint from a boss, natural hair has faced some resistance in the workplace. But we have come up with some decisive, but positive maneuvers to face adversity and discrimination.

Credit: Getty Images/Thomas Barwick Creative #: 180351636

Ask a specific question about the issue. And then debunk it with an example.

Back to a coffee break scenario, the best thing to do is to address the comment right away and ask directly. If your colleague says the hair is ‘distracting,’ ask how seeing a mohawk or pink hair completely stopped her from doing her work.

Any one-word explanation such as ‘unprofessional, distracting, abnormal, appropriate’ needs further explanation. Most of the time, your co-worker may not be aware that what they deem as normal is an ingrained social construct to accept one type of hair in the workplace.

By giving them a similar example to point out the ridiculousness of their statement, it makes their argument crumble and humbles the co-worker.

Refer to the Dress Code, and show your rights.

If a formal complaint, or a complaint from the boss crops up, it’s time to bring out the dress code. Point to the part about hair and how natural hair isn’t listed as ‘unprofessional.’ Research into it so that you know the rules by memory.

By showing your awareness of the dress code, you can stand up to any opposition because they know you are taking the job seriously by abiding to the rules.

This is especially important if someone tries to reference it offhand or flat out lies to you. Knowledge is power!

Remind them that it’s your hair.

Remind them, whether it’s your co-workers or boss, that your hair is well…your hair. It’s genetically designed to grow the way it does, it will never be just like their hair, and even if you wore the same hairstyle it will be completely different.

If your hair is clean, styled, and fits the dress code you shouldn’t have to change who you are to be a better employee. And remind them that such words, or harassment is discriminatory.

We hope that these tips will remind women to wear their kinks and coils proudly, and to be the boss of their own hair.

by Schane Flowers

 

 

1 Response
  • Ines Pljakic
    April 25, 2017

    This is actually a very interesting subject to cover! And, yes, your hair is your hair indeed! It’s ridiculous to judge or point out to a person that you don’t like their hair. Love this article because it’s inspirational in a way 🙂 thanks!

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