I am not my hair: Black Hair in the workplace
I know its 2018 and you are saying to yourself, I can't believe we still have to discuss this.
I can’t speak for any other race, because I am a melanin poppin, chocolate Queen; but Black women must consider a lot before choosing a hair style, color, cut, or anything that varies from a press and curl (straight hair for any visitors in the room). We must do this because we are judged on appearance, especially hair, more than other races.
Let me tell you a quick story about corporate Microagression that I experienced recently. I just learned that this was a term. S/o to my soror Trish Harris who is a soon to be PhD and working on her dissertation which focuses on the persistence of racial microagressions.
Let me preface by saying that by trade I am an HR professional, and have been for about 7 years now. I have led Executive briefings and worked with everyone from a CEO to a teller. I know how to handle myself, speak, and dress in a corporate environment. I also know how to keep a sense of self in this place we call Corporate America and still be professional.
One of my coworkers had space to attend an important event, some of her guests fell through and I was listed as a backup.
Through the Wakanda connection,
I was informed that the coworker (who asked if I could attend the event) made a statement that went a little like this, “I wanted Sherrich to come, but she can’t represent us wearing her hair like she did on Friday”.
Now mind you, the event that I was tentatively asked to attend (as a favor to her) was one where minorities would be in the masses.
This is how I wore my hair on that Friday FYI.
For those of you that don’t know this style- it’s called a top knot. No different then these looks.
Since she didn’t make the comment to me I didn’t do anything. I wondered was it a Black thing? An Age thing? I just decided that it was an ignorant thing and left it alone, also I didn’t want to throw my coworker who shared this comment under the bus. In my mind as a woman and as a colleague I had a relationship with, why didn’t she come to me with her issue with my hair? Women of other persuasions in our office have gone to Executive meetings in Spanx tights and a cami top, and their professionalism or appearance is not questioned. Why was mine?
Unfortunately, This story is all too common among minorities in the workplace.
Another friend also told me about coworkers touching her hair without an invitation which (unless you have a relationship like that) is a big NO! NO!
Everyone isn’t the same. African American woman are known to be versatile with their hair, different doesn’t always mean bad or unprofessional.
Let me hear your thoughts? What would you have done in my situation? Share your corporate horror hair stories below and Follow ShareTheRich everywhere!