Why do we dread the dreads?

Isn’t Jesus portrayed as a tall man with long hair and equally long beard? Don’t tell me that that was a long time ago and things have changed. I will say that it’s now 2013 and things are changing again! Long hair is beautiful. A popular saying parents teach their children to tell themselves when in a sticky situation is “What would Jesus do?” Well, I ask you, while staring down the doors of a barbershop, what would Jesus do?


A job, we all need one right? A means to making money to live comfortably in modern society. So would you agree with me when I say that a job is a necessity? A need rather than a want? Then why do employers have the power to deny anybody that necessity simply because their hair or beard is long? Well kept hair and a well marked, full beard shows dedication in my opinion. Clearly the bald old men sitting in their comfortable chairs casting away longhaired job hunters have never had the task of maintaining a luscious mane. That is based on a very stereotypical opinion of a fortune 500 CEO, I admit. However, if they have one about long hair why can’t I have one about them? Just as mine is ignorant so can theirs be. Long hair doesn’t mean we smoke weed and are delinquents in society. A regular old, good for nothing. That is not fair of a judgment for anybody to make, far less those with our future in their hands. I understand that every institution has rules and those rules helped them be where they are today. What I am against is discrimination of an employer based on their own perception of being well groomed. It is understandable to be asked to cover it based on the rules of the institution. However, to be forced to cut it would be asking me to go against my own “rules”.


I have an example which comes from a news article I read about my home country. My alma mater was under media scrutiny for having a child sit outside of all classes as he refused to comply with the hair standards of the school. My former principal stood firm and even pointed out and quoted the line from the book of school rules given to every first year. It basically said that a student must be well groomed with his hair well kept etc. He even accepted that times are different and he did not ask the student to cut his hair, he simply asked that he cover it. I fully supported my alma mater knowing that we were the best because of our structure. So I stand firm today, in my belief of my right to expression in hopes to enter a job market with employers with an open mind. What kind of man would I be without my virtues?


I hate to play the race card in this day and age but unfortunately I have to. Slavery was abolished some 320 years ago yet Black people still segregate themselves. In this case however, it hits home. I am from a little Caribbean island that is not called Jamaica. Long hair amongst the locals from where I came from is prominent in young men just starting off their adult life.  A life that can’t be started unless they cut their hair. No matter your credentials, your hair must be kept flat for a decent living. Without a job, tell me where else can a young mind find money? I am not implying that criminals are created only because of their long hair but the “ghetto boys” have such a bad reputation in society. Their hair has nothing to do with it! We are Black and proud. We say that but are we really? I surely am. If we were, won’t we be fighting the stigma and proving it wrong instead of fitting in to the constraints forced upon us? Gays have been fighting for so many years and look how that has paid off. So many couples have considered themselves married for years before they could finally be allowed to. That is Gay and proud! Or is it a pride thing, where we believe that we should not have to fight for anything? Where we are all Kings (remember this is about men with long hair) and everybody has to understand how you feel? Get off your ignorant high horse and realize that nobody is isolating you but yourself. Everybody has to fight for what they want in this world believe it or not, no matter your colour, age, height, build, hair colour, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs you have! It is time to realize that nobody is being more racist than Black people themselves. Ignorance isn’t racism, not everybody is aware of their surroundings therefore it is our job as a prideful race to teach them, not say “fire pon dem” and leave them in their ignorance. I digress!


I may be criticized for generalizing my topic to race but I was raised in a Black society so it is what I know. I am fully aware that this is not the case and everybody may be suffering the same fate. However I will leave you with this anecdote. As I said, I am a Caribbean born child. One day, my friends and I were chilling in my room when my mom walks in. She strikes up a conversation with one of my buddies and me about our growing hair. Having heard this lecture for the past year or more, I quickly left the conversation. He tried, to no avail, to persuade my mom that it is a form of expression and that he saw no reason to cut his hair; he was just having fun. He tried to add that even his own parents were ok with it. Nothing penetrated her, not even a little bit. Not only that but the gusto with which she said how she felt ruined the rest of the night for him and he questioned his return to my house ever again. That evening, one of my friends was not present. He is Caribbean born as well but lived abroad and has a mixed background. Needless to say he doesn’t have “nappy” hair like us. She has never once struck up that topic with him. The same summer of that incident, he too was growing his hair. I even poked the situation by asking her directly, what about him? She brushed it off and never gave me a straight answer. Am I not to believe that an Afro, plaits, twists and locks are regarded as unmannerly and unacceptable in society? I am sorry that my hair can’t lay flat when it is grown and the only style I can try, after spending my entire life cutting it and marking it, is either an Afro, plaits, twists and locks. No, I really am not sorry. Long hair is beautiful.

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